Oct 21, 2014
Jesus' Last Night
G'day and welcome to Partake! We are now on day 21 of our series "Glimpses", looking at the story of the Bible in 30 days, from the time of creation through to the time of the fullness of redemption! Last time we looked at Jesus at prayer. Today we look at the events of his last night, before his death.
In Luke 22, we come to Jesus' last night before He goes to death on the cross. It's the time for the Feast of Passover! Jerusalem was filled with people come to celebrate this great event! Passover was a time to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and it was a time for remembering and rejoicing with families (Exodus 11-12).
1. Plans of His enemies
In Luke 22v1-6, we read that Jesus' enemies plotted to kill him (Luke 22v2) and arranged for Judas to betray him (Luke 22v3). Of course, satan is involved, just as he was at the beginning of time and his purpose was to destroy Jesus (Luke 22v3, Luke 22v31). What about Judas though? Judas was motivated by greed, energized by satan and willing to betray Jesus for money (John 13v2, 27). Judas was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13v10-11), therefore he had never truly believed or received eternal life (John 6v64-71). And while all this is going on, Jesus is still in perfect control. All the elements in the plot conspiring against Jesus had been allowed for. Remember, Jesus had been talking to God the Father! The death of Jesus was no accident!
2. Jesus Plans
In accordance with the Mosaic covenant, the people of Israel were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Ex.12v15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast on their travels to the promised land. In Luke 12v1, Jesus had warned his disciples about the "yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy". In other words, the religious leaders had cleansed their houses but not their hearts. The last thing the religious leaders wanted was a messianic uprising during Passover (Luke 19v11). They would have heard the crowds talking up Jesus Christ as the messiah, particularly after the events of the previous week when Jesus entered Jerusalem!.
3. Jesus Prepares (Luke 22v7-23)
Reading Luke 22v7, 13 - Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, "Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together."
The disciples went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.
Disciples needed a room within Jerusalem itself, and also required food - a lamb, bread, bitter herbs and wine.
4. Jesus initiates the New Covenant
(Luke 22v14-23) - When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, "I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won't eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God."
Then he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. Then he said, "Take this and share it among yourselves. For I will not drink wine again until the Kingdom of God has come."
He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me."
After supper he took another cup of wine and said, "This cup is the new covenant between God and his people-an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.
The Passover meal contains historical and theological symbolism regarding the death of Jesus. We will come to see what those are later on in the series, but suffice to say at this point, it is why this meal is the model for the central act of Christian worship, which is Holy Communion.
- Opening Prayer
- First cup of wine and a dish of herbs and sauce.
- Story of the Passover was recited.
- Psalm 113 was sung
- Second cup of wine
- Prayer of Grace
- Main course of roast lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs
- A further prayer
- Third cup of wine.
- Psalm 114 to 118 were then sung.
- Fourth cup of wine.
5. Jesus Serves
Jesus washes the disciples' feet (John 13v1-17)
Reading from John 13v1-5 - Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father. He had loved his disciples during his ministry on earth, and now he loved them to the very end. It was time for supper, and the devil had already prompted Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples' feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.
As part of the custom of the day, a servant or slave usually undertook foot washing of guests. Since none of the disciples had done this, Jesus Himself undertakes the task (John 13v4-5). Peter, recalcitrant and resistant as always, objects (John 13v6,8 ). Peter learns that only those cleansed by Jesus and trusting in Him fully, can be a part of the kingdom (John 13v7, 9).
Jesus' rising to serve symbolizes His coming to serve - that was his mission we talked about earlier in the series! It was a mission of great love and service! When he took off his cloak, this symbolizes the taking off of His glory when He became human. As he girded Himself with a towel, symbolizes his taking on human flesh at his birth. And, as the water cleansed the feet, so Jesus death and blood cleanses from sin. When he finished cleaning, he returned to where he was sitting and sat down after finishing this act of service.
6. Jesus Speaks (Luke 22v24-38)
Reading Luke 22v 24-27: Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, "In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.' But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
Here Jesus tells his disciples that they are the new leaders and thereforet they will judge the tribes of Israel! That in doing so, they are to serve everyone gladly, love everyone even those that they tested and persecute them! This is a radical new thing Jesus is telling his disciples - their actions are to back up their claims, just as Jesus' actions confirm his own claims! In so doing, Jesus replaces the old leaders of God with his own people.
Tomorrow we look at that day in history - the day Jesus, the God-man, died. Thank you!