I have earnestly desired ... I have prayed for you.
Luke 22:14-34 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood. 21 But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 22 For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.
24 And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of them was regarded to be greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who have authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. 27 For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
28 “You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 34 And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.”
Today’s text begins saying: When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” It was Jesus earnest desire to eat with the disciples. Jesus continued that night, to institute what we know and celebrate together, with other disciples, as communion. Jesus gave the disciples, and us something we could look back on to remember Him and His promise of a New Covenant. He instructed them saying: “do this in remembrance of Me.” So today, these thousands of years later, we do celebrate communion, the New Covenant made to and for us in the body and blood of our Lord. We though, on this side of the cross, not only look back, we also look forward. Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20) Jesus earnestly desires that we would respond to Him; that we would open and be open to Him. It is more than a meal that Jesus desires to share with us. If we will look forward to His coming because we remember what He did, we will share all the blessings of the kingdom of heaven with Him.
In today’s text Jesus spoke to Peter saying: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” This too, we should remember from that night. We all, like Peter, will be sifted. James 1:13-15 says: Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Like Peter, we are sifted, tempted by Satan. We are tempted by and in areas of our weakness. We are enticed by our own lust, our own worries and doubts and by our own fears. 1 Peter 5:8 says: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. There it is again, seeking whom he may devour. As with Peter, Satan requires permission to sift or devour us. Many would ask then; Why does God grant him that permission? The answer is that God does not give the permission. We do. We give Satan permission when we entertain and give in to our lusts, our worries, our doubts and our fears. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. The way of our escape begins with Jesus, as He did for Peter, saying: “I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.” Romans 8:34 says: Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Hebrews 7:25 says: He is able to save completely those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede for them. 1 John 2:1 says: My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Jesus prays for us continually at the right hand of the Father. He prays that our faith will not fail. His prayers of intercession are to strengthen and protect us. Two thousand years ago, on the cross, Jesus offered the greatest prayer and act of intercession. While He was dying for our sins, He prayed: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34) Jesus intercedes so that our faith will not fail. His act of intercession though was to forgive and redeem us when we do. 1 John 2:1 says: … if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Jesus encouraged Peter saying: “When once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” We may stumble and give in to temptation, fear or doubt, even as Peter did. But like Peter, Jesus encourages us not to stay in that place of doubt or condemnation, but rather to turn again, to see Jesus on the cross, to hear Him say: “Father forgive them.” Jesus earnestly desires that we open to Him, to dine with Him, and then that we too would turn again and strengthen our brothers and sisters. In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” If we will be witnesses of Christ, testifying to His overcoming power which strengthens our faith, which keeps us from stumbling or lifts us when we fall, they too can turn again to see and hear the intercession of Christ, praying and dying for them. They too can open to Him.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit; thank You for Your prayers and Your acts of intercession. Thank You for strengthening me that my faith would not fail, and forgiving me when it does. Thank You for what You did, that I can look back and remember. Thank You for what You want to do for me and with me if I will open and be open to You. Thank You for Your earnest desire to walk with me. Holy Spirit fill me that I might be a faithful witness of Christ and be one who would strengthen others. Amen.