Luke 22:1 (NIV)
1 Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching…
On verse 1: The Feast of Unleavened Bread, or Passover, was one of the most important festivals in the Jewish calendar. It was an annual event to commemorate the time described in the book of Exodus when the Israelites were still slaves in Egypt and were getting ready to leave Egypt under Moses’ leadership. God warned that every firstborn son living in Egypt would be struck down and killed unless his family sacrificed a lamb without defect and painted the doorframes of their homes with the lamb’s blood. When God saw the blood painted on the doorframes, God’s wrath would “pass over” that family and that house. God also instructed the Israelite families back then to bake bread without leaven (yeast) in it, so as to have a quick meal before being led out of Egypt. As a reminder of the mercy God showed to the Israelites back then, every year the Israelites would commemorate this event through the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or Passover, by eating a similar meal together consisting of unleavened bread and lamb.
What can we learn from this?
1. It is no coincidence that Jesus would be crucified during the Passover Festival. Through the sacrifice of Jesus’ body and the shedding of his blood, God’s wrath would pass over us, God’s mercy would reach to us, and God’s power to release us from slavery to sin would be made manifest. Jesus is our Passover lamb.
2. Go out of your way to regularly remind yourself of the mercy God has shown you. When you pray to God, remember the depth of mercy God showed you when He forgave you of your sins.
Luke 22:2-6 (NIV)
2 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.
3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.
4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
On verses 2-6: Huge crowds packed into Jerusalem for the Passover Festival. As much as the chief priests and teachers of the law were desperate to get rid of Jesus, they did not want to do it in public, lest the crowd turn against them and start a riot. They needed to find a way to apprehend Jesus secretly. Much to their delight, enter Judas, who under Satan’s influence agrees to hand Jesus over to them at an opportune time when no crowds were around to witness it.
Here are a couple lessons I learn from this:
1. What does it mean when verse 3 says that Satan entered Judas? Does it mean that Judas became demon-possessed and lost all control of his faculties to Satan? I don’t think so. I believe Satan’s entering and influencing Judas was much more subtle than this. By giving into the temptation to sell out his friend Jesus for his own selfish reasons, Judas was effectively allowing Satan to advance his agenda in this world through his life. As the Bible teaches us repeatedly (1 Peter 5:8; Luke 4:13), Satan is an opportunist who looks for opportune times to destroy God’s people.
Verses 1-13 show us that through our actions, words and decisions, we can agree to be used by Satan for his purposes and his agenda (v1-6), or we can agree to be used by Jesus for his purposes and his agenda (v7-13).
2. In His sovereignty, God would end up using all of the evil thoughts and decisions of Judas as well as the chief priests and teachers of the law ultimately to accomplish His purpose, which was to make salvation possible for all through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.
Does that mean we should go around intentionally or carelessly sinning then? Of course not. But it is a testament to just how sovereign and good God is that God can take even our biggest mistakes and work them into His plan to redeem lives and glorify Himself.
Luke 22:7-13 (NIV)
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.
8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 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,
11 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?’
12 He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
On verses 7-13: In verses 1-6 Judas agreed to be used to carry out Satan’s agenda. Here in verses 7-13 we see Peter and John agreeing to be used to carry out Jesus’ agenda. When instructing his disciples to go and prepare the Passover meal, Jesus tells his disciples to look for a man carrying a jar of water and follow him into the house he enters. Some scholars believe that a man carrying a jar of water would have been easy to notice because it was usually women who carried jars of water.
What can we learn from this?
1. One reason Jesus was an effective leader was because Jesus delegated tasks to others. Jesus didn’t insist on doing all the work on his own. He involved a team. He delegated. How about you? Are you trying to do everything yourself or are you learning to delegate and let others take on some of the things you are doing?
2. In sending his disciples out with specific instructions and guidelines, Jesus was preparing the way for his disciples so that his disciples could prepare the way for him. Jesus does the same with us today: whenever God prepares the way and opens a door for you to go to a new place, such as a new school, a new company, a new city, or a new opportunity, God does it so that ultimately you can prepare the way for him, that His name would be glorified and His presence would be felt in that new place.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are all-knowing and sovereign. You will take even our worst sins and our biggest mistakes and use them to accomplish Your ultimate purpose in the end. Use me, Lord, to advance Your agenda on this earth. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!