Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. 44 In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. 45 When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, 46 and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.”
In this scripture, we see Jesus in a time of great trial. His anguish is extreme and his strength is weak. His “humanness” is definitely showing. Yet as the story continues, we see that Jesus knows just what to do to alleviate this turmoil. Jesus prays. Jesus gives all his burdens to God. He receives strength through prayer and through an earnest concentration on God's will, not His own.
Recently I was diagnosed with diabetes, and the diagnosis was a total shock. “No way!” I said in a fit of denial. I resented having to take medicine. I resented having to exercise more. I resented having to watch my diet even more than normal. All of this felt like a huge burden, and I knew in my head that I would never be able to do it. Yet my heart soon came to realize that I CAN do it. How? By redirecting my attention toward God and away from the temptations and negative aspects of my life's new “normal.”
Jesus fulfills his Father's will through prayer and submission. He does all of this in sight of his disciples as an encouragement for their lives. We, too, are encouraged to keep our eyes on God, redirecting our attention away from sin and on the prize of eternal salvation.
Gracious God, thank you for your gift of strength when we are weak, for your support when we are battle weary, and for your love when we feel unlovable. Through prayer, we will strive to keep our eyes open to YOUR will in our lives, and away from the temptations that can sometimes pull our attention toward sin. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen.
What temptations/sins/addictions are keeping you from seeing what God truly wants for your life, and how can you refocus?