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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


6. Jesus Strives in Prayer on the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39-46)

LUKE 22:39-46
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Neither Peter nor the disciples understood Jesus in the depth of his spiritual striving. They followed him, as usual, to the Mount of Olives to sleep and rest. But Christ turned to them in the midst of the dark night, and commanded them to pray persistently, as the only weapon to wrestle with the spirits. The Lord taught us to ask our heavenly Father not to lead us into temptation, or deliver us into the devil’s hands, whose aim is to draw us away from God towards evil. The devil wants us to resort to force, swing the sword, instead of trusting in God’s providence alone.

Christ himself endured into this temptation when heaven was closed against him. He was not willing to die, but was always willing to look to his Father, who hid his face from him, and appeared as a God who judges and takes revenge for the sins of the world on his beloved Son. Thus Jesus knelt humbly before the great God and wrestled with his Father for the sake of keeping his unity with him in love. But the Holy Spirit in the Son overcame the weakness of his body.

Jesus Christ addressed God with the warmest and sweetest word “Father”, knowing that he had always loved him, cared for him, and wished him good, not evil. This word shows us the great love between the Father and the Son, the enduring atmosphere in the Holy Trinity. Christ did not submit his will to his own wishes, but submitted to his Father’s will, for this will was holy and unchangeable to him. He was prepared to carry it out at any cost. This is the only way to have prayer accepted, where we do not fall into temptation, and do not want what we wish, but to be in harmony with God’s will, even if it contradicts our own feeling. He who prays with continuous submission is delivered from temptations.

The Son asked his Father to take away from him the cup of wrath, which is symbolic of all bitterness, malice, and sins committed by the world, and their punishment. That night the Son of Man was made sin for all the sinners of the world that we might become righteous, accepted by God. The Holy One bore the sins of all men, and thus he became the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. The last goal of the holy Lamb was not to take away the sins of the world, but by his death in the flame of God’s wrath instead of us, we may be delivered from judgment. Jesus trembled before the wrath of his beloved Father, for all judgment of world history was ready to fall upon him who was innocent, and destroy him.

No man can bear this struggle. Jesus was a true man, and weak in his human nature. This is why his Father sent him an angel to strengthen him and fill him with excessive power, that he might be able to bear the sin of the world together with God’s wrath striking him.

Jesus continued kneeling down and praying with the words of the Holy Spirit that he might not be affected by the world’s hatred, or crushed by God’s wrath. No man can recognize or interpret this great divine prayer. The physician Luke indicated the severity of this struggle through his exact description of the prayer: his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

The disciples slept while Jesus was striving to redeem the world. They fell into temptation, and did not partake of the striving for salvation, for they were worn out by the physical and emotional tension of the day, sad at the mysterious prophecies, and fearful of their sense of wrestling between heaven and earth. They did not understand the truth at all, and it was easy for the devil to keep them away from the battle by overcoming them with sleep. Alas! This is the state of many believers. Today the world is redeemed, for every generation has to be born again. So when will you strive with Christ through continuous prayers that the fruit of his redemption may be realized in his enemies? In this reading, Christ commands you twice to pray continuously, for triumph in the kingdom of God happens only through continuous prayer.

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus Christ, in your prayer in Gethsemane you also thought of us, and forgave us our tiredness and drowsiness. Awake us that we may see you in your striving for our redemption, believe in your love, and pray continuously and steadfastly. Your will be done around us as it is in heaven.

QUESTION 133: Why was Jesus not willing to drink the cup from the hand of God?


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