LIFE OF CHRIST
In our last lesson, we focused on how Jesus instituted the Lordís Supper during the Passover meal. We also examined the connection between the Passover meal and Feast of unleavened bread with Jesus being our Passover lamb and the Lordís Supper. Before I leave the topic of the Lordís Supper, I want to answer a question I did not have time to answer in our last lesson.
Does the Bible teach that we can only partake of the Lordís Supper from one cup only?
Matthew 26:27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you.
Those who would say yes, to your question would say that Jesus just used one cup, so we should use just one cup. However, they fail to understand is that Jesus is using a figure of speech known a Metonymy. A metonymy is defined as a figure of speech in which the name of one thing is used in place of that of another associated with or suggested by it. For example, someone might ask did she like her lemonade? Then they might respond yes she drank the whole cup. You see the cup represent the lemonade and not the cup itself.† We Use the form of speech all the time. We might say the pot is boiling but we understand that the liquid is what is actual boiling and not the pot. Let me give you 2 Biblical examples.
Genesis The earth also was corrupt before God.
Moses wasnít talking about the dirt or the water he was talking about the people that are on the earth. The same thing is true with our next verse.
John "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son:
Again he is talking about the people and not the earth. So when Jesus was talking about the cup, He wasnít giving any special meaning to the cup itself, He was talking about fruit of vine. Now think about this, if we are to take the one cup literally and take this passage to the extreme, then this would mean that we could only partake of the fruit of the vine from that very cup and that cup would have to be passed around from congregation to congregation on every Sunday which of course is impossible to do. Sometimes it helps to take a thought to the extreme to show the error in it.
When it comes to the Lordís Supper, we see that the bread and the fruit of vine are to be used, however how these items are to be dispersed are matter of expedience. You can use one cup, perhaps a tall glass or short glass. You could use multiple cups. When it comes to unleavened bread you could just pass the bread around by itself or you have it on a tray. None of these are wrong because they are matters of expediency. So if a congregation wants to drink out of one cup good for them, they have that right, but no one has the right to make their way of partaking the Lordís Supper binding, but this is what some have done. So, the emphasis is on the bread and wine not the portion amount or the container.
One last thing I want to point out comes from our account in Luke, who provides some additional information the other accounts do not.
Lk. 22:15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; †16 "for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." †17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; †18 "for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." †19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." †20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
This could be confusing to some because verse 17 has Jesus blessing the cup and dividing it among His disciples but in verse 20, we see the cup referred to again. When you look at the other accounts, you will see that Jesus first broke the bread and told them the meaning of it and then He would bless the cup and tell them the meaning of that. Some might think that Jesus was partaking of the cup, eating the bread and then partaking of the cup again.
In order to understand what is going on here is to remember that Jesus is eating the Passover meal with His disciples. In fact, I want to remind you once again of the traditional procedure that was done during the Passover as outlined by Don Walker:
1. A prayer of thanksgiving by the head of the house; drinking the first cup of (diluted) wine.
2. The eating of the bitter herbs, as a reminder of the bitter slavery in Egypt.
3. The sonís inquiry, ďWhy is this night distinguished from all other nights?Ē and the fatherís appropriate reply either narrated or read.
4. The singing of the first part of the Hallel (Ps. 113-114) and the washing of hands. The second cup. The lamb was eaten in commemoration of what the ancestors had been commanded to do in the night when the Lord smote all the first-born of Egypt and delivered his people (Exo. 12-13). The unleavened bread was eaten in commemoration of the ďthe bread of hasteĒ eaten by the ancestors.
5. Continuation of the meal, each eating as much as he liked, but always eating the last of the lamb. The third cup.
6. Singing of the last part of the Hallel (Psa. 115-118).
The Schertz Lectures in Luke p. 346
So, the cup in verse 17 was just one of the 3 cups that were divided during the Passover meal, but when you get to verse 20, it clearly states this cup was partaken of after the supper. Most likely, Jesus used the 3rd cup of the Passover Meal to institute the partaking of the fruit of the vine for the Lordís Supper. So, the point is that Luke simply gives us more information than the other accounts about the dividing of these cups for the Passover meal, but like the other accounts confirm, the cup for the Lordís Supper was presented after the unleavened bread was eaten.
Next, Jesus predicts who is going to betray Him. This is found in all four accounts Mt. 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22; John 13. I am going to be using Johnís account, but I will mention a few extra details from the other accounts. I am going to begin by picking up on the end of the conversation Jesus was having with His disciples when He washed their feet.
John 13:18 "I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, 'He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.'† 19 "Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.† 20 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
The one person He was excluding was Judas because Judas was not clean, and he would not learn to serve others. Instead, his actions would fulfill the prophecy of Psalm 41:9. Jesus foretold His disciples about this betrayal, so when it happened, it would prove once again that He is the Son of God.
John 13:21 When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me."†
The end of Jesusí life was growing closer, and as He thought about it, it bothered Him deeply. Throughout this event, He taught that someone would betray Him, but now He states it with clarity.
John 13:22 Then the disciples looked at one another, perplexed about whom He spoke.† 23 Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.† 24 Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask who it was of whom He spoke.† 25 Then, leaning back on Jesus' breast, he said to Him, "Lord, who is it?"† 26 Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it." And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.† 27 Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, "What you do, do quickly."† 28 But no one at the table knew for what reason He said this to him.† 29 For some thought, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus had said to him, "Buy those things we need for the feast," or that he should give something to the poor.† 30 Having received the piece of bread, he then went out immediately. And it was night.
When Jesus made His statement it caused the disciples to become anxious and perplexed because they could not believe that one of them would betray Him. Even though he is not named in our text, most believe it was John that was leaning on Jesusí bosom. Peter wanted John to ask Jesus who was going to betray Him. The other accounts have all the disciples asking Jesus, ďIs it I?Ē Once again, Jesus refers to the prophecy of Psalm 41:9 and He fulfills it by dipping the bread and giving it to Judas. After that, Satan entered Judas. Satan had already been working on Judas, but now he had won Judas to his side, so Jesus told him to go and do what he was going to do quickly.
This is how the devil works on people. He persistently tempts them by heightening what they are tempted by. For example, after the devil had tempted Jesus in the desert, Luke writes: ďNow when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune timeĒ (Lk. 4:13-14). So, we should never think our battle with the devil is ever over. When we start thinking that way, he will come into our lives and take us down like he did Judas.
As interested as everyone was in finding out who the betrayer was, one would think the disciples would have figured out it was Judas, but they did not. When Judas got up and left, they thought he left to buy more supplies for the feast or to give some money to the poor. Of course, we know he was going to betray Jesus. From the other accounts, we can know this happened around the time Jesus instituted the Lordís Supper, and our text tells us it was dark outside.†
John 13:31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.† 32 "If God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and glorify Him immediately.† 33 "Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot come,' so now I say to you.† 34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.† 35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
Judas betrayal would bring about Jesusí death, which would bring about Jesusí glorification. Godís plan to save man would come to pass, and it would happen on Godís terms not mansí terms. We can prove this because the Jews did not want to kill Jesus during the Passover feast, but Jesus said this is when it would happen (Mt. 26:1-5), which proves that Jesus was in control of when He would die.
In verse 33, Jesus is repeating what He had taught before, but this time His death was closer than ever before. His disciples would not be able to follow Him or find Him because He would be in heaven.
In verse 34, Jesus gives a new commandment that is similar to the one Moses gave, which was to love your neighbor as yourself. However, Jesus commandant is different because He is commanding us to love one another like He loves us, which is a stronger form of love we are to follow.
Notice what Reynolds said about this:
So a new type of love is given, as the Greek expositors generally have urged. There is a deeper intensity in this love than can be found in Moses' "Love thy neighbor as thyself." In that commandment which embraces the whole law, self-love is assumed and made the standard for the love of neighbor. The new commandment, on the other hand, is based on a new principle, measured by a higher standard than love of self. This is based on Christ's love, which was self-abandoning and self-sacrificing love (H. R. Reynolds, The Pulpit Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), II, p. 196).
When we show this higher level of love for one another, Jesus said this will cause everyone to know that we are His disciples. As Christians, we must do our best to love one another as Jesus loves us.
Next, we read:
Lk. 22:24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.
With all of this going on, His disciples choose this moment to once again argue over who was the greatest. Some suspect the reason this argument came up again was the sitting order of the disciples. The one on the right hand of Jesus would normally be considered the greatest, then the next would be the one on His left and the pecking order would continue to follow this pattern. This just goes to show us once again that they were still thinking of a physical kingdom and they had not learned their lesson when Jesus addressed this issue earlier. Notice Jesusí response:
Lk. 22:25And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called`benefactors.' †26 "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
Notice Hendricksonís comments regarding this:
Jesus again showed these men that their egotism was a worldly, pagan trait. It reminded one of the self-centeredness of the ďkings of the Gentiles.Ē These men, while exercising their authority ruthlessly, nevertheless took delight in being called benefactors! How very true! On a denarius was not Augustus called ďgod? On a copper coin was not Tiberius described as ďone who deserved to be adoredĒ? But, more to the point, had not the very title benefactor (or Well-doer), Euergetes, been ascribed to both Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II? (Hendrickson, p. 971)
Jesusí kingdom is not like your normal kingdom because He is stressing the point that you need take on the humble position such as a youth or a servant to be the greatest in His kingdom. Itís not about ruling over others, but serving them.
†27 "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. †
Keep in mind that Jesus had just finished washing their feet. Though He is their master, He was serving them, showing once again just how different things are in His kingdom. I am also reminded of what Paul said:
Phil. 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. †4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. †5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, †6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, †7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. †8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
The same principle is true today. If you want to be the greatest in Godís kingdom, then be a humble servant to others. Even though His disciples were having this petty argument over who was the greatest, Jesus does commend them as we read in:
28 "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. †29 "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, †30 "that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."
Even though Jesusí disciples had their flaws, they were loyal and had stayed with Christ throughout His ministry. So, they would be given a place of honor in His kingdom. Regarding the meaning of them sitting on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel, I want to share with you what others have said about this.
When the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory - That is, to judge the world. ďThrone of gloryĒ means glorious throne or a splendid throne. It is not to be taken literally, but is used to denote his character as a king and judge, and to signify the great dignity and majesty which will be displayed by him. See Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:11; Acts 17:31.
Sit upon twelve thrones - This is figurative. To sit on a throne denotes power and honor, and means here that they would be distinguished above others, and be more highly honored and rewarded.
Judging the twelve tribes of Israel - Jesus will be the Judge of quick and dead. He only is qualified for it, and the Father hath given all judgment to the Son, John 5:22. To be a judge denotes rank, authority, power. The ancient judges of Israel were people of distinguished courage, patriotism, honor, and valor. Hence, the word comes to denote not so much an actual exercise of the power of passing judgment, as the honor attached to the office; and as earthly kings have those around them dignified with honors and office - counselors and judges, so Christ says that his apostles will occupy the same relative station in the great day. They will be honored by him, and by all, as apostles, as having, in the face of persecution, left all; as having laid the foundations of his church, and endured all the persecutions of the world.
The twelve tribes of Israel - This was the number of the ancient tribes. By this name the people of God were denoted. By this name Jesus here denotes his redeemed people. See also James 1:1, where Christians are called the twelve tribes. Here it means also, not the Jews, not the world, not the wicked, not that the apostles are to pronounce sentence on the enemies of God, but the people of God, the redeemed. Among them Jesus says his apostles will be honored in the day of judgment, as earthly kings place in posts of office and honor those who have signally served them. (Barnes online commentary of Matthew)
T.R. Applebury makes a similar statement:
Paul mentions the authority that the Lord gave the apostles (II Corinthians 10:8). The twelve tribes of Israel represent the church, for Paul indicates that the believers are the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). Their activity was to be carried on during the ďregeneration;Ē that is, during the period when men become new creatures through obedience to the gospel which they preached (Titus 3:3-5). In this Christian age, Christ exercises authority through His apostles. The New Testament is the record of the judgment of that court. It is as binding on the followers of Christ as the words spoken by Him in person. (T.R. Applebury, Studies in Luke pp. 363-364)
Next, Jesus predicts the disciplesí denial of Him.
Matt. 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:`I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered1.' †32 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee." See also Mk. 14:27-28
It becomes a little bit difficult to get everything in chronological order at this point because if you read Matthew and Markís account, you would get the impression that they had already concluded the stay in the upper room and had made their way to the Mount of Olives. However, our verses in John indicate that much more was done in that upper room and perhaps part of what was said was done on the way to the Mount of Olives. Now knowing exactly where they were when all of these things happened is not that critical, but I will be taking the angle that a lot of these events we will be covering over the next several lessons happened in that upper room including Jesus prediction that we just read, which is quote from Zechariah 13:7. While I could be wrong on where these things were spoken, it does not change what was spoken.
So, Jesus tells them that they will stumble that night and be scattered, but after Jesus has been raised from the dead, He will go before them to Galilee. We know all of this happens, but here is another example where Jesus clearly refers to His death, burial and resurrection, yet it went right over their heads. Next we read:
Lk. 22:31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. †32 "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."
The devil was always looking for opportunities to take advantage of Jesus and His disciples, and he is good at it, but like Peter, we have Jesus on our side. Like Peter, who would end up sinning by denying Jesus, he would come out of that trial stronger than he was before. We must realize the same. As Paul said:
1 Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.†††††††††††
So, letís never forget that the devil is on a leash and even if we sin for a moment, we can rise up from it and learn to be more faithful to God in the future.
What Jesus says next is recorded in all four accounts: Mt. 26; Mk. 14; Lk. 22; Jn. 13. We will look at Johnís account.
John 13:36 Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward."† 37 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for Your sake."† 38 Jesus answered him, "Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times.
Peter did not understand what Jesus meant, so he wants to know where Jesus was going. Jesus assures him that he cannot follow Him to where He was going, but later He could. Before this could happen, Jesus had to die to make it possible for others like Peter to be able to follow Him into heaven at the general resurrection.
We have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Peter. He felt like he was ready to follow Jesus all the way even if it meant his death. But Jesus let him know that he would stumble and deny Him three times before the rooster crowed. We also learn in Matthew 26:35 that all the disciples made this claim as well, but sadly all of them would deny Jesus before the night was over. †††
Finally, we will examine what Luke records for us in:
Lk. 22:35 And He said to them, "When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" So they said, "Nothing." †36 Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. †37 "For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me:`And He was numbered with the transgressors.' For the things concerning Me have an end."
Jesus is confirming once again how He is with them and has provided for them. Even when they went on their limited commission with the bare minimum, they were taken care of. However, He lets them know that things are about to get tough and indicates that they need to be prepared for it, which is why He tells them take a money bag and knapsack with them this time. He even tells them to have a sword, which could be used for protection.
Jesus knew that He was going to be put to death soon and numbered with the transgressors as Isaiah 53:12 said it would be. Now, Jesus Himself was not a transgressor, but the two thieves that were crucified with Him were. He lets them know that there is an end to things concerning Him. Once He fulfilled all that was prophesied about Him, His work on earth would end and His kingdom that He would bestow on His apostles and all Christians would begin.