Judas and the Last Supper
[Luke chapter 22, verses 1-19]
If this is not displaying properly, click here 🙂
Last week when we concluded chapter 21 of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus had said all he was going to say to the Twelve – and to ourselves, the readers and students of Christ – regarding the signs of Christ’s 2nd coming and of the “end of the age”. Let’s not forget that we are living at or near the “end of the age” as Jesus described it, and we all have a responsibility to remain faithful to Jesus as we await his arrival to take us home. Chapter 21 ends with that discussion being over and done with, as Jesus had since returned to the Temple at Jerusalem where he taught daily. Notice that our Lord and Savior had de-emphasized the “end of the age” and had gone back to teaching and preaching, which was his main focus. Certain modern era churches would be wise to emulate our Lord’s example. Some are placing more emphasis on Jesus’ impending return than they are on saving souls and bringing them back to Christ where we all belong. In this week’s lesson, we will begin an analysis of the Last Supper and the betrayal of our soon-to-be-risen Savior and Kinsman Redeemer. So let’s get going here, starting at verse one.
“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the Temple Guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted, and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.” (Luke 22, verses 1-6)
It was the week leading up to the Passover feast, a major Jewish holiday, and those who opposed Jesus who were in positions of leadership had hatched a plot to make Jesus the Passover sacrifice in order to make an example out of him. All they needed was a way to carry it out. Judas, whose intentions were never pure to begin with, undoubtedly sensed this perverse need and saw it as a way to turn a quick profit for himself. For the entire history of humanity, ever since Cain killed Abel, there have been people like Judas, lurking in the shadows for a chance to strike on behalf of the highest bidder. And, there have always been governments, powerful corporations and covert military forces willing to hire these opportunistic mercenaries. Judas never took a shot at Jesus, or even raised his fist to his face, but he was still Satan’s mercenary by necessity and a traitor by nature. People who play both sides of any given situation or set of circumstances can never be trusted. Period, end of story. Moreover, this is what happens when governments and ruling bodies get too much power. They will resort to any extreme, including all kinds of murder and mayhem, to get what they want. May God have mercy on anyone who gets in their way, because they will act unmercifully towards any perceived threat, up to and including the Son of God. Let’s continue at verse 7.
“Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ ‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’, they asked. He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, ‘Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’. He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there’. They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.” (Luke 22, verses 7-13)
It is evident to all right here that this is still another confirmation to us all from the apostle Luke that Jesus was really the Son of God. There is simply no other way Christ could have known all those little details that far in advance. Those who claim clairvoyance or say they have ‘extra-sensory perception’ could not possibly imitate what Jesus did. Another thing that has been evident all along is that Jesus and the apostles were all Jewish men – all except for Luke, who was a Gentile doctor. This comprises the uniqueness of Luke’s gospel, in that it was the only one written by a Gentile. The apostle Paul mentions Luke briefly a few times in his epistles, and in the Book of Colossians refers to him as a physician (from Greek for ‘one who heals’); thus he is known to have been both a physician and a disciple of Jesus Christ, and later of Paul. So that’s how the Passover feast preparations occurred – effortlessly. Notice that had Peter and John tried to do things any other way than what the Lord had told them, they would have failed miserably in their mission! So we can all take a lesson from this. We are to trust God even when it doesn’t seem right. Let’s not try and second-guess Christ or we’ll make ourselves look foolish. God has a habit of making things come out right, even when we least expect it. Now let’s move on to the third and final part of today’s teaching, starting at verse 14.
“When the hour came, Jesus and his disciples reclined at the table. And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.’ After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.’ And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” (Luke 22, verses 14-19)
“‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.’” Jesus made no secret of the fact that our Redeemer had been really looking forward to this final act of celebration with his apostles. Although the apostles – excluding Judas even though he was still there at this point – could not have known that this was their final Passover with the Lord, Jesus surely must have known that it was. But there will be another Passover for the remaining eleven, plus the apostle Paul, along with Steven from Acts chapters 6 and 7, Barnabas, Timothy and all the rest, with Christ the Lord in heaven! We can all be absolutely sure about that! And not only that, but all the rest of us as well – all who contributed to the expansion of God’s kingdom with their works and contributions, and especially for those who are winners of souls for the Lord.
So, Christ stated to his apostles that he would not eat, nor would he drink any man-made wine or other fermented beverage, while still on earth. We can all be sure he has kept and is still keeping that vow to this day. “And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” This single line of scripture is the basis for Holy Communion in both the Protestant and Catholic churches, as well as the Passover celebration in synagogues and multitudes of Jewish households all over the world, but particularly in the United States and Israel. Next week, we’ll move on to part 2 of Luke 22 as we ‘finish eating’ the Last Supper with Jesus and the Twelve, whose number was about to be reduced to eleven. Until then, keep Jesus in your hearts and minds, because there will be times when you’ll be glad He’s there.