Luke: Jesus Prays, Exhausted from Sorrow

Read: Luke 22:39-46

Have you ever been exhausted from sorrow? In this passage, Luke provides a brief glimpse into the garden where Jesus often prayed.

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. Luke 22:39

For Jesus to go out an pray was not unusual. For His disciples to follow Him was routine. The occasion, however, was anything but normal, but the disciples didn’t know.

This time would be the last time that Jesus would pray at the Mount of Olives. No more teaching, just an admonishment to avoid falling into temptation, though He knew they would fall asleep. I wonder if they typically snoozed while Jesus prayed? Is sleep a 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.” Luke 22:41-42

The ultimate Passover lamb submits to God.

Jesus prays so hard that his sweat was like drops of blood. Have you ever prayed that hard? At that moment, were you willing to say, yet not my will, but yours be done? Complete surrender.

There are times, even recently, when I’ve prayed so hard that it felt like the tears were drops of blood. The most sincere, deepest, hardest prayers are typically for my children. As a dad, I want them to live life to the fullest, to experience joy in this world with the assurance of the next. I hurt for them in ways that they don’t even see. In these moments I’ve found that my prayers often have no words if that makes sense. In the deepest, darkest moments there are few words that express my heart’s desire and I cry out for the Spirit to speak on my behalf.

All this pales in comparison with what Jesus is praying for and the path that is set before Him, but I like to think it gives me a small, minuscule perspective into that moment in the garden. In my limited human capability, I understand being exhausted from sorrow.

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.” Luke 22:45-46

The disciples don’t get it, they simply don’t know that they just experienced the Last Supper, nor do they know this is the Last Prayer in the garden with Jesus.

Luke chooses words that are not harsh. I don’t get any sense of anger or rage, but maybe that’s just my own bias. He knows what they cannot possibly understand. All will become clear in a matter of days, though the ensuing hours will cause Peter to deny and the others to scatter.

Lord, we have the privilege of reading these words with a historical perspective. Help us to pray and not fall into temptation. Spirit, give us words to say or simply supply the utterances that express the desires of our heart for Your glory!

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Let the Word evoke words. May your life encourage lives.

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