Peace be with you!
Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives to pray with his disciples. He urges his disciples to pray that they will not fall when things gets tough (Luke 22:40) and then goes off alone to pray a very solemn prayer as he faces the cross: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will but your will be done” (Luke 22:42 NRSV). Jesus acknowledges God the Father is in control of everything, even the journey to the cross and the hardship Jesus faces. No one, not even Jesus, would face crucifixion with a light heart and joy. The weight of the world is on Jesus’s shoulders, and it is a bit intimating.
An angel appears to Jesus and gives him strength (Luke 22:43). God the Father understands that he has given Jesus a heavy load and sends an angel to give him strength. As he prays, Jesus sweats huge drops like blood (Luke 22:44) as he turns to the cross.
Jesus goes back and finds his disciples sleeping; he awakens them and urges them to pray for strength and courage as they watch him go to the cross (Luke 22:46-47). Just then, Judas and the Pharisees approach Jesus. Jesus sees them coming and asks, “Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?” (Luke 22:48 NRSV). Jesus knows what Judas is doing even before he does it.
The disciples ask Jesus if they should get their swords out and, before he can answer, one of the disciples cuts off the high priest’s slave’s ear (Luke 22:49-50). Jesus quickly turns around and scolds his disciples; then he turns to the slave and heals him (Luke 22:51). Although Jesus is about to face more pain than anyone thought possible, he does not wish harm on anyone else—he even heals someone who means to cause him harm. The world may wish harm to Jesus, but he still loves his Father’s creation.
Then Jesus turns to the chief priests and the crowds and asks, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as if I were a bandit? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness!” (Luke 22:52-53 NRSV). This is Jesus’s last statement of length that provides any clue as to what is going on. Jesus only speaks a few words while on trial. The chief priests take Jesus to the high priest’s house, and Peter follows at a distance (Luke 22:52).
Peter falls into trouble in the high priest’s courtyard. He has just seen the chief priests take Jesus off as a bandit. People are looking at him as if they recognize him from somewhere. One servant girl recognizes Peter as one of the men who was with Jesus, but he denies knowing him (Luke 22:56-57). Another man confirms the
servant girl’s proclamation and says, “Surely, you were one of the men with Jesus.” Still Peter denies it (Luke 22:58). Yet another man insists Peter was with Jesus since he is a Galilean (Luke 22:59). Peter exclaims, “Man, I do not know what you are taking about.” (Luke 22:60 NRSV). Just as Jesus predicted, Peter denies knowing Jesus three times before the cock crows. The realization causes Peter to hide and weep. He has denied the one person who loved him for who he was. How could he do such a selfish thing?
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for having Jesus fulfill your will. Help us to continue to follow Jesus to the cross this week. Remind us that you will always raise us back up, even when we fall. Guide us back into the light from the darkness. Thank you for understanding our faults and loving us despite them. Amen.