Read Luke 22:1-23
It isn’t really the last supper with His disciples. It is, however, the last supper before another supper He will share with them when He reigns in His Father’s kingdom.
We will be there too.
“Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”” (Revelation 19:9, TNIV)
At this Passover the final countdown begins to Christ’s sacrificial death: From this meal, will follow Gethsemane, from Gethsemane, his arrest and trial. Then follows judgment on Pilate’s stone pavement, unmitigated scourging, Golgotha’s hill, the cross,
His disciples came to him, “Where do You want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” This would be the last of three Passovers Jesus would share with them here on earth. Passover plays large in Jewish life. It was kept in remembrance of the Lord’s passing over the blood-marked houses of the Israelites when the firstborn of Egypt were being destroyed.
“So this day shall be to you a memorial…” Exodus 12:14
It reminded the children of Israel of their deliverance out of Egypt. Here it will take on a greater fulfillment of a greater deliverance for all who come under the blood of Jesus the Christ.
He is our Passover Lamb.
He will die as God’s firstborn son. He will die in our place and on our behalf. From this event, the church of Jesus Christ will celebrate communion for years to come as an act of remembrance of what He did. Jesus said, “This is my body which is given for you;
“Do this in remembrance of Me.”
In Luke 22 and the chapters immediately following, it reads like a tragic narrative. Everything seems to spiral out of control. Darkness seems to reign. The beginning of the chapter shows us the powder keg and it is Judas who lights the fuse.
“Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.” (Luke 22:3–4, NKJV)
Judas is the intimate who becomes a betrayer. He is a cheap opportunity for the unholy conspirators to use. Friends, men without character can always be bought, and often very cheaply. The chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill Him.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed…” (Psalm 2:2, NKJV)
The time was right, the team was in place, and the goal was nothing less than death. For thirty silver coins, Judas is willing to lead them to Jesus’ Gethsemane retreat where he can be arrested without crowd interference. At the close of the Last Supper, Jesus gives a heads up that there is a betrayer in their midst.
—someone right next to them.
Friends, the devil can be right next to you as it was for Jesus.
Peter warned of the devil without: “The devil was walking about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Then Peter warned of the devil within: “But there were also false prophets (religious imposters) among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies…” 2 Peter 2:1-3
False prophet, in the Greek, is pseudo prophetus, meaning those who profess falsely.
This not only echoed Peter’s own experience with Jesus, but the very words of Jesus himself:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them… Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom, but only he who does he will of my Father.” Matthew 7:15
Those who are in the spirit of Judas are still right next to us. They are different on the inside than they appear on the outside. But the inside will come out sooner or later.
The book of Jude warns of those who secretly slipped in among the early Christians and ate dinner with them at communion. Jude said these Judases are different on the inside than they appear on the outside, but the inside will come out sooner or later. Jude describes such as these:
They are sensual: they don’t control their time, tongues, tempers, or appetites.
They don’t like authority. Speak evil of dignitaries. Can’t take correction.
They talk too much and know very little.
They tend to puff themselves up in the eyes of others.
They corrupt themselves in the flesh with sexual immorality.
They treat holy things lightly.
He says they are murmurers, complainers and cause division. He says they chase the dollar like Balaam did.
This describes Judas when Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus. Judas complained “This could have been sold and give to the poor!” Jesus rebuked him but Judas wouldn’t take the correction. He despised authority. He grumbled. He complained. He would sow division, if he could with the disciples and sound righteously religious when he did it. He loved the money. John says he didn’t say this because he cared about the poor, he said it because he used to help himself to the money bag.
The Gospel of Mark points out that it is after this incident , and Jesus’ rebuke, that Judas went to the Chief priest to betray Him to them. (Mark 14:3-10)
The disciples asked, when Jesus pointed out that there was a betrayer in right next to them, “Is it me?” What tender hearts they would keep. We would do well to do the same, lest we betray Christ.
Read: Luke 22:7-13
“Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” (Luke 22:7, ESV)
Every Passover seder as an empty chair reserved for Elijah, the forerunner to the predicted Christ. John the Baptist had been that Elijah for Jesus Christ. John could not occupy that chair on this night because he had been killed. But his words were not silenced from memory:
“Behold, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.” John 1:29
These men didn’t understand it yet, but they would be eating with the Passover Lamb Himself.
Christ is predicted in the Old Testament. Exodus 12 gives the criteria for the Passover Lamb:
The Passover Lamb was to be chosen. Christ was chosen from the foundation of the world to redeem. Ephesians 1:4
The Passover Lamb was to be shared with others. See how Christ is sufficient for all.
The Passover Lamb was to be blameless and without blemish. Christ is the only perfect man who ever lived. Only a blameless sacrifice can make an imperfect people perfect in God’s eyes. There was a period of waiting from the time the lamb was chosen to the time of his death. This was to give time to see that the lamb was satisfactorily chosen. Christ was tested and watched during his ministry, from His testings in the wilderness, right up until his faithfulness unto death. Jesus remained blameless.
Even the ungodly could see he was blameless. Pilate declared: “I find no fault in this man.”
The Passover Lamb was to be killed at twilight. “Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:6, NKJV)
It is quite remarkable that Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples and then died on the Passover the next day during the twilight darkness of a solar eclipse.
Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”” (John 19:14)
“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”” (Matthew 27:45–46, NKJV)
...and then he yielded his spirit.
We are not saved by his example or His life, as remarkable as it was. We are saved because the chosen, blameless and tested Lamb of God died for us. His death and grace is sufficient for all who believe.
Read Luke 22:14-18
“And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15, ESV)
Jesus had been predicting, all along, that he would suffer, die and raise to life. His disciples seemed to be deaf to it as it didn’t make sense for a conquering Messiah to die. For the disciples, everything would soon seem to spiral out of control. But in fact, events were sovereignly setting the stage for Messiah’s greatest act—redemption and salvation.
The cup He would share with them was the cup called redemption. It was the third cup of four shared at the Passover Seder. Each of these cups was related to the promises of God to the Jews under Pharaoh in Egypt.
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:6–7, ESV)
The cup of the Passover was redemption. The cup of Gethsemane was wrath. His disciples tasted the only the first, because Jesus drank, for us, the last.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
Read Luke 22:20-23
“And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:20, ESV)
Jesus makes a direct reference to a promise in Jeremiah 31. God had declared that He would make a new covenant because the previous covenant had been broken by man. To violate a covenant agreement with God would surly incur His wrath and judgment—a terrible cup. But instead God promises a new covenant of grace and salvation.
““Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:31–32, NKJV)
Judgement and salvation, wrath and redemption are brought together in the mystery of one cup, explained by the Messiah in that upper room. Later that evening,
Jesus would cry out in Gethsemane, “Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus, in the flesh, wished this cup of judgment, that everyone except Him deserved for breaking God’s covenant, would pass over Him. Yet, as the obedient Son, Jesus knew that the cup of blessing could only be poured out for the salvation of many if He would drink the cup of God’s judgment on all humanity.
In this way, the cup of judgment became the cup of blessing for you and me. Our blessing cost something very great—Jesus’ life.
This cup embodies the problem of judgment as well as the promise of redemption.
Let us close with this verse from the first Passover
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and bast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord. ‘Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the Land of Egypt.’ Exodus 12:13
That is what God sees, when he passes over us. He see’s the blood of Christ and we are saved.