“All night he continued in prayer”

Can we imagine continuing all night in prayer? This is what Jesus did – as we read today in Luke 6. Why did he, as the Son of God, find this necessary?

And what was the result of his prayer? We read, “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles” (verses 12,13).

These were twelve particular men and they would have the task of spearheading God’s message to the people; but the message was not simply about the coming kingdom – it was about how they were to follow in his footsteps: for he “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

This is the opposite to how the Pharisees saw their role – and we could ask questions (which would be unprofitable) about the way many churches operate today.

Verse 23 in our chapter puzzles some people! “Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven”. What is “that day” when there will be rejoicing? Why is the “reward … in heaven”? Verse 35 also challenges us! “… love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great …” Where will the disciples be rewarded? The answer is in Matthew 19:28, they will “judging the twelve tribes of Israel”.

Peter also unfolds the answer in his first letter. “According to his great mercy, he [God] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:3-5).

The “inheritance” is “kept in heaven” but believers do not go to heaven to receive it! Paul told the Thessalonians, “since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:14-16).

Let us “continue in prayer” – all night if necessary – so that we will be ready to hear “the cry of command”; for surely we live “in the last time”.