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Home arrow Daniel arrow Luke 22:24-62: The Final Night
Luke 22:24-62: The Final Night Print E-mail
Luke
Sunday, 17 November 2013
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We have come to the final night of Jesusí life on the earth.  He has been ministering in and around Jerusalem for several days now.  He has interacted with the chief priests and scribes, and they have determined to destroy Him.  He has shared His last supper with the disciples and transformed the Passover celebration.  He has told them that His betrayer is among them and that His time is short.  He will be crucified the next day.

Thus, our passage deals with the final night of Jesusí life on the earth.  He is making His final preparations for giving Himself for us.  This is the final hour.  Even though we are about to see the dawn of crucifixion day, there is much that will take place before Jesus goes to the cross.  In our passage today we can identify four important events: His instructions, His prayer, His betrayal by Judas, and His denial by Peter.  Letís consider these this morning.

The Instructions (v. 24-38)

Each of the gospel writers include different details about all that happened in the upper room on that final night.  Matthew includes a conversation between Jesus and Judas.  John spends several chapters on all that took place that night (John 13-17).  Luke includes three final instructions that Jesus gives the disciples.

First, He tells them to serve just as He has served.  This instruction comes as a response to a dispute that broke out among the disciples.  Perhaps as they discussed who would betray Him, the conversation turned to who was the greatest.  Look at verse 24.  Jesus responds to this in verses 25-27.  Look at those with me.  Jesus tells them to not be concerned with who is the greatest, since this is what worldly (ĎGentileí) people go after.  Rather, they are to be servants.  They are not to sit around waiting to be served by others.  They are to be the ones who serve.  And who is their example in such service?  Jesus says: I am among you as the one who serves.  Just as Jesus has served us, so are all of His disciples called to serve others.  True greatness is found in serving like Jesus.  And true reward will follow.  Look at verses 28-30.  The disciples will receive greatness in the Kingdom.  They will rule over Godís people.  Jesusí followers are called to life of service on the earth and by Godís grace, they will receive a glorious Kingdom in the life to come.  Instead of arguing about who will be the greatest, the disciples should be embracing the humility that comes with being a follower of our humble Savior.

Second, He tells Peter to strengthen his brothers after his coming trial.  Jesus informs the disciples that Satan is not just after the one who will betray Him, he is after them all.  Look at verse 31.  The Ďyouí here is plural and indicates that Satan wants sift all of the disciples.  Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed for him specifically because of what he will face.  Look at verse 32.  Peter will deny Jesus, but Jesus prays that he will not lose the faith, a prayer that we see answered in Peterís life.  Of course, Peter does not believe that he will in fact deny Jesus.  Look at what he says in verse 33.  These are courageous words, but they are only that.  Nothing more than hollow words.  Jesus tells him what will really happen.  Look at verse 34.  Peter, the rock, the one who will lead the early Church and author Scripture, will first deny Jesus.  How could this be?  Will Peter really deny Jesus before the rooster crows?  We will see.

Third, He tells them to be prepared for the battle to come.  Look at verse 35.  When Jesus sent them out on mission before, He told them to take nothing and all of their needs would be met, which is exactly what happened (9:1ff).  Yet, the circumstances have changed.  Jesus wants His disciples to be ready for the rejection that they will face, so He gives them different instructions for the future missions.  Look at verses 36-37.  Isaiah 53 is being fulfilled in the life and work of Jesus.  He will be persecuted and numbered among the transgressors.  And those who follow Him will face difficulties as well.  Yet, when Jesus tells them to get a sword is He referring to a literal sword?  Most interpreters think that Jesus is simply talking about being ready for the spiritual battle that they will face, which makes sense in light of what Jesus does when swords are drawn at His betrayal (v.49-51).  Apparently the disciples did not understand.  Look at verse 38.  Needless to say, they were really struggling at this point.  They were worried about who would be the greatest and bragging about how they would not deny Him, but they were not ready for what was about to take place.  Jesus tells them to be prepared so that when the time comes (and it would come as we see in the book of Acts) they would faithfully fight.

The Prayer (v. 39-46)

After the final meal, the disciples and Jesus make their way back to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus has been spending each night.  Yet, tonight would not be a night of rest and He tells them to spend this time in prayer.  Look at verses 39-40.  They should be praying, but as Luke tells us, they once again miss the moment and fall asleep (v. 45).  Jesus, however, spends this time in prayer.  Look at verse 41.  What will Jesus pray as He faces the cross?  Look at verse 42.  Jesus asks the Father to remove the cup if it is possible.  What cup is Jesus talking about?  In the Old Testament (see Psalm 11:6, Isaiah 51:17, Ezekiel 23:33), the cup refers to the wrath of God.  Jesus is praying that if there is any way to redeem the Church without His facing the wrath of His father, then so be it.  We see in this His humanity.  We also see a clear glimpse into what actually takes place at Calvary. 

Jesus is not just struggling because of physical death.  He is in anguish because He is about to face the worst death that has ever been endured, namely death under the weight of Godís righteous wrath against sin.  This is why Jesus struggles so mightily.  Look at verses 43-44.  Jesus knew what was coming.  He knew that He would have to face the just punishment for our sins, Godís wrath.  And He knew just how terrible that would be.  Think about the worst possible death that you can imagine: drowning, burning, being buried alive.  Now multiply that infinitely and you will begin to get a glimpse of what Jesus faced.  Jesus would be made sin for you and would take the judgment that your sins deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21).  It is this weight that drove Him to His knees in the Garden.  So what does this say about our Saviorís love for us?  How rich and deep and fierce is His love for the Church?  He died the worst death ever to make you His own.  What amazing love!  When He arose from prayer, He set His face to drink down the cup of Godís wrath for you.  Look at verses 45-46.  He was ready to face His betrayer.

The Betrayal (v. 47-53)

Judas and the others arrive at this point.  Look at verses 47-48.  The fact that Judas was betraying Jesus is bad enough, but add to that the fact that he betrayed Jesus with a kiss and you really see the wickedness of the act.  A kiss is supposed to be a sign of friendship and brotherhood.  It is a sign of love, but Judas used it to betray.  Meanwhile, the disciples are still struggling with what is going on.  Look at what happens in verses 49-51.  I guess they thought this was why Jesus had talked to them about getting a sword.  Before He could answer their question, Peter cuts off the ear of one of the guards.  But just as quickly, Jesus rebukes him and heals the manís ear. 

Jesus did not come to fight a physical war.  He was not here to lead an army into battle.  So He tells Peter to put up the sword and goes on to address the chief priests.  Look at verses 52-53.  Jesus asks them why they did not take Him during the day and we know the answer: they were afraid of the people.  So they took the cowardly approach and came at night.  Yet, Jesus notes that this was their hour.  Again, we see that all is happening according to a greater plan.  Sure, Jesus could resist.  He could draw swords or cry foul or just speak the words and defeat these men.  But this was part of the plan.  The Enemy would have his hour and Jesus would have the victory.

The Denial (v. 54-62)

Luke records one more event in Jesusí final night, namely Peterís denial.  Look at verses 54-60.  What a tragic tale.  Just a few hours earlier, Peter had boasted: Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.  Apparently not.  Peter had strong words, but everything else was weak.  He was ready to give all in the comfort of the upper room, but when the circumstances changed and the risk became real, he shrank back.  He had not yet learned that you cannot follow Jesus and protect your own skin.  He was not quite ready to suffer for the Savior.  Of course, how often are we guilty of the same sin?  How often do we make bold claims in the pew that we later deny with our lives? 

One of my commentatorís writes: ďPeople make many promises when they are alone with Godópromises about living a better life, spending more time in prayer, or giving more money to charity.  But the real test of our discipleship is what we say and do when are under pressure to take a stand for Christ.  What do we say then?Ē 1  Peter immediately knows that he has failed the test.  Look at verses 61-62.  I know that look.  I have tasted those bitter tears.  I have felt my chest fight for breath under the weight of such failure.  But this is not the end of the story for Peter.  And our sin, our denials, are not the final word about us either.  When the Lord brings us in His mercy to that moment of utter brokenness over our sin, He meets us there with the forgiveness that was bought by His blood (as we will see with Peter). 

The final night of Jesusí life was not one for the disciples to remember.  Over and over again we see their misunderstanding and lack of faith.  They were not ready to accept the humility that following Christ requires.  They were not ready to suffer like their Savior, who would lay His life down for their sins on the next day.  Even on this night, we see their need for Jesusí work at the cross.  He would pay for their pride and their self-preservation.  He would show them what it means to be a servant and give your life for others.  And three days later He would show them the victory that can only come through faith in Godís plan of redemption through suffering. 

So then, the question before us is how will we respond to the work of Jesus?  Will we only be remorseful like Judas that things did not go the way we expected?  Will we run from humility and suffering like the disciples did on this night?  Or will we be broken over our sin and repent like Peter?  Will we join with him in taking all of our brokenness and sin and failure to Jesus our Savior, knowing that the death He died is enough to pay for it all?  May the Lord give us faith to accept all that it means to follow Jesus our Savior.  Amen.

1 Philip Graham Ryken, Luke, Vol. 2 REC (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2009), p. 527.

~ William Marshall ~

 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 January 2014 )

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