Luke’s gospel, chapter 22.
Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the passover (22:1).
The Feast of Unleavened Bread actually was for six days, from the fifteenth of Nizan to the twenty-first. However, the fifteenth of Nizan was the day of the Passover. And so it was drawing nigh. People were beginning to prepare for it. Two days before the feast they would go through the house with brooms and brushes and make sure that they got rid of all of the leaven out of the house, in quite a ceremony. And of course, they would always leave a little bit of leaven for one of the children to find, in order that they could find the last bit of leaven that was there. And they would purge the house of leaven in preparation for the Passover. And so this time was drawing close.
And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Jesus; but they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and the captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude (22:2-6).
So it was their desire to catch Jesus away from the multitudes. Because, as we noticed last week in our study, the crowds were coming to hear Him in the temple daily as He was teaching, and many counted Him to be a prophet. And so, though the scribes and the high priests and all were wanting to move against Jesus, they were too cowardly to move against the popular movement of the crowd that was being attracted to Jesus at this point. And so when Judas came to them, they were very happy, actually, that they might have this opportunity of catching Jesus away from the crowd, arresting Him and getting the movement going the other direction before the people would really realize what was happening.
Judas Iscariot is, of course, a very interesting character. We are not really told too much about him. As we get into John's gospel, we'll learn that he was actually the treasurer of the group. And according to John, had been pilfering out of the group treasury. Here we are told that Satan entered into him. He is called the Son of Perdition by Peter. And Jesus said of him, "It would have been good for that man if he had never been born." A tragic life. A man who became obsessed by the greed, the desire for power. And there are many suggestions as to the motives behind Judas' betrayal of Jesus. There are those who suggest that he was only trying to force Jesus to establish the kingdom. And that he felt by betraying Him and turning Him over to the Jews, it would force the hand of Jesus that He would not be able to wait any longer, but would have to manifest who He was and establish the kingdom of God. And that when Jesus was not defending Himself, but was submitting to the edict of death, that his plan more or less backfired, and that's when he came to the priests bringing the money back and throwing it at their feet. Who knows what the true motive of a man is? These are only speculations by men who have perhaps tried to somehow excuse in a way the actions of Judas Iscariot. I personally feel that his actions are inexcusable. The method by which he chose to betray the Lord with a kiss is reprehensible.
Now, verse 7: The Day, or the Preparation of the Passover, has come.
Now the day came of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed (22:7).
The Passover was a Sabbath day in which they were to do no work; it was a feast day. And this day had come in which they were to kill the lamb for the Passover dinner. All of the cooking, all of the baking, all of the preparation had to be done before sundown. It is important that we recall that the Jewish day begins at six o’clock in the evening. So all of the preparation had to be made for the Passover dinner before six o’clock in the evening. And to them, the day began, the day of Passover began at six o’clock in the evening and did not end until the following day at six o’clock in the evening. Now, by the end of the following day, Jesus had been crucified, which means that Jesus was crucified on the day of the Passover Feast, which began at six o’clock the evening before when He celebrated the feast with His disciples. But He was crucified on the day of Passover. Which, of course, is extremely significant when you remember that the Passover was a memorial feast to remind them of how God had delivered their fathers from the plague of death in Egypt when they followed the instructions of God and had slain the lamb and put the blood on the lentil in the doorpost of their house. So that when the Lord passed through Egypt that night, when He saw the blood upon the doors of their houses, He passed over those houses; hence the word passover. He had passed over those houses and the firstborn was saved alive, because of the sacrificial lamb, the lamb for the house. That was only to look forward to the Lamb of God that would one day take away the sins of the world. Our sacrificial Lamb, who by His death, by His sacrifice, has spared us from death. And so this Passover feast that the Jews observed was looking back, but it was also looking forward. And it had its fulfillment in Jesus. Paul, in writing to the Colossian church about the Sabbath days, about the new moons, the holy days...and of course, the Passover was related to the new moon...in talking to them about these, he said, "These were all a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ" (Colossians 2:17). They were all really looking forward to their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. And so the Feast of the Passover was fulfilled in the death of Jesus Christ on that very day, God's Lamb slain for the sins of the world. The Feast of Pentecost was fulfilled fifty days later when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church and 3,000 people were converted, the first fruits of what we see the continuing work today. As the Feast of Pentecost was the Feast of First Fruits, the offering of the first fruits unto the Lord.
Inasmuch as these two major feasts have their fulfillment in the New Testament and in the church, we would then conclude that that third feast, which was inaugurated by God in the Old Testament, the Feast of Trumpets, must also have a fulfillment within the church...that feast that looked back to God's delivering their fathers out of the ravages of the wilderness and bringing them into the promised land. And so its fulfillment is yet awaited by the church. "When the trumpet of God shall sound, and we who are alive and remain shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and ever be with our Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:17).
"And so came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed.”
And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where do You want us to prepare it? And he said to them, Behold, when you enter the city, there you will find a man who will meet you, and he is bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he goes. And you shall say to the goodman of the house, The Master says to thee, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not eat any more thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and he gave thanks, and he said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took the bread, and he gave thanks, and he broke it, and he gave it unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. And likewise also the cup after the supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you (22:8-20).
And so Jesus, here, instituted what we call the Lord's Supper with His disciples, as He took the traditional Jewish Passover feast and gave to the emblems of that feast their true meaning. Now, they always had these three pieces of bread that they would put in these little sacks. The middle piece was broken, sort of a matzoh loaf, and it was broken. And Jesus broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is My body, which was broken for you." And then, after dinner they always had the final cup. And when they were having this after dinner cup, Jesus said, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for the remission of sins." To study the traditional Jewish Passover feast, even as it is observed by them today, is extremely enlightening and extremely significant to us as Christians, because you can see in its symbolism Jesus Christ so clearly. You can see the gospel so clearly. Their hearts surely should have been prepared by it for the receiving of Jesus Christ. It's just woven into the traditions of the Passover feast. But to them, it was a memorial of God's deliverance in Egypt. From the time the child said, "What makes this night different from all other nights?" and the father begins to explain the story of God's delivering of their fathers out of the bondage of Egypt, with the various things around the table representing the bondage of Egypt and God's deliverance. Now a whole new meaning is given to it by Jesus Christ, for it is now been fulfilled. And the bread now represents the broken body of Jesus, and the cup now represent His blood that was shed for our sins.
But, behold, [He said,] the hand of him that betrays me is with me on this table. And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom He is betrayed! (22:21-22)
The Bible tells us that Jesus knew who it was that was going to betray Him. Here He is just giving a solemn warning. I think that with this solemn warning, Judas still had a chance to back out if he wanted to.
And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, of which of them should be accounted the greatest (22:23-24).
It's sort of sad, sort of pathetic...here Jesus is filled with the knowledge that He is soon going to be suffering on the cross. And He is saying, "Look, I've really wanted to eat this supper with you before I suffer. Now this bread is My body; it's going to be broken for you. This cup is My blood; it's going to be shed for the remission of sins. This is going to be God's new covenant." And He is really now sort of obsessed with the suffering and the cross. And the disciples are arguing among themselves as to which one is going to be the greatest when He establishes the kingdom.
And so he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles (22:25)
And the word Gentiles in the New Testament is equivalent to heathen.
they exercise lordship over their subjects; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors (22:25).
It hasn't changed much. The government today declares that they are our benefactors. They take away a hundred and then give you back one, declaring them to be your benefactors.
But [He said,] it shall not be so among you: but he that is the greatest, let him be as the youngest; and he that is chief, as he that does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits at meat, or he that serves? Is not he that sits at meat? but I am one from among you as one who serves (22:26-27).
Jesus is teaching His disciples that the true path to greatness is the path of serving. Jesus said, "I am among you as One who serves." He also said in another place, "The servant is not greater than his lord." Too many ministers have the wrong concept of the ministry. They fail to see the servanthood of the ministry. They get to the place where they almost expect people to do special favors for them because they are the minister. But in reality, as a minister, it means that I am a servant, a servant to all. Now the Gentiles loved these positions of authority. They loved to rule over people. They loved dominion over people's lives. But Jesus said, "It shall not be among you. You need to learn to be servants."
"And then He said unto them,”
You are those who have continued with me and my temptations. And I appoint you a kingdom, as my father has appointed unto me; that you may eat and drink at my table in the kingdom, and sit on the thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (22:28-30).
Now this He is saying to His twelve apostles; of course, excluding Judas Iscariot. But He is telling the apostles. And I think Paul actually is the one who got appointed to take the place of Judas, though the church drew straws and picked Mathias. That was the luck of the straws, but it would appear that it was God's choice that Paul was the twelfth. But the Lord is saying, and this to me is something that is glorious to contemplate, that "you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on the thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen your brothers (22:31-32).
There's something special about Simon. They say that he was large of physical stature. He was impulsive, lovable, just a big, strong, lovable guy. Because of his impulsiveness, getting into trouble, he would often speak up and say the first thing that came into his mind, right or wrong. And sometimes it was right and very good, and sometimes it was very wrong. But Jesus said of him, "Satan has desired to have you, that he might sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that you faith fail not." I believe that the prayer of Jesus was answered. I don't believe that the problem of Peter was the problem of faith. Oh, he failed as a witness. He denied his Lord, but there was never a failure of his faith. He always believed in the Lord. "...and when you are converted, when you're turned, strengthen your brothers."
And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death (22:33).
Yes, Peter, we know.
And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before you shall have thrice denied that you even know Me. And then he said unto them, When I sent you out (22:34-35)
Now, this is when He had sent them out into the ministry two by two.
I told you not to take a purse, not to take any script, not to take extra shoes, did you lack anything? And they said, Nothing, Lord. And he said unto them, But now, if you have a purse, take it, and likewise script: and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end (22:35-37).
Jesus is saying, "Look, I sent you out before. I provided for you. But you're going to be going out soon again. I'm not going to be there this time. And things are going to be different; it's going to be tough. Before you were received, you're going to be rejected, you're going to be imprisoned, you're going to be hailed before the courts, you're going to have persecution. It's going to be hard."
And they said, Lord, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough (22:38).
In other words, "You don't really understand, but you will." Jesus is not telling them to go out and make war against the world with swords, but He's just indicating the difficulty of that ministry that they are going to face after He has been taken away from them.
Now, in verse 37 He said, "Those things must be accomplished in Me, which the Scriptures declared." Jesus had absolute confidence in the prophecies, declaring, "They must be fulfilled." You can have that same absolute confidence in the word of prophecy. You can know that it must be fulfilled. Now, many times we make a mistake when we guess how it is going to be fulfilled. And a lot of damage has been done to the subject of prophecy by men's guesswork. To try to guess just who the anti-christ is, is a dangerous and futile bit of speculation. We know that there shall arise an anti-christ. We don't know who he is. We know they're going to rebuild their temple. We don't know when or how. We know that the Scriptures must be fulfilled. They will be fulfilled. And Jesus had that confidence. And the Scripture said, Isaiah 53, "He will be numbered with the transgressors." "This," He said, "has to be fulfilled."
And so he came out of the upper room, and he went, as he was accustomed to going to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that you enter not into temptation (22:39-40).
Good prayer! Lord, help me not to enter into temptation.
And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and he kneeled down, and prayed, and he said, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and he was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said unto them, Why sleep? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation (22:41-46).
The prayer of Jesus is significant because Jesus is talking about redemption for man. "If it is possible." If what is possible? "If salvation for man is possible by anything other than the cross, let this cup pass from Me." That's basically what He was praying. That is why the cross of Jesus Christ offends many people today, because they say Christianity is too narrow. "All roads lead to God. It doesn't matter who you believe in, it's just important that you believe and have faith." But the cross of Jesus Christ declares that there is only one way to God and that is through the cross. If it is possible, if it were possible that man could be saved by being religious, the cross would be unnecessary. If you could be saved by keeping the law, the cross would be unnecessary. If you could be saved by being good, the cross would be unnecessary. The cross declares that there is only one way by which a man can have forgiveness of sins and approach God, and that is through the death of Jesus Christ, and it declares a narrow one-way path. And that's why it offends a lot of people. And so the cross, the Bible says, is an offense to the Jews. To the Greeks, it's foolishness. But unto us who have been saved thereby, it is the power of God unto salvation. So Jesus is praying about the cross, really asking the Father for a substitute way, if it is possible. And the fact that He went to the cross declares it was not possible. There's only one way by which man could be redeemed.
And while he was yet speaking to his disciples, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and he drew near to Jesus to kiss him. And Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said to him, Lord, shall we smite with a sword? (22:47-49)
The disciples had just awakened. Now there's a crowd there and they're getting ready to arrest Jesus. And the disciples are confused and they asked, "Lord, shall we smite with the sword?" He had just said, you know, "If you don't have a sword, sell your garment and get one."
And one of them (22:50)
We are told in another gospel which one it was. And, of course, we could guess, couldn't we? Peter.
smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear (22:50).
He can be lucky Peter was sleepy. Peter would have had halved him.
And Jesus answered and said, That's enough. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, and the captains of the temple, and the elders, which had come to him, Are you come out, as against a thief with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hand against me: but this is your hour, the power of darkness (22:51-53).
Oh, what a horrible hour in the history of mankind, when the power of darkness took over!
And they took him, and led him, and brought him to the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the hall, and they were sat down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I don't know him. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of an hour after another one confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow was also with him; for he is a Galilean. And Peter said, Man, I don't know what you're talking about. And immediately, while he yet spoke, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crows, you will deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly (22:54-62).
"Lord, I'm ready to go to prison. I'm ready to die with You." Now, do not think that Peter was insincere. I believe with all of my heart that Peter meant that exactly; that in his heart he was ready to go to prison, he was ready to die for Jesus. Even as when we make our promises to the Lord, there is great sincerity. However, so many times when the showdown comes, we find ourselves with Peter, denying even in simple things. How is it that he denied his Lord? First of all, I think that we observe that he was sleeping when he ought to be praying. I think that that's one of the reasons behind his failure. As it is a reason behind our failure, so often we are sleeping instead of praying. Secondly, he sought to follow the Lord afar off. That again is a dangerous place to be--trying to just be a fringe Christian, follow the Lord from afar. Not to make that deep total commitment, but just, "Oh, yes, I think it's great to go to church and that's fine and people should, you know." And then, he was warming himself at the enemies' fire, another dangerous thing. The result is denial. Now, how did Jesus look at Peter? I do not think it was a... "Peter, how could you?” look. Nor do I think it was a... "I told you so!" look.
Someone came up to me this morning, and they had been in the fellowship hall where you get a close-up. And they noticed this spot on my head. And they said, "Tell your wife to be more gentle with you." And I said, "Would you believe that I bumped it on a cupboard door in the kitchen?" I was messing around in the kitchen and I had left the upper cupboard door open slightly and, you know, wasn't looking or paying attention and "whamo!" And here I saw that skin and flesh on the corner of the door. And my dear wife, when she saw my head, said, "I've told you to close those doors!" Oh, the sympathy I get.
I think that the look that Jesus gave Peter was, "Peter, I understand. I understand, Peter. I love you still, Peter." I think it was a look of love; perhaps the deepest love that Peter had ever observed in one's eyes. The understanding of Jesus. More or less, "That's alright, Peter. I understand." And that's what broke Peter's heart. The Bible said, "Don't you realize that it is the goodness of God that brings man to repentance?" You know, if a person comes down really hard on you, your tendency is to defend yourself, to stiffen, to justify your actions. But when a person comes and puts their arm around you, and you say, "Ah," they say, "I understand and I'm praying for you. And I love you brother." Hey, that breaks you up. You know, you have no defenses against that. It melts you. And I think that's exactly how Jesus looked at Peter. "Peter, I love you. I understand, Peter, that's okay."
"And Peter went out and he wept bitterly." Failure! "God, must I always be a failure?" "No, Peter, not always. In a few days you're going to receive power and you're going to be the witness God wants you to be." We'll get to that in the twenty-fourth chapter.
And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him (22:63-64),
A very cruel thing to do! Because the body is marvelously constructed so that when we can see a blow coming, there is that natural reflex action of the body of a movement with a blow that cushions the blow. The body is marvelously coordinated and we have marvelous reflex capacities. The quarterback is injured when he's blindsided. You see these big three hundred pound guards coming in and throwing their shoulder in and knocking him to the ground, and another guy pouncing on him. And he bounces up and gets back into the huddle. When they get hurt is when he gets blindsided. He doesn't see it coming, he isn't able to roll with it, he isn't able to relax and roll with it; that's when you get hurt. You can jump off of a table and not hurt yourself, because you're expecting it, you're bracing for it and you're bending your knees and you're giving with it when you hit. And yet, you can step off of a curb and break your leg if you don't realize the curb is there. Just that six inches can jar you so bad it can break an ankle, break a leg if you're not expecting it, if you're not coordinating for it. The same with a blow. If you're blindfolded and you can't see the blow coming, you're not able to move, you're not able to faint with it or move with it. And it hits you with its full force. And that hurts. And so, blindfolding Him and then beginning to hit Him, His face began to be disfigured, as these lumps began to rise. The eyes began to blacken and these huge lumps began to form from these blows. Isaiah tells us that His face was so beaten, so marred, that when they were through, you could not recognize Him as a human being. And he said, "We hid as it were our faces from Him.” To look at Him was such a shocking thing; we couldn't stand to look. You just sort of cringed and closed your eyes and turned away. It's too horrible. You just can't look; you're shocked.
"And they mocked Him,”
saying, Prophesy, who is it that hit you? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him (22:64-65).
As He said, "This is your hour; it is the power of darkness.” And we see man at his worst.
And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and they led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? (22:66-67)
You see, it was not lawful for them to assemble until daylight. And so they held Him. And as soon as it was day, they gathered into their chambers and they said, "Art Thou the Messiah? Tell us." And he said unto them, If I told you, you wouldn't believe: And if I ask you, you'll not answer me, or let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Are you then the Son of God? And he said unto them, You said it. And they said, What need we for any further witness? we ourselves have heard it out of his own mouth (22:67-71).