In his blog, “Facing the Hour!” the Rev. David Kim encourages all to live according to Scripture.
REV. DAVID I. KIM
Superintendent, Saginaw Bay District
Let’s consider Matthew 26:37-46, 50-54
37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” 40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” 43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. 45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” 50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
Have you ever missed an opportunity to experience something great? When you look back at that moment, you realize that it was such a great opportunity but you totally missed it for some reason. In other words, you were not able to seize the moment when “the hour has come”.
In today’s Scripture reading, we see Jesus rising to the challenge when “the hour has come”. I believe we all have this desire in us to live our destiny when “the hour has come”- to live a life God intended for us. The Bible helps us to discover how to “face the hour.”
“You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed.” A.J. Gordon
The first lesson I observed from this Scripture reading is that Jesus lived a life of prayer. Jesus prayed not to fall into temptation. To live our destiny, we need to pray for there will be temptations.
Jesus experienced so many challenges and temptations throughout his ministry. Even before his public ministry, Jesus was tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1)
When Jesus began his ministry, things didn’t become better or easier. Right from the beginning of his ministry, Jesus experienced the temptation to quit. One of his very first sermons was disastrous. It was so bad that the congregation not only pushed him out of the church but they literally wanted to kill him by pushing him off the cliff. (Luke 4:29)
Have you ever experienced something like that? You spent so much time and energy in preparation, but once it gets presented, the result was far from your expectation.
If you are a pastor and experienced something similar to what Jesus encountered in the beginning, this experience alone might tempt you to quit the ministry for good. Let’s suppose at your first appointment you have delivered your first message with high hopes. Nevertheless, the response was totally opposite. People hated your message and they made sure you knew about it.
They stood up and pushed you out of the sanctuary telling you never to come back. Have you ever experienced this kind of challenge? Jesus did, but that did not stop him from living his destiny. Then how was Jesus able to continue his destiny and not fall into the temptation of quitting? Jesus lived a life of prayer.
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” (v.41)
Jesus wanted his disciples to pray so that they would “not fall into temptation”. We are pulled in every direction. We are too busy and too tired. Still, we must not forget to pray; because it will save us from falling into temptation. Prayer helps us to move out of God’s way so that God can have his way. Jesus prayed, “May your will be done.” (v.39, 42)
What is the temptation in your life today that is pulling you away from God-given destiny? Sometimes the road to our destiny is tougher than what we had anticipated. But, it is still worth living and following our God-given destiny by living a life of prayer. Maybe you are going through some rough patches in your life that you cannot share with anyone. Remember, do not give up praying.
The second lesson is the value of friendship. Jesus shared his tough times with his friends. When Jesus was “sorrowful and troubled”, He did not tell his friends to leave him alone. He did not turn to his disciples and say, “Leave me alone, I am going through this trouble because of you and you guys don’t understand!” Rather, Jesus wanted to be with his friends.
Many times, I am guilty of pushing people away when I am going through tough times. Perhaps I make the assumption that they cannot understand what I am going through. But Jesus wanted to be with his friends even when his friends didn’t really understand what and why exactly Jesus was going through. Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (v.38) If we dare to be the disciples of Jesus Christ by following his footsteps to transform the world, we must follow this powerful example of honesty in friendship. Jesus shared his painful moments with his friends as He was facing “the hour”.
How do I live my destiny by not giving up but “facing the hour”? The third lesson is the importance of living the Scripture. Jesus rebukes Peter to put his “sword back in its place”. (Matt 26:52)
“Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship, and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Discipleship is following Jesus Christ, the Living Word. Were you ever tempted to reach for the quick solution by reacting to what’s happening in front of you? One of Jesus’ disciples did. He reached for the quick solution by grabbing a sword. Perhaps it was a manly thing to do. However, Jesus did not think so. He tells Peter to put the “sword back in its place.” Why did Jesus tell Peter to drop the sword?Because the sword was not the Scripture.
“But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” (Matt 26:54)
Is Jesus saying to Peter that the Scripture comes before the sword? I believe so. The scripture should come before the quick solution that makes sense at the moment. Our choice will eventually control us. Living according to the Scripture is a life following Jesus Christ. Without the living Christ in our lives, directing every step through his Word, we are left with ourselves, trying our best and it is not a life of discipleship.
Jesus explains to Peter why the sword has to be removed from his hand. Jesus could have called upon the angels and annihilate the soldiers, but he had a greater purpose — living out the will of God.
When we are pushed to the corner being attacked, we can choose to pray to call upon the angels in hopes of destroying the opposition or pray for the obedience to the Scripture. Jesus wanted to see the Scripture being fulfilled. Reach for the Scripture instead of a sword.
We must realize that without the living Christ, the Scripture, it is impossible to live as a disciple. We must fight the temptation to pick up the sword when we face challenges. It is not our will but God’s will that needs to be done in our lives. To follow Jesus as a disciple, we must know and live according to the Scripture. A disciple should live to satisfy the Scripture.