Luke – Doors Wide Open!
We won’t understand completely why Jesus, Son of God, who is I AM, Bread of Life, Living Water, Truth, the Word who became flesh had to suffer the extreme cruelty that He did–but we know, without doubt, that He did. He did it for you. He went through it all for me.
John tells us about love of God that surpasses all other kinds of love in his gospel…For God so loved the world (everyone He created) that He gave of a part of Himself, His One and Only Son, as the perfect and only sacrifice for our sins SO THAT those who believe will not perish but have everlasting life.
Think about this Truth and let His relentless, extreme love sink deep into our souls and overwhelm us as we read about the night they arrested God.
Luke 22, New Living Translation
Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 But even as Jesus said this, a crowd approached, led by Judas, one of the twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus to greet him with a kiss. 48 But Jesus said, “Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When the other disciples saw what was about to happen, they exclaimed, “Lord, should we fight? We brought the swords!” 50 And one of them struck at the high priest’s slave, slashing off his right ear.
51 But Jesus said, “No more of this.” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked, “that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 53 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns.”
Peter Denies Jesus
54 So they arrested him and led him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. 55 The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. 56 A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers!”
57 But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!”
58 After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!”
“No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted.
59 About an hour later someone else insisted, “This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” 62 And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.
63 The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” 65 And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at him.
Jesus before the Council
66 At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, 67 and they said, “Tell us, are you the Messiah?”
But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. 68 And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.”
70 They all shouted, “So, are you claiming to be the Son of God?”
And he replied, “You say that I am.”
71 “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.”
(With the help of Warren Wiersbe, Commentator)
Perhaps the best way to grasp the spiritual lessons behind the tragic events of that night is to focus on the symbols that appear in the narrative. The Bible is a picture book as well as a book of history and biography, and these pictures can say a great deal to us. In this passage, there are six symbols that can help us better understand our Lord’s suffering and death. They are: a lonely garden, a costly cup, a hypocritical kiss, a useless sword, a crowing rooster, and a glorious throne.
THE GARDEN – Human history began in a garden (Gen. 2:7–25) and so did human sin (Gen. 3). For the redeemed, the whole story will climax in a “garden city” where there will be no sin (Rev. 21:1–22:7). But between the garden where man failed and the garden where God reigns is Gethsemane, the garden where Jesus accepted the cup from the Father’s hand.
The first Adam rebelled in the garden of Eden and brought sin and death into the world, but the Last Adam (1 Cor. 15:45) submitted in the garden of Gethsemane and brought life and salvation for all who will believe.
THE CUP – Jesus is the Son of God and knew full well that He would be raised from the dead, and yet His soul experienced agony as He anticipated what lay before Him. In the hours ahead, He would be humiliated and abused, and suffer shame and pain on the cross. But even more, He would be made sin for us and separated from His Father. He called this solemn experience “drinking the cup.”
Dr. Luke is the only gospel writer who mentions “sweat.… like great drops of blood.” His use of the word like may suggest that the sweat merely fell to the ground like clots of blood. But there is a rare physical phenomenon known as hematidrosis, in which, under great emotional stress, the tiny blood vessels rupture in the sweat glands and produce a mixture of blood and sweat. The first Adam sinned in a garden and was condemned to living by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:19). Jesus, the Last Adam, obeyed the Father in a garden and conquered Adam’s sin (Rom. 5:12–21).
Luke is also the only writer to mention the ministry of the angel (Luke 22:43). In fact, both the gospel of Luke and the book of Acts give angels a prominent place in the work of the Lord. Angels could not come to die for our sins, but they could strengthen our Savior as He courageously accepted the cup from His Father’s hand. What an encouragement to God’s people when they wrestle and pray about difficult and costly decisions!
THE KISS – not all kisses are born out of a loving heart, for kisses can also be deceitful. In the case of Judas, his kiss was the basest kind of hypocrisy and treachery. It was customary in that day for disciples to greet their teachers with a loving and respectful kiss. Judas used the kiss as a sign to tell the arresting officers who Jesus was (Matt. 26:48–49). Jesus had taught in the temple day after day, and yet the temple guards could not recognize Him!
Judas was deceitful; he was a liar just like Satan who entered into him (John 8:44; 13:27). He defiled almost everything that he touched: his name (Judah = “praise”), the disciple band (Luke 6:13–16), gifts given to Christ (John 12:1–8), and the kiss. He even invaded a private prayer meeting, defiled it with his presence, and betrayed the Savior with a kiss. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Prov. 27:6).
THE SWORD – The disciples remembered (and misunderstood) His words about the sword (Luke 22:35–38), so they asked Him if now was the time to make use of their two swords. Without waiting for the answer, Peter rushed ahead and attacked a man who turned out to be Malchus, a servant to the high priest (John 18:10, 26–27).
Why did Peter do this? For one thing, he had to back up the boastful words he had spoken in the Upper Room (Luke 22:33) and again on the way to the garden (Matt. 26:30–35). Peter had been sleeping when he should have been praying, talking when he should have been listening, and boasting when he should have been fearing. Now he was fighting when he should have been surrendering!
Peter made a number of serious mistakes when he attacked Malchus with his sword. To begin with, Peter was fighting the wrong enemy with the wrong weapon. Our enemies are not flesh and blood, and they cannot be defeated with ordinary weapons (2 Cor. 10:3–6; Eph. 6:10–18).
It is just like Jesus to act in grace when others are acting in malice (Ps. 103:10). He showed grace to Peter by rebuking his presumptuous sin and repairing the damage he had done. He showed grace to Malchus, a lowly slave, by healing his ear, and He showed grace to the whole world by willingly yielding Himself to the mob and going to Calvary. He did not come to judge but to save (Luke 19:10; John 3:17).
Each of us must decide whether we will go through life pretending, like Judas; or fighting, like Peter; or
yielding to God’s perfect will, like Jesus. Will it be the kiss, the sword, or the cup?
THE CROWING OF A ROOSTER – Our Lord endured six different “trials” before He was condemned to be crucified, three before the Jews and three before the Roman authorities. First, He was taken to Annas, the former high priest who was an influential man in the nation and retained his former title (John 18:12–13). Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas, his son-inlaw, who was the official high priest (Matt. 26:57). Finally, at daybreak, He was tried before the Sanhedrin and found guilty (Luke 22:66–71).
Jesus was led out of the garden , and “Peter followed afar off” (Luke 22:54). This was the next step toward his defeat. In spite of all the sermons that have been delivered on this text, criticizing him for walking at a distance, Peter was not intended to follow at all. The “sheep” were supposed to scatter and then meet Jesus later in Galilee (Matt. 26:31). In fact, when He was arrested, Jesus said to the guards, “Let these [disciples] go their way” (John 18:8–9), a clear signal that they were not to follow Him.
Peter first stood by the fire (John 18:18) and then sat down with the servants and officers (Luke 22:55). Sitting there in enemy territory (Ps. 1:1), Peter was an easy target. While he was thinking only of his own comfort, his Master was being abused by the soldiers (Luke 22:63–65).
It began with servant girls seeing Peter as not one of them. Peter hears the rooster’s crow immediately after each denial of knowing Jesus. When other servants joined in, it was at this point Peter used an oath and said, “I don’t know the man! I don’t know what you are talking about!” It was then that the cock crowed for the third time and the Lord’s prediction was fulfilled (Mark 14:30).
At that moment, Jesus, being led away to the next trial, turned and looked at Peter, and His look broke Peter’s heart. While the bystanders were watching Jesus, Peter slipped out and went off and wept bitterly. It is to Peter’s credit that all the Lord had to do was look at him to bring him to the place of repentance.
For one cock to crow at the right time while the other birds in the city remained silent was certainly a miracle. But the crowing of the cock was much more than a miracle that fulfilled our Lord’s words; it was also a special message to Peter, a message that helped to restore him to fellowship again.
The miracle of the crowing rooster told Peter that a new day was dawning, for after all, that is what the rooster’s call means each day. It was not a new day for Judas or for the enemies of the Lord, but it was a new day for Peter as he repented and wept bitterly. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17). On resurrection morning, the angel sent a special message to encourage Peter (Mark 16:7), and the Lord Himself appeared to Peter that day and restored him to fellowship (Luke 24:34).
Each one of us, at one time or another, will fail the Lord and then hear (in one way or another) “the crowing of the cock.” Satan will tell us that we are finished, that our future has been destroyed, but that is not God’s message to us. It was certainly not the end for Peter! His restoration was so complete that he was able to say to the Jews, “But you denied the Holy One and the Just” (Acts 3:14 nkjv). Peter did not have 1 John 1:9 to read, but he did experience it in his own heart.
A GLORIOUS THRONE – Jesus had not yet officially been declared guilty, and yet the soldiers were permitted to mock Him and abuse Him. Here they mocked His claim to being a prophet; later they would mock His claim to being a king (John 19:1–3). But their mockery, sinful as it was, actually fulfilled Christ’s own promise (Matt. 20:19). He is an example to us of how we should behave when sinners ridicule us and our faith (see 1 Peter 2:18–25).
Jesus knew the hearts of His accusers, their unbelief, and intellectual dishonesty (Luke 20:1–8). It was futile to preach a sermon or enter into a debate. They had already rejected the evidence He had given them (John 12:37–43), and more truth would only have increased their responsibility and their judgment (John 9:39–41).
Jesus saw beyond the sufferings of the cross to the glories of the throne (Phil. 2:1–11; Heb. 12:2). That our Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father is a truth that is often repeated in the New Testament (Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Acts 2:33; 5:31; 7:55–56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1). This is the place of honor, authority, and power, and by claiming this honor, Jesus was claiming to be God.
Only Luke records the direct question in Luke 22:70 and our Lord’s direct answer, which literally was “You say that I am.” They would use this testimony later when they brought Him to Pilate (John 19:7). Some liberal theologians say that Jesus never claimed to be God, and we wonder what they do with this official trial. The Jewish religious leaders knew what Jesus was talking about, and this is why they condemned Him for blasphemy.
The “religious trial” was now over. The next step was to put Him through a civil trial and convince the Roman governor that Jesus of Nazareth was a criminal worthy of death. The Son of God was to be crucified, and only the Romans could do that.
Referring to the Jewish authorities, William Stalker wrote in The Trial and Death of Jesus Christ, “It may be said that they walked according to their light, but the light that was in them was darkness.” “None so blind as those that will not see,” wrote Matthew Henry, the noted Bible commentator. “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36 nkjv).
This is a lot of information from Warren Wiersbe, obviously my favorite commentator and researcher of the times of Christ. But the significance causes us to ask ourselves,
*Who do we say Jesus is?
*Do I put Jesus on trial once more when I don’t speak up for Truth?
*Do we continually crucify the saving grace that Jesus has provided by refusing to accept, believe, trust, or obeying in our behaving?
*Do we test Jesus to see if He is I AM?
*Are we like a repentant Peter or a bitter, regretful Judas?
*How do we behave when ridiculed or mocked because of our faith?
*Is our faith worthy of being mocked?
Dear Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior,
There are not enough words of gratitude in our human language for all you have done for us. Cleanse me. Restore Your salvation in me. Renew my thoughts to be more like your thoughts. Take me to higher ground where You reside. Help me not to fall into foolish temptations but to be more wise in your ways. Create in me a clean and holy heart. I am not ashamed of Who I belong to with all my heart, mind and soul. You have brought us out of trouble more times than I can count. You protect, heal, provide, guide and grow us. Thank you, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit. Thank you for Your Presence.
In Jesus Name, Amen