Alone on the Winepress
Lord Jesus, thank You for being faithful to me in Gethsemane. I give You all my praise and worship today.
Read LUKE 22:39-62
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“If we decide to be serious with God about prayer, we can be sure Satan will be serious with us about temptation” (Larry Lea).
Temptation carries the basic meaning of testing. Only in a secondary sense can it mean seduction; however, since the seventeenth century common English usage restricts the word to “testing with evil intent.” The NIV rendering of Jesus’ words in vs. 40 and 46 as “Pray that you will not fall into temptation” reminds us that God is the primary agent in helping the disciples resist the testing and temptation in Gethsemane.
Jesus warns the disciples (40) that they are about to face the trauma he had predicted his impending trial would bring (John 16:2,6, 20-22), but rather than confront the crisis with prayer, the disciples resort to other means. First, they escape into sleep, hoping the crisis will be gone when they awake. Then, on wakening, they confront the crisis with armed force. In contrast, Jesus faces his much greater test by using the weapon of prayer. The “cup” he shrinks from is the cup of judgment (Psa. 75:8; Isa. 51:17-23). A deep depression almost overwhelms him as he contemplates the awful, imminent prospect of bearing God’s wrath. An acute conflict of emotions plunges him into intense mental agony. Although he winces, he does not waver. He puts the will of the Father and the needs of others before his own preference (42b).
Jesus held his nerve because he prayed. The disciples lost theirs because they did not. Prayer is still a key weapon in confronting disturbed emotions. A friend of mine who suffers from deep depression prays for 200 people every day. He finds strength to persevere through the darkness knowing that the Lord in whose name he prays and who has promised never to leave him has, himself, passed through the most intense form of depression.
“The devil tempts that he may ruin; God tests that he may crown” (Ambrose, Bishop of Milan). If you or someone you know faces any testing or temptation today, pray about it now.
Father, when I think about Gethsemane, I see such amazing love that it demands my love and devotion; it will have my all.
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