PASSION WEEK | APRIL 13

THE BRIDGE TO PRAYING

 

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives…and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done’…He prayed earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”  Luke 22:39-44 (NIV)

 
It is Thursday and plans are being made to celebrate the Passover.  There are two

things that have always been associated with the Passover:  prayer and blood.

Today would be no different.

 PREPARING THE PASSOVER – Jesus sends Peter and John into Jerusalem to
prepare the Passover.  They purchase the sacrificial lamb that will be used for the meal tonight with Jesus.  But first, they must make their way to the crowded temple courts.  On this special day, ordinary Jews participate in killing the sacrificial animals and are allowed to enter the area of the priests.  As the huge   doors to the Priest court are opened, the sights and sounds are electrifying:
  • The sun reflecting off the hundreds of white-robed priests and Levites.
  • The altar that stands twice as tall as a house, built on the same site where Abraham was prepared to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
  • The glow of three huge fires burning on top of the altar.
  • The blasts of silver trumpets.
  • The hundreds of Levites praying and chanting Psalm 113 to 118.
 As the disciple cuts the throat of the lamb, the priest catches the blood in a golden

bowl and passes it down the line of priests until it reaches the fire on the altar.

 
PREPARING THE DISCIPLES – As night approaches, Jesus gathers the Twelve in the upper room.  Prayer and blood are the focus again as Jesus shares the meal   and talks about His blood.  He washes their feet and prays for their spiritual  strength to face the days ahead.  (You and I were included in His prayer!).

They sing a song and then proceed to the Garden of Gethsemane.

 

PREPARING THE LAMB OF GOD –If you want to have a powerful public life, you     need to have a powerful prayer life!  Jesus knew all about prayer.  He prayed in the desert and by the river.  He prayed on the mountain and in the garden.  Our prayers tend to be temporal and self-centered.  Jesus prayed for those    temporal needs; but, His prayers were always spiritually-focused and God-centered.
 

The more intense circumstances usually produce the more intense prayers:

 

  • Bedside prayers
  • Hospital prayers
  • Funeral Home prayers

 

            This would be Jesus’ most agonizing time of prayer.  He would sweat, as it were, “great drops of blood.”  It had all come down to this:  “His time was at hand.”  Since the beginning of time, Jesus knew that this day would come; and now, it had finally arrived.

 

Jesus would reveal His humanity tonight:

 

  • Jesus, like Paul and like us, repeated the same prayer three times.
  • He was disappointed by His prayer-less followers at the time of His

           greatest need for encouragement.

 

Jesus would also reveal His deity tonight:

 

  • He overcame fleshly temptation and “became obedient unto death.”
  • He chose spiritual above temporal, kingdom above earthly, and obedience above selfishness.

 

Moses’ hands raised to God in prayer on the mountain secured the victory for

Israel in the valley below.

 

Jesus’ agonizing prayer in the garden secured His victory for us on the cross of

Calvary.

 

LEARN FROM THE MASTER:  TO STAND STRONG IN THE DAILY BATTLES

YOU MUST SECURE THE VICTORY BY KNEELING IN PRAYER.