A LONG NIGHT OF PRAYER
Luke 6:12-13 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. 13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; (KJV)
In these verses we have recorded the selection of the twelve Apostles. Prior to this time there were many disciples who followed our Lord. The Lord knew that out of all of these disciples He would have to select twelve who would fulfill the role as Apostles and would be the beginning of the Church on the day of Pentecost. The number twelve was significant and the Lord knew that He had to select men who would perform those duties that He would impart to them. This would not be an easy task.
These verses teach us that the Lord spent the entire night in prayer over this selection. We can only imagine the great difficulty that the Lord had with such a decision. He had to select men whom He could depend upon to have the character and ability to carry out the greatest mission ever launched in the world – then or now. He had to select men who had hidden talent, which would need cultivating and maturing over the next couple of years as He would minister to the world. Men who could be challenged to rise to the task of facing opposition and even death for their cause. This would not be an easy task.
The Lord also had to select, among these twelve, one would betray Him. This person’s character would not necessarily be obvious. Yes, we know who betrayed the Lord. But, did the Lord know that night who, among the twelve would betray Him? From all that I have studied, I do not feel that the Lord knew the exact person who would betray Him, although, there had to be one. Considering this factor, that night of prayer had to be very difficult.
The Lord prayed all night. He went to His father for help in selecting these men. As we can see, this was no easy task. When the morning arrived, the Lord selected the twelve, whom we know now as the Apostles, and among them was Judas, who would betray Him. Again, I do not believe that the Lord know who would, but within that group there had to be some that possessed the ability to do this task.
Over the next couple of years that person would be manifested. It had to be someone who would become disillusioned with the mission of the Lord. We know, today, that person was Judas. He carried the bag, or was responsible for the money. There were incidents when his true nature came through. When he would challenge events that occurred, like the box of ointment used to anoint the Lord during the last week. Judas was capable of persuading the others to agree with his statement. Even that last night, at supper, when he left to betray the Lord, the others though that he was going about doing those things that were essential to the welfare of the others.
In John 13:11 we has stated that the Lord knew that Judas was the one who would betray Him. The word for “knew’ implies knowledge by observation. Judas had demonstrated that he had the character to do this deed. Satan entered into him and tempted him to do this deed. Although Satan entered into Judas, this does not mean that Judas was beyond the power to resist Satan. Judas was ripe for Satan’s deception. Judas made his own decisions, like the rest of us. We cannot blame Satan for our sins.
The Lord made an interesting statement in the following text that goes well with our line of thought.
Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
Here we learn that Satan wanted Peter to be the one who would betray the Lord. If you look at the character of Peter, it would be easy to see that Satan desired Peter. Peter was very close to the Lord. The Lord had prophesied that Peter would become a fisher of men, implying that he would be a faithful Apostle. The Lord again prophesied that Peter would have the keys of the kingdom of heaven. If Satan could get Peter to be the betrayer, then he would have a great victory over the Lord. Satan knows that if he could get someone that was close to the Lord to betray Him, then this would be a victory for his cause.
In this text, the Lord intercedes for Peter. Peter had boldly asserted that he would not deny the Lord. Yet, the Lord knew that he would before the night was over. The Lord prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail. The Lord knew that Peter possessed an inter strength that would be needed in the time that lay ahead. Here we find an encouragement towards that end.
Now we need to compare Peter and Judas. Both men had the power and ability to be tempted by Satan to be the betrayer of the Lord. Peter’s rocky faith opened him for Satan’s opportunities. Peter was always ready to boast of his faith. Yet, when tried, he would fall back. Peter always wanted to be in forefront of the others. Judas, on the other hand was more subtle in his lack of faith. He would challenge the Lord’s actions in a way that would get the others to agree with him. He possessed a passive power – he held the funds for the others. Perhaps the final thing that separates these two men was the ultimate dissolution that Judas had with the ultimate purpose of the Lord. Judas was looking for an earthly ruler not a spiritual ruler. Also, the Lord intervened for Peter.
Both men betrayed the Lord. Judas’ betrayal led to the arrest and trial of the Lord. When Judas realized his error and that matters had gone beyond what he expected, he attempted to redeem himself. He went to the Priest and tried to give back the money, but to no avail. This was just another blow to his goals and plans, and his spirit was such that the only way to redeem himself was to kill himself. This was not true repentance. This was merely another prophecy being fulfilled and the showing of his true character.
Peter also betrayed the Lord. Peter did this by failing to stand up for the Lord when He needed someone to stand by Him. Peter denied the Lord three times – according to the prophecy of the Lord. When that rooster crowed, Peter remembered the words of Jesus and at the same time Jesus looked upon him. Peter went from that place and wept bitterly and repented. Unlike Judas, Peter did something about his betrayal.
Yes, that was a very long night for the Lord. In the morning, when He selected the twelve, the fruits of that night would become evident throughout the remainder of His ministry. Yes, one would betray Him, but the others would go on to build upon the foundation that was laid by the Lord. Today our faith rest upon that foundation of the Apostles and Prophets. The Lord’s night of pray has benefited us all.
Finally, what do we do when faced with great task? If we follow the Lord’s example, we shall have similar results.