Jesus Retreats Before His Last Battle

Scripture Reading — Matthew 26:36-44

?My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.?
Matthew 26:39

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Jesus developed the spiritual health to face crises and normal days by practicing spiritual disciplines.

His last retreat took place as he prepared for his last battle with Satan?s forces, just as he had done before his first battle with Satan (Matthew 4:1-2). In this last retreat Jesus combined community, solitude, and prayer. He went to Gethsemane with his disciples and then retreated in solitude to pray. He returned three times for community support from his friends, who slept instead of praying with him.

What if Jesus had not retreated to pray on the night of his arrest? Perhaps he could have escaped and fled to Galilee. But he intentionally walked with friends to the Mount of Olives, where they often had gone together. That?s how Judas knew where to find him so that he could be arrested.

Jesus did not flee. He prepared to battle the last enemy, death, by praying in retreat to discern his Father?s will. That was after he had celebrated the last supper, the Lord?s Supper, with his friends.

Before Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hanged in a Nazi prison camp just days before World War II ended, he celebrated the Lord?s Supper with his friends. He prepared to die as Jesus had prepared. Jesus conquered that last enemy by celebrating, retreating, and praying.

Prayer

Giver of food, community, and solitude; Lord of good over evil?thank you for Jesus, who heard your will in retreat and prayer. May we live as he did till we see him face to face. Amen.

 

Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship, Disciplines