Sunday, July 31, 2022 Brad Barrett
The Betrayal of the Son
The setting from the text of Scriptures this morning is just hours before Jesus is crucified. Brutally murdered. A more unjust treatment the world has never seen.
But it’s no surprise, for Jesus had previously told the disciples that this day was coming.
Luke 9:22 ESV “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
Remarkably, Jesus foreknew how his life would end. Prophetically he spoke 3 times to the disciples about this.
Now in Luke 22, that day is finally here. The disciples still don’t understand it. But our Lord Jesus knows exactly what is happening. God the Father had planned this day out before time began.
So again, the setting for our text this morning is just hours before the crucifixion. So let’s read in Luke 22.
Luke 22:1-6 The Plot of Murder
1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover.
2 And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.
3 Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.
4 He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them.
5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.
6 So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.
The account shows some of the events surrounding Jesus’ ministry, which is all part of a larger, cosmic drama between great spiritual powers. Heaven and hell are interested in the fate of Jesus. In the great chess match, this is Satan’s major move to remove Jesus from the game. The detail heightens the gravity of the event.
And what is shocking is that one of the twelve men walking with Jesus for 2-3 years is so evil that Satan enters him and he betrays his Lord for money with the intention to have him killed. Don’t you wonder, “How did this happen to Juda?”
Judas hung out for 2-3 years with the most magnificent person to ever walk the planet. Without exaggeration, Judas had the greatest privilege…one that many of us would love to have…to actually walk with Jesus physically. Judas saw the power and majesty of God displayed day after day.
But he did not merely walk away from Jesus. Perhaps we could understand that. Instead, he turned Jesus over to be killed.
We can hardly fathom such evil. Such betrayal. How did this happen? We don’t know for sure, but I believe the love of money was a factor in Judas’s heart.
But regardless of WHY Judas did this, we know he did. In addition, we see the evil of Satan and the Jewish leaders all plotting together to kill the Lord. And we are surprised at such evil.
But it’s important to know… God is not surprised.
More on this as we read further.
For now, from vs. 1-6 we know this:
- The darkest day in history draws near.
- The betrayal is planned.
- The blood hounds are out of the pen.
- The hunt to kill Jesus has begun.
Luke 22:7-20 The Passover Meal
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it.”
9 They said to him, “Where will you have us prepare it?”
10 He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him into the house that he enters
11 and tell the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
12 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; prepare it there.”
13 And they went and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.
14 And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.
15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves.
18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
So much is happening in this scene.
Let’s begin with some background. Some history of the Passover.
The Passover story is found in Exodus 12. 1400 years before Christ.
Israel was under cruel slavery in Egypt. And as part of God’s deliverance of his people, nine plagues had been poured out on Egypt, and the tenth plague was upon them. The 10th plague was that the firstborn of every family in the land was going to die. A severe but just judgment on Egypt for several centuries of cruelty to Israel.
So to save the lives of Israel, the Lord commanded each Jewish household to kill a lamb and spread the blood on the doorframe of the house. Every house with blood on the doorframe would be spared this severe judgment.
So the blood from the lamb was for the Lord to “pass over” that house.
Then the Jewish families were to roast the lamb and eat it with unleavened bread and herbs.
After this great deliverance, Israel was then commanded to set this day as a memorial, and establish a feast to remember what God has done.
So here we are 1400 years later, and Jesus and his disciples are celebrating that great moment of salvation in Israel’s history.
When we consider the Passover in Moses’ day, it’s not hard to see that the Passover is a picture of Christ and his work on the cross.
1 Corinthians 5:7 ESV “…Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.”
We look back at the event of the Passover 3000 years ago, and we see a picture of what happened to Christ for our sake. He is our Passover lamb. John the Baptist described Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Instead of a lamb’s blood on a doorframe, we have the Lamb of God’s blood on the cross.
So while Jesus and the disciples are celebrating the Passover, he institutes a new practice. A practice that connects to him. To the Cross. It’s called “The Lord’s Supper.” Or “the breaking of bread.”
The Passover meal and the Lord’s Supper are not the same. But the parallels between the two are obvious.
The theological word is typology. Typology means that one thing is a picture of another thing.
The Passover is a picture of our deliverance through Christ. It is representative.
And the same with the Passover meal. It is representative of the breaking of bread.
Both events celebrate the deliverance of God’s people from slavery. The Passover rescued Israel from physical slavery. The Cross of Christ rescues us from spiritual slavery. A slavery to sin.
Jesus’ purpose in this new celebration is to remember him and our great deliverance from God’s wrath.
So Jesus is introducing a whole new age. The age of grace. The age of a new covenant. This covenant of my blood (vs. 20). A whole new agreement from God, not only with Israel but with the whole world.
We’ll talk more about the breaking of bread at the end, since we will break bread together this morning.
Luke 22:21-23 The Betrayal
21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.
22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!”
23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
At this point, according to John’s Gospel, Jesus gives a morsel of bread to the betrayer, Judas Iscariot. Judas then leaves to see the Jewish leaders, and to wrap up the details of betraying Jesus.
It’s remarkable that Jesus prophetically knew at this time Judas was the betrayer, and that his own death was imminent.
And even more, Jesus knew when he chose the Twelve 2-3 years earlier that Judas would betray him.
John 6:64 ESV “But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
Jesus is a true Prophet, and he knows the future.
Luke 22:24-27 The Disciples’ Pride
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.
Every time…every time I read this passage, I shake my head at the disciples. Here they are, just a few hours from Jesus’ suffering on the cross. And Jesus’ close friends are arguing about which one of them is better and greater than the others.
If I were Jesus….and you can praise God I’m not, for I would be a horrible Savior…I would do a Face Palm and groan, “Guys, seriously?”
Fortunately for all of us, Jesus is far more patient than ANY of us. So he carefully teaches them AGAIN, for this is not the first time this topic has come up. In fact, this is the fourth time Jesus has addressed this subject in Luke. Four times! The disciples and the religious leaders all want to put others down and lift themselves up.
But here is Jesus’ message: Greatness in the kingdom of God is so different than in the world. Leadership in the kingdom of God is in stark contrast with leadership in the world. In the world and in our flesh, we want to be important…more important than others. We want to be better than others. We want to be in charge. We want to rule. We want people to look up to us.
Jesus says, “In my kingdom…is an entirely different way of thinking.” He redefines greatness. Great people are those who are like the youngest… like those who have fewer privileges and rights. Leaders in the kingdom are servants, not bossy tyrants.
Then Jesus says these startling words in vs. 27: “But I am among you as one who serves.” The Lord of all….has become the Servant of all. The Creator of heaven and earth is going to lower himself beneath his own creatures.
This teachable moment is shocking. This is the Great Gospel message of the Bible.
Not only is this the message of our salvation, it has powerful implications for how we live our lives. Once he saves us by his own death, we are to imitate him to help bring life to others.
I don’t have time to go through this passage, but read Philippians 2:3-11. Paul calls us to imitate the humility of Christ.
Unfortunately I am like the disciples far more often than I care to admit. I do find myself all too frequently comparing myself with others in my heart. I want to stack up better. And when I do this, I’m doing exactly the same thing that the Twelve disciples are.
The Greater One has died for us lesser ones….that we may live. Now he calls in his Name to lay down our lives for others….even our enemies.
Luke 22:28-30 The Disciples’ Reward
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.
This is a glorious commendation to the Eleven remaining disciples. They have stayed with Jesus the past two years of his suffering. And they will continue to follow him to the end of their lives. And so Jesus will reward them greatly in the coming kingdom… to fellowship with him and to serve as judges over the 12 tribes of Israel.
Similarly, we must remember the many promises of God in NT that he will reward us in the coming kingdom. And he will never, ever, ever forget our humble, faith-filled service for his sake.
Luke 22:31-34 The Disciples’ Failure
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.”
The “you” in vs. 31 is plural. So Satan asked to sift all the disciples like wheat. The “you” in vs. 32 is singular, referring to Peter only. So we could say (like a Texan), “Satan demanded to have y’all, that he might sift y’all like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Peter, that your faith may not fail.”
To sift like wheat is like shaking grain in a sieve to break it apart. So Satan wants to agitate and break apart the disciples, especially Simon Peter.
Somehow Jesus knows this heavenly transaction, this request from Satan. (It reminds me of the Book of Job, chapters 1 and 2.) So Jesus has focused his prayers on these Eleven, especially Peter, that after failure he would return to the Lord and bring strength to the other Ten.
Jesus knows all his remaining disciples will have an epic failure. They won’t merely have a bad day. In just a few hours, Jesus’ 11 remaining friends will deny they even know him, and they will run for their lives.
In Jesus’ greatest hour of need, he will be utterly alone.
- One of the Twelve has betrayed him.
- The other Eleven run for their lives.
- His own nation turns against him.
- The mighty Roman empire is against him.
- And on the cross in just a few hours, his eternal fellowship with God the Father will be severed as the Father forsakes his own Son, placing your sins and my sins on his shoulders, and bringing his wrath down on his own Son.
In Jesus’ great hour of need, he will be utterly alone.
(By the way, if you have ever felt alone and forsaken, the Lord Jesus can surely sympathize with you and comfort you.)
So here, with prophetic wisdom, the Lord knows that Peter will abandon him. Likewise, the Lord surely knows every one of our future epic sins. But in his mercy, he is rooting for us. He is working in us. And he is calling us to get back up and strengthen our brothers.
May we remember Jesus’ words here next time we fail our Savior.
Luke 22:35-38 The Disciples’ Preparation
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.”
This calling for a sword seems strange and unfitting language from Jesus. We see nowhere else that he calls his disciples to carry weapons or show violence. So what is he saying about the swords?
There are many opinions on this passage.
I believe Jesus was speaking metaphorically to prepare them for the grave danger they were going to face in the days ahead. The struggle for the gospel and their own lives will be fierce.
So I believe he is saying, “Do what is necessary in your hearts and lives to be ready for such suffering for My sake.”
So that means that instead of literally taking a moneybag and knapsack and buying a sword, Jesus is speaking metaphorically to be ready to fight the spiritual battles that come with being his followers.
If Jesus is speaking metaphorically, then the disciples completely missed the point when they said, “We have two swords.” Then when Jesus said, “It is enough,” he may mean, “Enough of this kind of talk!”
Let’s now consider all we have read. What can we learn from this passage? How can it make a difference in our lives on Monday morning?
Let me offer three lessons.
- We should not be ignorant of or surprised at great evil that is in us and among us.
Often we lose heart because we are so surprised at the evil in us and around us.
If we were in Jerusalem on this day in the Upper Room, here’s a summary of what we would have faced:
- The religious leaders’ capability to do evil to the point of murder is remarkable.
- We see Satan possessing and inciting a man to commit what could be labeled as the most grievous sin anyone has ever committed.
- A close follower of Jesus betrays his Lord and friend, a man who had done only good and never harm to him. How can this be?
- All the other disciples will deny they even know who Jesus is.
- The pagan Roman government will be against the Lord.
If we had been there on this day, we would have been shocked. And we would have lost heart over the darkness.
But should we be surprised or shocked? If we’ve read the Bible at all, we know from cover to cover that man’s potential for evil is great, and it has been recorded starting in the very beginning of time in Genesis 3.
That’s the BAD NEWS. The very bad news. We shouldn’t be surprised at the great evil in this world…including in our own hearts.
However, there is good news. Let us never despair in the face of evil, for God wants to open a door for us to learn a second lesson:
- We can rest in God’s wisdom and knowledge and power, that he is in control of history.
He is in control. And not just of 1st century history or world history. He is in control of OUR history.
And he is in control….to bring us eternal good.
In spite of the horrors of evil done on this Darkest Week in human history—darker than any week you and I have had—we can have confidence that all of it is according to God’s plan.
Vs. 22, the Son’s horrific death (and resurrection) was firmly in the Father’s hands. And it was all part of God’s eternal, cosmic plan to save sinners from wrath and to mercifully make them part of his eternal family.
So if God was willing and able to orchestrate history to make this happen to save your soul, don’t you think he can and will orchestrate the history of our own lives for our good?
Paul says it so beautifully.
Romans 8:32 ESV He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
If God (deliberately, willfully, intentionally) didn’t spare his own Son for us, surely he will give us all else we need and will care for us.
We may be tempted to wonder during our hard times, “Has God overlooked me? Has he forgotten? Has my life slipped out of his control?”
Years ago I went through a very difficult relationship challenge. And I was very angry at another person. I felt I had been treated very unjustly. A friend of mine knew my struggle, so he asked me this very insightful question: “Do you believe that God wants to use this trial for your good, to make you into a better man of God?”
His simple question jolted me. I realized, “Oh wait, God really IS involved here. My life might feel it’s spinning out of MY control, but it is certainly not spinning out of my God’s control.” He is orchestrating the events of my life to bring an ultimate good. That simple question re-oriented my thinking, and my anger faded away.
In the testing moments for our faith, we have a beautiful and glorious opportunity to know God better and trust him more.
That is what our Lord Jesus reflected in his darkest hour which we will read about next week.
In the Garden just an hour or two after the scene we are reading about today, the Lord Jesus was praying in the greatest imaginable agony as he faced the worst suffering any human has encountered. He prayed, “Father, if possible take this cup of suffering from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Though he desperately wanted to escape the difficulty, he trusted that his Father in heaven cared for him and was in control.
Let me offer a beautiful prayer for us in those difficult days when we know we should call out to God in our trouble, yet we wonder if he cares and if he is in control
Psalm 121 (ESV) expresses God’s heart and ability. (This is my new favorite Psalm.)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Such a powerful prayer that God is watching. He is involved. He is paying attention. And he cares.
So let me ask you one thing right now. Consider one trial you are going through right now. Something hard. Frustrating. Anxiety producing. Testing your patience. Something you can’t get rid of.
Do you have one trial in mind?
Now I want you to ask yourself this: “Do I believe that my life is out of control, and this trial is ruining me?”
“Do I believe that God is orchestrating events…even very hard ones….for my good, my growth, and his glory?”
The story of the gospel tells us that we can rest in the Lord. We can rest….rest in God’s wisdom and power, that he is in control of history to bring us eternal good.
A third lesson from this passage:
- We can take heart that death is not the end.
Death does not have the last word.
Jesus’ words in vs. 15-16 are filled with prophetic implications.
Luke 22:15–16 ESV “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
He will feast with the disciples again in the future kingdom of God. In this moment with the disciples, he acknowledges he is going to die. But he also emphatically acknowledges he will be alive forevermore and will be with the disciples when he ushers in the kingdom of God. Jesus fully expects to be alive after he dies….meaning he is resurrected.
For the Jews, the Passover was a look backward to an extraordinary deliverance from cruel slavery to an evil nation. And it was a look forward to God’s continued deliverance of his people.
So it is with the breaking of bread. We look backwards to the cross and the empty tomb. God the Father gave up his own precious, holy Son for us rebels. And we look forward to the Second Coming of Christ and his eternal kingdom.
On that day, we will have feast unlike anything ever been celebrated on earth. A feast glorying in the holy God who died for sinners to give them the riches of his eternal kingdom.
The celebration of the Passover is a picture of the new celebration of the breaking of bread tell us that death is not the end. We will die on this earth, but that is not the end for the Christ follower. For Jesus promises that we will rise from the dead.
Our bodies will be resurrected and reunited with our spirits to dwell in the glorious presence of our great God forever and ever.
Something new and better is coming. And the breaking of bread is a memorial. We must not forget.
And it is a celebration. For when we believe in Christ who died and rose again, we are guaranteed a place in his eternal kingdom. A kingdom of glory and honor and joy.
Let me re-read Jesus’ words (vs. 19-20)
He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you…is the new covenant in my blood.
As Jesus commanded us here in Luke 22, we will break bread together this morning. During this next song, the ushers will distribute the bread and the cup. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take the elements. Hold on to them. We will partake after the song.
As we do all this together, let us make this a worshipful moment. A thankful moment. A celebratory moment. For we were once dead, but now in Christ we are alive forever…and ever…and ever…and ever.