Manna for Today

 

Prayer in Trials (Luke 22:39-46)

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.”  (Luke 22:39-46)

Learn it:

            Jesus is facing his imminent death and it leads him to go to the place he usual goes to, to pray.  In Luke Jesus spends a lot of time in prayer and it is an important tool he uses.  Even though he is the Son of God he still takes time to pray to his Father.  When Jesus prays it is humble and direct.  Jesus knows God’s plan for his life and that he has to die.  He still asks the Father if there is another way but knowing he will do whatever God says.  God always answers prayers and even though there is not another path for Jesus, God sends him an angel to strengthen him to endure what lies before him. 

            Jesus then begins to pray even harder!  So hard that he begins to sweat drops of blood!  Now that is some intense prayer.  Jesus understands that God’s plans are not changing so he then has to depend even more on God.  As he finishes up his prayer he turns back to his disciples and finds them sleeping.  He desires that they would have been praying like he has been praying but they are not.  After waking them up, he again encourages them to pray again. 

Live it:

            When we face hard times in life we need to get on our knees and pray.  Often our lives seem to be moving so fast that taking the time to pray may feel impossible.  Or it may not even cross our minds.  Praying must be our first response to a trail and we must have the faith to know that God will respond.  He may change the circumstances or, like Jesus, he will give us the strength to endure them.  I encourage you right now to stop and pray about whatever may be going on in your life.  Pray that God will either change them or empower you to withstand it.  However God answers your prayer continue to walk forward in faith knowing that God is with you.


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Jesus’ Last Teachings (Luke 22:21-38)

But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

 (Luke 22:21-30)

Learn it:

            During the last supper, Jesus takes the opportunity to impart some last wisdom to his disciples.  The first thing he tackles is the betrayal of Judas.  He does not specifically name Judas, but he tells his disciples that one of them will betray him.  He says that he will still willingly fulfill what Scripture says and he will go to his death.  He also gives a warning to the one who betrays him that they will be judged for their actions.  At this, the disciples are curious as to who this person may be, and they begin talking amongst themselves about who it is.  I wonder what Judas did during that time. 

            After the talk of betrayal, the disciple’s transition into the topic of who is the greatest disciple.  They lose fact of the news the Jesus is going to be betrayed and be led to his death.  Instead, they focus on themselves and how great they are.  They compare themselves to one another.  Jesus wants to correct this thinking and remind them of what the Kingdom of God will be like.  He tells them that they need to be like servants.  They have to humble themselves and take the lowest position in society.  The is the most powerful place to be in the Kingdom of God.  There is also a reward for the disciples if they take that place.  They will eat at the table of God and they will judge Israel. 

Live it:

            The first part of this section is about betrayal.  We are warned many times through the New Testament to be aware of false teachers and those who will claim to be followers of Christ but will lead people astray.  This does not mean we are constantly looking for ways to discredit people because the church should be a safe place for people to come.  Yet, we must be active readers of the Bible and making sure we know the truth that is in it.  This is a lifelong endeavor for all of us! 

            Throughout the gospels, Jesus is always elevating the position of a servant.  It makes sense that in his last time with the disciples he stresses the importance of that role again.  We must be servants in all areas of our lives.  If you are married, be a servant to your spouse.  If you live by people, serve your neighbors.  Serve in your communities and in your church.  We serve to glorify God and it will eventually open up doors to share the gospel.  How can you serve others in your daily life?  Look for small things you can do and hopefully, it will become a lifestyle. 


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The Last Supper (Luke 22:7-20)

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  (Luke 22:7-20)

Learn it:

            This is probably a well-known passage in Scripture.  With Jesus facing his death in the coming week he is able to lead his disciples in a time of worship to God.  He has been preparing them for his absence and before he leaves, he wants to give them a new tradition to perform forever.  He takes them through a time of remembrance.  The Passover Celebration is a time when the Jews remember God saving them from Egypt.  For us today as Christians, the Lord’s Supper is a time when we remember God saving us from our sins. 

             We remember his past sacrifice, but we also look forward to his return.  An important aspect of this is knowing we are doing this in community, and it unites us all together as the body of Christ.  We are united through the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood.  The Lord’s Supper is an event caught between two feelings.  We remember the solemn event of his death, but it leads to the celebration of his resurrection!  We have a new life!

Live it:

            There is not a set pattern of when we are to do the Lord’s Supper.  We are just called to do it.  The next time you have the chance to take communion remember of its deep importance.  It is something the church has been doing since the first century.  We remember the past sacrifice of the life of Christ.  We remember in our present life that our sins our forgiven and our identity is in Christ.  We then look forward to the future of when Christ will return, and we will be reunited with him forever.  These are three things that we need to consider when we eat the bread and drink of the cup.  It is a beautiful tradition that we need to take seriously and should also be a cause for joy. 


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Sin in Motion (Luke 22:1-6)

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.  (Luke 22:1-6)
Learn it:

            We are getting close to the crucifixion of Jesus.  His enemies are looking for a way to arrest Jesus but there is no easy way to do it.  The crowds love Jesus and are always surrounding him so there is no way for the chief priests to arrest Jesus without causing a big scene.  Enter Satan.  Remember, this is a spiritual war!  Satan loves to exploit weaknesses from within a group.  Judas is a weak link and Satan is able to lead him astray to betray Christ.  This provides the chief priests with easy access to Jesus to take him down privately.  Judas was willing to do that for some money.     We do not know exactly what Judas’ motives were for betraying Jesus.  Did he feel left out since he was not part of the inner circle of Jesus’ group?  Did he always have doubts about who Jesus was?  Was he tired of being persecuted by the elite groups of the time?  Did he want to have some extra money and he did not want to have to depend on other to provide for him?  Whatever it may have been, Satan was using him to do what he wanted to do. 

Live it:

            Sin is something that comes in many shapes and forms.  We have to be aware of it and know how it works.  Back then Satan was trying to stop the work of God by going after Jesus and the twelve disciples.  Today, Satan is still trying to interfere with God by going after the church.  The most effective way of slowing down the church is by turning away people inside the church and their leaders. 

Think of high-profile incidents that have happened in the news about a pastor or Christian celebrity that does something inappropriate.  It has a huge impact in the integrity of the church, and it loses its effectiveness.  Sin does not just affect one person.  It affects the whole body.  Satan loves to make us think, “Oh this sin is just going to hurt me.”  That’s a lie.  Sin never just affects you; it will eventually make its way to other people.  When we sin, we need to shed light on it, repent, and ask God to forgive us.  Then we need to turn away from it and try not to do it again.  There will be times where we will need to share our struggles with other believers so they can help us.  Is there anything you need to go before God with and ask for help?  Do you need to ask forgiveness from a fellow believer?  How can you stand strong against the attacks of Satan?   


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Pastor’s Corner