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Sunday, April 8, 2018

posted Apr 10, 2018, 7:53 AM by Sarah Flores





Luke 22:24-62

Key Verse 22:42


"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done."


First, "But you are not to be like that" (24-31). Look at verse 24. It reads: "Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be considered to be greatest." It is really great surprise that, at the Last Supper, when Jesus talked about such a serious topic - his body and his blood, they were disputing with each other about who was greatest among them. At this, Jesus could have been angry in frustration, saying, "How long shall I put up with you?" It was too much. But instead, he showed them what kind of leaders they should become. Jesus understood why they were so concerned about being the greatest among them - they wanted to exercise their authority, telling others to do and that, just like other kings and rulers in the world. But Jesus told them, "But you are not to be like that." It means that Jesus’ disciples should be different in this matter. After Jesus' departure, they would be leaders for God's flock. At that time, they should not be like worldly leaders, sitting back proudly and telling people to do this and that. Then, what kind of leaders should they be? Jesus says, "Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves." In the military, the four star General is the greatest; but instead of just issuing orders all the time, he eats and plays with the soldiers, and struggles with privates to fix the broken trucks, getting his hands dirty; or he plays soccer with other soldiers, running hard and shouting. At work, your boss is the greatest. Yet, he sits right next you, a new employee, and wrestles with you to solve your problem, listening to your suggestions and, coming up with his suggestions, trying this way and that way, as if he is in your level. Such a boss is really great, and everyone respects him. Jesus shows that his apostles should be that kind of leaders - they become great, occupying high positions and titles, yet behaving like the youngest, and identifying themselves with the youngest. Jesus wants us to be this kind of leaders. He wants all church leaders to be this kind of leaders - truly great people.


Also, Jesus says, "the one who rules like the one who serves." The leaders are the ones who have authority; they are the ones who rule. But in exercising their authority, they should be like the one who serves. Then, those who are under their leadership will not feel overwhelmed or pressured; instead, they will feel good, because all the leaders take care of them and serve them and work for their well being. As the disciples become top leaders in the church or in the society, they should not behave like the oldest, or they should not think that they deserve special treatment; instead, they must be willing to do lowly stuffs and serve others - Jesus suggests us the servant-leadership. 


Jesus showed them his own example, saying, "For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves." He was their Master, and he could have relaxed, sitting at the table, and asking his disciples to serve him. But instead, he stood up while his disciples were reclining at the table comfortably, and served them. Jesus' disciples must follow his example.


Look at verses 28 through 30. Let's read these verses together:


You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30  so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."


Jesus gave them a kingdom. For what? There were two purposes. One was: "So that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom." Jesus valued his relationship with his disciples; he wanted to continue it even when he returned to heaven; so he gave them a kingdom, making them great with power and authority, because a meaningful relationship is possible only among those who are in the same leagueThe other purpose was, "so that you may sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." He made them kings to sit on thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus has made them great by giving them a kingdom. The disciples did not know this, but Jesus showed them that they were already great as rulers and kings, and thereby, they had no reason to compete with each other for a higher position in the world. 


Jesus said to them, "I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me." Jesus gave them a kingdom and made them rulers with power and authority. It was great reward for them. Was it because they were spiritually so great? No. They were worldly and power-hungry; they were immature; they had character-flaws, saying, "Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven and burn them?" Then, was it because they had done great work of God? No. Usually, Jesus was the main figure in doing God's work. Then, was it because they were great prayer warriors? No. They didn't pray. Then, why? Jesus said to them, "You are those who have stood by me in my trials." This was the only reason why Jesus gave them a kingdom, and made them so great. They had stood by Jesus all the time - that was really true. How was it to stand by Jesus? Sometimes, it was really fun thanks to great success - delivering powerful messages, driving out demons, healing the sick, and enjoying people's respect and honor. Sometimes, it was difficult because of the persecution - they rejected them and tried to kill them with stones; sometimes it was scary, because the authorities were looking for Jesus and them - they were in the list of Jerusalem's most wanted. Sometimes, great temptation was there - great success, or great marriage. There were many others who wanted to be the disciples. But eventually most of them left when their own benefit was related; many people left when persecution came; many people left when temptation came. But these eleven disciples remained with him to the end going through all challenges and sufferings together with him. That fact showed very clearly that they valued and loved Jesus more than all those things. Jesus fully appreciated it. In his eyes, they were already great, each one of them, even if they had not achieved anything great yet, and even if they were still immature. And because of this, he gave them a kingdom and made them kings - he gave them great authority and power to rule and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. 


Jesus says, "You are those who have stood by me in my trials." We have not done so much - we have not achieved great things; we have not served a great spiritual revival in California yet; we have not produced great fruits for Jesus either. Instead, we still suffer from our own weaknesses and sins; we still have character-flaws. Sometimes, instead of picking up such passion and love for God, we crawl on our hands and knees in spirit, barely surviving. Instead of flipping over our campus with the word of God, we barely serve a few studentsSometimes, we feel like failures and losers even in Christ, so insignificant and unworthy. Yet, still, swallowing all sense of loss and even shame, we struggle to serve God's mission. Who can understand our sorrows and pains? Who can understand our struggles? But amazingly, Jesus truly appreciates our struggles, saying, "You are those who have stood by me in my trials." He knows that we have let go of all the chances for success only to serve his calling; he appreciates that despite great temptations, we have remained in him. "You are those who have stood by me in my trials."Those who remain in Jesus to the end are great; they are the ones who love Jesus more than anything in the world. What about their performance? It's secondary! And Jesus makes them kings and queens in his kingdom so that they can eat and drink with him at his table in his kingdom and sit on thrones.  


When I think about this, I am very thankful for all the disciples, especially those who have served God's work together with me all this time - Moses, John Boos, Robert, Roberto, Johnny, Kathryn, Mary, Sombo, Jessica, Sarah,... Sometimes, we were really excited because of great victories. Sometimes, we were all depressed together because of great failures. Jesus says, "You are those who have stood by me in my trials." When you go to heaven, don't you want to hear this from Jesus? Then, let's remain in him! Things come and go; everything eventually fades away, but the word of God stands forever, and we remain in Jesus forever.


Second, "But now if you have a purse, take it" (32-38). Look at verses 31 and 32. Let’s read these verses together:


31Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."


Jesus sensed what's going on - Satan was aiming on Simon Peter. And he knew the outcome: Once Satan set Simon up - Simon would terribly fail - Simon would deny his Master three times that night; then, after this terrible failure, he would suffer from the deep sense of guilt and condemnation. Then, what about coming to the disciples' prayer meeting? It would be so burdensome for him. Could he say, "I love Jesus" confidently? Even he would not be able to say, "Let's pray." In this way, after such a terrible failure, due to the sense of guilt and condemnation, his strength and passion would dwindle away; and when things went this way continually, he would be blown away from God, from all other disciples, losing everything, even his faith. Understanding all these, Jesus prayed for Simon. What was his prayer topic? He says, "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail." "Your faith may not fail." He may fail, but his faith may not fail. He may even deny Jesus three times in one night, but even after that, his faith may not fail. That was Jesus' prayer topic. What does it mean that his faith does not fail? It means that, even if he may feel so bad and condemned in his heart, he may still come to the disciples' prayer meeting, even with dark face, dropping his head low, and sitting at the corner. When he did so, eventually the time of refreshment will come when he can really cry out for help and repent with tears. Jesus says, "But I have prayed for you, so that your faith may not fail."


But that was not all. Jesus also said to Simon, "And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." Here, we see Jesus' faith in Simon. Jesus believed that Simon would turn back from his failure; Jesus believed that Simon would not be destroyed despite his miserable failure, but he would really repent and turn back to God as a new man. It is really great to be trusted by others, and how great it is to be trusted by Jesus! Jesus also told Simon what to do when he turned back - strengthen your brothers! Jesus still wanted Simon to be leaders, encouraging and strengthening others brothers. 


At this warning, Simon replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death." He didn’t know how weak he was; he didn’t know the spiritual reality, but overly confident of his own decision and love for Jesus. He had pride as the top disciple. So Jesus told him plainly, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."


Look at verses 35 and 36. Let’s read these verses together:


35Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?""Nothing," they answered. 36He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one."


In Luke 9, we see Jesus sending out his Twelve apostles on their mission journey two by two. At that time, he told them, "Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic." (Lk 9:3) But now right before his arrest, Jesus gave them a different direction, saying, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." Why such different directions? It was because when he sent out the Twelve two by two on their mission journey, its whole purpose was to train them to learn to rely on God’s provision in serving God’s mission. Now, for the disciples, training was over, and they had to take over God’s kingdom work after Jesus’ departure. And now they had to use whatever means available to serve God’s work effectively. 


Some people say, "God will do everything and we don’t need to do anything." But Jesus does not say like that. Jesus asks us to take whatever means available for us to serve God’s kingdom work effectively. Money can be very effective; our laptop computer can be an effective tool; music talents can be useful; if you have good communication skills or if you can make friends with others easily, use them. By this instruction, Jesus shows that we must serve God’s kingdom work wholeheartedly by using all possible means. We must not fail in this important mission, but somehow be successful and fruitful. So, check out your mission field, and see what you need. 


Jesus also says, "and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one." A sword is a decisive weapon, the most necessary weapon in fighting the battle. In serving God’s kingdom work, we must have this sword, otherwise, we are like soldiers at the battle field without any weapon. Even if we want to fight the battle, we cannot be effective without the sword. Jesus tells us that if we don’t have this kind of decisive tool or weapon for God's mission, we must sacrifice other items and purchase it. What can be this sword for us? A laptop computer can be the sword for us to serve God's kingdom work on our campuses. Also, having a car is very essential; so, get a job, make money and buy a car. But fundamentally, in serving God’s kingdom work, the most important offense weapon is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17 reads: "Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." If you don’t have this sword, sell your time, energy and heart and purchase one. Give your time and hearts to reading, studying and understanding the word of God. 


At this, the disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." They totally missed the point. Jesus replied, "That is enough."


Third, "Father, if you are willing,…" (39-62). Now the last supper was over. Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place called, "Gethsemane," Jesus 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." Because of his humanity Jesus was troubled at the cup set before him - the cup of pains and sorrows. As a human, even if he knew all things (why he had to die, what his death meant, what his death would bring into mankind,…), even if he knew he would live again even victoriously, even if he had been living his life for this moment and he was determined to do so, still he was troubled when he thought about sufferings, sorrows and pains he would face. He was troubled, so he prayed. He hoped, "If there were any other way,…" He prayed that God would take the cup from him, if it would not alter God’s plan too much. The sins of humanity were so grievous that even the Son of God was troubled to bear the punishment for their guilt. But he prayed. Despite such burdens, Jesus did not retreat. Embracing all burdens and agonized heart, he went to God in prayer, saying, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me."


But Jesus’ prayer did not end there. He said, "yet not my will, but yours be done." Jesus’ ultimate desire was that God’s will be done even if it meant for him to die on the cross. For God’s will, he was willing to go through any sufferings and pains. In order to obey God’s will, in order to have strength and courage to obey God’s will upon his life, Jesus prayed. "Yet not my will, but yours be done." In this way, he denied himself. Even the Son of God, when he lived as a human, denied himself to obey God’s will upon his life.


Look at verse 43. Jesus’ prayer struggle was so intense that God sent his angel to restore his physical strength. Jesus prayed and prayed until he won the victory in his heart. Verse 44 says, "Being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." Usually, when we are in great anguish despite our prayer, often, we give up. But despite his prayer, when he still had such an anguished heart, he prayed more earnestly and his sweat fell to the ground like drops of blood. It was really a difficult battle; Jesus fought this battle all the way until all anxiety, burdens and sense of difficulties were removed from his heart and he was completely ready to do what he was supposed to do. Jesus fought this battle until he had complete confidence in his heart. Then, finally he rose from his prayer and came to his disciples. He said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation." In Mark’s gospel, Jesus said to them, "Enough! The hour has come. …Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!" After fighting the fierce battle in his prayer, after winning the victory in his heart first through prayer, his face was shining with victory, and like a powerful general, he proceeded. 


Jesus' Gethsemane prayer shows us what prayer struggle is about. When God's direction comes, we say, "Let me pray about it." Some people say so so that they can do what God wants them to do despite some challenges and burdens. But some others say so, as if they have an option -either choose it, or reject it. Then, later they say, "I prayed about it and decided not to do it." We Christians don't have such an option of rejecting God's will upon our life no matter what. Instead, we have only one direction, that is, to say, "Yes, I will do it." The Bible declares, "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." (2Cor 1:19) In any circumstances, at any cost, in Jesus Christ we are to say, "Yes." But the problem is that obeying God's direction is not easy due to our own fleshly desires or worldly desires. Our way is to eat well, drink well, marry well, support our family well, and live well. That's why even our Christian parents say, "Go to church only once a week, and then, pursue your career, and enjoy your life." God's way is different than our ways; His thought is different than ours. So, even if we want to obey God's direction, saying, "Yes," all the time, often these things pull us back. So, what do we do? We pray! Our prayer struggle has a clear purpose, that is, put all our fleshly and worldly desires under our full control so that we can obey God's will upon us completely. That is the Gethsemane prayer. "Yet not my will, but yours be done." We pray for this with all our heart and strength. Then, as we pray continually, all distracting things are removed and God becomes so real and things of this life become so small and insignificant. Then, we can come up with our heart's complete resolution to do what God wants us to do, no matter what, setting free from the desires for success or marriage. There, we rise as conquerors, completely ready to obey God's will. In prayer, we win the victory, and then, we just proceed what has already been completely in our hearts. Let's follow Jesus all the way to the cross. "Yet not my will, but yours be done." 


Look at verses 47 and 48. While Jesus was still speaking a crowd came up with swords and clubs, and Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him. Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" When the apostles saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?"And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus said to them, "No more of this!" He touched the man’s ear and healed him.


Jesus said, "No more of this!" Throughout human history, people tried to solve conflicts and problems with the sword; using the sword seemed direct, fast and permanent. But when people used the sword, there was violence and bloodshed, battles and wars, and revenge followed continually. When people used the sword, conflicts never ceased in human society. But now Jesus said, "No more of this!" indicating that in him, such a way of solving conflicts had ended. In Jesus, no more of this! How? It was because Jesus decided to drink the cup of sorrow and pains by himself. In the conflicting situations, when someone decides to swallow losses, sorrows, pains, and the sense of injustice by himself, all conflicts cease with him, and peace comes. In order to cease all human conflicts, Jesus drank the cup of sorrow by himself and brought peace to mankind. Don't use the sword, but drink the cup and you will bring peace to your family and to the church.


Verses 54 through 62 shows how Simon Peter came to disown Jesus three times as Jesus had foretold him. Jesus took the spiritual reality very seriously, so he prepared himself thoroughly through prayer. But Simon Peter did not know how weak he was, and how strong his enemy was. So while Jesus was struggling in prayer, he gave into his physical desires and slept. As a result, when a real thing happened, while Jesus stood firm and bold in following God’s will, Simon Peter was crushed and became the enemy’s toy. Right after he denied Jesus three times, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned around and looked straight at him. Simon Peter realized what he had done. He went outside, and wept bitterly. He broke down. Pray so that you will not fall into temptation.


One Word:Yet Not My Will, But Yours Be Done