Kingdom: Prayer

MOTIVATE

We can’t always get what we want. I know you believe that is true but some of us believe it with regret. Deep inside we think we are deserving for good and to escape the bad. But if we are able to take a big picture of all our life, we would not really want to get everything that we want.

–          Consider a parent who gives in to every choice of a child. What becomes of such a child?

–          Consider one who has ability to purchase and obtain all their desires because of wealthy means. Are they always happy?

 

You see, we do not really want to get everything we want.

 

The entire life of Jesus has shown us that true joy results from a life of unselfishness – and sometimes, a life of suffering. Jesus was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3) and “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Hebrews 12). For Jesus, no cross equaled no crown.

 

Paul modeled this saying,

“I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” Philippians 1:21

Peter reminds us,

“Rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed” 1Peter 4:13

Are we, Christ’s servants, greater than our Savior?

The doorway of joy comes from the pavement of sorrow. We cannot go around suffering but only through it. These two experiences (sorrow and joy) can only be compatible when you understand the purpose of life from God’s perspective.

 

EXAMINE      LUKE 22:35-46        2 life principles of suffering

v     Suffering is inescapable, so prepare (22:35-38).

Jesus has been preparing the disciples for this moment. A handful of times He told them The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected… If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:22-24).

Jesus called His disciples to “come & see” and then He sent them to “go & tell”. The first time He sent them out, He told them to take nothing for the journey and rely on the generosity of others. Indeed, all their needs were provided and they lacked nothing. This time Jesus sent them out telling them to prepare for hardship.

He goes on to quote and identify Himself with the Scripture of Isaiah 53:12 “because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many and makes intercession for the transgressors”

Jesus is showing the disciples that all believers will endure hardship; suffering is inescapable so we must prepare. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Believers prepare by securing an unshakable faith in Christ with His unwavering love.

Romans 5:3-5 “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Unbelievers will face suffering without hope and without faith. Christians are no different from non-Christians in that both face suffering but the difference is hope, which stems from faith in God.

 

v     Suffering is overwhelming, so pray (22:39-46).

As Jesus knew he would be “numbered among transgressors” and go to the cross, He was overwhelmed. He called the disciples to pray and withdrew Himself to pray.

At every point in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus shows His control. He exercises authority over demons by casting them out. He fearlessly rebukes religious leaders. He triumphantly raises a widow’s son and a little girl from death to life. He is bold to forgive sin. He is confident to calm storms. He accepts worship and praise. He amazed crowds with His miracles, ministry and messages. He gave thanks and sang at His last meal.

He has complete power.

And yet, here… Jesus kneels in prayer. Matthew’s Gospel says Jesus “fell on his face” (26:39), whereas Mark’s Gospel says He “fell to the ground” (14:35). This shows the stress and strain He felt physically. He sweated like great drops of blood. Jesus is beginning to feel the weight of human sin and God’s wrath.

The “cup” Jesus requested to be removed is the cup of God’s judgment and wrath against sin (Ps 11:6; Isa 51:17; Ez 23:33). The punishment of human sin was beginning to be poured out on Jesus.

Yet, being overwhelmed He did all He knew to do to draw strength & sustaining grace – He prayed in submission to the Father’s plan. At the cross Jesus would experience separation from God’s presence (Matthew 22:46) but while there was still time, Jesus sought God’s ministering presence.

And Jesus’ request for an alternative solution was not feeble as much as it was fear and reverence of God.

Notice, when Jesus was overwhelmed He prayed. When the disciples were overwhelmed in the very same moment they slept for sorrow. They sought escape when Jesus stood in the gap.

ð     In our suffering we are tempted to seek escape (self-pity, fear, paranoia, depression, even suicide). Jesus has stood in the gap for us – in our place. Therefore, we can stand by God’s intercession for us.

Romans 8:26 “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings to deep for words.”

Hebrews 7:25 “he [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”

ð     Believer – like your Savior & Lord, you need prayer from other believers and on your own. We are called to pray.

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If any man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.”

The challenges of life are meant to bring an end to pride and the renewal of joy in God’s presence. God is most revealed to us when we come to the end of our rope. His presence enters into our situation to give us salvation, strength, security and peace.

  • For such a time as this, believers are called to rise and pray.
  • If we fail to rise and pray we will fall and sleep.

 

APPLY/THINK

In Luke’s Gospel we have come face to face with Jesus and yet strangely some of you still seem distant from Him.

Look at Gethsemane. Look at Jesus. See Him praying.

v     Jesus is like us.

  • In His birth He became one of us.
  • In His prayer His humanity was on full display.
    • Overwhelmed and felt weak to pray
    • Requested prayers of friends yet feels alone and would be betrayed.
    • Distressed, sorrowful and feeling of agony
    • Knelt & fell
    • He poured sweat and tears
    • He bled
  • He died.

v     Jesus is greater than us.

  • He prayed
  • He intercedes for others – for you!
  • He died in confidence
  • He rose

To see Jesus is to trust and treasure Him… have you seen Him?

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