Certainty In Uncertain Times: Luke 22:39-46 – Praying During Life’s Encounters

Grace For The Journey

The passage this morning begins with, “Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives” (Luke 22:39).  Luke is telling us that after spending a considerable amount of time indoors, inside the upper room where Jesus and the disciples ate the “Last Supper” together and where Jesus did some important teaching, that they are now going outdoors and outside to a favorite gathering place, the Garden of Gethsemane in the Mount of Olives.

It was about a 15-minute walk from the house with the upper room in Jerusalem to the Mount of Olives in Gethsemane.  That word “Gethsemane,” means “olive press.”  There were and still are a number of olive trees scattered around Gethsemane and there are actually trees there today that date to the time of Jesus.  Trees that are 2,000 years old!  You could visit Jerusalem today and lean against an olive tree there that, perhaps, Jesus Himself leaned against 2,000 years ago.  The Bible teaches that Jesus and the disciples gathered there frequently and spent the evenings outside there under the sky, maybe because of the overcrowding in Jerusalem that week as it was Passover Week.

That is a little background before we study this passage.  It is important to remember the context of Jesus’ recent teaching.  Jesus tells Simon that Satan plans to shake up the disciples, to “sift them as wheat” (Luke 22:31).  Jesus tells Simon in particular that He has prayed for him that his faith would not fail.  This is what every Christian should do, to pray that our faith would not fail.  Jesus had taught earlier back in chapter 11 that we should pray regularly, “Lead us not into temptation” (Luke 11:4).

Now what we read in our passage this morning is a failure on the part of the disciples to pray.  And – do not miss this – their lack of prayer helps us understand why they stumbled in the coming hours, why Peter denied the Lord three times and why the remaining disciples would all run away when the going got tough. 

It is pretty clear this passage is about praying.  The word “pray” occurs in some form nearly half a dozen times in this short passage.  The passage begins with Jesus telling the disciples to pray and ends with Jesus telling the disciples to pray; then in the middle you have Jesus Himself praying.  When someone starts talking about prayer, preaching about it or teaching about it, we often find ourselves a little uneasy.  It is easier to talk about prayer than to actually pray, so it is helpful to remember that . . .

Prayer is not so much a discipline

To be worked into a routine,

But rather a means by

Which we talk to God,

To commune with God.

The Bible is God talking to us, prayer is our talking to God.  The Bible is God talking to you and your prayer is your talking to God.  It is not really important how “perfect” those words come out of our mouths.  Someone has said, “God can pick sense out of a confused prayer.” 

Of course, it is wise to begin each day talking to God in prayer.  John Bunyan wrote, “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day.”  I read where early African converts to Christianity were especially disciplined to have a regular time of prayer.  Each one would find a private place in the thicket where he would pour out his heart in prayer.  So frequently would these men and women find their place of private devotion each day that the grass would be worn away from the path they took to their daily spot of prayer.  You can imagine that when one of these brothers became negligent in his daily prayer that it would be readily apparent to the others as the path lost that well-worn look.  When this happened, one of the other Christians would find him and kindly say, “Brother, the grass grows on your path,” and this was a way of saying, “You have neglected to do the most important thing each day, to pray.”

But prayer is not only what we do

At the beginning of a day

Or at night before bedtime,

But prayer is something we do

Frequently throughout the day.

Remember that prayer is our talking to God, so there are many times we should talk to Him when facing different challenges and difficulties.  From this passage we will see three different times we should pray to God.  First:

1) Pray When You Are Tempted: Verses 39-40,46.

Verses 39 and 40 tell us, “Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.  When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  There it is, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”  That is the same phrase Jesus uses again at the end of this passage.  In verse 46 is says, “Then He said to them, ‘Why do you sleep?  Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.’”

Pray when you are tempted.  What was the temptation the disciples faced?   The immediate temptation was the temptation to sleep rather than stay awake and be an encouragement and help to Jesus.  But the temptation also included challenges and difficulties they would face in the coming hours.  Jesus would soon be arrested and led away to the cross and they would be tempted to deny Him and to flee from Him.  The temptation to abandon Jesus in times of difficulty is one reason Jesus teaches in Luke 11:4, “…And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”  We may also be tempted to abandon Jesus when we were are tempted to sin in some matter of personal holiness, tempted to speak hatefully to someone, tempted to sexual impurity, lust, tempted to do something we shouldn’t, tempted to take something that isn’t ours, tempted to complain, to be bitter, to not forgive.  Jesus says, “Pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

J. C. Ryle said, “To be assaulted by temptation is one thing, but to enter into it quite another.”  Throughout the day we should pray regularly when we are tempted.  Let me give you an example.  Most of you know 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith …”  That is God talking to you.  Now when you are tempted, you talk to God.  You say, “God, I am tempted to do something I know is wrong.  Your Word says, ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because my adversary the devil is going about like a roaring lion trying to devour me.’  God, help me to resist him and to stand fast in the faith.’”

Can you do that?  That is pretty easy, really.  Praying when tempted is not difficult.  The problem is that we do not do it.  And if we do not do it, we will find ourselves in sin.  Jesus says, “Pray, lest you enter into temptation.”  Try that out this week.  Whatever temptation you find yourself facing, do this: Stop . . . Bow your head . . . And talk to God.  Watch how just the doing of that helps you re-focus on truth and to avoid the lies of the adversary, the devil.  Pray when you are tempted.

2) Pray When You Are Troubled: Verses 41-44.

This is prayer during times of agony and stress; intense moments where you feel like you and your world are coming apart.  How many of you have been there?  Some tragedy you are facing, or a crisis, or a sudden turn of events, or you are very concerned about someone else, a friend, a family member, or you are troubled in your spirit.  It happened to Jesus – Verse 41 tells us, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed.”

Before we move on, note the posture of Jesus in prayer.  Prayer can take any form and the usual form of prayer in Jesus’ day was to pray standing up, but here Jesus kneels.   Matthew, in his Gospel, tells us Jesus eventually got down and prostrated Himself (Matthew 26:39.  This how most of us find ourselves when we are troubled in spirit?  You can pray in any number of postures.  You can pray standing, or sitting, or lying down.  You can pray with your eyes open or shut, head bowed or remaining upright.    When it comes to prayer . . .

It is not so much

The position of the body

As it is

The attitude of the heart.

There are times, when you are troubled, that you find yourself kneeling down and eventually prostrate on the ground pouring out your heart to God.

I remember hearing Adrian Rogers preach a sermon once where he was talking about a time he was making sure he was truly saved.  He was either a senior in high school or beginning college and he was by himself one evening on a baseball field.  And he said he got down on the ground to pray and he did not feel that was down low enough so he lay down on the ground with his face to the ground and that did not seem low enough.  So he said he dug a little hole in the dirt there for his face and placed his face down into that hole and he prayed.  I have felt that way, at times, haven’t you?  It is easy to prayer when we are troubled.  But how should we pray is the important thing. 

Listen to the content of Jesus’ prayer in verse 42, “Saying, ‘Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.’”  Jesus says, “If it is Your will, take this cup away from Me.”  That “cup” to which Jesus is referring is not a literal cup, but a metaphorical way of speaking of someone’s portion, of something given to him.  For example, how many of you know Psalm 23?  Remember the part where David says, “My [what?] runneth over?”  My cup.  The psalmist is like, “God, You have given me this and that and my cup is more than I can drink in!”  Similarly, the cup to which Jesus is referring is a cup that He must drink, a portion given to Him, but unlike the cup in Psalm 23, which was a cup filled with God’s blessing, this cup is a cup filled with God’s wrath.  It is a cup that Jesus must drink in order to die for our sins.

In John’s Gospel when Peter takes out his sword in the Garden and slices off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Jesus says to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” (John 18:11).  The imagery is seen throughout the Old Testament, just a couple of references here:

  • Psalm 75:8, where the Bible says, “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.”
  • Isaiah 51:17, where the Bible says, “Awake, awake!  Stand up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of His fury; you have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, and drained it out.”

This cup is a cup of God’s wrath poured out because of sin.  Jesus, in drinking that cup, is taking upon Himself the punishment we all deserve for our sin.  He takes that upon Himself.  If you can imagine that cup sitting before God from all eternity and imagine that every time a person sins, the wrath of God for that sin goes into the cup.  Every single time you sin, you deposit into that cup something that needs to be punished.   Every single time.  Imagine just from those who are members of your church if you passed around a cup and each one present envisioned every single sin they had ever committed or would commit in the future, every single sin going into that cup.  That cup has is filled from the very first sin by Adam and Eve until the Lord comes.  Adam and Eve’ sin was the first ones to go into the cup.  And every sin throughout history goes into the cup.  Each one of those sins requires judgment, requires punishment.

The Bible in these verses that Jesus will willingly drink that cup of God’s wrath to take upon Himself the punishment we all deserved.  Someone said it is like . . .

A dam of water breaking,

And the water begins to rush

Out violently forward to destroy

Everything in its path and

Jesus stands in front

Of all the water like a wall

To absorb, to “drink in,” all of the fury

So that we are protected and saved.

As the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us so that we might In Him become the righteousness of God.”  The Bible also says in 1 Peter 2:24, “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.“  And in 1 John 2:2, the Bible says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”

The part of the prayer of Jesus where He says in verse 42, “Father if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me,” is Jesus’s way of saying, “If there is any other way, please allow another way.”  Why does He ask for this?  Well again, imagine taking upon yourself the wrath of God poured out for every sin committed by every person throughout history!  So here is Jesus, the God-Man, two natures in one person, two natures that cannot be divided but can be distinguished.  In His human nature, Jesus seeks some other way.  But in His divine nature He says, “Your will be done.”

By the way, praying, “Not my will but Your will be done” is an excellent way to pray, isn’t it?  It is a great prayer of faith.  It is not a cop-out.  It is asking for what you desire, but then saying, “God, I trust You as the One who always does what is right.  So while I am asking for this or that, I am trusting You to know me better than myself.  Let Your will be done.”

Jesus says, “If there’s some other way …”  But there is no other way.  Jesus must drink the cup of God’s wrath if we are to be forgiven of our sin.  He must become our substitute.  This is the only way God can at once be both just and the One who justifies (Romans 3:26).

love Jesus shows for us by dying is a death for us, a substitutionary death.  It is more like we are both in the water and you are drowning and I take off my life preserver and throw it to you and I die and you live.  That is the kind of love Jesus shows for us by drinking the cup of God’s wrath, taking our sins upon Himself, dying for us that we may live and go free.

Jesus is agonizing in the garden and what happens next?  Verse 43 tells us, “Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”  Note that the angel does not remove the suffering!  Modern notions of angels coming and fixing our hurts and sending us happily on our way are not helpful.  Sometimes it is God’s will for us to suffer.  Sometimes our prayers are not answered the way we would like.

A little boy’s father was a pastor.  The little boy noted every Sunday that as his dad stood in the pulpit, just before preaching his dad would bow his head for a moment.  The little boy asked him, “Why do you do that?”  His dad said, “I am praying the Lord will help me preach well.”  The boy said, “Well, why doesn’t He answer your prayers?!”  Sometimes God does not answer our prayers the way we would like.  Sometimes it is God’s will for us to suffer.  But God will also see that we are strengthened during the time of trouble: “An angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.”

Verse 44 says, “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  Imagine bearing the burden of the entire world’s imputed sin, all of the sin of every person throughout the ages imputed – or placed upon – Jesus.  The strain of this is so great, the idea of bearing this burden so weighty, that Jesus is literally “agonizing” over us, praying more earnestly, so much so, “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground.”  Some see the word “like” here as Luke’s way of saying that Jesus did not literally sweat blood, but more that He sweat in such a way that His sweat dropped like blood drops from a body.  On the other hand, there are accounts both modern and ancient, of people sweating blood when undergoing extreme anguish or pain.  Blood vessels burst causing a person to both sweat and bleed at the same time.  The point is that Jesus is agonizing over the matter of dying for our sins.  It was a time of intense trauma and difficulty.

Jesus prayed when facing trouble.  How much more should you and I pray when troubled?  God says in Psalm 50:15, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” 

That’s what Joseph Scriven wrote in 1855:

Have we trials and temptations?  Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Pray when you’re tempted.  Pray when you’re troubled.  Thirdly:

3) Pray When You Are Tired: Verse 45).

There are times when you are so emotionally drained, so thoroughly exhausted because of grief and sorrow that you just feel like you can sleep forever.  Someone you love has passed away, or something has happened, and you are down and depressed, and just plain tired.  How many of you have been there?  It is natural.  It happened to the disciples.  Verse 45 tells us, “When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.”  The other Gospel writers tell us that Jesus finds them this way three times.  Three times He comes and finds them sleeping.  Luke, in his compassion, provides this detail that Jesus found them “sleeping from sorrow.”  Why were they sleeping from sorrow?  Evidently the words Jesus had been sharing with them about His future suffering and death are beginning to sink in.  It is remarkable, really.  Not too long before they were ready to take up swords and battle the enemy.  Peter had said, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death” (Luke 22:33).  Here they are now asleep.

There’s so much grace here in our Lord.  He does not go over and kick them and berate them for sleeping.  “Hey! I thought you guys were ready to go to battle for Me, what’s the deal?!”  Rather, He lovingly says, “Why are you sleeping?  Rise and pray so you don’t enter into temptation.”  Such love, such compassion, and such grace!

The best thing you can do when you are in sorrow and pain is to pray.  Talk to God.  When you are hurting this week, talk to God in prayer.  Say to Him something like,  “Lord, You have said in 1 Peter 5:7 that we are to cast all our care and anxiety upon You because You care for us.  So right now I am coming to You and I am saying that I do not understand why this happened and I hurt and I am in sorrow, but I am trusting in You.  Comfort me with the assurance of Your power and presence.”

Pray when you’re tempted.  Pray when you’re troubled.  Pray when you’re tired.

Prayer is what makes the difference in the Christian’s life.  Prayer is what brings peace.  The Bible says in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  God will take care of you, Christian.  God will never be arrested for child neglect.  He will take care of you.

So, pray when you are tempted . . . Pray when you are troubled . . . Pray when you are tired.  And experience the peace of God.

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Certainty In Uncertain Times: Luke 22:24-38 – Greatness of the One Among Us

Grace For The Journey


Description automatically generated with low confidence  As we prepare to study Luke 22, recall that we are in a section of material called “The Upper Room Discourse.”  It is called that because Jesus and the 12 are in an upper room of a house where they are partaking of the Last Supper and listening to Jesus as He teaches them about some things to take place in the future.  Jesus has just talked to them about His coming death, shedding His blood, the blood of the New Covenant, and He has told them He will be betrayed by one of them.  At this point, the Bible says the 12 then questioned among themselves who the betrayer might be and then, remarkably, the 12 begin to have an argument among themselves, and what they are arguing about is surprising given what Jesus has just said about His own selfless, giving of His life, in the coming hours. 

Funny how certain memories stick in our minds with unique clarity.  I can remember back to 1975 a popular song was written and played a lot on the radio.  It was a song about the heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali.  The chorus of that song included these words . . .  


Muhammad Ali:

Floats like a butterfly

Stings like a bee

Those lyrics were taken from Ali’s own words.  That is how he described his unorthodox boxing stye: “I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Ali was a gifted boxer.  He fought 61 times and won all but 5 of those fights, 37 of them by knockout.  The three of those matches were against Joe Frazier and one was against George Foreman.  Those fights are still popular discussion topics in boxing circles today.  But another thing known and remembered about Ali was nearly everything he said about himself.  He always engaged in a lot of pre-match hype where he would “trash talk” his opponents, often in self-written rhymes.

Before fighting George Foreman, Ali said, “[I] float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.”  He also said, “I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won!”  Nearly everybody knew Ali’s most popular nickname: “The Greatest.”  It was a self-designated nickname.  He spoke often of his own greatness.   He was quoted once as saying, “I said [I am the greatest] even before I knew I was.”  Another time he said, “I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest.  Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”  And he said, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am.”

The way he spoke of himself is legend and his continual self-designation as “the greatest” was part of his entertaining routine.  At the same time, however, his calling himself “the greatest” resonated with many people because people naturally aspire to greatness.  Greatness, in and of itself, is not a sin.  It really depends on what we are valuing as great or calling great.  For example, it was Missionary William Carey who said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” 

Greatness is only wrong when it is located in ourselves. 

And greatness is always right when it is located in God.

This teaching however, goes totally against the natural current of contemporary culture, not just today, but 2,000 years ago, as well.  Jesus asks His disciples in verse 27, “Who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet, I am among you as the One who serves.” 

Today we are going to study the actions of Jesus Christ in these verses and learn how we share in these actions.  Three things to know about Jesus . . .

I. Know that Christ Serves – Verses 24-30.

This character quality of Jesus, as one who serves, surfaces from this dispute among the disciples in verse 24, “as to which of them should be considered the greatest.”  I always have to smile when I read this passage because Jesus has just been talking about going to the cross to die, arguably the greatest example of the humble giving of one’s self, and it is like the disciples are not even listening.

Remember they are sitting around a table.  I do not know if they are arguing over the seating arrangement here.  That was probably part of the problem, but remember these guys had been arguing about this sort of thing before (See Luke 9:46-48).  They were continually jockeying for a position of advantage, asserting themselves before one another.  So Jesus says in verse 25, “Look, the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them,” okay?  That’s how the unbelievers live, guys.”  And then Jesus says, “And those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors,’” which was a term used to describe heroes and gods.  Jesus says in verse 26, “But not so among you.”  That is, “You’re not to be that way, to live that way.  Not so among you.”  He adds in verse 26, “On the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.”  The youngest in Jesus’ day would be the person who had the least claim for “ruling over” someone else.  Jesus is saying, “I want you to live totally opposite of how the world lives, exchange places in your thinking.”  The truly great person humbles himself and is willing to put others first.  Live as one who “serves.”

The Greek word for “serves” is diakonwvn, the word from which we “deacon.”  A deacon is one who serves.  In the New Testament the words serve, servant, and service occur over ninety times.  This is an important teaching.  Jesus asks in verse 27, “For who is greater [and He means from the standpoint of the world, popular culture, who is greater], he who sits at the table, or he who serves?”  According to popular culture in both the disciples’ day 2,000 years ago and our day today, the one who is greater is the one sitting at the table, of course!  Some people even act this way today in restaurants, treating waiters and waitresses like they are hired servants. 

Jesus says it was the same way back in His day, too.  He says in verse 27 that it is the one who “sits at the table” who is considered greater.  Yet, note this now, Jesus says, “I am among you as the One who serves.”  Note the irony.  Jesus says popular culture identifies the greater one with the guy sitting at the table, but Jesus says, “I am One who serves.”  But Jesus, is greater than anyone else!  True greatness is found not in sitting at a table demanding everybody look at you and fawn over you; true greatness is found in selflessness, humility, and service.

True greatness is totally reverse of what the world thinks.  In God’s kingdom greatness is diametrically opposed to the kingdom of this world.  Jesus stresses the difference in the next three verses (verses 28 through 30), when He says, “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials.  And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Jesus is contrasting His kingdom with the kingdom of this world.  He is calling for us to swim against the popular tide and flow of this world.  As Christ-followers we are to live for Christ’s kingdom, a kingdom that identifies true greatness with the action of service.  We are not to fall in love with this kingdom, the kingdom of this world, eating and drinking at the table of popular American culture.  Rather, we are to live for the kingdom of God, Christ’s kingdom, eating and drinking at His table, doing His things, living for Him.  After all, we will one day share in the benefits of His rule.

This is the meaning behind the last phrase of verse 30, “sitting on thrones and judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  The idea is not that believers will sit on thrones and pass sentences of judgment, but rather that believers will one day share in the benefits of Christ’s rule and reign.  In the consummated kingdom, Jesus will share with His followers the blessings of the kingdom.

If you want to be truly great

You will not seek greatness

So much as you will seek

Jesus Christ and His kingdom.

That is the idea here.  True greatness is found only by falling in love with Jesus Christ, surrendering to Him, living for Him, and following Him daily.  If one loves Jesus and follows Jesus he or she will be living for His kingdom, living as Jesus lives, loving as Jesus loves, and serving as Jesus serves.

Know that Jesus serves and those who follow Jesus serve, also.  Husbands and wives, serve one another.  Children are to be taught to serve others.  We are to be known in the workplace as one who serves.  We should treat others with respect and dignity.    Rather than demanding things from your waiter or waitress, bless them as one who is familiar with service.

In the church, we are to serve one another.  Paul echoes our Lord’s teachings in Philippians 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” 

Know that Christ Serves.  Secondly . . .

II. Know That Christ Strengthens: Verses 31-34.

Verse 31 says, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.’”  That phrase, “that he may sift you as wheat,” means, “that he may really shake you, or unsettle you.”  Who is Simon?  What is the name Jesus gave Simon that He has been using since He gave it to him?  It is “Peter,” which means “Rock.”  Jesus addresses Peter here as Simon, using his “pre-Christian” name.  Why?  For one, I am sure it got his attention, just as a parent uses a son’s middle name to get the attention when speaking a warning or rebuke.  Jesus is saying to Simon Peter that his name means unshakable like a rock, but he will for a time revert to his pre-Christian ways.”  Ever do that?  We all have at one time or another.

In fact, the pronoun “you” there in verse 31 is plural.  It actually reads, “you all.” Jesus is telling Simon that Satan has asked for you all that he may sift you all like as wheat, shaking you up the way a farmer shakes up grain to sift it.  Satan wants to unsettle the disciples in order to turn them away from following Christ.  That is what he does.  Peter would write later in 1 Peter 5:8 under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, “ Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

Do note here that Satan can do nothing without the permission of God.  It is much like what we read in the book of Job.  A puritan wrote, “Satan always works in chains.”  He is always bound to God’s perfect will.  God may allow Satan to unsettle us, but it is for good reason, to strengthen us in our faith.  Listen to how Jesus strengthens Peter in verse 32, “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail[I’m praying for your strength to be faithful]; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”  The pronoun here, the “you” here, is singular.  Jesus goes from addressing the believers in general to addressing Peter in particular.  And Jesus says, “Look Peter, I am praying for you.  I am praying that you will remain faithful to me.  You will stumble, you will fall.”  Jesus is talking about when Peter will deny three times that he knew Christ.  “You will stumble Peter, but I have prayed for you so when you have returned,” note that: when, not if.  “When you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Peter will deny Christ, but Peter will repent and return to Christ.  Why?  Because Jesus’ prayer trumps Satan’s plans.  The prayer works.  Yes, Peter will stumble, but he will not ultimately turn his back upon Christ and abandon Him.  True believers never abandon Christ, they persevere in their faith.  Someone said, “Peter’s true faith and perseverance would be revealed in his repentance, not in his sinfulness.”  Jesus prayed for Peter.  Remember that Jesus prays for every Christian.  The Bible says that Jesus always lives to intercede for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).  Because Christ lives true Christians will remain faithful.

Now what is Peter to do when he returns to Christ?  Jesus strengthens Peter so that Peter may strengthen whom?  Last part of verse 32 tells us, “Strengthen your brethren.”  Peter will be used by God to help others grow in Christian faith (See Acts 18:23; Romans 1:11; 16:15, 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 2 Peter1:12).  One of God’s purposes in allowing temporary failure is not only that we should be strengthened in our faith, but that we should then use our experience to strengthen others.

J. C. Ryle addressed this when he said, “Have we ever fallen, and by Christ’s mercy been raised to newness of life?  Then surely we are just the men who ought to deal gently with our brethren.  We should tell them from our own experience what an evil and bitter thing is sin.  We should caution them against trifling with temptation.  We should warn them against pride, and presumption, and neglect of prayer.  We should tell them of Christ’s grace and compassion, if they have fallen.  Above all, we should deal with them humbly and meekly, remembering what we ourselves have gone through.”

Be a blessing to another Christian this week by speaking wisdom into his or her life.   Share from your experience how you were strengthened by turning back to Christ and how they, too, should turn back to Christ.

Notice Peter’s response in verse 33 says, “But he said to Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.’”  Peter does not understand how he is going to deny Christ.  He is like, “But I’m a Rock, Man!  I’m not going to deny You.”  Our tendency here is to laugh at Peter, but remember that Satan had asked Jesus for the permission to sift Peter as wheat. I have a question . . .

“Has your Christian commitment ever posed

Such a threat to Satan that your name came up

In a conversation between Satan and Christ?”

How many of us are no threat to Satan?  How many of us live not for the kingdom of God, but for the kingdom of self, or the kingdom of the world, the kingdom over which Satan is Prince?  Has your Christian commitment unsettled Satan, so that he seeks to unsettle you?  If so, why, or why not?

Verse 34 tells us how Jesus responds, “Then He said, ‘I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.’”  Like Old Testament prophets, Jesus foretold exactly what would take place in the future.  But how is Jesus unlike an Old Testament prophet? 

An Old Testament prophet speaks for God. 

A prophet gets his message about the future

From God and then speaks for God. 

Jesus Christ is God. 

He speaks about the future without having

To wait on a message from above, because

He is from above, He is God.

We will be reading of Peter’s denial later in chapter 22.  For now, just know that although Peter would stumble in his faith, he would turn back to Christ because he was a true follower of Christ and true followers of Christ always turn back because they serve a living Savior who ever lives to intercede for them, to pray for them, to strengthen them. 

Know that Christ Serves, Know that Christ Strengthens.  Thirdly . . .

III.  Know That Christ Suffers: Verses 35-38.

Verses 35 to 36 say, “And He said to them, When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?’ So they said, ‘Nothing.’  Then He said to them, ‘But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.’”  Jesus is speaking figuratively and He is contrasting an earlier mission of the disciples in Luke 9:1-6, a time when they were to depend on the hospitality of others, with a different time that is about to take place.  In the past, they could hang out in the homes of people and enjoy one another’s company.  Now, Jesus says, “I am talking a bit a different kind of time you are getting ready to face.  This is a time where you must be prepared to suffer.”  Rather than hospitality, you will face hostility.  Rather than being on the receiving end of pleasantries, you will be on the receiving end of persecution.

Jesus continues in verse 37 by saying, “For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.’”  Jesus is quoting here from Isaiah 53.  He is talking about the suffering He will soon face on the cross at Calvary.  Note how the disciples totally miss the figurative way in which Jesus is speaking about preparing for spiritual battle by speaking metaphorically about taking up swords in verse 38, “So they said, ‘Lord, look, here are two swords.’ And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’”  This is actually kind of funny.  Jesus is not talking about taking up literal weapons as though they were going to battle the opposition in a sword fight.  The disciples, however, thought that is what they were going to have to do.  They are like, “Lord, check it out: we’ve got not just one sword, but two!”

Obviously Jesus did not mean for the disciples to take Him literally here as though He were calling for a literal battle against the Romans.  Do you think that two measly swords really be “enough” to battle the mighty legions of the Roman Empire?  Hardly!  We will read later about Peter’s cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest later on in this chapter.  After Peter cuts off the guy’s ear, Jesus is like, “No, I’m not talking about that kind of sword fighting,” and He heals the guy’s ear.  Jesus is saying, “Look, the time is coming when you will suffer for your faith.  It is a spiritual battle I am talking about.”  The sword is understood metaphorically as being spiritually armed and prepared to do spiritual battle.  It is so important to be spiritually prepared that one should be willing to sell costly things in order to prepare himself.

That is why I think this is kind of funny.  In verse 38, the disciples said, “Lord, look, check out these swords!  What is Jesus’ reply?  “It is enough.”  I think it is like He goes (hands to the air), “Enough.  I’m not talking about that, you guys!”  It is kind of like in John 4:32-33 where Jesus is talking with the Samaritan woman and the disciples go into town to get some food and they come back and find Him talking with the woman.  The disciples are like, “Jesus, we have sandwiches from Kohen’s Bakery!”  And He says, “I have got food to eat you guys know nothing about.”  And they are like, “Where did He get food?  We didn’t see Him in town!”  But Jesus was speaking figuratively of food, spiritually of food, the blessing of doing the Father’s will.  It is like that here, “Look, Jesus.  Here are two swords.”  He shakes His head and says, “Enough of this foolish sword talk.”

His point is that suffering is coming.  Be prepared to suffer persecution for your faith in Christ.  Jesus has taught the He Serves, He Strengthens, and He Suffers.  In verse 37 Jesus quotes from Isaiah 53.  This is the only place in the Gospels were Isaiah 53 is actually quoted.  His words in verse 37 are from Isaiah 53:12, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.”  We will be reading about that fulfillment in chapter 23 when Jesus is crucified between two transgressors, two criminals.  Isaiah goes on to say in verse 12, “And He bore the sin of many.” 

When Jesus suffered on the cross, He “bore the sin of many.”  He died for the sins of those who would believe in Him by grace through faith in His name.  He died in my place to take my punishment.  At Calvary’s cross Jesus died in your place to take your punishment.  He suffered and died so that you might live.  Can you say with the hymn-writer,

 Years I spent in vanity and pride,

Caring not my Lord was crucified,

Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;

Pardon there was multiplied to me;

There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Know that in the life of Christ, the greatness One was among us.  He serves . . . He strengthens . . . He suffers.

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

 This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Certainty In Uncertain Times: Luke 22:7-20 – Lest We Forget

Grace For The Journey

The Lord’s Supper service is all about remembering and honoring the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, lest we forget the significance of what Jesus has done for us and what the Lord’s Supper service means to us, we need to spend some time looking into the wonder of this great event.


It Is Important To Consider The Context Of The Passage. 

Jesus used the backdrop of the Passover observance as a canvas upon which He painted the truth of the new covenant.

Passover (“Pesach” in Hebrew) is a Jewish festival celebrating the exodus from Egypt and the Israelites’ freedom from slavery to the Egyptians.  The Feast of Passover, along with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, was the first of the festivals to be commanded by God for Israel to observe (see Exodus 12).  Commemorations today involve a special meal called the Seder, featuring unleavened bread and other food items symbolic of various aspects of the exodus.

Passover is one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays.  Along with Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost) and Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), Passover is one of the three “pilgrimage” festivals in Scripture, during which the Jews were commanded to travel to Jerusalem and observe the feasts together. Passover takes place in the spring, during the Hebrew month of Nisan.  In Western countries, Passover is celebrated in early-to mid-April and is always close to Easter.

The Book of Exodus tells of the origin of Passover.  God promised to redeem His people from the bondage of Pharaoh (Exodus 6:6).  God sent Moses to the Egyptian king with the command that Pharaoh “let my people go” (Exodus 8:1).  When Pharaoh refused, God brought ten plaques on the land of Egypt.  The tenth and worst of the plagues was the death of all the firstborn in Egypt.

The night of the first Passover was the night of the tenth plague.  On that fateful night, God told the Israelites to sacrifice a spotless lamb and mark their doorposts and lintels with its blood (Exodus 12:21-22).  Then, when the Lord passed through the nation, He would “pass over” the households that showed the blood (verse 23).  In a very real way, the blood of the lamb saved the Israelites from death, as it kept the destroyer from entering their homes.  The Israelites were saved from the plague, and their firstborn children stayed alive.  From then on, every firstborn son of the Israelites belonged to the Lord and had to be redeemed with a sacrifice (Exodus 13:1-2, 12; cf. Luke 2:22-24).

The children of Israel in Egypt followed God’s command and kept the first Passover. However, none of the Egyptians did so.  All through Egypt, behind the unmarked, bloodless doorways of the Egyptians, the firstborn children died at midnight (Exodus 12:21-29).  Verse 30 tells us, “There was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.”  This dire judgment finally changed the Egyptian king’s heart, and he released the Israelite slaves (verses 31–32).

Along with the instruction to apply the Passover lamb’s blood to their doorposts and lintels, God instituted a commemorative meal: fire-roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8).  The Lord told the Israelites to “And you shall observe this thing as an ordinance for you and yours sons forever.” (Exodus 12:24), even when in a foreign land.

To this day, Jews all over the world celebrate the Passover in obedience to this command.  Passover and the story of the exodus have great significance for Christians also, as Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law, including the symbolism of the Passover (Matthew 5:17).  Jesus is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7; Revelation 5:12).  He was killed at Passover time, and the Last Supper was a Passover meal (Luke 22:7-8).  By spiritually applying His blood to our lives by faith, we trust Christ to save us from death. The Israelites who, in faith, applied the blood of the Paschal lamb to their homes become a model for us.  It was not the Israelites’ ancestry or good standing or amiable nature that saved them; it was only the blood of the lamb that made them exempt from death (see John 1:29 and Revelation 5:9-10).

In this passage, we are given the details necessary to understand all we need to know about this event we know as the Lord’s Supper, of the Communion.

This Passage Shows Us The Purpose Of The Lord’s Supper – Verses 19-20.

Verses 19 and 20 say, “And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying ‘This is My body which is given for you, do this in remembrance of Me.  Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.”  The Lord’s Supper is different than a typical memorial service that we have today!  Memorial services are held for those who are dead.  The Lord’s Supper is exactly what the Lord says it is right here, and that is it is a “time of remembrance.”  

  • It is a time for the church to call to mind the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • It is to be a time of reverence, yet at the same time it should be a time of extreme celebration.
  • Above all, it must be a time of worship and of focus upon the Person work of Jesus, alone.

Every other thought should be stricken from the mind, and He should be allowed to be the centerpiece of the Lord’s Supper celebration.

This is the way things ought to be.  In the beginning of the church, we find the believers observing the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis (See Acts 2:42).  Unfortunately, not many years passed until the Lord’s Supper became corrupted by the church.  The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 what happened in the early church.  Even though these things happened nearly 2,000 years ago, there is still the danger that we might permit some of the same errors in our day.  Therefore, let’s I want to take a few minutes to look at the events in Corinth and how they speak to us today.

This passage Shows Us The Problems Surrounding The Celebration In The Early Church.

Notice Paul’s tone as he addresses the Corinthians, verse 17.  He uses the word “declare”.  This word means “command.” Paul comes to them in power and tells them that he is about to set the record straight.  I can almost feel the wrath of the great Apostle as he writes these words.

Notice the abuses that were present in the church and in the observance of the Lord’s Supper in particular.  Please note that there is always the danger that we will fall into the same trap into which the Corinthians fell.  There are 4 abuses catalogued here that need to be mentioned this morning.

Verses 18-19 There Were Cliques And Divisions In The Church.

When divisions, cliques, factions, and parties exist in any church, then there is disorder in that church. I t always means that there is pain, anger, disturbance, rumors, gossip, pride, selfishness, misunderstanding and misrepresentation in the church.  The bottom line is that minds are not fixed on Jesus as they should be.  There is no peace with God, or with one another. (Note: Why does God allow cliques and divisions?  So that genuine believers might shine more brightly.  You see, when there are divisive and cliquish people in the church it proves that they are not genuine believers, verse 19.  When the false believers act as they do, it causes the true Christians to be more visible.)

Verse 20 Tells Us There Was Self Deception.

When they came together in this divisive and cliquish atmosphere, they thought they were partaking of the Lord’s Supper.  In truth, they weren’t “remembering and honoring” the Lord, they were putting self on display.  Everything they did was for their own benefit.  That spirit is also evident today!  Many just go to church and go through the motions to be seen of men.  Sadly, this is the same spirit in which they approach the Lord’s Supper.

Verse 21 Tells Us There Was Selfishness And Neglect Of Others.

When the Corinthian believers gathered for the Lord’s Supper, there was no sense of fellowship or communal celebration.  The church broke apart along its internal fault lines.  It became a case of every man for himself.  God help the church that ever loses sight of one another.

Verse 22 Tells Us They Abused The Sanctity Of The Church And Shamed The Poor.

There was a bad spirit surrounding the entire meal.  There was no sense of community and brotherly love on a horizontal level, and there was no genuine worship of God on a vertical level.  The church had degenerated into nothing more than a social club.  That must never be allowed to happen in any local body of believers.

This Passages Shows Us The Penalty Associated With Partaking Of The Lord’s Supper Unworthily – Verses 27-30.

What Does It Mean To Partake “Unworthily?”  Paul was addressing the Corinthian church about their sins.  It was their sins which caused them to partake of the Lord’s supper in an unworthy manner.  What were their sins?

1. Division – Verse 18.

2. Heresy – Verse 19.

3. Self-deception – Verse 20.

4. Selfishness and indulgence – Verses 21.

5. Drunkenness – Verse 21.

6. Neglect of the poor – Verse 21.

7. Irreverence and carelessness in protecting the sanctity of the church – Verse 22.

In summary, there was a general spirit of irreverence and thoughtless surrounding their entire approach to the Lord’s Supper.  The bottom line is this, it would appear that having sin in one’s heart and life is what is meant by partaking unworthily.  The Bible tells us in Psalms 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.”

How Then Can Anyone Be Counted Worthy? – Since our only worthiness can be found in the Lord Jesus, it is only when we are counted worthy by Him that we are found worthy to partake of the Lord’s Supper. There are 3 basic necessities for being counted worthy . . . :

1. That we walk in constant confession.

2. That we walk in consistent obedience.

3. That we walk in continuous praise and thankfulness of Christ’s Person, His    

    grace and His work!

What Are The Consequences Of Partaking Unworthily?

Verse 22 tells us that we become guilty of the Lord’s death.  That is, we are held accountable for His death.  When we partake of the Lord’s Supper unworthily, we are guilty of 5 terrible sins . . .

a. We insult Christ.

b. We offend Christ.

c. We trample Christ under foot.

d. We treat the death of Christ as a meaningless thing.

e. We shame the name of Christ.

Verses 28 and 29 tell us that such action causes us to condemn ourselves.  When we fail to examine ourselves, we bring damnation on our lives. This does not mean that we will go to Hell, it does mean that we will open our lives up to the chastisement and the judgment of God.  When we do this, it is evidence that we do not have a proper respect for the seriousness and holiness of the Lord’s Supper service.  God takes the Lord’s Supper very seriously, even if we do not!

Verse 30 teaches us that we will also face the chastisement and judgment of God – When the Lord’s Supper is abused to the level witnessed at Corinth, God will step in with chastisement.  This verse plainly tells us that sickness and death are the results of abusing the Lord’s Supper service.

Verse 31 address the procedure for dealing with our sins as individuals and as a church.  This verse tells us that self-examination is the only remedy for sin.  When we examine ourselves against the Word of God, we will see our shortcomings.  Then, we can confess them, forsake them, and receive immediate cleansing from the Lord, 1 John 1:9.


  • It Refers To A Symbol.  Jesus took bread and used it to symbolize His body. When we take the bread, we do not eat flesh, but should see only a symbol.
  • It Refers To A Sacrifice.  The broken body of our Lord calls to mind the terrible price He paid for our redemption on the cross at Calvary.  There, He endured all the brutality, humiliation, and degradation the human race could dish out.  Notice some of what He endured for you and me.
  • He was Beaten – Luke 22:63-64.
  • He Was Scourged – Matthew 27:6; Psalm 129:3.
  • He was Spit Upon – Matthew 27:30.
  • He was Mocked – Matthew 27:26-29.
  • His beard was Plucked Out – Isaiah 50:6.
  • He was Stripped Naked – Matthew 27:35.
  • He was Nailed to the Cross and Crucified – Matthew 27:38; John 20:25.

(Note: All of this was done for one reason – YOU!  The Bible tells us in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”  That is the gift that we celebrate when we observe the Lord’s Supper.  When you take the bread that symbolizes the broken body of the Lord Jesus take the time to “stir up your minds by way of remembrance and actively meditate” upon suffered for you.


Like the bread, the juice is also symbolic in nature . . .

The Blood Speaks Of A New Covenant.  In the Old Testament, the sinner approached God through the blood of a slain animal.  Under the new covenant, the one which Jesus inaugurated, men must come to God through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible tells us that in Hebrews 9:11-15 and 22, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.  For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse you conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called my receive the promise of the eternal inheritance … “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.”

The Blood Speaks Of A New Cleansing.  We just read that in Hebrews 9:22.  It takes blood to save the soul and . . .  

The only blood that possesses

The power to save the soul

Is the precious

Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:18-19, “Knowing that  you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”  Under the new covenant, only the blood of Jesus can make the lost sinner clean and prepare him for a heavenly home.  It is simple faith in the shed blood of Jesus that saves the soul!.

The Blood Speaks Of A Priceless Compassion.  In our passage today (Luke 22:20) Jesus reminds us that His blood was poured out for us.  He did not die for Himself!  He did not go to the cross to liberate Himself, but to liberate you and me!  He died to set us free!  When you take the cup as you participate in the Lord’s Supper, which symbolizes the shed blood of the Lord Jesus, allow your mind to actively meditate on the glory and the power of Hid precious blood which was shed for you.

According to 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”  When we participate in the Lord’s Supper as a congregation, we preach a sermon about the death, the resurrection, and the return of the Lord Jesus.  If we carry out this observance in the right spirit, then we celebrate our Lord’s death and we center our minds on Him.  As a result, we are brought closer to Him through worship.  Also, we have delivered the Gospel to the lost and they will now have the opportunity to come to the Lord for salvation.  If you need Jesus in your life, I invite you to come to Him right now and let Jesus save your soul. Will you do that?

May we Christians, who have the privilege to meditated on the Lord and His glorious gift of salvation through the Lord’s Supper, and be reminded of His greatness, glory, and grace and of all He has done for us.  May we come before Him with a spirit of praise and worship.  How we ought to thank Him for giving His life and being alive today!

This is God’s Word …

This is Grace for your Journey …

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”