Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus, 1-6

This account of the Last Supper, with its record of human plans for evil and divine plans for good anticipates Acts 2:23 – ‘This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.’

Luke 22:1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching,

Lk 22:1,2 = Mt 26:2–5; Mk 14:1,2,10,11

Called the Passover – This is an indication that Luke was writing for a non-Jewish readership.

‘The Jewish Feast of Passover was technically followed immediately by the Feast of Unleavened Bread; but because pilgrims made one trip to Jerusalem to celebrate both of them, in popular parlance they had come to be described as a single entity.’ (IVP Background Commentary)

Luke 22:2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.

Looking for some way to get rid of Jesus – They would have realised that his presence in Jerusalem for the Passover would have afforded an opportunity for this.  No doubt they were also alarmed by the people’s recognition of him as Messiah (rightly or wrongly understood), as evidence by the Triumphal Entry a few days earlier, and the possibility of this leading to an insurrection at a time when emotions were running high.

They were afraid of the people – ‘An open arrest might well have provoked a riot among the excitable pilgrims, many of whom supported Jesus.’ (Morris)

Ryle comments: ‘The first step in putting Christ to death, was taken by the religious teachers of the Jewish nation. The very men who ought to have welcomed the Messiah, were the men who conspired to kill Him. The very pastors who ought to have rejoiced at the appearing of the Lamb of God, had the chief hand in slaying Him. They sat in Moses’ seat. They claimed to be “guides of the blind,” and “lights of those who were in darkness.” (Rom 2:19) They belonged to the tribe of Levi. They were, most of them, in direct succession and descent from Aaron. Yet they were the very men who crucified the Lord of glory! With all their boasted knowledge, they were far more ignorant than the few Galilean fishermen who followed Christ.’

Luke 22:3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.

Satan entered Judas – Also mentioned in Jn 13:2,27.  Cf. Lk 4:13.

As one of the Twelve, Judas would be likely to know where Jesus and the disciples would be, and when they would be alone.

‘Neither Luke nor any of the other Evangelists vilifies Judas.  They simply state the facts and bring out the enormity of the betrayal by saying that he was “one of the Twelve”.’ (Morris)

‘Luke told his readers that the devil left Jesus “until an opportune time.” Now the opportune time had come. Jesus’ death was thus not just due to human evil on the part of official Israel. More was involved than this. The supreme evil one was also involved, for Satan was arrayed against God’s Son. Having failed at the temptation (Lk 4:1–13), he aggressively resumed his attack on God’s Son. Yet the reader knows that ultimately Jesus’ death was not due to the triumph of Satan and the chief priests. It was not because of official Judaism or even Satan that God’s Son had to die. Jesus went willingly to his death because God had ordained it (Lk 22:39–46). There is a divine necessity in this.’ (NAC)

‘Judas Iscariot ought to be a standing beacon to the church of Christ. This man, be it remembered, was one of our Lord’s chosen apostles. He followed our Lord during the whole course of His ministry. He forsook all for Christ’s sake. He heard Christ preach and saw Christ’s miracles. He preached himself. He spoke like the other apostles. There was nothing about him to distinguish him from Peter, James, and John. He was never suspected of being unsound at heart. And yet this man turns out at length a hypocrite, betrays his Master, helps his enemies to deliver Him up to death, and dies himself “the son of perdition.” (Jn 17:12)’

‘It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ’s kingdom by the power and policy of its open enemies, or by the treachery and self-seeking of its pretended friends.’ (MHC)

Calvin comments: ‘Satan…is said to enter into the reprobate when he takes possession of all their senses, overthrows the fear of God, extinguishes the light of reason, and destroys every feelings of shame.’

Luke 22:4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.

Judas’ motive in betraying Jesus are not stated.  We usually presume that it was avarice (cf. Mt 26:14f).  It has been suggested that he was trying manipulate events in order to get Jesus to exercise his power and bring about his kingdom.  But, as Morris points out, this is speculation, and, in any case, ‘would align Judas with Satan in the temptation narrative.’

‘What Judas did was to provide an opportunity for Jesus to be arrested quietly. Since there could be around 100,000 people in and around Jerusalem at the Passover season, the chances of tracking down an individual who wished to remain hidden were slight without inside information.’ (NBC)

Luke 22:5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.

The amount of money is stated in Mt 26:15.  ‘Luke may have mentioned money here to illustrate for his readers how money can destroy a person (cf. Luke 12:13–21; 16:19–31; 18:18–25)…Later Satan entered into another “disciple,” Ananias, because of money (Acts 5:3), and this also resulted in sin and tragedy. Luke wanted his readers to remember what had already been said with regard to the danger of possessions and to heed Jesus’ teachings in this respect.’ (NAC)

Luke 22:6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.

When no crowd was present – ‘By repeating this, he sought to make clear that the people in general were positive toward Jesus (and later in Acts toward the preaching of the gospel). Luke emphasized this throughout the Gospel (see comments on 4:15), but he did so especially in the preceding section (cf. Luke 19:37, 48; 20:16, 19; 21:38). In contrast the leadership of Israel continually resisted Jesus (Lk 19:39; 20:1–8, 20–40) and sought to kill him (Lk 19:47; 20:14–15, 19; 22:2–6). Luke’s readers should know that the people were not responsible for Jesus’ death. On the contrary they were a hindrance to any attempt to kill Jesus. The responsibility for Jesus’ death lies with official Israel.’ (NAC)

In v21, Jesus demonstrates his awareness of Judas’ evil plan.  This helps to explain why the Lord took care to make secret arrangements for the Last Supper so that Judas would not betray him until the appointed time.

‘For his shockingly loathsome deed there was no excuse whatever. Judas was, after all, a specially privileged person. He was “one of the twelve,” as all four evangelists take the trouble to point out (Mt 26:14; Mk 14:10; Lk 22:3; Jn 6:70-71). For many months Judas had been living in Christ’s immediate presence, had been eating, drinking, and traveling with him. He had noticed the strength in the Master’s voice when he stilled the storm, cursed the barren fig tree, and rebuked those who devoured widows’ houses. But Judas had also become aware of the tenderness of that same voice when it pleaded with sinners, including Judas(!), to come to him and rest. He had listened to the Saviour’s marvelous discourses and to the decisive and authoritative answers he had given to the many questions that had been hurled at him, sometimes with the intention of ensnaring him. Judas had watched the Great Physician in the act of tenderly restoring the handicapped, or bending down mercifully over the sick and healing them … and then even adding (at times), “Your faith has made you well.” Yes, Judas had witnessed all this and much more. Cf. Mt 13:17. And then he decided to deliver this unsurpassably powerful, wise, and compassionate Benefactor into the hands of cruel men … “for thirty pieces of silver.”’ (Hendriksen)

The Last Supper, 7-38

Lk 22:7–13  = Mt 26:17–19; Mk 14:12–16

Luke 22:7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.

This is Luke’s seventh meal scene (see Lk 5:29-32; 7:36-50; 9:12-17; 10:38-42; 11:37-54; 14:1-24; two more remain, 24:28-32, 36-43).

‘While the preceding account [vv1-6] tells of the preparation by Jesus’ opponents for his death, this account tells of the preparation of Jesus and the Twelve to celebrate the Passover and to inaugurate the “Lord’s Supper.”‘ (NAC)

Luke’s account of the Last Supper is longer than that of Matthew and Mark, but not as full as John’s.

The question of whether the Passover coincided with the Last Supper on the Thursday (as the Luke and the other Synoptists imply) or with the crucifixion on the Friday (as John seems to teach, Jn 13:1f)) is a difficult one.  Morris thinks that different calendars may have been in use, with the Synoptists using an unofficial one.  Marshall (Last Supper and Lord’s Supper) comes to the same conclusion.  Evans, however, thinks that this proposed solution creates more problems than it solves; he thinks that the apparent discrepancy cannot be resolved.

Stein (NAC) agrees that the accounts of the Synoptists and John cannot readily be reconciled.  He thinks that ‘Luke followed Mark 14:12 at this point and gave a popular, although inexact, dating of the Passover. (A similar example would be for those whose celebration of Christmas begins on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas morning.)’  Stein adds that Josephus dates the Passover in the same kind of way.

Stein adds that ‘it seems reasonably certain that the Lord’s Supper was associated with a Passover meal for the following reasons: the Passover had to be eaten within the walled city of Jerusalem, and the Lord’s Supper was also eaten within the walled city; the Passover evening had to be spent in “greater Jerusalem,” which included the Mount of Olives, but not Bethany, and Jesus and the disciples spent that evening in the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives; Jesus and the disciples reclined at the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:14; Mark 14:18), and this was required at the Passover, whereas at most meals one sat; the Lord’s Supper, like the Passover, was eaten in the evening, whereas most meals were eaten in the late afternoon; the Lord’s Supper ended with hymn (see Mark 14:26), and it was customary to conclude the Passover with Hallel Psalms (Pss 111–117).’

Passover lamb – lit. ‘Passover’.  The victim could be, and often was, a kid rather than a lamb.

Ryle says, ‘We cannot doubt that the time of our Lord’s crucifixion was overruled by God. His perfect wisdom and controlling power arranged that the Lamb of God should die, at the very time when the passover-lamb was being slain. The death of Christ was the fulfillment of the passover. He was the true sacrifice to which every passover-lamb had been pointing for 1500 years. What the death of the lamb had been to Israel in Egypt, His death was to be to sinners all over the world. The safety which the blood of the passover-lamb had provided for Israel, His blood was to provide far more abundantly for all that believed in Him.’

And the same writer adds, with words that are troublingly relevant in our own day, although written in the middle of the 19th century:-

‘Let us never forget the sacrificial character of Christ’s death. Let us reject with abhorrence the modern notion that it was nothing more than a mighty instance of self-sacrifice and self-denial. It was this no doubt — but it was something far higher, deeper, and more important than this. It was a propitiation for the sins of the world. It was an atonement for man’s transgression. It was the killing of the true passover Lamb, through whose death destruction is warded off from sinners believing on Him. “Christ our passover Lamb,” says Paul, “is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor 5:7) Let us grasp that truth firmly, and never let it go.’

Luke 22:8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”

“To eat the Passover” – It seems clear enough that, in the Synoptics, the Last Supper was a Passover meal.

‘The Passover was not just another meal, but a most important festival.  It must be eaten reclining, and there were requirements such as the eating of bitter herbs.  Thus quite an amount of preparation was necessary.  The meal was not a solitary one, but was eaten in companies usually comprising ten to twenty persons.’ (Morris)

‘Ever since the prediction of the pious Simeon to Mary in the temple when he took up the child Jesus in his arms (Lk 2:24ff), the shadow of the cross fell over the whole of the Gospel history.  The Saviour himself frequently referred to his approaching suffering and death (e.g. Lk 9:22; 18:31).  All four Gospels show us clearly that the death of Christ came to him not as un unexpected or accidental occurrence – he was fully aware that the way of suffering awaited him and he chose voluntarily and of set purpose to lay down his life as a sacrifice, even unto death (Lk 9:51; 18:31-34).  And so we find here in the Gospel narrative that on the even of his crucifixion he makes definite preparation with a view to his death and departure – preparation necessary to the continuing life of hs church o earth.’ (Geldenhuys)

Luke 22:9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.

Luke 22:10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters,

It seems that Jesus had made prior arrangements for the meal.  This shows him to be in control of events, and not at the mercy of the opportunism of Judas.

‘Jesus may not have openly told the location of the upper room due to the presence of Judas, but this is speculative.’ (NAC)

A man carrying a jar of water – This would be distinctive; men did not usually carry water jars (they carried water skins).  ‘A man carrying a jar of water would be as easy to pick out as, say, a man using a lady’s umbrella on a wet day.’  (DSB)

Luke 22:11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’

This sounds like a pre-agreed form of words.

“Guest room” – same word as in Lk 2:7.

Luke 22:12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”

“Upper room” – ‘There is no reason to assume that the room upstairs (hyperōon) in Acts 1:13 and this upper room (anagaion) were the same.’ (NAC)

‘The better class houses had two rooms. The one room was on the top of the other; and the house looked exactly like a small box placed on top of a large one. The upper room was reached by an outside stair. During the Passover time all lodging in Jerusalem was free. The only pay a host might receive for letting lodgings to the pilgrims was the skin of the lamb which was eaten at the feast. A very usual use of an upper room was that it was the place where a Rabbi met with his favourite disciples to talk things over with them and to open his heart to them. Jesus had taken steps to procure such a room.’ (DSB)

Luke 22:13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

They…found things just as Jesus had told them – ‘Luke probably does not intend his readers to understand any of this as miraculous, but only that in yet another situation Jesus is firmly in control.  Jesus deliberately works out the final details of his ministry.’ (Evans)

‘Jesus is portrayed as an obedient Jew who kept the law and celebrated the Passover. The importance of such behavior has been pointed out in 2:41–52. Thus Theophilus and the other readers were reminded once again that their Christian faith stood in continuity with OT religion.  Yet shortly they would also be reminded that their faith represented a “new covenant” (22:20) that revealed they shared in the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in its fulfilled form.’ (NAC)

Luke 22:14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.

The hour – the time for the Passover meal.

Here begins the account of the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  ‘How astonishing it seems that an ordinance, so beautifully simple”] at its first appointment, should have been obscured and mystified by man’s inventions! What a painful proof it is of human corruption, that some of the bitterest controversies which have disturbed the Church, have been concerning the table of the Lord. Great indeed is the ingenuity of man, in perverting God’s gifts! The ordinance that should have been for his wealth is too often made an occasion of falling.’ (Ryle)

‘The Passover was a carefully ordered ritual in which each element of the meal reminded the participants of their redemption from Egypt. At the end of the meal someone (usually the youngest son) was designated to ask, “Why is this night different from other nights?” The host of the meal, in this instance Jesus, would recount the exodus story. The story tells of God’s remembering his covenant (cf. “new covenant” in Luke 22:20); deliverance from slavery in Egypt (cf. “for the forgiveness of sins” in Matt 26:28); the blood of the Passover lamb (cf. “my blood” in Luke 22:20; “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed,” 1 Cor 5:7); the interpretation of the elements of the Passover meal (cf. “This is my body.… This cup is” in Luke 22:19–20); and a call for the continual celebration of the Passover (cf. 1 Cor 11:24).’ (NAC)

‘The normal procedure at the Passover meal was to have an opening prayer which was followed by the first of four cups of wine and a dish of herbs and sauce. Then the story of the institution of the Passover was recited, Ps. 113 was sung and the second cup of wine was drunk. After a grace the main course of roast lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs was eaten, and after a further prayer the third cup of wine was drunk. Pss. 114–118 were then sung, and the fourth cup of wine was drunk.’ (NBC)

And his apostles – ‘Judas not excepted; for it is possible that those whose hearts are filled with Satan, and all manner of wickedness, may yet continue a plausible profession of religion, and be found in the performance of its external services; and while it is in the heart, and does not break out into any thing scandalous, such cannot be denied the external privileges of their external profession.’ (MHC)

Reclined at the table – Although people sat for ordinary meals, the Passover (and other festive meals) was eaten in the reclining position.  Leonardo’s famous depiction is therefore inaccurate in this respect.

Luke 22:15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover – because it will inaugurate a new covenant in his blood (v20).

‘The reasons why he desired this we may suppose to have been —

  1. That, as he was about to leave them, he was desirous once of seeing them together, and of partaking with them of one of the religious privileges of the Jewish dispensation. Jesus was man as well as God, and he never undervalued the religious rites of his country, or the blessings of social and religious intercourse; and there is no impropriety in supposing that even he might feel that his human nature might be prepared by the service of religion for his great and terrible sufferings.
  2. He doubtless wished to take an opportunity to prepare them for his sufferings, and to impress upon them more fully the certainty that he was about to leave them, that they might be prepared for it.
  3. We may also suppose that he particularly desired it that he might institute for their use, and for the edification of all Christians, the supper which is called by his name — the Lord’s Supper. All his sufferings were the expression of love to his people, and he was desirous of testifying always his regard for their comfort and welfare.’ (Barnes)

‘He knew it was to be the prologue to his sufferings, and therefore he desired it, because it was in order to his Father’s glory and man’s redemption. He delighted to do even this part of the will of God concerning him as Mediator. Shall we be backward to any service for him who was so forward in the work of our salvation?’ (MHC)

Luke 22:16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

“I will not eat it again…” – ‘Vows of abstinence were common in Palestinian Judaism: “I will not eat any such and such until this happens,” or “I vow that I will not use this until that happens.”’ (IVP Background Commentary)

Did Jesus actually partake of the Last Supper himself?  His words seem to imply that he did not.

Fulfilment in the kingdom of God – This, says Morris, indicates that the Passover had typological significance.  It commemorated a deliverance indeed, but it pointed forward to a greater deliverance, which would be seen in the kingdom of God.’

‘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).’ (NAC)

‘Jesus is not really saying, “This is the end. After tonight we’ll never see each other again.” What he is saying is rather this, “Though our continued fellowship here is about to end, it will be renewed gloriously in the kingdom to come, a kingdom of light and love, of triumph and praise, and this throughout all eternity.” What a fulfilment, what a reunion that will be, when the meaning of this Passover will be experienced in all its fulness, when the wicked cease from troubling and the weary are at rest, and when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea (Job 3:17; Isa 11:9)!’ (Hendriksen)

Luke 22:17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you.

Lk 22:17–20= Mt 26:26–29; Mk 14:22–25; 1 Cor 11:23–25

The cup – At a Passover meal, four cups of wine were drunk.  It is not clear which of the four is being referred to here.

The cup mentioned in this verse ‘may have been the first cup in which God is blessed for his gift of wine or the second cup in which the question about the significance of Passover is raised, thereby eliciting a response from the father or, in the Gospel context, from Jesus.’ (Evans)

Luke 22:18 For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

‘Once again Jesus’ eschatological interest is revealed as he looks for the coming of the kingdom.  The life he had lived with the disciples was at an end.  There would be no more familiar intercourse with them until the kingdom came.’ (Morris)

‘Jesus will not return and share the messianic banquet until the final consummation when the events of 21:25–36 take place. Of all the Synoptic writers, Luke most clearly portrayed the arrival of God’s kingdom in Jesus’ ministry.  Although Satan already had fallen from heaven (10:18), the promised Spirit was present among them (Acts 2:1f.), and a new covenant had been established (Luke 22:20), Luke reminded his readers that their celebration of the Lord’s Supper revealed that the final consummation was still in the future. Even as among their Jewish contemporaries the Passover awakened hopes and longings for the coming of the messianic banquet, so even more should the Lord’s Supper cause Luke’s readers to look not only backward to their Lord’s death but forward to his return.’ (NAC)

Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

The taking, breaking and distributing of the bread were familiar parts of the Passover meal.

“He…gave thanks” – ‘Like 1 Cor 11:24, Luke used “thanks” (eucharistēsas), from which we get Eucharist, rather than “thanks” (eulogēsas) or “bless” as in Mark 14:22 and Matt 26:26. There is little difference in meaning between these two Greek terms.’ (NAC)

“This is my body” – These words have, of course, caused great controversy in the church.  Jesus cannot have been literally identifying the bread with his body, since he was bodily present at the time.  Similar expressions (“I am the door”; “I am the bread of life”; “I am the vine”) suggest that “This is…” can mean “This represents; signifies; symbolises; means”.

‘“This is” is best understood metaphorically in the Zwinglian sense of “symbolizes/represents” rather than “this has now become/been transformed into” in the Roman Catholic sense of transubstantiation or “In, with, and around the bread there is actually present my body” in the Lutheran sense of consubstantiation. (It is interesting to note that even after the supposed transformation of the bread and cup, the elements are still called the bread and cup [cf. 1 Cor 11:26].)’ (NAC)

‘We should not understand “This is my body” literally, just as we do not take literally the standard Jewish interpretation spoken over the Passover bread: “This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate when they came from Egypt.”’ (IVP Background Commentary)

Given for you – looks forward to the sacrifice at Calvary.  ‘It speaks of Jesus’ death for men.  This is not something that springs from the Passover ritual.  That spoke of deliverance but not of vicarious sacrifice.’ (Morris)

‘From this passage it is evident that Luke understood Jesus’ death as being both sacrificial and vicarious. Jesus’ death is understood as sacrificial blood poured out to establish a new covenant (22:20). His death is vicarious because it is “for you” (22:19–20)…Although Luke may not have emphasized this understanding of Jesus’ death in Luke-Acts, it certainly is present.’ (NAC)  Cf. Acts 20:28.

“Do this in remembrance of me” – Just as the Passover was to be continually observed, so is the Lord’s Supper.

‘The sentence in 22:19e, “Do this in remembrance of me” (touto poieite eis tēn emēn anamnēsin), echoes statements in the Passover narrative that this feast was to be celebrated by Israel’s future generation in remembrance of God’s deliverance of his people from slavery in Egypt (Ex 12:14, 25–27; 13:3, 9, 14; Deut. 16:3). Both meals commemorate a saving act of God, the Lord’s Supper replacing the Passover as the new covenant replaces the old covenant.’ (Commentary on NT Use of OT)

Ryle notes that ‘the principal object of the Lord’s supper was to remind Christians of Christ’s death for sinners.’  He adds: ‘The less mystery and obscurity we attach to the Lord’s supper, the better will it be for our souls. We should reject with abhorrence the unscriptural notion that there is any oblation or sacrifice in it — that the substance of the bread and wine is at all changed — or that the mere formal act of receiving the sacrament can do any good to the soul.’

Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Verse 19b and 20 are omitted from a few ancient manuscripts.  Noting that their inclusion means that ‘the cup’ is mentioned twice (cf v17), some scholars think that this is a later insertion from 1 Cor 11:24f.

Marshall (Last Supper and Lord’s Supper) notes that some scholars think that Luke (in contrast to Mark) deliberately played down references to atoning death both in his Gospel and in Acts.  The early scribes, however, found this intolerable, and copied 19b-20 across from 1 Cor 11.  In fact, however, atonement and ransom theology are not prominent in either Mark or in Luke.  When Luke omits the ransom-saying (Mk 10:35-45), he omits the entire section, suggesting a motive other than a wish to suppress ransom-theology.  Luke does include a short equivalent of that section in Lk 22:24-27, ‘and it is Luke’s habit to omit paragrahs in Mark when he has similar material elsewhere in his Gospel.

But in any case, the longer version is well attested, being found in the vast majority of manuscripts.  This means that Mark has two references to atonement, compared with Luke’s one – not as great a difference as some scholars have tried to make out.

Marshall observes that there is not evidence of a serious attempt by the early church to read their theology back into the Gospels.  And he adds:-

The allusions to the death of Jesus as an atonement for sin are remarkably restrained, no doubt in keeping with the historical fact that if Jesus found it difficult to convince his disciples of the fact of his death he is unlikely to have been able to say much to them about the meaning of his death.

“This cup is…” – Those who want, in the previous verse, ‘This is my body’ to mean, ‘This is my literal, physical body’, will struggle with the present expression.  ‘This cup is the new covenant’ clearly cannot be taken literally.  The meaning is, ‘This cup represents the new covenant, which is ratified by my blood.’ (Ryle)

The new covenant – ‘His death would establish a new way of approach to God.’ (Morris).  ‘Jesus lets it be understood that his imminent death is going to replace the sacrifices of the Old Law’ (Harrington).

The ‘new covenant’ is to be understood in terms of Jer 31:31, a covenant not written on stone tablets, but upon human hearts.

‘Why does he speak of a new covenant? Do not such passages as Rom 4:16; Gal 3:8-9, Gal 3:29 clearly teach that the old covenant, the one made with Abraham, “the father of us all,” is still in force? They certainly do. Nevertheless, there has been a tremendous change, a change so significant that even Jeremiah (Jer 31:31), looking into the future, could speak of a new covenant. That newness consists in this, (a) that for believers in the new dispensation the law is no longer written on tables of stone but on their hearts, the Holy Spirit having been poured out into these hearts; and (b) that the covenant is no longer almost exclusively between God and Israel but between God and all believers, regardless of race or nationality (Rom 10:12-13).’ (Hendriksen)

My blood, which is poured out for you– Possibly an allusion to Isa 53:12.  ‘Poured out’ clearly suggests death.

‘“Apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22; cf. Eph 1:7); therefore also no covenant, no special relation of friendship between God and his people. Reconciliation with God always requires blood, an atoning sacrifice. And since man himself is unable to render such a sacrifice, a substitutionary offering, accepted by faith, is required (Isa 53:6, Isa 53:8, Isa 53:10, Isa 53:12; Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45; Jn 3:16; Jn 6:51; Rom 5:19; Rom 8:32; 2 Cor 5:20-21; Gal 2:20; Gal 3:13; 1 Pet 2:24).’

Luke 22:21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.

Lk 22:21–23 = Mt 26:21–24; Mk 14:18–21; Jn 13:21–30

‘Ancient Jewish readers would view betrayal by one sharing a meal as particularly scandalous, because they saw hospitality and the sharing of table fellowship as an intimate bond.’ (IVP Background Commentary)

This saying places in strong contrast the self-giving of Jesus in death and the act of treachery that led to that death. (Marshall)

The strong adversative (‘but’) ‘has the effect of excluding the traitor from the blessings which have just been promised to the disciples.’ (Marshall)

‘The lesson of these words is deeply important. They show us that we must not regard all communicants as true believers and sincere servants of Christ. The evil and good will be found side by side even at the Lord’s Supper. No discipline can possibly prevent it. They show us furthermore that it is foolish to stay away from the Lord’s Supper because some communicants are unconverted, or to leave a church because some of its members are unsound. The wheat and the tares will grow together until the harvest. Our Lord himself tolerated a Judas at the first communion that ever took place. The servant of God must not pretend to be more exclusive than his Master. Let him see to his own heart, and leave others to answer for themselves to God.’ (Ryle)

Luke 22:22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him.”

‘Ancient Jewish readers would view betrayal by one sharing a meal as particularly scandalous, because they saw hospitality and the sharing of table fellowship as an intimate bond.’ (IVP Background Commentary)

Notice how, in this verse, ‘Jesus…combines God’s predestination of the crucifixion with moral blame on those who carry it out.’  God uses even evil for his glory and for our good, and yet never does evil, and is never to be blamed for evil.  (See Grudem, Systematic Theology, p328)

Luke 22:23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

This ‘suggests that the Lord’s Supper should be an occasion for solemn and serious self-examination.’ (Marshall)

Luke 22:24 Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

‘The apostles, in common with the Jews generally, had supposed that the Messiah would come as a temporal prince, and in the manner of other princes of the earth-of course, that he would have officers of his government, ministers of state, &c. Their contention was founded on this expectation, and they were disputing which of them should be raised to the highest office. They had before had a similar contention. See Mt 18:1 20:20-28. Nothing can be more humiliating than that the disciples should have had such contentions, and in such a time and place. That just as Jesus was contemplating his own death, and labouring to prepare them for it, they should strive and contend about office and rank, shows how deeply seated is the love of power; how ambition will find its way into the most secret and sacred places; and how even the disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus are sometimes actuated by this most base and wicked feeling.’ (Barnes)

Luke 22:25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.

Lk 22:25–27 = Mt 20:25–28; Mk 10:42–45

Luke 22:26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.

Luke 22:27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

The story of the foot-washing in John 13 suggests an appropriate setting for this saying.  But there is surely an allusion here to the deeper service that Jesus rendered to his disciples.  Although Luke did not record the ransom-saying of Mk 10:45, he has certainly brought out its meaning here.

Luke 22:28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials.

Luke 22:29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me,

Taking verses 28 and 29 together, the thought here is the same as that of Rom 8:17.

Luke 22:30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus has already, in the Last Supper narrative, spoken of eating and drinking in the coming kingdom.

Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.

Luke 22:32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

“I have prayed for you” – cf. Jn 17:9,15; Heb 7:25; 1 Jn 2:1.

‘If we see nothing unnatural in the fact that Christ prayed for Peter on earth, we need not make any difficulty about his praying for us in heaven. The relation is the same: the only difference is that Christ is now exalted and prays, not with strong tears but in the sovereignty and prevailing power of one who has achieved eternal redemption for his people.’ (Denney)

‘How encouraging is the thought of the Redeemer’s never-ceasing intercession for us…We little know what we owe to our Savior’s prayers.  When we reach the hill-tops of heaven and look back upon all the ways whereby the Lord our God has led us, how shall we praise Him who, before the eternal throne, undid the mischief which Satan was doing upon earth.  How shall we thank Him because He never held His peace but, day and night, pointed to the wounds upon His hands and carried our names upon His breastplate!’ (Spurgeon)

Luke 22:33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”

Lk 22:33,34 = Mt 26:33–35; Mk 14:29–31; Jn 13:37,38

Luke 22:34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”

Luke 22:35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered.

Cf. Lk 9:3.

Luke 22:36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

Cf. Lk 9:3.

If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one – This saying ‘has been variously judged as ironic, symbolic and unhistorical. Given the time designations marking Jesus’ passion as the turning point (“then … but now”), however, it probably signifies the hostility with which Jesus’ disciples will be confronted (cf. Mt 10:34–36/Lk 12:51–53; cf. Lampe). On any reading it is clear from 22:49–51 that Jesus did not endorse his disciples’ use of their swords. Armed conflict—so to speak—is permitted only with demonic enemies (Lk 11:21–22). Only in relation to Satan’s kingdom does Jesus come as a divine warrior, leading his followers into battle (Lk 10:17–19; cf. Rom 16:20).’ (DJG)

‘Attempts to interpret this literally as a Zealot-like call to arms, however, are misguided and come to grief over the saying’s very “strangeness.” Understood as a call to arms, this saying not only does not fit Jesus’ other teachings but radically conflicts with them. Also if two swords are “enough” (22:38), war with the legions of Rome was certainly not envisioned. The “sword” is best understood in some metaphorical sense as indicating being spiritually armed and prepared for battle against the spiritual foes.’ (NAC)

Bock: ‘The disciples take Jesus’ remarks literally and incorrectly. They note that they have two swords, but Jesus cuts off the discussion. Something is not right, but it is too late to discuss it. As the arrest will show, they have misunderstood. They draw swords then, but Jesus stops their defense in its tracks. He is not telling them to buy swords to wield in physical battle. They will have to provide for themselves and fend for themselves, but not through the shedding of blood. They are being drawn into a great cosmic struggle, and they must fight with spiritual swords and resources. The purchase of swords serves only to picture this coming battle. This fight requires special weapons (Eph 6:10–18).’ (IVPNTC)

Luke 22:37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

‘He was numbered with the transgressors’ – Here, the words of Isa 53:12 are applied directly by Jesus to himself.  ‘ Jesus sees his death as one in which he will be one with sinners. This surely points to that death as substitutionary: Jesus will take the place of sinful people.’ (Morris)

‘In the process of working out the significance of Jesus’ death in a narrative context, early Christians employed the OT at a number of levels. In some cases they incorporated direct citations of OT materials into the passion story (e.g., Lk 22:37, citing Isa 53:12; Mk 15:34, citing Ps 22:1). In other instances allusions to OT texts were woven into the narrative material. Thus, for example, language from Isaiah 50:6 has been borrowed in the account of Jesus’ mockery in Mark 15:19; Matthew 27:30 and John 19:1, 3. In this way, Jesus is identified typologically as the Isaianic Servant of Yahweh.’ (DJG)

Luke 22:38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That is enough,” he replied.

“That is enough” – or, “Enough of that!”

Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives, 39-46

Luke 22:39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.

Lk 22:40–46 = Mt 26:36–46; Mk 14:32–42

Luke 22:40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.”

Luke 22:41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed,

Luke 22:42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

“This cup” – ‘The Old Testament prophets speak darkly about the ‘cup of YHWH’s wrath.’ These passages talk of what happens when the one God, grieving over the awful wickedness of the world, steps in at last to give the violent and bloodthirsty, the arrogant and oppressors, the reward for their ways and deeds. It’s as though God’s holy anger against such people is turned into wine: dark, sour wine which will make them drunk and helpless. They will be forced to ‘drink the cup,’ to drain to the dregs the wrath of the God who loves and vindicates the weak and helpless. The shock of this passage is that Jesus speaks of drinking this cup himself.’ (Wright, Matthew for Everyone)

On the necessity of the atonement: ‘We may be confident that Jesus always prayed according to the will of the Father, and that he always prayed with fullness of faith. Thus it seems that this prayer, which Matthew takes pains to record for us, shows that it was not possible for Jesus to avoid the death on the cross which was soon to come to him (the “cup” of suffering that he had said would be his). If he was going to accomplish the work that the Father sent him to do, and if people were going to be redeemed for God, then it was necessary for him to die on the cross.’ (Grudem, Systematic Theology, p569)  Cf. Lk 24:25f.

Not my will, but yours be done – ‘We aim at God’s glory, when we are content that God’s will should take place, though it may cross ours. Lord, I am content to be a loser, if thou be a gainer; to have less health, if I have more grace, and thou more glory. Let it be food or bitter physic if thou givest it me. Lord, I desire that which may be most for thy glory. Our blessed Saviour said, ‘Not as I will, but as thou wilt.’ Mt 26:39. If God might have more glory by his sufferings, he was content to suffer. Jn 12:28. ‘Father, glorify thy name.’ (Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity)

Luke 22:43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.

‘The angels’ would be the last word of comfort Jesus would hear, till is was all over.’ (MacLeod, Christ Crucified, p28)

Luke 22:44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

His seat was like drops of blood falling to the ground – Some apologists, eager to squeeze the last drop(!) out of this passage, take it to mean that Jesus actually sweated drops of blood.  So, it is said:- ‘Psychogenic (fear induced) hematidrosis has been observed in a handful of reported cases from fear of impending physical harm. Most of these reported cases were in individuals just prior to execution. This appears to have been the case with Jesus, who sensed premonition of his impending crucifixion (Matt 20:18-19).’  Hendriksen says more or less the same thing.  Of course, such an interpretation ignores the comparative “was like”.

What we can say is that this verse supports Luke’s portrayal of our Lord’s humanity, and it provides evidence of his deeply emotional state at this time.

Why such agony?


‘Hundreds of martyrs have suffered the most painful deaths without any such demonstrations of mental and bodily agony as are here recorded in the case of our Lord. How are we to account for this? How are we to explain the remarkable circumstance that our Lord appears to have felt more distressed than many a martyr has done at the prospect of being burned alive or even when at the stake?

‘The only satisfactory explanation of Christ’s intense agony is the old doctrine of imputed sin. He had come to die for our sins. His death was a vicarious death. As our substitute he was about to bear our iniquities, to suffer for us, and to pay our debts to God with his own blood. He was about to be counted a sinner and be punished, that we might be counted righteous and be delivered from punishment. This sin of the world began to be laid on him in a special way in the garden. He was being made a curse for us by bearing our sins. This was the principal reason for his agony and bloody sweat. The words of Isaiah were being fulfilled (see Isaiah 53:6, 10).’

Ryle quotes Baxter: ‘This agony was not from the fear of death, but from the deep sense of God’s wrath against sin, which he as our sacrifice was to bear, in greater pain than mere dying, which his servants often bear with peace.’

Luke 22:45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.

Luke 22:46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

Jesus Arrested, 47-53

Lk 22:47–53 = Mt 26:47–56; Mk 14:43–50; Jn 18:3–11

Luke 22:47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,

A crowd – Probably a force sent by the Sanhedrin since two categories of members of that body are mentioned (three in Mk 14:43).

Kiss – The word phileo is used, the kiss being a mark of tenderness.

Luke 22:48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

Luke 22:49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”

Luke 22:50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?

Luke 22:53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

Peter Disowns Jesus, 54-62

Luke 22:54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.

Lk 22:55–62 = Mt 26:69–75; Mk 14:66–72; Jn 18:16–18,25–27

Luke 22:55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.

‘The whole story of Peter’s fall leaves the reader helpless, powerless to intervene, as the tragedy unfolds inexorably, scene after scene, until Peter has passed the point of no return, and finally crashes. Rash self-confidence and scorn of others, 14:29; failure to discipline the flesh in the Garden, 14:37; the cowardice of the flight, 14:50; the following at a distance, 14:54; the close association with the enemies of Christ, 14:54 – all these in their turn made the actual denial logical and indeed well-nigh inevitable…The battle against temptation in the high priest’s palace had been lost long before; for the time for the Christian to fight temptation is before it is encountered.’ (Cole)

We do not know why Peter came to the courtyard. Perhaps he had some idea of rescuing Jesus by the violence that Christ has already rejected in the garden.

‘Sometimes we tell this story in such a way as to do Peter far less than justice. The thing we so often fail to recognize is that up to the very last Peter’s career this night had been one of fantastically reckless courage. He had begun by drawing his sword in the garden with the reckless courage of a man prepared to take on a whole mob by himself. In that scuffle he had wounded the servant of the High Priest. Common prudence would have urged that Peter should lie very low. The last place anyone would have dreamed that he would go to would be the courtyard of the High Priest’s house-yet that is precisely where he did go. That in itself was sheer audacity. It may be that the others had fled, but Peter was keeping his word. Even if the others had gone he would stick to Jesus.’ (DSB)

Luke 22:56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” 57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

But he denied it – ‘Christ had often given notice to his disciples of his own sufferings; yet, when they came, they were to Peter as great a surprise and terror as if he had never heard of them before. He had often told them that they must suffer for him, must take up their cross, and follow him; and yet Peter is so terribly afraid of suffering, upon the very first alarm of it, that he will lie and swear, and do any thing, to avoid it. When Christ was admired and flocked after, he could readily own him; but now that he is deserted, and despised, and run down, he is ashamed of him, and will own no relation to him.’ (MHC)

‘The tragedy is that each step downward might have been a step upward; on each occasion, Peter was being forced to declare himself. At least he could no longer remain silent: now he must either admit or deny. God thus made the path of witness easier for him, and the issues more clear cut. But Peter chose, deliberately and thrice, to deny; and so these promptings of grace became occasions of condemnation, as they must always be if they are refused.’ (Cole)

Luke 22:58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

Luke 22:59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Luke 22:60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.

Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”

Luke 22:62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

He…wept bitterly

‘Make no mistake-Peter fell to a temptation which would have come only to a man of fantastic courage. It ill becomes prudent and safety-seeking men to criticize Peter for falling to a temptation which would never, in the same circumstances, have come to them at all. Every man has his breaking-point. Peter reached his here, but nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of every thousand would have reached theirs long before. We would do well to be amazed at Peter’s courage rather than to be shocked at his fall.’ (DSB)

‘There was an evangelist called Brownlow North. He was a man of God, but in his youth he had lived a wild life. One Sunday he was to preach in Aberdeen. Before he entered the pulpit a letter was handed to him. The writer recounted a shameful incident in Brownlow North’s life before he became a Christian and stated that if he dared to preach he would rise in the church and publicly proclaim what once he had done. Brownlow North took the letter into the pulpit with him. He read it to the congregation. He told them that it was perfectly true. Then he told them how through Christ he had been forgiven, how he had been enabled to overcome himself and put the past behind him, how through Christ he was a new creature. He used his own shame as a magnet to draw men to Christ. That is what Peter did. He told men, “I hurt him and I let him down like that, and still he loved and forgave me-and he can do the same for you.”‘ (DSB)

‘It is the fashion nowadays to make excuses for Peter, as some do for Judas…and in so far as it means that we see our own weakness in him, that may be good. But unless we see the heinousness of his sin, we cannot understand the bitterness of his remorse, nor the depth of his repentance, nor the riches of grace in his restoration…Light thoughts on sin ultimately lead to light thoughts on redemption, and ultimately rob the cross of its glory.’ (Cole)

‘Denial usually isn’t a sudden act. There were three stages to Peter’s denial. First he acted confused and tried to divert attention from himself by changing the subject. Second, he denied that he knew Jesus, using an oath. Third, he began to curse and swear. Believers who deny Christ often begin doing so subtly by pretending not to know him. When opportunities to discuss religious issues come up, they walk away or pretend they don’t know the answers. With only a little more pressure, they can be induced to deny flatly their relationship with Christ. If you find yourself subtly diverting conversation so you don’t have to talk about Christ, watch out. You may be on the road to disowning him.’ (HBA)

‘Failure can help us become humble and useful. Peter wept bitterly, not only because he realized that he had denied his Lord, the Messiah, but also because he had turned away from a very dear friend, a person who had loved and taught him for three years. Peter had said that he would never disown Christ, despite Jesus’ prediction (Mark 14:29-31; Luke 22:33-34). But when frightened, he went against all he had boldly promised. Unable to stand up for his Lord for even twelve hours, he had failed as a disciple and as a friend. We need to be aware of our own breaking points and not become overconfident or self-sufficient. If we fail him, we must remember that Christ can use those who recognize their failure. From this humiliating experience Peter learned much that would help him later when he assumed leadership of the young church.’ (HBA)

The Guards Mock Jesus, 63-65

Lk 22:63–65 = Mt 26:67,68; Mk 14:65; Jn 18:22,23

Luke 22:63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.

Luke 22:64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?”

Luke 22:65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

Jesus Before Pilate and Herod, 66-71

Luke 22:66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.

Lk 22:67–71 = Mt 26:63–66; Mk 14:61–63; Jn 18:19–21
Lk 23:2,3 = Mt 27:11–14; Mk 15:2–5; Jn 18:29–37
Lk 23:18–25 = Mt 27:15–26; Mk 15:6–15; Jn 18:39–19:16

Luke 22:67 “If you are the Christ, ” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me,

Luke 22:68 and if I asked you, you would not answer.

Luke 22:69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

Luke 22:70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”

Luke 22:71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

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