Jesus went out to the Mount of Olives, as he often did, and his disciples went with him. When they got there, he told them, “Pray that you won’t be tested.”
Jesus walked on a little way before he knelt down and prayed, â€œFather, if you will, please don’t make me suffer by having me drink from this cup. But do what you want, and not what I want.” Then an angel from heaven came to help him. Jesus was in great pain and prayed so sincerely that his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood. Jesus got up from praying and went over to his disciples. They were asleep and worn out from being so sad. He said to them, “Why are you asleep? Wake up and pray that you won’t be tested.”Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Luke 22:39-46 (CEV)
Luke’s gospel of this moment in Jesus’ life here on earth is the one that I come to every Holy Thursday to read and meditate on. It is Dr. Luke who tells me that Jesus’ anguish in His prayer was so profound that His human body responded in an horrific way. As a medical person, it speaks to me about the level of physical and spiritual anguish He was in.
And then I consider the â€œanguishâ€ in my own life. I have never sweated blood. I have had times when I thought my heart (or my gut) could not stand the pain that I was in. I felt overwhelmed that made me cry out, â€œFather, please take this from me!â€. In the middle of this pain, it is such a comfort to know that Jesus knelt in that place before me.
It is in seeing Jesus in that position that I can also see the angel, the messenger, of comfort and strength that is promised to me. Jesus showed me that the Father hears and He responds.
Jesus also shows me how to grow to the place where I can say, â€œFather, more than I want relief from this situation, I want what You want.â€ Jesus leads me to a place of greater trust and faith. He shows me how to walk any path, any day. The strength to walk is there for me. It is! The problem is that I am refusing to be weak enough to accept it. (Ouch)
Twice in this passage, Jesus tells His disciples to â€œpray that you won’t be testedâ€. If Jesus said it twice in a few minutes, it must be important, right? If I am going through a rough time, is my prayer time increasing accordingly? Am I spending more time ‘talking with God’ or whining to myself? Am I exhausted like the disciples with my sadness?
â€œPRAY THAT YOU WON’T BE TESTED!â€ GOT IT? GET IT!
Father, I thank You that You have not given up on me. I am crying out to You today asking You to guide me with the wisdom of Your Holy Spirit. I ask for mercy, LORD. I ask that I not be tested. Release me from this suffering. I want to walk in Your will. Help me, LORD. Help me. I commit to spending more time with You every day. Thank You for allowing me to talk. Now I will listen. In Jesus’ name I pray.