Luke 22: 39 – 46 Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives

Luke 22: 39 – 46 Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives

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

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’

*       *       *

Here we are, on the Mount of Olives.

Jesus warns his disciples with the words ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation,’ then withdraws a stone’s throw from them and prays to his Father:

‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.’

He petitions God with urgent human need. He asks, while all along he knows the answer. And he is fully obedient to his Father. “Yet not my will, but yours be done,’ he says.

If Jesus can pray out of his human need, so can we. However, we must copy his obedience as well. We must accept that God’s will is sovereign.

St Luke tells us, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

When we read these verses, how can we have any doubt that Jesus was fully human? He was terrified. He was truly the Son of Man.

When Jesus rises from prayer and went to his disciples, what does he find?

They were asleep. They had disobeyed his instructions to pray, because they were exhausted from sorrow.

I wonder whether they felt helpless in the face of events? This wasn’t how they’d imagined it would be. Only hours ago, they had been eating and debating which of them was considered to be the greatest. Now they are on the Mount of Olives, and their Teacher, their Lord, the man they had thought was the Messiah, is praying earnestly that his Father will allow him to escape his coming ordeal. How could their faith not be shaken to its core?

Sometimes I envy the disciples. How wonderful it must have been to sit at his feet, like Mary, and listen to the teaching exactly as it was given! But here on the Mount of Olives, they are bereft, tested in a way we can never be. We have read the Passion story, over and over again. We know that after Jesus’ death comes his resurrection, and all our faith rests on that event. We can never experience the desolation of the disciples during the Passion.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’

But now there is the noise of a crowd approaching, and the shadow of a cross.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you love us so much that you sent Jesus to die for us. Thank you that you raised him from the dead and proved that love will always ultimately win.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Published by pennygadd51

I write. I've written many pieces of flash fiction, dozens of short stories and two novels, with a third in progress.

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