Summary: Gain insight into the two main words Christ used to help his disciples avoid the temptation to quit in this sermon from Luke 22.
“Battling the Bite of Betrayal”
Good morning, First Family. It’s been a good month so far in Luke 22, and I hope God is using His Word to bring the right kind of growth and exposure to your walk. As we think about battling sins and conquering the secret strongholds of our life, let me review briefly.
In week one, we saw where betrayal is birthed – in the chambers of secrecy. Like it or not, most public falls occur long before they are public. It’s in the secret places and the hidden corners that the seeds of “turning away” are usually planted. Always remember that secrecy is the seedbed for apostasy.
But what can we do to battle the threat of turning away? Knowing where it is birthed and how to spot it is one thing – what can we do about it is equally as important, wouldn’t you agree?
So for the next two weeks we’ll look at battling the bite of betrayal – how to resist it as well as how to recover from it. Luke 22 has much to say about beating the temptation to give up or give in, and I am thrilled to take the Word and shed some light on what God says in this somber chapter about betrayal and denial.
As we begin, let me compliment many of you for taking the all-important first step – you came clean! In fact, I hold in my hand a list of names of men and women in our church who have “swept out the corners” and “turned on the light” in the basement of their life. Hallelujah!
In fact, next week you are going to hear from some of them. I am looking forward to interviewing them and letting you hear about their steps toward openness and honesty. You may be thinking, “Wow! I bet that will be hard.” No doubt! But they’ve realized a very important principle about growth: There is no long-term progress without short-term pain. So don’t miss next week as we testify to the greatness of the Lord, amen?
With that in mind, take your Bible and once again turn to Luke 22. We’ll begin our study today in verse 39. Once you have that, put a finger there and also find Mark 14:32. I’ve encouraged you to read the synoptic accounts of the betrayal account, so today I’d like to get Mark’s perspective on Christ’s words in addition to Luke’s. So you should have two places open by now, right? Great! Let’s look at what God says is a sure-fire way to battle betrayal before it’s too late.
Let’s first read Luke 22:38-46. Will you circle the word “pray” each time you see it? It’s what they were asked to do before the temptation (or trial).
Now flip back to Mark 14:32-42 and let’s read Mark’s account of this same experience. Will you circle the word “watch” each time you see it? It’s also what they were asked to do before the temptation (or trial).
Before we move further, note that these two words formed the strategy for the disciples avoiding the “temptation” that was about to come. The word here for “temptation,” or trial, simply means a time of testing, and often refers the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, or virtue. This may come through an enticement to sin, whether arising from our own desires or from the outward circumstances. This is the same word used to describe the temptation Christ experienced by which the devil sought to divert Jesus the Messiah from his divine errand. In each case, Christ is talking about the time when our commitment is placed under pressure. When that happens, the temptation we face is to quit. Turn back. In a word betray.
So Christ is helping them see what will give them the ability to stay true, and two habits really jump out to me as critically important in avoiding the temptation to turn back (i.e., give up and go back on our commitment to Christ).
The word “watch” here is “gregoreuo” and it speaks to alertness. It means to watch, give strict attention to, be cautious, and active. This verb is in the present tense and imperative mode, so this is a command of on-going importance. It’s as if Jesus said, “Keep watching out!” As one commentator said, this word demands that we “take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake us.”
This word is used 23 times in the NT, and 21 of those times it is translated “watch,” once it is translated “wake,” and the remaining time it is translated “vigilant.” In all cases it is clear that we are to on guard.