13. Jesus’ Last Night
Luke 4:16-21 - He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’
A lot of businesses and a lot of churches have mission statements. This is Jesus’ Mission statement and after 3 years of ministry from that point, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation. He has healed the sick. He will release the oppressed by His death on the cross. His mission will be fulfilled at the cross.
Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles were the three most important feasts in the Jewish calendar (Leviticus 21). All Jewish men were expected to visit Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). The Feast of Passover was to commemorate the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and it was a time for remembering and rejoicing (Exodus 11-12). In Luke 22, we come to Jesus’ last night before He goes to that cross.
Jesus Plans (Luke 22:1-6)
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, 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. Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve, and Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
- Jews were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Ex.12:15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast.
- Jesus had warned his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). 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 19:11)
- Judas was motivated and energized by satan (John 13:2, 27)
- Judas was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13:10-11), therefore Judas had never believed or received eternal life (John 6:64-71)
- Judas had been given authority and had been preaching the same message. This proves how close a person can come to the kingdom of God and still be lost (Matthew 7:21-29)
2. Jesus Prepares (Luke 22:7-13) –
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover." "Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. 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, 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?' He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there." They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
Disciples needed a room within Jerusalem itself, and also required food - a lamb, bread, bitter herbs and wine.
(Luke 22:14-23) – When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfilment in the kingdom of God." After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." 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." 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. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him." They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
The Passover meal contains historical and theological symbolism regarding the death of Jesus. This 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.
3. Jesus Serves
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17)
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 13:4-5). Peter, recalcitrant and resistant as always, objects (John 13:6, 8). Peter learns that only those cleansed by Jesus and trusting in Him fully, can be a part of the kingdom (John 13:7, 9). As we look back at this episode, knowing what we do now of the Cross, we learn how this simple act of washing feet is symbolic of Jesus’ sacrificial death on the Cross.
- Both events display great love and service.
- Just as Peter opposed Jesus going to the cross (Matthew 16:21-23), so he objected to having his feet washed here
- Jesus’ getting up to serve symbolizes His coming to serve.
- As he took off his cloak, this symbolizes the taking off of His glory when He became man.
- Girding Himself with a towel, symbolizes his taking on human flesh at the incarnation.
- As the water cleansed the feet, so Jesus death and blood cleanse from sin.
- As He returned to where he was sitting and sat down after finishing this act of service, Jesus returned to the right hand of God after his work on the Cross.
When we became Christian Disciples, our sins were forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross. That is when we had our “bath” as it were. That is the point when we were justified before God and we are declared His child. Having been justified already, we don’t need a bath anymore! But we do need the equivalent of a feet-washing daily, and or every time we take Holy Communion, and a cleansing of our sin when we confess it before our God and repent.
4. Jesus Speaks (Luke 22:24-38)
Reading Luke 22: 25-30: Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 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. 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. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In this teaching we see that
- The disciples, the new leaders, will judge the tribes of Israel
- His followers are to serve gladly
- His followers will be tested
- His followers will be persecuted and are to show love.
Compare the Plans!
Plans – The contrast between the plan of Jesus and those of his enemies.
Plans of Jesus
- Jesus is in control
- Plans the Passover meal (Luke 22:7-12)
- The meal is part of His plan (Luke 22:16)
- He knows Judas’ plan (Luke 22:21-22)
- Replaces the old leaders of God with his men (Luke 22: 30)
Plans of His enemies
- Plotting to kill Jesus (Luke 22:2)
- Arranges for Judas to betray Jesus (Luke 22:3)
- Satan’s purpose is to destroy Jesus (Luke 22:3, Luke 22:31)
All the elements in the plot conspiring against Jesus had been allowed for. The death of Jesus was no accident (1 Peter 1:18-21) “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”
The new covenant is a new meal, in order to remind his followers in every age about the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. In the new covenant (Luke 22:20) Jesus claims that his death was spoken about by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 31:33-34). It was a new covenant in which God’s people will be able to know him intimately, for their sins will be forgiven.
For more to think about please ask yourself the following questions and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. How often are my feet washed or my sins confessed?
Q2. Read Philippians 2. How does this passage relate to John 13 and how should I react to it?
Q3. How often am I prepared to serve and do the little jobs that need doing, instead of waiting for somebody else to do them?