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New Testament Lesson 23 (KD): Luke 22:1-38

Posted by Karl D. on June 7, 2011

Gospel Doctrine
Lesson: Matthew Luke 22:1-38
Reading: Matthew Luke 22:1-38; John 13-15

PDF Version of Notes

1 Approach

These represent the notes I made during my reading of the scriptural text for this lesson. It is not a lesson outline or a lesson plan but really notes about issues and questions that struck me as interesting during my reading. Consequently, the notes do not have a conclusion and very little mention of application. I like to let those things arise while I teach.

2 Background Issues

In the last three lessons Matthew has been the main text. The backdrop of the last few lessons has been Jesus final days and discourses. In broad outline the lessons have covered the following actions by Jesus:

  1. He enters Jerusalem triumphantly (Matt 21:1-11)
  2. Cleanses the temple (Matt 21:12-22)
  3. Contends with the Jewish leadership (Matt 21:23-23:36?)
  4. Discusses the fate of Jerusalem and his return (Matt 24-225).

Today, we return to the gospel of Luke. However, the last few chapters of Luke covers similar ground at least in broad outline: (1) Jesus enters Jerusalem (Luke 19:28-44), (2) cleanses the temple (Luke 19:45-48), (3) contends with the Jewish leadership (Luke 20:1-21:4), and (4) discusses the fate of Jerusalem and his return (Luke 21:5-38).

Note, I am not trying to argue that the Matthew and Luke accounts are essentially the same. They are only the same in broad outline. There are some real differences and I think the difference are very interesting and worth studying (but not part of the lesson). I just want to show the continuity between are past few lessons and today’s material.

3 Satan and Judas

Read Luke 22:1-6:

(1) Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. (2) And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. (3) Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. (4) And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. (5) And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. (6) And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

  • Luke equates the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and Passover in verse 1: “the feast of unleavened … which is called the Passover.” However, “The Feast of Unleavened Bread was a week long celebration that followed the day of Passover.”1 One name is used to describe both feasts in Deut 16:1-8. Maybe Luke isn’t concerned with strict accuracy because of his readers are probably gentiles?
  • The language used by Luke here seems to specifically mirror an earlier prophecy of Jesus in Luke 9:21-22:

(21) And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; (22) Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

  • Also, notice that there is no mention of the Pharisees in these verses (only the chief priests and scribes). The last time Luke mentions the Pharisees is in Luke 19:39-40 when Jesus rebukes them for asking Jesus to rebuke his noisy disciples. In fact that is the last time Luke mentions the Pharisees in the entire gospel of Luke.2 I wonder if this is significant?
  • Matthew keeps mentioning the Pharisees, but Luke doesn’t. I wonder if Luke wants to contrast or focus our attention on the contrast between Jesus and the Jewish hierarchy and leadership?
  • Why does Luke tell us that the Jewish leadership were afraid of the people? Why is this an important detail at this point? Does this limit how and in what way the leadership can respond to Jesus?
  • How should we understand the phrase, “Then Satan entered into Judas?” Today, would we just say that, “Satan tempted Judas” or maybe even that Judas “yielded to the impulses of the natural man?” Does the account of his betrayal help us understand what is meant by this phrase?
  • First, note that the strength of the phrase doesn’t seem to be idiosyncratic aspect of the King James Translation. Modern translations contain similar language: the NRSV states that, “Then Satan entered into Judas” and the NIV states that “Then Jesus entered Satan.” I tend to understand this as equivalent to “was tempted” even though I think the gospel writers might have intended a stronger implication. The gospels don’t paint a picture of Judas lacking culpability or not knowing what he is doing. Furthermore, Malina and Rohrbaugh in their anthropological commentary suggest the following social or cultural backdrop for the strong statement:3

Abnormal behavior, out of keeping with one’s normal honor status and social identification, required explanation. It was usually attributed to outside forces that were either positive (God, good spirits, God’s sky servants or angels) or negative (Satan, evil spirits, wicked demons). Identification of the real source of such outside influence was necessary since persons under the influence of evil powers were a threat to the community and had to be expelled.

  • Do you think the temptation of Christ in Luke 4:1-13 serves as a backdrop to this pericope? Can you think of similarities?
  • It really does make me think of verse 13 of chapter 4:

(13) And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

  • Well, I guess it doesn’t remind me of the King James Version of Luke 4:13. It, however, does come across in a modern translation for me:

(13) When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

  • The phrase, “he left him until an opportune time” is what really ties the two pericope together for me. It is now a very opportune time. I think this is the first time the activity of Satan has been a detail or focus of Satan since the temptation narrative.4 Additionally, the chapter heads towards Jesus’ greatest trial (verse 40 and also verse 28) which mirrors the earlier trials of chapter 4.
  • How should we understand the role of money in the betrayal? Is money a seductive force the helps drive the betrayal or something else? How is money talked about in the gospel of Luke more generally?

4 An Outline of the Chapter

I know this is a strange place to outline the chapter, but the plot to betray Jesus reminds me of interesting structure of the first 53 verses of the chapter:5

1. The plot to betray (1-6)
   2. The last supper (7-38)
   3. The atonement (39-46)
4. Betrayal (47-53)
  • What do you make of the structure of the chapter? Do you think the structure is important? What does the last supper and the suffering on the Mount of Olives have in common?
  • Note, in the above outline I am not trying to suggest an extended chiastic structure. I just want to show how events (2) and (3) are sandwiched by betrayal pericopes. I don’t think one can overstate the importance of the last supper and the suffering on the Mount of Olives. The fact that Luke constructs the narrative so these supremely important events are sandwich by the plotting to betray and the actual betrayal strikes me as very interesting. <How does the structure focus the readers attention? What’s the contrast?
  • First, I know I am dwelling on the literary features of a couple of events that are both of supreme doctrinal or devotional import. However, the structure really does help me appreciate these events better. I think there are a number of interesting contrasts, but let me highlight the ones that stick out to me. Do you see any?
  • I am struck by the contrast between the faithfulness of Christ and the unfaithfulness of the betrayers. Jesus is faithful to his disciples and serves them to the very end. He is faithful to his Father. His obedience to his father is highlighted. The contrast is striking and wonderful. Additionally, the events (including the last supper) point to the triumph of Jesus over the devil and sin, but they are sandwiched in between what appears to be the triumph of evil and those that oppose Jesus.

5 Passover Preparations

Read Luke 22:7-12:

(7) Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. (8) And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. (9) And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? (10) And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. (11) And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? (12) And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. (13) And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

  • How do you understand this pericope? Is Jesus prophesying or informing the disciples of some prearranged agreement?
  • Suppose it is a prophetic utterance. What role does it play in the narrative? Why is it important? I mean Luke could have left it out? Why do we need to hear one more time that the prophecies of Jesus are fulfilled?
  • I think from a literary point of view the actions and faithfulness of Peter and John contrast with Judas and his actions in the previous pericope. Also, I think it reinforces the efficacy of the Jesus’ prophecy and Jesus makes some important prophecies in the last supper pericope. Finally, I think the pericope might provide us with a beautiful allusion to the beginning of the gospel in verse 11:6

The usual translation of the GK katalyma as “guest room” [guestchamber in the KJV] is misleading and masks the unmistakable cross reference to 2:7 … “The reader of the Greek text would catch it as an echo.” When Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem, the city of David, there was no place to stay or eat in an inn (2:7) for them and one who is Savior and Christ the Lord (2:11). When Jesus now comes to Jerusalem, the city of David and his rendezvous with God, he is shown hospitality. From the inn (v 11) Jesus hosts a meal which is symbolic of his servant life for others and which his disciples will do in his memory.

6 The Last Supper

Read Luke 22:14-20:

(14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. (15) And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: (16) For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. (17) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: (18) For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. (19) And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. (20) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

  • How do you picture this event? Do you think the meal was only attended by Jesus and his twelve apostles? Do you think there is a larger group in attendance including other disciples? Maybe disciples like the woman (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) that Jesus appears to first after being resurrected (Luke 24:10)? Is there anything in text that hints at there being others in attendance?
  • Well, verse 14 does explicitly only refer to the twelve apostles, but other verses use more general terms. For example, verse 11 says, “Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?” I tend to think it was more than just Jesus and the apostles but I could easily be wrong.
  • Why is it important that Jesus had a final meal with his disciples? What past themes does it emphasize? Do you think a final meal scene is particularly poignant or meaningful in the gospel of Luke?
  • Verse 15-18 and 19-20 seem to repeat the same process. what is going on? Why the repetition?
  • One possibility is that the repetition is related to the sequence of the 1st century passover meal. The New Jerome Bible Commentary describes the 1st century passover meal sequence as follows:7

(1) preliminary course, during which one cup of wine was drunk and a second cup was poured; (2) the Passover liturgy itself, in which the head of the family retold the exodus; the second cup of wine was drunk; (3) the meal proper which commenced with the breaking of bread; after the meal the third cup of wine was drunk. This meal celebrated God’s liberation of his people from slavery and looked ahead to his future definitive liberation.

  • How does this backdrop help or change how you understand the pericope?
  • How does the message or focus change in verses 15-18 and and verses 19-20?
  • Does the pericope include elements that maybe we don’t think about very much when we partake of the Sacrament but are important?

7 Prophecy of Betrayal and Aftermath

Read Luke 22:21-30:

(21) But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. (22) And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! (23) And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. (24) And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (25) And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. (26) But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. (27) For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. (28) Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. (29) And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; (30) That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

  • In the Mark version (14:28-31) and the Matthew version (26:21-25) the prophecy of betrayal occurs at the beginning of the meal (before the Sacrament). How does this change or how does this difference affect the account?
  • Why would Jesus reveal that he knows he is going to be betrayed? What does it show? Why might it be important for the disciples to know this? Why might it be important for us, as readers and fellow disciples, to know this?
  • Doesn’t it seem strange that Jesus announces that he will be betrayed and the disciples end up squabbling about who is the greatest? Does it actually make sense that the announcement led to such a squabble? How is this pericope ironic given what has preceded in the last supper?
  • The squabbling over greatness is interesting. In some ways it seems unfathomable given what happened in the last supper (that is why is strikes me as ironic). On the other hand, does seeing or being privy to the squabbling lead to some natural introspection? What sort of introspective questions come to mind?

8 Prophecy of Betrayal

Read Luke 22:31-34:

(31) And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (32) But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (33) And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

  • We can read this quite negatively and maybe view Peter quite negatively, but is that fair overall? Is this passage really hopeful in some sense?
  • How does the pericope provide contrast with preceding parts of chapter 22? Does Peter contrast with Judas? Anything else? How is it related to the discussion about who is the greatest?
  • What does this pericope teach us about the nature of discipleship? What do we learn about the nature of conversion?

Footnotes:

1 NET
Bible notes for Luke 22:1.

2 The New Jerome Bible Commentary, Prentice Hall, 714.

3 Malina, Bruce J., and RichardL. Rohrbaugh, 2003, Social Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, Fortress Press, 315.

4 Mays, James L. (editor), 2000, The HarperCollins Bible Commentary, HarperCollins, 952.

5 The New Jerome Bible Commentary, Prentice Hall, 715

6 The New Jerome Bible Commentary, 715.

7 New Jerome Bible Commentary, Prentice Hall, 715.

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