When Darkness Reigns

OPENING PRAYER

Father, when everyone fails me and my own faithfulness is gone, You remain faithful and I trust in You alone.

 

Read: LUKE 22:39-62

[39] Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. [40] On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” [41] He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, [42] “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” [43] An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. [44] And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. [45] When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. [46] “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” [47] While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, [48] but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”[49] When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” [50] And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. [51] But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him. [52] Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? [53] Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour-when darkness reigns.” [54] Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. [55] And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. [56] A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” [57] But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. [58] A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied. [59] About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.” [60] Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. [61] The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” [62]And he went outside and wept bitterly. 

 

Reflect: WHAT CAUSES THE DISCIPLES TO SLEEP?

The reign of darkness lures people to sin. It may turn friends into foes: Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss (47). It may cause friends to think only of themselves: Peter repeatedly denies that he knows Jesus, despite his earlier boast about loyalty (57-60). When darkness reigns, the religious leaders who cannot defeat Jesus through open discussion seize him through brute force.Jesus knows that the darkness is coming, and he warns his disciples that they must pray or they will fall prey to temptation. They fall asleep instead. When temptation comes, they are indeed prey. Jesus, however, is about to take upon himself God’s judgment against sin; he needs to pray against the temptation to not shoulder that judgment. By accepting it, he forges a path out of sin. When we are tempted, we need, like Jesus, to pray for strength to turn our back on it. It takes courage to say no to temptation. Yet even when we fall prey, we may be reconciled to God because Jesus took God’s judgment against sin. Jesus provides us with light to live by, even in the midst of darkness.

 

APPLY

What temptation are you facing? Ask God to help you walk away from it.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Tender Savior, thank You that You have faced the greatest darkness and You have overcome.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union
www.scriptureunion.org