Summary: Life can get dark. And that darkness can create doubt and fear in our lives. What can we do when life gets hard and there doesn't seem to be anyway out of the difficulties we face?
OPEN: One woman told about her favorite spot at the local zoo. It was an exhibit called the House of Night. It was a place where you could see creatures of the night that would crawl and fly about, but because it held creatures of the night… it was nearly totally dark.
She said that one very bright day, she stepped into the exhibit and (of course) was instantly plunged into total darkness. Almost immediately (she said) “a small hand grabbed mine.”
Smiling, she asked “And who do you belong to?”
A little boy, in a very quiet voice said: “I’m yours… till the lights come on.”
(Connie Lavoie, R.Digest 3/09 p. 165)
There are a lot of people who have trouble with the dark. Children especially are notorious for that kind of fear, but adults can struggle with it as well.
ILLUS: A friend of mine went thru a very difficult divorce and she ended up living in an upstairs apartment in the middle of town. She was very lonely and for the first 6 months she had difficulty sleeping because she was afraid of the dark. Even months afterward, the only way she could get to sleep was if she had a night light on.
People OFTEN fear the dark.
The dark is a filled with the “unknown”, and with anxiety and uncertainty.
Scientists have even found that if a person spends too much time in the dark can suffer with a condition they call SAD syndrome. That’s an appropriate acronym because those who suffer from it often become moody and depressed. SAD is an acronym for “seasonal affective disorder” because it often happens in winter.
Now in our text this morning, Jesus is addressing those who’ve come to arrest Him:
“… this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53
There is a power in darkness.
The power of uncertainty, and anxiety and fear.
And during those times of darkness we may be trapped in something we can’t control.
This morning’s text is a case study in the power of darkness and the feeling of helplessness it can bring. Even Jesus is caught up in it. Luke 22:42-44 tells us that Jesus prayed:
“’Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’
An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
In just a few hours,
• Jesus is going to be put on trial … not once, not twice, but 6 different times.
• Pilate going to order Him to be taken away and beaten by Roman soldiers.
• Then Jesus will be forced to carry a heavy cross through the city and all the way up the hill to the crucifixion place on Calvary.
• Then He’ll be nailed to that cross, and the cross will be lifted up and dropped into position.
• And Jesus will hang by those nails for 6 long hours.
• And ultimately… He’ll die there.
It’s little wonder Jesus was in anguish as He prayed.
It’s little wonder Jesus prayed “If there is ANY WAY for this cup to be taken from me…let’s do it!”
It’s little wonder that when He prayed, His sweat was like drops of blood.
ILLUS: There’s a relatively rare medical condition where people literally “sweat” blood
It’s called “hematohidrosis.” Your sweat glands are surrounded by numerous blood vessels, and when a person undergoes intense stress those blood vessels dilate to the point of rupturing. Then blood goes into the sweat glands and comes out as droplets of blood mixed with sweat.
Now, my point is this:
Jesus was facing a time of crisis. An hour of darkness.
And it’s a situation that EVEN He – the Son of God - cannot change.
It is a situation that has affected not just Him, but also those closest to Him.
How He faced that that crisis, and how He deals with that darkness He couldn’t change tells us a lot about how we can deal with our own personal times of darkness. And as I studied this passage, I found 3 basic principles for how we can face situations we don’t seem to be able to stop or change.
The first principle is found in Luke 22:40 & 46
Verse 40 says “And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’”
And in verse 46 He repeats His advice “Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
This caught me a little by surprise.
Who did Jesus say His disciples should pray for? (Wait for a response from the audience).