3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/11)

Luke 22:24-38 (ESV)
24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.”
35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

Day 1: Loving God
There’s a contrast between verses 29-30 and verses 25-27. Now, Christ’s disciples are not to behave like “the kings of the Gentiles [who] exercise lordship” (v. 25), but Christ promises them a “kingdom” where they will “sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The “twelve tribes of Israel,” which correspond to the twelve Apostles, represent all the people of God across all ages. Now, they are not to be like those who “[recline] at table,” but Christ promises them that they will “eat and drink at [His] table in [His] Kingdom.” The point of these contrasts is this: You sacrifice, serve, and suffer now, you endure humiliation and injustice for the sake of Christ now, but when the Kingdom of God is fulfilled, you will get to recline at the eternal, heavenly banquet. Christ will vindicate you and He will bestow on you honor, praise, and glory!
  • Confess the ways in which you have sought to “rule” and “recline” here and now, rather than waiting for the Kingdom come.
  • Confess the aspects of your character that do not conform to Christ’s humble service, sacrificial love, and patient suffering. Ask the Spirit of God to change you.
  • Pray that God would fill you with wonder and gratitude in response to Christ’s life-giving sacrifice.

Day 2: Loving One Another
Though Jesus is addressing Peter specifically in verses 31-34, the pronoun “you,” which occurs twice in verse 31, are both plural. So there is a community dimension. “Satan demanded to have you all, that he might sift you all like wheat.” Satan has “demanded to have” the Apostles and intends to “sift [them all] like wheat” in the same way he demanded to have Job in Job 1:6-12, in order to afflict him and tempt him to renounce his allegiance to God. But Satan also has particular designs on Peter, since Peter is the leader and spokesperson for the Apostles (Luke 6:12-16; 9:18-20; 12:41; 18:28-30; Acts 2; 8:14-25; 10:1-11:18; 15:7-11). That’s why in verse 32, the pronoun “you” is all singular, referring specifically to Peter. This is why Jesus takes this opportunity to address Peter in particular.
Jesus knows that Peter will go astray, but He also knows that He will turn back again thanks to His prayers. So Jesus gives Peter a commission to “strengthen [his] brothers.” It is helpful for us to see that he who is given the commission to strengthen his brothers is not someone who is strong, not someone who is invincible, not someone who never falls, but someone who falls and then rises again, someone who goes astray but then returns again, someone who sins but then repents again. This means we may freely confess our sins and admit our weaknesses to one another. We never need to hide our weaknesses and shortcomings in order to look stronger and better than we actually are.
  • Call or meet with a Christian brother or sister from church, confess your sins and weaknesses with him or her, and pray for one another.
  • Knowing that Satan wars against the saints, praying “at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication … for all the saints” (Eph. 6:18) is essential. Pray for brothers and sisters that come to mind that their “faith may not fail.” Pray that they might be equipped with the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-20.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors

Earlier in Luke 10:4, Jesus instructed His disciples to “Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals.” He wanted them to travel lightly and forego extra provisions, and to depend on the hospitality of those who receive their message. “But now,” Jesus says, “let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one (v. 36). The reason for this in verse 37, “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 53:12, which is a prophecy that the Messiah will “[pour] out his soul to death and [be] numbered with the transgressors,” thereby “[bearing] the sin of many, and mak[ing] intercession for the transgressors.” Since this prophecy is about to be fulfilled in Jesus’s death on the cross, since Jesus will be treated as a sinner, and He will be persecuted and killed, and since the sinful world will treat Jesus’s disciples in a similar manner, they are no longer to count on the receptivity and hospitality of people, but instead take provisions with them. Being on a mission to proclaim Christ will involve suffering and persecution.
  • Pray that God would give you boldness and opportunity to share the gospel with unbelieving friends and family that you will see during Thanksgiving and Christmas break. Pray for their salvation.
  • Pray that God would fill you with faith in God’s provision and protection, so that fear of persecution does not prevent you from witnessing to others about Christ.
  • Pray that God would equip brothers and sisters in our church with all that they need (e.g. “moneybag, knapsack, and sword”) and raise them up to become missionaries among the unreached people groups.

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