In this chapter, Judas betrays Jesus; the Last Supper and New Covenant are instituted; the disciples dispute over who is the greatest; Jesus predicts Peter’s betrayal, which happens. Jesus prays on Mount of Olives. The beginning of his trial takes place. He is hit and mocked. And the council sentences him to death. (See table of events during Passion Week, at the end).
As I write in every chapter:
This commentary and entire website is for everyone, but it is mainly for those in oppressed or developing countries, where Christians cannot afford or have access to wonderful Study Bibles or commentaries. I hope it helps them.
The commentary has a practical application (GrowApp) at the end of each section of Scripture, for discipleship.
The translation is mine. It is not better than the published ones. I offer it only to learn what the Greek really says. It tends to be literal, but pure literalism and readability are impossible, so adjustments had to be made. If you would like to see other translations, please go to biblegateway.com.
The Greek terms with brief definitions can be looked up at biblehub.com. However, I hope to bring different nuances to the few words I focus on. And I keep things nontechnical.
Links are provided for further study.
Passover and Judas’s Betrayal (Luke 22:1-6)
1 The feast of Unleavened Bread associated with the Passover was nearing. 2 The chief priests and teachers of the law were looking for the means to get rid of him, for they feared the people.
3 Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 He left and talked with the chief priests and temple guards about how he would hand him over. 5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money. 6 He consented and sought the best time to hand him over to them, away from the crowds.
The Passover came first, and then the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover is one of three spring festivals required by law (Tabernacles or Booths and Pentecost are the other two).
Let’s define Passover. It comes from the noun pascha (pronounced pah-skha, for the -ch- is hard). Let’s define it. BDAG is considered by many to be the authoritative lexicon of the Greek NT. It says: (1) An annual Israelite festival commemorating Israel’s exodus from Egypt, the Passover, celebrated on the 14th of the month Nisan and continuing into the early hours of the 15th … Ex 12-13 … This was followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th to 21st. Popular usage merged the two festivals and treated them as a unity, as they were for practical purposes (see Lk 22:1 and Mk 14:12)”…. (2) “the lamb sacrificed for observance of the Passover, Passover lamb …figurative of Christ and his bloody death 1 Cor. 5:7 … eat the Passover Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12b, 14; Lk 22:11, 15; J 18:28.” (3) “The Passover meal Mt 26:19; Mk 14:16; Lk 22:8” …. (4) “in later Christian usage the Easter festival.”
The key points in that definition: popular usage merged Passover and Unleavened Bread for practical reasons; the Greek can be translated as the lamb itself, so the figurative usage is easy to apply to Christ’s sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7). (To this day, modern Greeks celebrate the pascha by eating a lamb.)
Here are more basic facts about the two festivals:
Time of year in OT: First Month: Aviv / Nisan 14th day (for one day)
Time of Year in Modern Calendar: March / April (second Passover is one month later according to Num. 9:10-11)
How to celebrate it:
(1) A whole lamb by the number of people in household, being ready to share with nearest neighbor; (2) one-year-old males without defects, taken from sheep and goats; (3) take care of them until the fourteenth day; (4) then all the community is to slaughter it at twilight; (5) put the blood on the tops and sides of the doorframes of the houses where the lambs are eaten, with bitter herbs and bread without yeast; (6) that night eat the lambs roasted over fire, with the head, legs and internal organs, not raw or boiled (7) do not leave any of it until morning; if there is any leftover, burn it; (8) the cloak must be tucked into belt; sandals on feet and staff in hand; (9) eat in haste in order to leave Egypt soon (Exod. 12:4-11).
Purpose: Exodus from Egypt and Protection from Judgment:
“The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt” (Exod. 12:13).
Other Scriptures: Exod. 12:4-14; Num. 28:16
(2). Unleavened Bread
Time of Year in OT: Same month, 15th to 21st days, for seven days
Time of Year in Modern Calendar: Same month, on the fifteenth day, which lasts for seven days
How to celebrate it:
Exod. 12:14-20 says that the Israelites were to eat bread without yeast for seven days, from the fourteenth day to the twenty-first day. On the first day they were to remove the yeast from their houses. If they eat anything with yeast from the first to the seventh days they shall be cut off (excommunicated), and this was true for foreigner or native-born. They must not do work on those days, except to prepare to prepare the food for everyone to eat. On the first days they are to hold a sacred assembly (meet at the tabernacle) and another one on the seventh day.
Other Scriptures: Exod. 12:14-20; Num. 28:16
Purpose: see the previous section “Passover.”
Paul writes in 1 Cor. 5:6-8:
Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:6-8)
The ancient Israelites were not supposed to eat leavened bread during this time. They were in such a hurry to leave Egypt that they could not wait for the yeast to raise the lump of dough. In this context yeast symbolized sin and hindrance. We are to keep the Passover, but only in a spiritual sense: “with sincerity and faith.” We are to get rid of the old yeast or moral corruption in our lives and the life of the church. Christ is our Passover lamb, and he protects us from God judicial wrath or judgment, when we are in union with him.
Let’s discuss the Passover in relation to the Last Supper. There are three options if one intends to harmonize the four Gospel accounts.
(1).. The Last Supper was not on the Passover, but was a “New Passover” which Jesus inaugurated and celebrated early with the disciples. The Jewish Passover (Nisan 15) began on Friday evening as John’s Gospel indicates and continued through Saturday afternoon. Jesus inaugurated the New Passover on Nisan 14, which began on Thursday evening, running through Friday.
(2).. The Last Supper was the Jewish Passover. Jesus celebrated the Passover with his disciples on Thursday evening (Nisan 15) as the Synoptics suggest and was crucified the next morning (still Nisan 15, which ran Thursday evening through Friday afternoon). John’s reference to “the Preparation of the Passover (John 19:14; cf. 19:31, 42) does not means preparation for the day of Passover week, the day the lambs were slaughtered but preparation for the Sabbath of Passover week (i.e. Friday before sundown). This meaning of “preparation” is common and appears in Mark 15:42. To eat the Passover (John 18:28) means the general sense to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
(3).. The Jewish Passover was celebrated at two different times. Nisan falls on two days for two groups or the Passover was spread out over two days, perhaps because of the large number of lambs to be slaughtered. Celebrated on two days for the (a) Sadducees and Pharisees; (b) Galileans and Judeans; (c) visiting pilgrims and local residents. Or Jesus was following the solar calendar used at Qumran and in the Book of Jubilees, where Nisan 15 began on Tuesday. The religious leaders were following the traditional lunar calendar, where Nisan 15 fell on Friday evening.
Mark L. Strauss, Mark: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2014), pp. 617-18.
Also see John 13 (after the first pericope) for more explanations for harmonization of the four Gospels:
At that link, the discussion is narrowed down more than Strauss has done.
France produces a table (which I slightly modify):
After sunset: disciples ask about and make preparations
During the night: Passover meal held; walk out to Gethsemane; arrest and preliminary hearing of Jesus
At daybreak: transfer to Pilate; formal trial and conviction
Afternoon: official date for sacrifice of lambs
France, R. T. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Eerdmans, 2002).
Also see this offsite commentary: Barry D. Smith, “The Chronology of the Last Supper,” Westminster Theological Journal 53:1 (1991): 29-45. He too stretches out the meal and says that the labels “Passover” and “Unleavened Bread” were used interchangeably, in the NT and various Jewish sources.
Here is a shorter version of Smith’s study:
Thomas Brewer. “Does John’s last supper chronology differ from the other Gospels?” Christian Post. 13 May 2022.
If either of those offsite links go dead, just copy and paste the bibliographical references in a search engine.
Once again, you can decide or work up your own chronology.
Also see the table on the Passion week at the bottom of this post.
“teachers of the law” (the are often translated as “scribes”):
You can read about these groups in this post:
The groups are put in alphabetical order.
“get rid”: “to get rid of someone by execution, often with legal or quasi-legal procedures” (Culy, Parsons, Stigall, p. 662). They were about to get rid of him by quasi-legal process, in their minds.
“feared the people”: he had been teaching in the temple, and people got up early, conducted their business, like getting breakfast and the kids ready, and went out to listen to him. He audience was numerous, for he was popular. His teaching was impactful.
“Satan entered him”: it is remarkable that Judas was numbered among the twelve and evidently did the same miracles that the eleven did (Luke 9:1-2), yet Satan entered him. Apparently, he was not yet born again and filled with the Spirit, as the eleven (plus Matthias) were (John 20:22; Acts 2:1-4), so Satan had access to his soul. Yet the other eleven were not born again and filled with the Spirit. Satan didn’t have access to their soul. Why is that? Maybe the answer is seen in James 4:7, which says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Judas was not submitted to God; he was even a thief, for he stole from the money purse (John 12:6). Vices open the door to Satan. Don’t do bad things like stealing or getting high or constantly losing your temper. Pray that God would deliver you from your vice. God will give you strength and purge out your sinful weaknesses. It may take time but keep praying specifically for your clinging sin (Heb. 12:1).
Spirit-filled Christians cannot be demon possessed. They can be attacked and harassed, but not possessed.
See my posts about Satan in the area of systematic theology:
For the notion that Judas may have repented and showed the fruits of repentance, please see my comments on Matt. 27:3-10.
“chief priests”: see v. 1 for more comments.
“Temple guards”: as the name implies, they were in charge of security. The temple had to be kept holy, like no Gentiles in the holy areas, though there was a court for them.
They were “delighted” or “rejoiced.” The Jerusalem establishment will suffer judgment for carrying out this plot. This is irony. They think they are right and are following God, but they are deceived and have been wandering off the path for many years. They were actually wrong.
“consented”: he agreed. Now it was up to Judas to find the right or best time to betray Jesus. But it had to be apart from the crowd. Jesus was popular.
GrowApp for Luke 22:1-6
A.. Read Heb. 12:1. How do you conquer sin that so closely clings to you?
B.. Have you ever been betrayed? How did you overcome the hurt feelings? Or have you yet?
Preparation for Passover (Luke 22:7-13)
7 And so the day of Passover came, on which it was required to sacrifice the Passover lamb. 8 And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “After you go, prepare for us the Passover meal so we may eat.” 9 But they said to him, “Where do you want us to prepare it?” 10 And he told them, “Watch! When you enter the city, a man will meet you, carrying an earthenware jar of water. Follow him into the house where he enters. 11 And you will say to the owner of the house, “The teacher tells you, ‘Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large, furnished upper room. Prepare it there.’ 13 After they left, they found everything just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover meal.
Passover … Passover lamb: see v. 1 for more details. The word “lamb” was supplied, but that’s what the Greek implies. Luke is drawing the comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb. His blood smeared on the door of your heart protects you from God’s judgment at the final judgment. However, please be aware that God is judging / evaluating you every minute of every day. Sometimes he likes what he sees, and at other times he tells you that you need an attitude adjustment.
“required”: It comes from the word dei (pronounced day), and in some contexts it denotes a destiny orchestrated by God, as it does here. (Compare the French il faut, “one must” or “it is necessary,” if you know this language.) The Greek verb means: “it is necessary, one must … one ought or should … what one should do” (Shorter Lexicon). In Luke it often means divine necessity; that is, God is leading things: Luke 2:49; 4:43; 9:22; 12:12; 13:16, 33; 15:32; 17:25; 18:1; 19:5; 21:9; 22:37; 24:7; 24:26, 44; Acts 1:16; 1:21; 3:21; 4:12; 5:29; 9:6, 16; 14:22; 16:30; 17:3; 19:21; 20:35; 23:11; 25:10; 27:21; 27:24, 26.
See Heb. 12: 5-11, which talks about the discipline of the Lord out of his love. And 1 Peter 4:17 says that judgment begins with the household of God—now, here on earth.
There is nothing wrong with asking for instructions. God does lead step by step. Jerusalem was a busy, crowded place right now. So the fact that he gave these instructions still means they had to watch and observe.
“Watch”: it translates the common “behold!” It could be translated: “pay attention” or “be observant.” Some translate it as a mental activity like “consider,” but I like the verbs that connote the eyes.
Luke’s version makes it seem Jesus was getting a “word of knowledge,” which means getting knowledge that one does not know by natural means, like learning, but from the Holy Spirit. However, Matt. 26:17-19 makes things more specific. “Go into the city to such a one.”
The earthenware jar was full of water, probably used for washing hands, and this was a signal to Peter and John. But it is still remarkable that they met the man at the right time and place, since Jerusalem was so crowded.
“will meet”: it could be translated as “will bump into you,” which expresses a little more randomness.
The “owner” could be translated as “master of the house.” It is also a small hint that says Jerusalem respected property rights. Then Peter and John were simply to tell the owner that the Teacher has need of his room. The owner complies. Jesus is in control.
Some believe that this is the Upper Room (or upstairs room) of Pentecost (Acts 1:13), where they had assembled when the Spirit fell on them. But of course the evidence is circumstantial: in the city of Jerusalem and a large upstairs room, but that is all the evidence I can find. No one knows for sure.
“Everything”: this word was supplied. Everything happened as Jesus said, and they prepared the Passover meal.
Incidentally, the Seder dinner was invented after the NT, so they did not eat the Seder meal, as it is currently done.
“disciples”: the noun is mathētēs (singular and pronounced mah-they-tayss), and it is used 261 times in the NT, though many of them are duplicates in the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. BDAG is considered by many to be the authoritative lexicon of the Greek NT, and it says of the noun that it means (1) “one who engages in learning through instruction from another, pupil, apprentice”; (2) “one who is rather constantly associated with someone who has a pedagogical reputation or a particular set of views, disciple, adherent.”
GrowApp for Luke 22:7-13
A.. Jesus was in control of the plan to meet the owner of the house where they were to eat the Passover. Do you believe he has a plan for you? How have you followed his directions?
Jesus Institutes New Covenant and Last Supper (Luke 22:14-23)
14 And so when the hour came, he took his place, the apostles with him. 15 Then he said to them, “I have really wanted to eat this Passover with you before I suffered. 16 For I tell you that I shall certainly not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when he took up the cup and gave thanks, he said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that I will certainly not drink from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And taking the bread, he gave thanks and broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this for my remembrance.” 20 And after eating, likewise, he did so with the cup, saying, “This cup, which is poured out for you, is the New Covenant in my blood.
21 “See, the hand of the one who betrays me is with me at the table. 22 For the son of Man goes according to what is determined, but woe to that man through whom he is handed over.” 23 And they began to ask each other who this person might be from among themselves, the one who was about to do this.
Here is the biblical background to the Passover meal:
7 “Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts. 10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 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 no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exod. 12:7-13, ESV)
You can apply those verses symbolically to the meal that Jesus ate. For example, the bitter herbs may symbolize the suffering that Jesus was about to suffer. Further, the blood on the door post symbolizes salvation and protection from God’s judgment. V. 5 says the lamb must be unblemished: “Your lamb shall be without blemish ….”
Peter caught on to the meaning of the Passover:
… knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Pet. 1:18-19, ESV)
Here is a summary of the evidence that the early disciples believed Jesus held a Passover Meal:
1.. The meal was eaten in Jerusalem, a Passover requirement.
2.. Jesus and the disciples spent the night in the environs of Jerusalem (Gethsemane), a further requirement.
3.. They reclined on couches, which means it was a festive occasion.
4.. The meal was eaten after sunset, while ordinary meals were in the late afternoon.
5.. The meal ended with a hymn (26:30), and Passover meals closed with the part of the Hallel (Pss. 115-118).
6.. The interpretation of the elements was part of the ritual (Exod 12:26-27).
7.. Giving to the poor was a custom (cf. Matt 26:9; John 13:29).
Source: Grant R. Osborne, Matthew: Zondervan’s Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2010), p. 961, who got the list from Robert J. Stein.
My translation “I have really wanted” may be too light. It could read, “I have strongly desired.” It is double of epithumia (noun and pronounced eh-pea-thoo-mee-ah) and epithmeō (verb and pronounced eh-pea-thoo-meh-oh). Literally, “I desire with a desire.” It is moving that he said this because he knew that this was the Last Supper. He won’t partake of it again until the coming of the kingdom.
“Passover”: “This verse makes it clear that Luke sees a Passover lamb present” (Bock, p. 1719).
“before I suffered”: It is still not clear to the disciples what is about to take place. In the next pericope (pronounced puh-RIH-coh-pea) or section, they are about to get in a dispute about who will be the greatest (vv. 24-30). If they had known that suffering was ahead, they would have helped him in the leadup to his agony.
“fulfilled in the kingdom of God”: the question is—which stage of the kingdom? The very end when the kingdom of God will come on earth in full manifestation and power and glory? Or after his resurrection? It seems the best answer is the full manifestation, in which case he will partake of the Last Supper in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Big meals express final victory. See the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Luke 14:7-14) and the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15-24). However, he does eat meals with them after the resurrection, so he may mean this stage of the kingdom.
Stein is right: “This refers to the time of the messianic banquet at the end of history, i.e., when the kingdom is consummated (cf. Mark 14:25; Matt 26:29; 1 Cor 11:26). This same thought is repeated in Luke 22:18” (comment on v. 16).
Let’s study the kingdom generically:
What is it? As noted in other verses that mention the kingdom in this commentary, the kingdom is God’s power, authority, rule, reign and sovereignty. He exerts all those things over all the universe but more specifically over the lives of people. It is his invisible realm, and throughout the Gospels Jesus is explaining and demonstrating what it looks like before their very eyes and ears. It is gradually being manifested from the realm of faith to the visible realm, but it is not political in the human sense. It is a secret kingdom because it does not enter humanity with trumpets blaring and full power and glory. This grand display will happen when Jesus comes back. In his first coming, it woos people to surrender to it. We can enter God’s kingdom by being born again (John 3:3, 5), by repenting (Matt. 4:17; Mark 1:5), by having the faith of children (Matt. 18:4; Mark 10:14-15), by being transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Son whom God loves (Col. 1:13), and by seeing their own poverty and need for the kingdom (Matt. 5:3; Luke 6:20; Jas. 2:5).
However, as noted, in this context, it speaks of the future kingdom, but Mark 14:25 implies that the kingdom will come in fuller glory at the resurrection, but not complete glory.
1 Introducing the Kingdom of God (begin a ten-part series)
“cup”: It was a literal cup, but it stands in for the wine and then the blood (Matt. 20:22-23 and Mark 10:38-39). See vv. 19-20, below, for more discussion.
He said “take this” about the cup. He did not say “this blood,” indicating that this was his blood. He did not even say it in v. 20. Yes, he said in Matthew’s version of the wine: “Drink of it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant” (Matt. 26:26-28). And Mark says the same, but with a slight variation (Mark 14:22-25). However, Luke softens the direct pronouncement: “Take this [cup] and share it among yourselves.” And in v. 20 he says, “This cup, which is poured out for you, is the New Covenant ….” He does not say “this blood is the New Covenant.” Therefore, we don’t need to overread it and see any kind of miracle transformation under the appearance of the blood. Now what about the bread? Let’s wait until v. 19.
Indeed, most scholars see two cups (vv. 17 and 20), while Matt. 26:26-30 and Mark 14:22-26 have only one cup. At the traditional Passover meal, four cups were drunk, but Jesus reduced it to two, one before the meal (v. 17), and one after the meal (v. 20).
The typical Jewish prayer of thanksgiving: “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth” (m.Ber. 6:1).
Jesus is about to accomplish his redemptive sacrifice which will launch his New Covenant community. The whole ethos is about to change—or begin to change. It will take at least two thousand years for the launch to reach us today. Jesus is about to fulfill the Exodus theology, which we saw in his temptation victory over Satan (Luke 4:1-13).
The OT background are found in these verses:
First, Moses already instituted the Sinai Covenant, and the Ten Commandments thundered down from on high, so he sprinkles blood to ratify the covenant:
And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exod. 24:8, ESV)
It will shock these twelve Jewish disciples when Jesus says to drink (symbolically) his blood.
Next, Moses said about blood:
For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.” (Lev. 17:11-12, ESV)
Heb. 9:22 says that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.
Finally, Jeremiah prophesied the New Covenant. The key clause is the forgiveness of iniquity and remembering our sins no more:
33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:33-34, ESV)
Hebrews 8 also quotes Jer. 31:31-34.
Now let’s return to the real purpose of the entire passage. As noted in v. 1, just before the Exodus, the blood of the lamb was spread on the doorframe (Exod. 12:1-29, 43-51), and Jesus is taking his cue from this theology and replacing the lamb’s blood with his own blood. His sacrifice is once and for all (Heb. 9:26) and eternal (Heb. 9:12). It does not to be done every year or every time we take Communion.
At my post on the New Covenant, I defined a covenant in this way:
Out of his great love for his highest creation, people, God unilaterally reaches out to them and initiates an unalterable legal agreement, in which he stipulates the terms that reveal how he relates to people, and they to him.
A covenant is an unalterable legal agreement, in which God stipulates the terms that reveal how he relates to people, and they to him.
Further, here are the differences between the Sinai Covenant and the New Covenant, in table form. The comparisons from the New Covenant’s point of view, looking back on the Old, in a fuller perspective.
|Categories||Old Sinai Covenant||New Covenant|
|Grace and Faith||Yes||Yes|
|Written||In stone||On hearts and minds|
|Ratified||By blood of animals||By the blood of Christ|
|Number of Sacrifices||Countless numbers||One sacrifice forever|
|Holy Spirit||No permanent indwelling||Permanent indwelling|
|Being Born Again||No||Yes|
|Life in the Spirit||Intermittent or minimal or not at all||Permanent and powerful|
|Approach to God||Through Aaron the high priest and his successors||Through Christ our High Priest|
|Celebrated||By sacrifices (looking forward)||By communion (looking back to the cross)|
|Fulfilled and Replaced||Yes||Never|
|Adapted and much expanded from Geisler, p. 1393|
The New Covenant is superior and better than the Old, as the epistle of Hebrews teaches. The main point is that life in the Spirit is the whole project and new way that God grants to people in the New Covenant (Luke 24:49; John 20:22; entire book of Acts; Rom. 8; Gal. 5). People of the Old Covenant did not have life in the Spirit, in the same way, both extensive and intensive, as do people of the New.
“given for you”: this is an allusion to Christ’s substitution on the cross. Our sins mean that we deserved death. But he took our place—a substitute—by dying on the cross. This is known as the substitutionary atonement.
“for my remembrance”: it expresses purpose. I could translate it as “for my memorial, as if Jesus is telling us to remember his death. So we eat the bread and drink the wine to remember what he did for us.
I have looked at the Synoptic passages in more detail, here:
Some interpreters believe Judas was cursed, as seen in the word “woe.” But I agree with grammarians and NT scholars Culy, Parsons, and Stigall, who say that the interjection “introduces an expression of pity for him who stand under divine judgment” (p. 673). Right now, at this time in his life, Judas does indeed stand under divine judgment. However, a short time later he repents and shows his repentance by giving back the money. He even says, “I have sinned.” Matthew fills out the picture:
3 Then, when Judas, the one who betrayed him, saw that he was condemned, moved with remorse, returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying I have sinned, betraying innocent blood!” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself!” 5 And after he threw the silver coins into the temple, he withdrew and went away and hanged himself. (Matt. 27:3-5, ESV, emphasis added)
The phrase “moved with remorse” comes from the one verb metamelomai (pronounced meh-tah-meh-lo-my). BDAG is considered by many to be the authoritative lexicon of the Greek NT, and it defines the verb thus: (1) “To have regret about something, in that sense that one wishes it could be undone, be very sorry, regret” (Matt. 27:3; 2 Cor. 7:8ab; Matt. 21:29, 32; (2), “to change one’s mind about something, without focus on regret, change one’s mind, have second thoughts”; (Matt. 21:29, 32; Heb. 7:21). BDAG says Matt. 27:3 belongs to the first definition. That’s fair because Judas exhibited regret and remorse. Giving back the money is a further act of repentance. He also confessed his sin.
It is a pity that he was so confused and distraught that he hanged himself before he could get restored, as Peter was. However, I do not believe that he necessarily and automatically went straight to hell, by virtue of his committing suicide or even the betrayal. Suicide does not mean automatic hell in some conditions. However, a strong argument can be made that he stood outside God’s mercy because of his betrayal and did go to hell, when Judas is contrasted with Peter’s restoration. Yet Judas’s betrayal fulfilled some sort of divine plan announced in Scripture (26:54, 56), which does not, however, necessarily exempt him from condemnation.
Adding up all these factors, I, for my part, leave the door of mercy slightly ajar, like so:
Repentance or remorse + returning money + confession of sin → God’s mercy
The arrow means “leads to.”
But you can decide for yourself.
However, the commentators in Matthew’s Gospel do not hold out hope:
Scroll down to 27:3-10
GrowApp for Luke 22:14-23
A.. How meaningful is communion to you? Do you take it regularly?
B.. Have you ever done something wrong and repented? How has God restored you?
Dispute over Greatness (Luke 22:24-30)
24 But a dispute took place between them, which was about who of them thinks he is greater. 25 But he said to them, “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called benefactors. 26 You are not like that, but the greater one among you becomes as the younger and the leader as the servant. 27 For who is greater? The one who reclines at table or the one who serves? Isn’t it the one who reclines? But I am among you as one who serves.
28 You are the one who has continued with me in my trials. 29 So I confer on you just as my Father conferred on me—a kingdom, 30 so that you eat and drink at my table in my kingdom. And you will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
They had already disputed about this in the past, soon after their first commission to go out and preach.
46 A dispute started up among them, that is, which one would be the greatest among them. 47 Jesus, knowing the dispute in their hearts, got a child and stood him beside himself. 48 And he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me, for he who is the least among you is great.”
Apparently, their thirst for prominence was an issue with them.
Things were tense. Jesus had just said this is my body; and this is the cup of the New Covenant. What’s all the talk about bloodshed? Is he really going launch a campaign against the Romans and their Jewish allies, the Jerusalem establishment? He’s very popular! He worked miracles. He walked on water. He actually could pull this off!
It is in this context that a “dispute” happened. The Greek noun literally means “liking strife” or “friend of quarreling.” They fought about a topic that was not at all appropriate. Jesus had washed their feet before the feast of the Passover (John 13:1-17). It may have been a long time—a day or two or even hours—since the disciples experienced the foot washing. And now the environment was tense after the Last Supper.
Luke condenses the lesson of greatness from another angle, as the tensions rose. This explains why the disciples seemed to have forgotten the lesson of the foot washing.
And here we have the Great Reversal introduced in this pericope. Recall that Luke 1:51-53 and 2:34 says that Jesus would cause the fall of the mighty and the rise of the needy, and the rich would be lowered, and the poor raised up. It is the down elevator and up elevator. Those at the top will take the down elevator, and those at the bottom will take the up elevator.
“exercise authority” is the verb exousiazō (pronounced ex-oo-se-ah-zoh), and it means “have power over someone” (Luke 22:25; 1 Cor. 7:14) and in the passive it means “be mastered” (1 Cor. 6:12). Only three times in the NT. It is related to the noun exousia (pronounced ex-oo-see-ah). There is the right kind of authority, which God confers on people, and there is a wrong kind, as seen here. God’s kingdom is not like the wrong kind. We would all do well to learn the right kind.
Benefactors were the rich people in the city who paid for upkeep and new benefits for the city, like a fountain or a small aqueduct. Then they employed a professional engraver to inscribe the act of beneficence on nice marble or another stone to proclaim who bestowed the benefaction. These stones exist all over the ancient world. “I, so-and-so, have conferred this fountain on this city!” The wording is much more elaborate, but that’s the gist.
There is a strong contrast in the word “but” (alla). You must follow the kingdom path, and a man should become as if he is younger and as the one who does not take first place in society by virtue of his mature age. The leader is to become the servant, the one who washes the dishes and serves someone else. Jesus did this when he washed their feet (John 13:1-17).
“recline at table”: in those days people ate by reclining, taking food from bowls on a mat or a low table. Their feet stuck out away from the mat or table. Today we would say “sit at table,” and that’s what other translations have. But I like the idea of the guests reclining and relaxing, while the servants bustle about replenishing the food and drinks.
In any case, the imagery is clear. Jesus is the one waiting at table, serving the people. He should be at the head of the table, but he is the one who brought out the food and drink. This is just a quick illustration. I don’t think we should picture Jesus bringing in the wine and bread before they ate the Last Supper. But who knows? Maybe he did! But I doubt it because we should not over-interpret silence or short illustrations and distract ourselves from the meaning of this one.
All throughout Jesus’s ministry, he’s the one who did the heavy lifting, spiritually speaking. He’s the one who took the barrage of criticism from religious leaders who really knew the law and traditions. He’s the one who went off to pray and got instructions from his Father and deepened his relationship with him. He’s the one who had to corral the twelve and others when they were about go astray from the kingdom—like John and James asking Jesus whether they should call down fire on a village in Samaria that rejected him (Luke 9:51-55).
Jesus was the servant among them.
For me, this verse is moving. He praises them for hanging in there or for “sticking around.” It could literally be translated as “stay through.” Other followers left him when his sayings proved difficult (John 6:66-71).
66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:66-71, NIV)
His trials included just being here on earth and taking in all the smells and human degradation and verbal assaults and especially the Satanic assault (Luke 4:1-13).
He conferred or “decreed, ordained, assigned” (three possible translations) the same reality which the Father conferred on him—a kingdom. The definite article is missing, but that doesn’t matter, because the meaning of kingdom from the entire context is clear. See v. 16 for more details.
Stein spotted the deeper insight, so I’ll give him credit:
For the parallel between the relationship of the disciples to Jesus and Jesus to the Father, cf. John 15:9; 20:21 (cf. also Luke 9:48; 10:16). The term “confer” (diatithemai) can also mean make a covenant with and thus brings to mind the new “covenant” (diathēkē) of 22:20. The covenant established with the apostles in 22:20 ultimately involves the promise of sharing in the future consummation of the kingdom when the Son of Man returns to reign. Whereas in 12:32 the Father confers the kingdom, here Jesus himself does this. (comment on v. 29)
Eating and drinking in the kingdom expresses ultimate victory.
This verse reminds me of Luke 12:31-32: 31 “Instead, pursue his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. 32 Don’t fear, little flock, because your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”
In 22:29, there seems to be an extra powerful kingdom conferred on the twelve (soon to be eleven and then twelve again in Acts 1:13), because of v. 30, next.
Eating and drinking at the table speaks of final, relaxed victory. See the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Luke 14:7-11) and the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:12-24).
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. (Ps. 23:5, NIV)
Eating in the presence of your enemies shows the battle is won.
It is startling that the twelve will sit on twelve thrones judging Israel. I believe this can only refer to the final judgment. It is remarkable that they will have that much authority. This shows the transforming power of God in the lives of bumbling followers to powerful servant-leaders. Further, their names will be inscribed on twelve foundation stones of the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:14).
GrowApp for Luke 22:12-30
A.. Are you first to serve or be served? How does service look like in your life and the church where you go?
Peter’s Denial Foretold (Luke 22:31-34)
31 “Simon, Simon, watch! Satan has demanded to sift you like wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you so that your faith would not fail. And when you turn back, strengthen your brothers.” 33 But he said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you even to prison and to death.” 34 But he said, “I tell you, Peter: the rooster will not crow tomorrow until you have denied three times that you know me.”
When the Lord calls a person’s name twice, a warning is about to be issued or a major transition in the character’s life is about to come to pass.
Abraham, Abraham, right before the near sacrifice of Isaac, and the double name stopped it (Gen. 22:11)
Jacob, Jacob, when God was about to name his sons and their sons (Gen. 46:2)
Moses, Moses, from the burning bush (Exod. 3:4)
Samuel, Samuel, when he was a child and was going to be called (1 Sam. 3:10)
Martha, Martha, when Jesus told her not to be so anxious (Luke 10:41)
Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? (Acts 9:4)
In his lament, Jesus even called Jerusalem’s name twice (Luke 13:34)
Stein says Jesus chose Peter’s birth name (Simon) because Peter was about to go back to an earlier lifestyle, predating his decision to follow Jesus (comment on v. 31). In any case, Jesus is warning his lead disciple.
“watch”: this translates the common “behold!”
“you”: it is plural, because Satan has demanded or asked (either translation is fine) to sift the twelve like wheat. Satan already sifted Judas. But then in the next verses Jesus switches to the singular—“you” or Peter. He is the leader to be sifted, but when he recovers or turns back to Jesus, he is to strengthen his brothers or the other ten. It seems hard to believe, but only eleven disciples are in the room right now. Judas is out doing his dirty work.
Picture wheat grains going through a sifter. The idea is to take someone apart. Or picking someone to pieces. (Bock, p. 1742). Another unpleasant image: shred you. The point is that our soul has been torn into tiny pieces. But God restored Peter (John 21:15-19), so he can restore you after Satan has sifted you.
“I have prayed”: Jesus prayer was answered, for Peter’s faith did not fail him completely and irrevocably. He was restored (John 21:15-20).
See these posts:
“for you”: this is singular, so Jesus is talking to Peter.
“turn back”: it translates the verb epistrephō (pronounced eh-pea-streh-foh), and its basic meaning is “turn.” It can sometimes mean “turn around” or “repent” in the right contexts and prefixes (Acts 3:19). It can mean that here, too.
And so not surprisingly Peter speaks boldly, but he does not know what he is talking about. He does not read his own soul very well. He is the victim of irony, which says you believe that you know something, but you really don’t. A biblical example is Job and his friends. They were trying to figure out why Job met with disasters, and though they had a small level of understanding—and the poetry is beautiful—they really did not know as much as their confidence allowed. God showed up on the scene and told them so. For a modern comic example, in the sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, Col. Klink, the camp commandant, believes that there has never been a successful escape from Stalag 13, but the prisoners come and go as they please, underground. He even boasts about his perfect record. This is irony because he thinks he knows something, but he actually does not. The main point is he lacks knowledge of himself. But these verses are not comedic irony. This is tragic irony.
Likewise, Peter boastfully predicts that he would go to the death with Jesus. Jesus knew Peter better than Peter knew himself.
Self-knowledge is beneficial, but Peter had none.
Peter’s claim to suffer imprisonment will come some time after this (Acts 5:19; 12:1-17 […])” (Bock, p. 1743).
The pronouns are still singular.
The rooster won’t crow this morning until Peter denies three times that he knew Jesus.
Jesus said: “For whoever is ashamed of me and my words—the son of Man shall be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and of the glory of the Father and his holy angels” (Luke 9:26). It is a blessing that Peter was restored (John 21:15-19).
This is personal prophecy, pure and simple. But it was not very positive!
See my posts at Matthew 26:31-35 and Mark 14:27-31 for more about this prediction.
See vv. 54-65, below, for an attempt at reconciling the different accounts.
GrowApp for Luke 22:31-34
A.. Have you ever denied the Lord? How did you turn back? How did he restore you?
Purse, Bag, Sword (Luke 22:35-38)
35 Further, he said, “When I sent you without wallet and traveling bag and extra footwear, did you lack anything? They said, “Nothing.” 36 He told them, “However, now the one having a wallet should take it along, likewise also the travel bag; and the one who does not have one should sell his cloak and buy a sword. 37 For I tell you that it is necessary that what was written be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the lawless’ [Is. 53:12], for indeed the things written about me are coming to an end.” 38 They said, “Lord, look. Here are two swords.” He told them, “It is sufficient.”
Luke 9:2-3: “He sent them preaching the kingdom of God and to heal diseases. 3 He told them, ‘On the road, take nothing; don’t have a staff nor traveler’s bag nor bread nor money nor two coats each.’”
They lacked nothing. God provides where he guides. Never fear.
Now, however, there is a shift in the mission. Things are about to get “real,” as in “real dangerous.” They are in Jerusalem, and the temple authorities are about to arrest him, and the highest authorities are about to order his execution. They should buy a sword, for self-defense. However, the next verses teach us that he did not call them to start a military.
Being numbered among the lawless indicates those who are about to arrest him and drag him through a trial normally required of criminals.
“necessary”: see v. 7 for more comments, looking for the Greek verb dei.
The things written about him are coming to an end. That is written in the present tense, so his fulfillment of the prophecies about his ministry, like his death, resurrection and ascension, are coming being accomplished, but not the prophecies about his Second Coming. Those are waiting to be fulfilled.
Grammarians and NT scholars Culy, Parsons, and Stigall note that his is the first time Jesus speaks directly of himself in fulfilling prophecy: “in me.” Up to now, he had used the title “Son of Man.”
At that link, there is a long table of quoted verses from the OT and NT, but Jesus fulfills more than just those quoted verses. He also fulfills major themes and systems and patterns of the OT, like the whole sacrificial system and all the covenants.
“it is sufficient”: some commentators say the one Greek word can mean “Enough!” So Jesus was rebuking them for showing him the two swords. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening here, because Jesus told them to buy one for each, unless he was being ironical.
So let’s study the issue more fully.
Two swords are not enough to start a militia or grow a military, so why did he tell them to buy a sword, each, but then cut the limit to two?
Verse 37 says: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the lawless.’” By far the clearest purpose of the two swords is Jesus’ reference to Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53:12). He was destined to be arrested like a criminal, put on trial like one, and even crucified like one. He was hung on the cross between two thieves, which is also a fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (Luke 23:32; 39-43). What are criminals known for carrying with them? Weapons, and to be numbered among criminals, Jesus must also have weapons. That is why he said that only two swords would be enough – to fulfill this prophecy. Also, Matthew mentions fulfilling prophecy (Matt. 26:54). If Peter had kept on physically using the sword to prevent Christ’s arrest, prophecy would not have been accomplished smoothly and without hindrance. That is why Jesus told Peter to put his sword back in its place (Matt. 26:52). And in Luke he says to Peter after the disciple cut off an ear, “No more of this!” (Luke 22:51).
This contextual interpretation does not say that the two swords did not exist (Luke 22:38). They are not only symbols, nor were they imaginary or invisible. They were real. Peter really did cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest with one of them (Matt. 26:50-51; Luke 22:49-51). But it would be misguided to build church doctrine on such a reaction in the heat of the moment, during Jesus’ arrest at night.
However, Jesus said to Peter in the Garden, “Put your sword back in its place,” meaning, back in its scabbard or holder or in Peter’s belt or another article of clothing. He never said to throw the sword away, off to the side at a distance. Therefore, it is entirely possible that some disciples carried the two weapons after the crucifixion and burial when they lived in hostile territory and continued carrying them even after the things got calmer.
However, the New Testament and later reliable tradition says that none of the apostles fought or even tried to fight their way out of fiery trials with swords, as some sort of violent martyrs. Therefore, a lifestyle of the sword was never part of the disciples’ new life, as they preached the message of hope. Evidently, the example of Jesus throughout his life and in the Garden of Gethsemane made an impression on Peter and the others. Though part of this is an argument from silence (drawing conclusions from what a text or history does not say), it is a significant silence of the historical records that speaks volumes, and it will be backed up by later articles in this series.
Jesus did not intend the early disciples to multiply the swords, as he did the loaves and the fishes, and then raise a secret or open militia to preach the gospel and threaten people if they did not receive their message or opposed the disciples outright. Two swords are not enough for such an odd goal. Instead, they were to follow the kingdom message and stay away from the path of violence as a matter of policy or an alternative method of getting people to convert. He called his disciples to rise above their culture of violence.
See the post:
2. The Gospels: Was Jesus a Pacifist? (where this long study can be found)
Also see these posts in the series:
2.. The Gospels: Was Jesus a Pacifist?
GrowApp for Luke 22:35-38
A.. Read Luke 9:2-3. God provided for the apostles, when he guided them. God provides where he guides. How has he provided for you? Have you heard any inspiring story?
Prayer on Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39-46)
39 Further, he left and by his custom went to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 When he got to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you don’t enter into temptation.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if you will, take this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but let yours happen.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. 44 Then in a struggle, he prayed more intensely. And his sweat was like drops of blood falling on the ground. 45 He got up from prayer and went to the disciples and found them sleeping from grief. 46 And so he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray, so you don’t enter into temptation.”
We are on holy ground. This passage is both sad and inspirational at once. I hope I do justice to it in my comments.
Gethsemane is at the base of the Mount of Olives. The term means “oil press.” He told the twelve to sit down, but they will soon lie down and fall asleep. John 18:2 says it was a regular rendezvous place for Jesus and the twelve and was a “garden.” So it was probably a cultivated estate and enclosed with a wall. The three were invited in, while the remaining nine waited (i.e. slept) outside.
I like this chiastic structure by Bock, slightly edited (p. 1755). (The capital letter chi [pronounced khee] in Greek is written like a big X, and note how the shape goes in an out, like the left side of the X).
A commands to pray (40b)
B withdraws to pray (41a)
C kneels to pray (41b)
D prays (41b)
E is empowered by an angel (43)
D’ prays more earnestly (44)
C’ rises from prayer (45a)
B’ returns from prayer (45b)
A’ Commands to pray (46)
Luke has a plan to this section of Scripture.
“by his custom”: Luke wrote: “He was teaching in the temple during the day, and at night going out and finding lodging at the mountain called Olives” (Luke 21:37).
It is amazing that Luke researched this information. Whom did he ask? Which apostle? The apostles apparently had left Jerusalem before Paul and Luke arrived in Judea and Jerusalem (Acts 21:15). Some leaders like James the (half-) brother were there. James was not on the Mount of Olives during the prayer of his (half-)brother Jesus, but James surely heard the story from the apostles. Or, Luke may have gotten his information from an apostle on his travels, including the regions away from Jerusalem, but still in Israel.
“the place”: apparently, he liked to go there while he was in Jerusalem, to pray. We don’t know where the place is. Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32 call it Gethsemane, but we still don’t know the specific area, other than it is at the base of the Mount of Olives. John 18:2 says it was a regular rendezvous place for Jesus and the twelve and was a “garden.” So it was probably a cultivated estate.
It is possible to pray that you don’t enter into temptation. Jesus knew it was coming, but the disciples did not have to listen to fear and then run and hide. On the other hand, some modern translations have “don’t be overcome by temptation” because Jesus knew the disciples were about to enter it. However, I still like the traditional translation. You may enter temptation, but you don’t have to. No fear!
“stone’s throw”: I love the detail. Luke must have heard it from an apostle or someone who hung out with one and transmitted it. Now we know “the place” is a stone’s throw away. I love it!
“knelt”: he was serious and was about to get into a wrestling match or a struggle.
“If you will” could be translated as “if you’re willing.”
“cup”: it is the same Greek term used at the Last Supper. Here is a metaphor for the cup of suffering. John 18:11 confirms it: “Jesus commanded Peter, ‘Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?’” (NIV). He was talking about his suffering before and during the crucifixion. In Matt. 20:22-23 and Mark 10:38-39, Jesus asked the two disciples who wanted to be first whether they could drink from the cup (same Greek word) which he was about to drink from, referring to this moment of suffering. James and John said, “We can.” It looks like they were about to be proven wrong, though one of them (Peter) cut off an ear in v. 50. The Old Testament’s imagery of the cup speaks of divine wrath (Ps. 75:8, Is. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15; Hab. 2:16; Rev. 14:9-10). God was about to pour out his wrath on his Son. And His was about to absorb it. But God’s wrath is not about losing his temper; it is judicious and evaluative.
God’s wrath is judicial.
It is like this:
That is a picture of God in judgment.
“happen”: traditional translations have “be done.” That translation is definitely a sound one for this versatile verb ginomai (pronounced gee-no-my and the “g” is hard as in “get”). But the basic meaning is “be” or “become” or “happen.” You can certainly switch back to “let yours be done.”
Have your surrendered your will to God? Jesus said: “If anyone wants to come after me, let him deny himself and pick up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life shall lose it. Whoever loses his life for my sake shall save it” (Luke 9:23-24). It’s a daily process of your picking up his cross; then when you lose your life, you find it. You live for God. Each day. Nonstop.
“an angel”: Here is a multi-part study of angels in the area of systematic theology, but first, here is a summary list of the basics:
(a) Are messengers (in Hebrew mal’ak and in Greek angelos);
(b) Are created spirit beings;
(c) Have a beginning at their creation (not eternal);
(d) Have a beginning, but they are immortal (deathless).
(e) Have moral judgment;
(f) Have a certain measure of free will;
(g) Have high intelligence;
(h) Do not have physical bodies;
(i) But can manifest with immortal bodies before humans;
(j) They can show the emotion of joy.
“strengthened”: it literally means “put strength in” or “strengthen in,” so the angel put power and strength in him, similar to our word encourage, “put courage in” or “courage in.”
Then he could pray a third time. It seems that Luke is implying that without an angel from God, Jesus may have given up. This indicates how much he was suffering. The next verse says he sweat drops of blood.
“agony”: it is used only once in the NT, and the standard lexicons says “agony” or “anxiety.” However, the lexicon of the larger Greek world defines it more fully: “a contest, struggle for victory”; and in the gym it means “gymnastic exercise, wrestling” (Liddell and Scott). The first definition is best, but I also like a spiritual wrestling match. He overcame the wrestling match in his own mind between his own two wills (human and divine) and that of his Father. Jesus surrendered. In his human nature, he did not want to go to the cross; that’s why he asked whether there was another way to bring about redemption. In his divine will, he knew this was the only way.
Then his sweat became like drops of blood. You can google the medical explanation, but it is clear that he was in deep distress.
When I first saw the Greek word which I translated “more intensely, I thought it was saying he “stretched out” or prostrated himself. He went from kneeling to stretching out on the ground. However, the adverb (ektenōs and pronounced ehk-teh-nohss) is best translated it as I did or as follows: “eagerly, fervently, constantly” and “very fervently” (Acts 12:5; 1 Peter 1:22; Luke 22:44, and only in those three verses). But the verb form sure means to “stretch out” (or extend).
Here’s Matthew’s version, however: “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will’” (Matt. 26:37, NIV). It looks like his divine will won.
The moment that we are born again in Christ, we partake of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The Spirit regenerates us and lives inside of us. God helps our sinful human nature and our sinful will. Jesus did not have a sin nature and sinful will, but he still had to wrestle with the idea of the pain of the crucifixion. He surrendered to God’s will because of his love for you and me.
Therefore, he got up from his kneeling and checked on his disciples. They were sleeping, worn out from grief. Grief can tire a person out.
The fact that he got up to see his disciples indicates that he won the struggle in his soul. Victory through prayer and surrender! Pray in order to surrender! In the next pericope he will take charge by healing a servant’s ear. His authority was going strong after the struggle. He surrendered to the Father’s will and decided to go through the crucifixion.
What love! What fortitude!
Jesus issues one last word of exhortation or warning or command. They must not enter into temptation, like living in fear after the crucifixion or abandoning the cause of Christ completely. The same Greek phrase is used: “enter into temptation” as it was in v. 40. See that verse for a discussion.
They were asleep. Do we become sleepy Christians right at the time when we need to pray the most?
GrowApp for Luke 22:39-46
A.. Have you ever had a difficult time surrendering it all to the Father? What is happening now on that issue?
B.. Have you ever neglected prayer, even during the toughest times? What about the good times? How did you find your way back to intimacy with the Father in Jesus’ name?
C.. How did you respond when your prayer was not answered? Do you trust him as Jesus did in this extremely difficult circumstance?
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus (Luke 22:47-54)
47 While he was still speaking, look, a crowd! And the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them and got right up to Jesus to kiss him. 48 Jesus said to him, “Judas, with a kiss you betray the son of Man?” 49 When those around him saw what was about to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with a sword?” 50 Then one of them struck a servant of the high priest and took off his right ear. 51 Jesus replied and said, “No more of this!” And when he touched the ear, he healed him. 52 Jesus said to the chief priests, the temple guards and elders who came out against him, “You come with swords and clubs, as if to a revolutionary? 53 Even though day after day I was with you in the temple, you did not arrest me. However, this hour belongs to you, even the domain of darkness.”
I like the elliptical or shortened version in Greek. “Look” translates the standard “Behold!” A crowd of the real criminals approached.
That’s the Greek word order. “With a kiss” comes first. More fully, the word order works out like this: “Judas, with a kiss the son of Man you betray?” Now you know why we have to move things around in English, because our words don’t have case endings as Greek does. But I sure like that particular literal translation. In some cultures—like France—they go cheek to check or even kiss the cheek. Here it was a greeting, part of the “Greetings, Rabbi.” Why does Judas call him Rabbi (see v. 25)? As noted in v. 25, it is not inaccurate, but Peter did proclaim the Messiah, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16). Maybe Judas simply cannot bring himself to acknowledge a level of deity for the Lord.
The eleven remembered Jesus’s words about buying swords, which they did not have time to do, and the two swords which they had already. They asked and took action, before Jesus could answer.
Who took off the right ear of the servant? John’s Gospel reports that Peter cut off Malchus’s ear (John 18:10-11). How do we know the servant’s name? He probably joined the Christian community later, but that’s speculation. He had a high position for a commoner, and many Jews converted to the Messiah immediately after Pentecost, so he may have joined them and told his story. Why wouldn’t he join since Jesus healed his ear? But we don’t know for sure what happened to Malchus.
“chief priest”: see v. 2 for more comments.
Now Jesus takes action. First he tells Peter to stop the violence. Then, second, what happened with the ear? The standard Greek word for “touch” is haptō (pronounced hap-toh), and it is used here, but it can also mean “take hold of, hold” in certain Greek forms of the verb. So did he pick up the ear from the ground, wipe it off, and reattach it with his power? Or did he leave it on the ground and create a new ear? Or was it dangling there and was not cut off completely? The Greek verb aphaireō (pronounced ah-fy-reh-o) means “cut off.” It is not clear. I like the idea that he created a new ear and left the old one on the ground.
His healing the ear indicates Jesus could flatten each of the arresting party with a word. When Jesus was asked whether he was Jesus of Nazareth, he answered, “I am he.” Then the crowd with swords and clubs drew back and fell to the ground (John 18:6). Jesus’s words had power. He was in charge, whether the arresting party knew it or not. But the Father’s will had to be carried out, and it was his will that his Son suffer and die. So the arresting party with swords and clubs had to be allowed forward to accomplish their unjust deed.
They were coming out to arrest a criminal, Jesus said. He is being sarcastic here, telling them that he was in the temple during the day, but they did nothing to him. Why not? Recall that in v. 2 the chief priests and teachers of the law wanted to arrest Jesus, but they feared the crowds. They could only commit their injustice in the dark. He is calling them “authoritative cowards,” without actually using the words.
“arrest me”: it could literally be translated as “stretch out your hands against me.” Surprisingly, even the less literal translations, like the NIV, translate it as “lay your hands on me” presumably in the sense of nabbing him.
“revolutionary”: it could be translated as an “insurrectionist.” It was someone who did not maintain the peace but was in rebellion against Rome and the Jerusalem establishment who cooperated with Rome. His reply about paying tribute to Rome cleared him of any strong opinion about Roman domination (20:20-26). He was more interested in establishing God’s kingdom which would soon go way beyond Israel to the whole world.
“domain”: it is the Greek noun exousia (pronounced ex-oo-see-ah), and the standard definition is “authority” and even “power,” but it can also mean “jurisdiction” or “domain.” I almost translated it as “But this hour and domain of darkness belongs to you,” but the Greek syntax (sentence structure) doesn’t quite work. “This hour” means they came at night. They knew what he meant because they were there, in the dark. This hour was obvious enough.
In any case, the chief priests and leaders and teachers of the law thought they were in the right and in the light, but they were in the wrong and in the dark. This is irony again. They believed that they knew things correctly, but they did not. They were deceived yet exercised power. So this is irony that accompanies political power. How many politicians in the twentieth century thought they were right but wreaked all kinds of damage on the world of people? How many mullahs and sheikhs think they are right, but damage humanity? How do we decide who’s right and who’s wrong? By the results. If an action respects people and creates harmony, then the actions are right. If they produce random devastation and needless destruction, then they are wrong.
“chief priests”: see v. 2 for more comments.
See this link, and the terms are placed in alphabetical order:
GrowApp for Luke 22:47-53
A.. The disciples were confused. They did not understand that their Lord was destined to die. They even took the wrong action, when one of them cut off a servant’s ear. Were you ever deeply confused when your plans didn’t work out?
B.. How did you respond? How did God help you come out of your disappointment?
Peter Denies Jesus, and Jesus Is Mocked and Hit (Luke 22:54-65)
54 They seized him, led him away, and brought him into the house of the high priest. Peter was following from a distance. 55 Those who lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard sat together, and Peter was sitting among them. 56 A certain servant girl saw him sitting towards the light and stared at him; she said, “This guy was also with him!” 57 But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know him, woman!” 58 And after a short time, another one saw him and said, “You’re one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I’m not!” 59 And about one hour went by, and someone else began to insist, “This guy was surely with him too, for he’s a Galilean!” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” And immediately, while he was still talking, a rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, “Before a rooster crows today, you’ll deny me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
63 Meanwhile, the men who held him in custody began to hit and beat him. 64 Then they blindfolded him and asked him, saying, “Prophesy! Who’s the one who hit you!” 65 And they were saying many other things, blaspheming him.
See my posts at Matt. 26:57-58, 69-75 and Mark 14:53-54, 66-72 for more comments on the denials.
Evidently, where Jesus was standing, he could see out into the courtyard (see v. 61). Peter was following from a distance. First, he cut off the high priest’s servant’s ear. At that moment surely Peter expected Jesus to work his power and flatten everyone, as John’s Gospel says (18:6). Second, now he is following from a distance or afar. But Jesus surrendered to the authorities, but mainly to his Father’s will. So, was Peter expecting a signal from Jesus to start the Revolution, or was he genuinely concerned for his Lord’s safety? Curiosity as to what was about to happen? I sense that Peter really did care for Jesus and exhibited courage to go this far in the Jesus Movement. But, sadly, he was misguided. He still couldn’t perceive God’s plan: Jesus had to die for him and you and me.
Matt. 26:58 says Peter sat there to see the end. The end of Jesus’s life? If so, then he did catch on to the events playing out. But it is doubtful that he knew the theology of the Jesus crucifixion or atonement, as he came to realize in his first epistle (1 Pet. 1:18-21; 2:21-25; 3:18, 22; 4:1-2). Those verses are masterpieces of theology, succinctly stated.
“chief priests”: see v. 2 for more comments.
The Greek syntax (sentence structure) is difficult, but one has to match up the case endings, and things work out. But this post is not about the details of grammar. This verse is the set-up or staging scene. It’s dark, and the fire provides light for the three truth-tellers. Peter was sitting so the firelight shone on him. He was from Galilee, and apparently he thought people would not recognize him in crowded Jerusalem. He miscalculated.
She looked closely at him. Peter must have been nervous when she stared at him. Did he look away? Did he put his “hoodie” down over his face a little more? “This guy” translates the standard demonstrative pronoun “this one” or “this man.” She must have had an informal accent and manner of speaking. “This guy!” He called her “woman.” The NET commentator says this is a polite form of address, similar to “Madam” or Ma’am.” Okay, but I really wonder how courteous Peter was. He was too frightened to be courteous.
Then a short time later—a time element to alert Luke’s readers that these three denials happened quickly, within about 70-80 minutes. “Man, I’m not [one of them]!” Peter just says, “I’m not!”
Matthew 26:71 says Peter went out to the porch, while Mark (14:68) says he went out to the gateway or forecourt. The porch and gateway (or forecourt) pose no consistency problem, since it is easy to envision how the two are connected. Luke, on the other hand, is silent about where Peter was, so it is difficult to prove a contradiction from silence, in case the reader of this post ever meets a skeptic. Peter could have moved, and Luke simply did not mention it.
Peter had a Galilean accent, which for the people of Jerusalem may have sounded “hick” or country.
Luke mentions another time marker: about an hour. Though the denials did not happen rapid-fire, one after another, they still took place in a short time. While Peter was still speaking, the rooster crowed. Mark 14:72 says the rooster crowed a second time on the third denial, while Matt. 26:74 has one crow, and Peter would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed.
Now let’s review the differences in the account. The main goal here is to tell you that your faith should not be brittle when differences emerge.
The rhetorical license or freedom exercised by the three Gospel writers should not count against the veracity of their reports. Matthew and Luke merely streamlined their accounts. Note how Luke himself says before the rooster crowed (22:34), Peter will have denied Jesus three times. Then he writes that while Peter was still speaking, the rooster crowed (v. 60). And right after Peter’s third denial, Luke repeats in v. 61 the “before” prediction! Apparently Luke, inspired by the Spirit, saw no problem with altering ever-so-slightly his account. These sorts of variations in the precise sequence prompts some hyper-inerrantists to speculate that Peter denied Jesus six times! Neither Matthew or Luke says before the rooster crows “only one time and not twice,” but they all agree that Peter denied Jesus three times.
Alternatively, maybe the rooster finished his (second) crow one split-second before Peter finished speaking his words of denial! It was a super-fulfillment of Jesus’s prediction! Those are not bad answers or ways to fit the sequence of events, actually. You can come up with your own, if you like.
However, fair-minded readers laugh at such pretzel-like gymnastics to make the three accounts fit perfectly and precisely. It takes an extra-fussy mind to quibble about such things when Luke, the God-inspired author, gave himself permission not to quibble about the precise sequence in his own version. Luke’s story-telling or rhetorical purpose was simply to show the intense drama of Peter denying his Lord just in the nick of time to fulfill Jesus’s prediction. Better still, Peter denied Jesus early in the morning at the time when the roosters announce the breaking dawn? That’s the main point of this whole episode in Peter’s life. So what will happen next? Jesus predicted his death at least three times. If his prediction about Peter was accurate, then so will his prediction about the end be.
Let me finish with a simple equation to get to the heart of the pericope. If you get it, great. If not, scroll past it.
An account having information, while another account covering the same topic (Peter’s denial) does not have the same information, does not add up to a contradiction. A difference, yes, but not a contradiction, particularly when the differences can be possibly reconciled. Mark has two crowings, while Matthew and Luke have one. They streamlined the scene and never said “one crow and only one crow, not two of them.” Next, Matthew and Mark have Peter moving away from the fire, while Luke is silent about that. All throughout the three synoptic Gospel, some accounts include tidbits of information, while another account omits them.
Information in one account + Silence in another account ≠ Contradiction
Information + Silence ≠ A Contradiction
Information + Silence = A Difference
Information + An omission = A Difference
A Difference ≠ A Contradiction
Differences are guided by the purpose of the biblical authors. Or we may not know why an author omits or includes bits of information. Whatever the case, we should not get panicky about them or deny the truthfulness of the accounts. This mindset is too fussy and demanding, not recognizing the texts as they present themselves but unwisely imposing our modern concerns on them.
If those equations help, then good. If not, move on to the next verse.
See my post:
Bock reconciles the various accounts (vol. 2, pp. 1782-89). There is probably by now a nice youtube video on the topic. You can look it up (I have not).
In any case, our faith in God and his written word should not be brittle. It should not break when these differences emerge. Call it the dramatist’s art. All four biblical writers took small liberties to tell their stories, their own way. Please relax a lot more about this. Don’t get stuck into a groove laid down by hyper-inerrantists, who nervously force all the small details to fit together. Keep the plain thing the main thing. The plain thing is Peter’s denial and the lesson to be learned: Would we deny Jesus under pressure? If so, God will restore us on our repentance.
Bottom line: In my opinion, there is no contradiction in the synoptic Gospels about the sequence of events in Peter’s denial.
We already looked at the sequence of the denials and the rooster crowing in v. 61. Let’s move on to more important things—the meat and real purpose of this pericope.
This verse is powerful. As noted, the high priest’s house must have had a window or large doorway that looked out onto the courtyard or the porch or the gateway. When the rooster crowed, Jesus turned to look at Peter. Jesus must have heard Peter’s loud voice (“Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”) to know he was out there. Wow. What a scene!
Jesus looked out at Peter. The Greek can literally be translated “looked into,” because of the prefix en (“in”) attached to the common verb for seeing: blepō (pronounced bleh-poh) or emblepō (the em fits the “b” sound, but it is the same as en). It can mean to “gaze searchingly.” But I really like the translation “looked into” Peter, as if Jesus read his soul, though I settled for “at.” I believe Jesus looked with love and compassion because he knew he was going to restore the lead apostle. Recall that Jesus had already prayed for him that his faith would not fail (vv. 31-32). Ultimately, it did not fail him, after Jesus worked to restore him (John 21:15-19).
This is the saddest verse in Peter’s life of discipleship. He had been rebuked by Jesus before, when Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23). But now he had denied him three times. When Jesus gazed into his soul, the look must have been powerful. Peter left to go outside and “wept bitterly.” Lexicographers Liddell and Scott offer these definitions of bitterly: “pointed, sharp, keen” … of sound “sharp, piercing, shrill”; of persons “sorrowing.” Peter sobbed and cried it all out of his system.
As noted in the previous verse, I really like how Jesus restored him, because Peter is such a likeable man!
For some reason I always picture him as husky and masculine, a rough-hewn character with a weak self-edit button from his mind to his mouth. Jesus had to smooth out even more rough edges in Peter’s soul. Peter’s two epistles show how far he came. They are mature and wonderful (see the excerpt in vv. 63-65, next).
Now the scene shifts the focus from Peter to Jesus himself, alone. And the scene is awful. He is getting beaten and hit and punched. They blindfold him and hit him and demanded him to prophesy, as if he were a prophet from the Old Testament. Samuel knew where Saul’s donkeys were (1 Sam. 9:20). Surely Jesus could tell them which donkey was striking him! Okay, I wrote that into my commentary, just to say how they underestimated who he was; yes, he was a prophet, but he was more than that. He was the Son of God, the Messiah.
Let’s expand and apply this verse to our lives.
Is unjust suffering part of our life as a Christian?
Peter wrote masterfully, no doubt from his memory:
19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.” [Is. 53:9]
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Pet. 2:19-24, NIV)
Maybe in the free world we don’t have to suffer persecution, but events in 2020, when governors shut down churches because of a flu panic indicates how weak our churches are. Could the church’s compliance to the shutdown prophesy worse things to come? We shall see.
GrowApp for Luke 22:54-65
A.. Peter hit rock bottom, denying Jesus three times. Have you ever hit rock bottom? Have you ever denied, by word or action, your Christian walk with God in front of your old friends? How did God restore you?
B.. Study 1 Peter 2:20-24. Does it say you are also called to suffer sometimes in your life when persecution comes? If you are not presently undergoing unjust persecution, how can you support the suffering church around the globe?
Jesus before the Council (Luke 22:66-71)
66 And as morning came, the elders of the people, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law gathered together and led him before their council. 67 They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you would in no way believe. 68 If I were to ask you, you would in no way reply. 69 ‘From now on the Son of Man will be sitting on the right hand of the power of God.’ [Ps. 110:1] 70 All of them said, “Are you, therefore, the Son of God?” And he said, “You are saying that I am.” 71 Then they said, “Why do we still need witnesses? For we ourselves have heard it from his mouth!”
Here we have a scene of irony. This term means that you think you know something, but in reality you do not; you are ignorant.
Comic irony: In the 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, Col. Klink brags that there has never been a successful escape from Stalag Thirteen. The truth: there are all kinds of escapes and they successfully accomplish their missions. Stalag Thirteen is like “Mole City” under his feet.
Tragic irony: King Oedipus believes he is wise, and he will investigate why a plague is attacking Thebes. But he is ignorant of the fact that he is the cause, until later on in the play. He learns the truth too late. It is tragic.
A biblical example is Job and his friends. They were trying to figure out why Job met with disasters, and though they had a small level of understanding—and the poetry is beautiful—they really did not know as much as their confidence allowed. God showed up on the scene and told them so.
Divine irony of the wise and powerful: Caiaphas and the council should know who the Messiah is because they are wise about matters of the law. They have read the Messianic prophecies. In reality, however, they cannot discern or figure out that the Messiah is standing right in front of them. They are victims of divine irony. God know; Jesus knows, but they do not, even though they believe that they do. Not only do they not see that he is the true Messiah, they accuse him of blasphemy.
Now let’s unpack the divine irony verse by verse.
This verse merely sets the stage. For chief priests and teachers of the law, see v. 1. The elders were likely Jewish civic leaders, as distinguished from the priestly ones. They were prominent social leaders (Deut. 19:1-13; 21:1-9, 19; Ezra 10:14).
For more information, click here:
Bock lists the irregularities of Jesus’s trial before the Sanhedrin. The tractate in the Mishnah is in fact called the Sanhedrin (the Mishnah is a book of oral law and traditions compiled in and written down in about AD 200):
Irregularities at Jesus’ Trial
|A||Proceedings in high priest’s house, instead of the temple (m. Sanh. 11.2)|
|B||Jesus was tried without a defense council (m. Sanh. 4.1)|
|C||By pronouncing the divine name, Jesus was accused of blasphemy without actually blaspheming in the technical sense (m. Sanh. 7.5) (see below for more information on blasphemy)|
|D||Verdict came in one day, instead of the required two days (m. Sanh. 4.1)|
|E||Jesus was tried on a feast day (though which exact time the Last Supper was held is debated)|
|F||Contradictory testimony can nullify evidence (m. Sanh. 5.2)|
|G||Pronouncement of guilt by high priest contradicts normal order, which starts with the least senior member (m. Sanh. 4.2)|
|Bock, p. 1792, slightly edited, comment on Luke 22:66.|
Bock also lists the evening and morning portion of the Jewish and Roman examination of Jesus:
Evening and Morning Jewish and Roman Examination of Jesus
|1||Inquiry before Annas (John 18:13)|
|2||Evening meeting with Caiaphas presiding (Mark 14:55 = Matt. 26:59-66)|
|3||Morning confirmation before an official Jewish body, probably Sanhedrin (Mark 15:1b-5 = Matt. 27:1, 2-11 = Luke 23:1-5 = John 18:29-38)|
|4||Initial Meeting with Pilate (Luke 23:6-12)|
|5||Meeting with Herod (Luke 23:6-12)|
|6||A second, more public meeting with Pilate and the people (Luke 23:13-16), and the consequence is to condemn him and release Barabbas: Matt. 27:15-23 = Mark 15:6-14 = Luke 23:17-23 = John 18:39-40|
|Bock, p. 1793, slightly edited, his comment on Luke 22:66.|
They ask him whether he is the Messiah, the Christ. He answers indirectly, challenging their confident “knowledge” that they really do not have; they are actually ignorant. If he tells them, they would not believe it or him. The direct object (it or him) is missing, so I left them out. “You (plural) would in no way believe.” The negation is emphatic. So why bother telling them clearly at this stage in the interrogation? They would be unbelievers, yet they are the highest religious authorities in the greatest and God-ordained monotheistic land in the world. They have the clearest revelations of all in the Torah and the prophets. Yet they are the most ignorant about an issue of national survival and significance.
If he were to ask them, they could in no way reply correctly. The negation is emphatic again. Their ignorance would be showing. So let’s say that he did ask them. “What do you believe? Am I the Messiah?” Of course they would say no. However, the Messiah is standing right in front of them. Ignorance, despite their confident belief that they know. Don’t you see their fancy clothes and where they are holding the interrogation? In the council room of the highest religious governing authority in capital of the nation of Israel, which God called into existence.
Incidentally, was Saul of Tarsus in the room, standing off to the side? Was he in Jerusalem in about AD 30-31? Maybe, but I don’t know.
Now he answers, referencing Ps. 110:1: The LORD says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool’” (ESV). He also has in mind Dan. 7:13-14:
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14, NIV)
The Ancient of Days is God. Jesus was about to ascend and be enthroned on high, sitting next to God. So his coming here in v. 69 refers to his ascension and enthronement. Jesus was granted authority over heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18), and the fact that the gospel was spreading all over their known world indicates that the ascended Jesus has authority and dominion over Caiaphas and the council. This makes the most sense of v. 69, in light of Ps. 110:1 and Dan. 7:13-14.
And no, v. 69 does not refer to the grand and glorious Second Coming when the whole earth will be overtaken by his glorious appearing.
See my comments on Luke 21 for how Jesus’s ascension and enthronement (and later coming-in-judgment on the temple) and the parousia (Second Coming) must be kept distinct.
Bottom line: Jesus will rise in authority in three short days, and the high priest and Sanhedrin will feel its effects by the power of the church in Acts. Peter stood before them, preaching powerfully. Here is just one sample in Acts 5:17-32:
17 At this time, the chief priests and those with him, who were of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with envy 18 and nabbed the apostles and put them in public prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison and led them out and said, 20 “Go and steadfastly speak to the people in the temple all the words of this salvation and life!” 21 They obeyed and went to the temple at daybreak. The high priest and those with him arrived and summoned the Council [Sanhedrin] and all elders of the descendants of Israel and sent to the prison to escort them out. 22 But the assistants did not find them in the prison, so they turned back and announced, 23 “We found the jail locked up very securely and the guards standing at the doors, but, opening them, we found no one inside.” 24 As the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard this account, they were perplexed about all of this—what might happen.
25 Someone came in and announced to them, “Amazing! The men whom you put in prison are in the temple standing and teaching the people!” 26 Then the captain left with the assistants and led them away without violence, for they feared the people stoning them. 27 Leading them onwards, they stood them right in front of the Council [Sanhedrin]. The high priest examined them, 28 “We ordered you strictly not to teach in this name! And look at you! You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter answered and the apostles replied, “We have to obey God rather than man! 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had done away with by hanging him on wood. 31 It is this man whom God exalted the Overall Ruler and Savior at his right hand, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. 32 And we are witnesses of this storyline and of the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to all who obey him!” (Acts 5:17-32, my tentative translation)
After Stephen said the temple was of no real importance because God does not live in an object made with hands (Acts 7:44-50), much like Jesus’s false accusers emphasized the temple made with hands, Stephen says he saw the exalted Son of Man:
Being full of the Holy Spirit and fixing his gaze on heaven, he [Stephen] saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; 56 and he said, “Look! I see the heavens opening wide and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God!” (Acts 7:55-56)
“power”: Jesus is exalted at God’s right hand, which indicates his power and authority.
Then they try to gang-tackle him verbally. They must have leaped up and asked him, “So are you the Son of God?” I hear in that question: “We dare you answer that!” Their ignorance was fading away, but not entirely because they really did not believe with full knowledge, just as Jesus said they would not (v. 67). But they may have recognized the ascension and enthronement verses.
“You are saying that I am.” I believe that Jesus’s words “I am” refer to the “I am” statement in Exod. 3:14 (through the Septuagint or LXX).
No, they did not believe he was the Son of God, but if he answers them directly, then their confusion would be lifted. Instead, he says “You are saying that I am.” He wants them to remain in their ignorance, even just a little. Once again, this is divine irony from the most “knowledgeable” council in all of Judaism.
Even though the council didn’t fully understand who the Son was, we do, so let’s look at this title more deeply.
Let’s briefly discuss the Sonship of Jesus in systematic theology. Jesus was the Son of the Father eternally, before creation. The Son has no beginning. He and the Father always were, together. The relationship is portrayed in this Father-Son way so we can understand who God is more clearly. Now he relates to us as his sons and daughters. On our repentance and salvation and union with Christ, we are brought into his eternal family.
Quick teaching about the Trinity within systematic theology. The Father in his role as the Father is superior to the Son; the Father guides the whole of creation and the plan of the ages. The Son carries out the plan, notably by being born as a man, humbling himself, taking on the form of a servant (Phil. 3:7-8). He humbled himself so deeply and thoroughly that he died a death on the cross, the instrument of the death penalty.
However, the Father and Son are equal in their essence or nature. The Father is fully God and the Son is fully God, in their essence. Phil. 2:6: Jesus did not regard equality with God as something to hold on to, but he surrendered the environment of heaven and took the form of a servant.
4. Do I Really Know Jesus? He Took the Form of a Servant (I exegete Phil. 2:6-8)
Function or role: the Father is over the Son in his incarnation and role in the redemptive plan
In their essence or essential nature: Father and Son are equal.
The chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law conclude that he committed blasphemy (see Matt. 26:64-65 // Mark 14:62-64), which deserves death (Lev. 24:10-16, 23). In those verses in Matthew and Mark, the chief priest tore his clothes, indicating shock and even sorrow.
Now the question is: Can they make the charge of blasphemy stick before the Roman authorities? No, so they have to add politics to the charge against him. They accuse him of making himself king. And there is no king but Caesar. This will take place in the next chapter.
In any case, the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law are still swimming around in divine ignorance. They are about to advocate the crucifixion of their true Messiah, which also fulfills Scripture they don’t understand: Is. 53. The Messiah has to suffer and die.
Bock wrote a book on blasphemy happening before the destruction of the temple in AD 70 and particularly before the Mishnah was collected in AD 200. Commentator Osborne summarizes Bock’s finding:
1.. Blasphemy centered on the misuse of the divine name and acts of blasphemy.
2.. Few were allowed to approach the throne of the holy God—not even the archangel Michael was allowed to sit on the right hand of God, so Jesus’s claiming he was about to sit at the right hand of God was blasphemy.
3.. This was not a capital trial but a hearing, so the Sanhedrin did not have to be technically correct.
4.. Sources of the information of the trial was plentiful (Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus), so this trial / hearing is not a fiction.
5.. Two levels of blasphemy: Jesus claims to have comprehensive authority from God; and then he claims to be the judge of Jewish leaders (violating Exod. 22:28 on not cursing God’s leaders). This latter claim could be used against Jesus because he could be accused of challenging Rome’s authority.
Source: Grant R. Osborne, Matthew: Zondervan’s Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2010), p. 999.
In his commentary Bock says that in the early second century, Rabbi Akiva was involved in a dispute because he said that David would have a “session” (being seated) at God’s right hand, and other Rabbis said that this notion profaned the shekinah; the idea was considered blasphemy (m. Sanh. 6.4).
For most Jews, the idea of coming directly into God’s presence and sitting with him in constant heavenly session without cultic purification or worship was an insult to God’s uniqueness. It was the essence of blasphemy since a human seated by God diminishes his stature. The dispute with Rabbi Akiva makes this clear, as does the leadership’s response to Jesus. Biblical figures who go into God’s presence are first cleansed (Isa. 6, Ezek. 1). In early rabbinic tradition, only God sits in heaven. Anything else insults his person. … One could stand with him, but not sit with him … Thus, when Jesus says that he can sit at God’s right side, then implications emerge about Jesus’ person. The leadership understands these implications. The defendant claims to be the Judge. (p. 1799)
Then Bock states the irony: “With strong irony, the Jews think that Jesus is on trial, but what they do to him does not matter, since he is the true Judge. The very remarks that the Jews think lower God’s stature, in fact, show how exalted Jesus is” (p. 1799).
They are in the small “bubble” of divine irony. When Jesus ascends and then enacts his ultimate vindication at the destruction of the temple in AD 70, then they still won’t understand. No, this irony does not mean the events never happened. They did; it is not a literary invention contrary to fact. Jesus himself is the one who kept the knowledgeable ones in the dark.
Starting here in this pericope, we have four different trials (if one can call them that):
(1). The council of the elders (22:66-71);
(2). Before Pilate (23:1-6);
(3). Before Herod (23:7-12);
(4). Before Pilate again (22:13-25)
(BTSB, p. 1879).
GrowApp for Luke 22:66-71
A.. How did you come to know that Jesus is the Messiah? What was your opinion of Jesus before your conversion? When and how did your ignorance get replaced with the revelation that he is who he says he is?
Summary and Conclusion
Let’s look at a table that lays out the events of Passion Week:
|Friday||Arrival in Bethany (Jn 12:1)|
|Saturday||Mary’s anointing of Jesus (Jn 12:2-8; Mt 26:6-13 // Mk 14:3-9)|
|Sunday||Triumphal Entry (Mt 21:1-11 // Mk 11:1-10 // Lk 19:28-38); surveying temple (Mk 11:11), return to Bethany (Mt 21:17 // Mk 11:11)|
|Monday||Clearing temple (Mt 21:12-17 // Mk 11:15-19 // Lk 19:45-48); cursing fig tree (Mt 21:18-22; // Mk 11:12-14); miracles and challenge temple (Mt 21:14-16); return to Bethany (Mk 11:19)|
|Tuesday||Disciples’ question about fig tree (Mk 11:20-21); debates with leaders of temple (Mt 21:23-22:46 // Mk 11:27-12:40 // Lk 20:1-44); Olivet Discourse (Mt 24-25; Mk 13; Lk 21:1-36); return to Bethany, but Lk 21:37 says he lodged on Mount of Olives|
|Wednesday||Little recorded in Gospel—Jesus and disciples apparently remain in Bethany; Judas arranges for Jesus’ betrayal (Mt. 26:14-16 // Mk 14:10-11 // Lk 22:3-6); I say he could be teaching in the temple or praying privately|
|Thursday||Preparation for Passover (Mt 26:17-19 // Mk 14:12-16 // Lk 22:7-13); after sundown, Passover meal and Last Supper (Mt 26:20-35 // Mk 14:17-25 // Lk 22:14, 21-23, 15-20); Farewell Discourse (Jn 13-17); Gethsemane (Mt 26:30-46 // Mk 13:32-42 // Lk 22:40-46)|
|Friday||After midnight, betrayal and arrest (Mt 26:47-56 // Mk 14:43-52 // Lk 22:47-53);
Jewish trials—Annas (Jn 18:13-14); Caiaphas and partial Sanhedrin (Mt 26:52-75 // Mk 14:53-72 // Lk 22:54-71); full Sanhedrin (Mt 27:1-2);
Roman trials—Pilate (Mt 27:2-14 // Mk 15:2-5 // Lk 23:2-5); Herod Antipas (Lk 23:6-12); Pilate (Mt 27:15-26 // Mk 15:6-15 // Lk 23:17-27);
Mocked by soldiers (Mt 27:27-31 // Mk 15:16-20);
Road to Golgotha (Mt 27:32 // Mk 15:21 // Lk 23:26-32);
Crucifixion 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. / 15:00h (Mt 27:27-56 // Mk 15:22-41 // Lk 23:33-49);
Burial (Mt 27:57-61 // Mk 15:42-47 // Lk 23:5-56)
|Grant R. Osborne, Matthew: Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2010), who got it from Michael J. Wilkens, Matthew: NIV Application Commentary (Zondervan, 2004). I modified it.|
Now let’s summarize this chapter.
The chief priests and teachers of the law plot to kill Jesus, but they were afraid of the crowd. Jere refers to this in v. 53. They were cowards to arrest him in the dark, but that is their “witching hour,” the time of their domain, the dark forces driving them.
Judas agrees to betray Jesus, and the council was glad and agree to give him money. He accepts their offer.
Jesus tells the disciples how to prepare for the Last Supper, the Passover Supper. And they go and find the right man carrying the earthenware water jar and prepare for the twelve + Jesus to eat the sacred dinner.
During the meal, Jesus institutes the new covenant by taking the cup and bread and distributing them. They symbolize his body and blood.
Then the disciples get into a dispute about who is the greatest, and Jesus has to inform them that the one who serves is the greatest, not the one who is served.
Peter foretells Peter’s denial, and the gist of it is fulfilled. He does not acknowledge who he is when the going gets tough. Jesus then looks into Peter’s soul while Jesus is standing in Caiaphas’ house.
Jesus said the Scripture must be fulfilled in him: He will be numbered with the transgressors, since he is about to stand on trial for his life. He doesn’t deserve it, but such is God’s permission.
Jesus prays on the Mount of Olives, and his distress is so great that his sweats seems like drops of blood. He wrestles in his soul about doing the will of the Father. Obedience and surrender win!
Jesus is arrested and tells the “legal mob” that they were cowards to come in the dark, but that is their time. He tells Peter to put away his sword, after the lead disciple cut off the high priest’s ear with it. Jesus healed the servant.
Jesus before the council is cagey. He intends the wisest men in the land to swim around in their ignorance, so he answers indirectly and in ways that keep them in their ignorance, which they did not believe they had. They believed that they had true and religious knowledge of such things, but they did not. That is divine irony. This is a form of the Great Reversal. In Luke 1:51-53, where Mary said that Jesus and his kingdom were bringing to the world. The powerful and people of high status are brought low, while the humble and those of low status are raised up. It also fulfills the reversal in 2:34, where Simeon prophesied that Jesus was appointed for the rising and falling of many. It is the down elevator and up elevator. Those at the top will take the down elevator, and those at the bottom will take the up elevator.
Jesus was supposedly the poor Galilean tradesman who did not know much, while they are the superstars of religion. But he is the superstar of his relationship with his Father, while they were serving the devil.
Bock, Darrel L. Luke 1:1-9:50. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Vol. 1 (Baker, 1994).
—. Luke 9:51-24:53. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Vol. 2. (Baker 1996).
Culy, Martin M., Mikael C. Parsons. Joshua J. Stigall. Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text. (Baylor UP, 2010). Excellent. They kept me on the grammatical straight and narrow path. But did they take the fun out of translation, as I was trained to have at UC Irvine and UCLA?
Fitzmyer, Joseph A., SJ. The Gospel according to Luke, I-IX. Vol. 28. The Anchor Bible. (Doubleday, 1981).
—. The Gospel according to St. Luke, X-XIV. The Anchor Bible. Vol. 28A. (Doubleday, 1985).
Garland, David E. Luke. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. (Zondervan, 2011).
The Greek New Testament. Fifth Revised Edition by Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger (United Bible Society, 2014).
Green, Joel B. The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. (Eerdmans, 1997).
Liefeld, Walter L. and David W. Pao. Luke. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Rev. ed. (Zondervan, 2007).
Marshall, I. Howard. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. The New International Greek Testament Commentary. (Eerdmans, 1978).
Morris, Leon. Luke. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. (IVP Academic, 1988).
Stein, Robert H. Luke: An Exegetical and Theological Exposition of Holy Scripture. The New American Commentary. Vol. 24. (Broadman and Holman, 1992).