The Bible says in Luke 22:7-13, Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where will you that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when you are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he enters in. And you shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master says unto you, Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. Its not an accident that Jesus was crucified during the Passover. The first Passover took place during the time of Moses when the children of Israel were delivered from the bondage and the oppression of Egypt. Exodus 12:5-7 says, Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: you shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And then it says in Exodus 12:12-13, For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
The first Passover took place in the time of Moses. The last Passover took place right here in Luke chapter twenty-two. The Passover is a beautiful picture of salvation. God said, When I see the blood, I will pass over you. An escape from the judgment of God is provided through a substitute. The blood came from an innocent lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is the most important work that the Messiah did in His first coming, but the disciples did not understand that Jesus was to become their Passover and our Passover. Therefore, Jesus was very careful to teach the disciples just before He died what the Passover was really all about. As we shall see in this chapter what we call the Lords Supper is actually a part of the Passover feast.
Notice that the Bible says in Luke 22:7, The passover must be killed. Jesus is our Passover, and therefore He must be killed also. Only by the death of Jesus and by His blood would sinners such as you and me have the chance for salvation and forgiveness of sins. The righteous demand for justice by a Holy God has been met because Jesus died in our place. It was very important that the disciples learn what Jesus was accomplishing by His death on the cross. Jesus fulfilled the law. Jesus did what the Passover could never do with lambs and goats. He died for sins once for all.
The Bible says in Luke 22:14-20, And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 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. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
The closest thing in our society to what Jesus was experiencing here is an innocent man on death row. No matter what is your opinion of the death penalty, the fact is that from time to time an innocent man is condemned to die, and just before he is put to death he is given his last meal. The last meal that Jesus had was the Passover meal, and as Jesus sat at that meal with His disciples, He did what He so often had done. Jesus used the material things that were nearby in order to teach a spiritual lesson. He used the bread and the wine. Jesus did not create a formal ceremony. Today there are various ceremonies in the various denominations that are performed to represent what Jesus did at the Last Supper. Perhaps the ceremonies are permitted, but what Jesus did was informal and spontaneous.
The bread that was broken symbolized the body of Jesus that would be broken on the cross, and the cup represented His blood that was shed there. The eating of the bread and the drinking from the cup were physical acts that symbolized a great spiritual truth. In order to come to know the forgiveness of sins that only Jesus can give, one must receive Christ spiritually. John 1:12 says, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Just as food and drink must be taken into the body for the body to be given physical life, Jesus Christ must be taken in spiritually in order to have spiritual life. There is no true spiritual life without Jesus. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. John 1:4 says, In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Notice that Jesus said in Luke 22:20, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. There is a New Testament, which has a different emphasis than the Old Testament. The Old Testament had a great deal to do with the law, and the requirements of the law, and the punishments for not obeying he law. The New Testament has a great deal to do with the salvation that God has provided so that we need not suffer the punishments of the law. John 1:17 says, For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. The New Testament is directly connected to the blood of Christ that was shed for us on the cross of Calvary. A testament is a covenant and an agreement between two parties. God has agreed to give us salvation and forgiveness if we will agree to believe on His Son who shed His blood for us.
From here to the end of the book of Luke we will be given many of the details surrounding the events that led to the death of Jesus Christ the Savior. Jesus said in Luke 22:21-22, But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! In the history of Christianity some people have had theological differences trying to reconcile the pre-determined will of the Almighty God with the free will of man. Some groups emphasize the one too much, and other groups emphasize the other too much. In reality both are taught in scripture, just as both are shown in this verse. Somehow both the pre-determined will of God and the free will of man are in effect in certain situations. Thats probably because the predetermination of God is involved with His pre-knowledge. Jesus said. Before Abraham was, I am. The Bible also says, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. We cannot fully understand it, but God is not limited by space and time the way that we are.
Some events were determined beforehand by the purposes of God. Certainly the death of Jesus Christ fits into this category. His death was planned by God from eternity. The wicked deeds of wicked men were also involved in the crucifixion, not the least of which was the betrayal by Judas Iscariot. Somehow even when the predetermined will of God is involved, the free will of man is still involved. The action of betrayal was committed by Judas, and therefore he was held accountable for his actions. His actions were a result of his choices, and therefore he was held accountable. He could have chosen otherwise. Had he done so, another means would have presented itself that would have led to the crucifixion of Christ.
Notice the reaction of the apostles when Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. The Bible says in Luke 22:23, And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. Even among the twelve there was one who had a devil, but for three years no one knew who he was. The rest of the disciples did not see a difference between Judas Iscariot and themselves. The same situation exists today. There are some people who everyone thinks are great Christians, but at the judgment it will be shown that they had a devil. Man sees the outward appearance, but God sees the heart. The opposite is also true. There are some people who are disregarded and looked down upon by certain groups of believers, but some of these at the judgment will be shown to be true believers.
As the disciples began discussing who among them would be the traitor, their thoughts turned to the subject of who among them would be the greatest. Luke 22:24 says, And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. Not only did they talk about it, but they argued about it. Such is the vanity of man. Jesus just told them that one of them would be a traitor, and instead of being humbled by that thought, they begin arguing about who would be the greatest. This natural human competitiveness that results in strife and the struggle for power is a very destructive force. It has resulted in many of the wars and violence that have plagued the human race. Of course, such competitiveness will also be destructive when it is present among believers.
Evidently Jesus thought that it was very important to address the problem of human pride as it is manifested in the struggle for power and in natural human competitiveness. The Bible says in Luke 22:25-27, And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But you 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 does serve. For whether is greater, he that sits down to eat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sits down to eat? But I am among you as he that serveth. The important phrase to notice in these three verses is where Jesus said, You shall not be so. Believers are not supposed to behave like unbelievers in certain things. One of these things is in regards to what Jesus called lordship.
In a rigid hierarchy there are successive levels of authority, and often among human beings each level attempts to control and dominate as much as possible the level below them. But this kind of lordship should not exist among believers. For one thing, we have no king but Jesus. For another, we are all equals. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We have all sinned, we have all been saved by grace, we have all been gifted according to the will of God, we all been given the same promises, and we are all headed to the same abode in heaven.
Jesus made it very clear that instead of having a desire to dominate or control another human being, we should have the desire to serve them. Jesus came to the earth as a servant and we should be servants also. Whenever believers think they should dominate or control someone, they are in for trouble. This is also true with the husband-wife relationship and with the parent-child relationship.
It is very clear that the Lord does not want His believers creating a hierarchy in which someone dominates or rules over a group of believers. The Christian clergy had better beware. Some pastors and some deacons and some Christian leaders had better beware. There is some very important teaching on this subject in the book of Revelation. Jesus praised the church of Ephesus and said to them in Rev. 2:6, But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. What is a Nicolaitane? The word is a tranliteration of the Greek, and the meaning is found by looking up the definition of the Greek word that is used. It means to rule or to control the people. The people refers to the people of God.
Jesus says that He hates the deeds of those who would rule over or control the people of God. Notice that that which was simply a deed in the church of Ephesus became a doctrine by the time we get to the church of Pergamus. Jesus said to the church of Pergamus in Rev. 2:15, So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Some people during the time of the church of Pergamus had created a doctrine out of the idea that someone would rule over and control and dominate the people of God. It appears that such a doctrine and such a practice is still alive in many churches today. The role of the clergy should be to feed the Word of God to the people of God and not to rule over them. Jesus said to Peter, If you love me, feed my sheep. Jesus loves us and so He told us how to serve Him in this world in a way that we will bear fruit for His glory, instead of in a way that will burn up as wood, hay, and stubble. Jesus told us in Luke chapter 22 to not lord it over each other as the Gentiles do.
Copyright; 2001 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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