Wrestling with Mission in the Garden


We see today that Jesus wrestled with going through with his sacrifice.  He knew that consistent prayer is required to keep us on the mission of God in our lives.  And when he was under the most attack and feeling the pressure, Jesus kept his mission at the forefront.

39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
Luke 22:39-46

Jesus invested time in prayer before he completed the most difficult time of his life on earth.  We might think that the forty days he spent in the wilderness being tempted was the pinnacle of the attack on Jesus. The devil tempted him at a time when he was hungry and thirsty and alone.

It turns out that the time from the Last Supper until the moment he gave up his spirit on the cross and died was even more difficult.  We see in Jesus’ prayer that he desired for the cup to pass from him.  Jesus wrestled with going through with his sacrifice.  The temptation was there to put his own desires and his human desire for self-preservation ahead of his mission.  Can you imagine what Satan and his demons were doing through this time to attack the Lord?  Every evil force and spirit would have been against him.

No wonder Jesus was challenging his followers to pray that they wouldn’t fall into temptation. Jesus knew that consistent prayer is required to keep us on the mission of God in our lives.  It was true for Jesus and it is true for us.  What are you tempted by today?  Where do you feel the pull of the world or evil against your life?

Jesus says, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.

Even though Jesus was under attack this whole time, he did pray to his father.  He openly prayed that from the feelings of his humanity that he wouldn’t have to go through with the cross, yet he knew it had to be.  The mission of God was the reason he came.  It was the reason for his human life and human death.  He set aside his Godly form and took on the form of a humble servant (Philippians 2) for our sakes.  Jesus kept his mission at the forefront…

And when the most difficult time of temptation came for Jesus, when he was literally sweating blood, Jesus affirmed God’s will for his life.  Your will be done, God.  Not mine.  Not my human will.  Your divine and perfect will, oh Lord.

Pray that you will not fall into temptation.
Pray that you will submit to God’s will only for your life.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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