When Darkness Reigns - Luke 22:35-53 NIV
We progress in Luke into the Passion scene - today Jesus’ arrest. Key verse:
“But this is your hour - when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53b NIV
Even Jesus - the LIGHT of the world - walked into a moment of DARKNESS. As do we all in our lives at one time or another.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.” Psalm 23:4a NIV
Both David’s verse and Jesus’ experience teach us that everyone faces moments when darkness reigns. BUT they are not forever. Light does win out. So in those moments when darkness reigns we are comforted that it will not reign forever. We WALK through, we don’t STAY there. What should we take away from Luke 22:35-53?
1. Combine _______________ with my faith.
This is one of those verses that teach us to read the whole Bible. Instructions change. Not every instruction in the Bible is right for all situations in all times. Usually easy to see it. The correction is built in to the verse. You have heard… or I told you before but now… BUT NOW:
”But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:36 NIV
What is our take-away? We add common sense prep to faith. We need BOTH for these “darkness reigns” times. Some people are better on one side that the other. The dreamers good with faith but maybe not so good with prep. The practical good with prep but struggle with faith. We need both. They make good partners.
Specifically when it comes to the darkness reigns moments, since we know they come, don’t be naive!
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13 NASB
There is one best way to do this! Through prayer!
2. Prepare for dark times with ___________ .
Jesus knew the dark struggle before them. Even the Son of God needed to gird himself with prayer. Don’t you think that every fiber of Jesus was oriented toward doing the Father’s will? Yet even Jesus had to prepare Himself with the prayer, “Not my will but Yours be done.” Now if that is true for Jesus, how much more true for us? Jesus knew that too…
On reaching that place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” Luke 22:40 NIV
We know the word temptation. Also means testing, trial, tribulation. Pray that you may be able to withstand the test! This is Jesus’ teaching from beginning to end. Remember his first sermon? Lord’s prayer?
This, then, is how you should pray: “… and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:9,13 NIV
This same word is used in both places. Doesn’t mean that we won’t be tempted. More means that I will withstand the temptation. That I will stand up to what comes my way and remain faithful. Often our greatest need to pray the prayer is
(a) when we feel the least need of it; or
(b) when we are exhausted and thus in most need of it! Don’t you find that you fall to temptation most often when you’ve not rested, when you’re down, when you’re disappointed, frustrated or even angry? PRAY!!! That’s when you’ll be most vulnerable to Satan’s attack.
3. In the midst of dark times _____________ prevents my mistakes.
In fairness it’s easy to understand how Jesus’ disciples could misunderstand, right? Jesus just told them to bring the swords. And one of them even had the good sense to ask… “Should we?”
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.” Luke 22:49-50 NIV
Jesus not happy about this. “NO MORE OF THIS!” And then he even heals the man - right on the spot! (What great mercy!) And what a great Indicator of His power that He could have escaped easily if he wanted.
So what did the disciple do wrong? Didn’t wait for the answer. Just struck. Oh how much better it is for us when we wait for God to answer.
“But I will watch for the Lord; I will wait confidently for God, who will save me. My God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 GNT
Watch and wait. With confidence. That’s how we pray, how we ask, never doubting that God hears us and will answer us. Requires great patience.
“Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.” Romans 12:12 GNT
This goes against every instinct we have in the dark times of life, when darkness reigns. We know darkness does not win out. We know we serve the Lord of Light. We can be all too ready to strike out against the darkness and we can even be “righteous” about it. “I’m doing this for God!” As if He really needed our help.
I wonder if we should read the “No more of this” more often! We know that God strengthens us when we go through tough times. We know our dependence upon Him grows. Maybe God wants some growing time for me! Why Romans 12:12 so important!
Finally for those of us who have been horrible betrayed, Jesus knows…
4. We serve a LORD Who also knows dark ________ from people in dark times.
Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:47-48 NIV
It’s hard for us to read this and feel the same impact Jesus must have felt. Our every thought about “Judas” is “traitor” not “trust.” Not so for Jesus. In His full humanity, he had come to rely upon and trust Judas just like any of the other disciples. Of all those who wanted to follow Jesus, he chose Judas to be one of the special 12. Jesus knows the pain of betrayal. And not just at any time, but at THE time when he most needed a friend. Judas didn’t just scatter and fall to temptation, he went out of his way to sell out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. The next time you wonder how that special, close person who you love/rely/trust/believe could have done that to you, know this: Jesus knows what you’re going through!
And during those tough times, many on the periphery will abandon too:
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? 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.” Luke 22:52-53 NIV
There’s a cowardly slant to what Jesus is saying. You priests, officers, elders - you who all stand for what is right - you don’t even have the ethics to arrest me in the full light of day. That’s the way evil works. At it’s best “when darkness reigns.”
Prepare yourself for that hour. Common sense with faith. Prayer. Waiting upon God. And always knowing that He knows what you’re going through. You are not alone. This is not forever.