Summary: Everyone Abandons Jesus. It’s really remarkable when you think about … just how many people abandoned Jesus at His greatest time of need.
At the end of today’s service, I’ll be offering you an opportunity to respond to Christ. In fact, some of you may want to grab your worship guide right now and find the communication card. There, you’ll find an opportunity to be a part of next Sunday’s baptism service. Place your name there and simply circle the words, “I want to be baptized.” I invite you to bring this card to me or one of us at the Encourager’s Room at the end of today’s service.
It’s late on Thursday and Jesus and His Disciples are in the middle of the Last Supper. While Jesus is the main character, we also need to pause to look at two disciples, Peter and Judas. For these two disciples’ faltering relationship with Jesus not only make for great theatre, but they even more importantly show us something about OUR relationship with Jesus. Today, I want to ask you a chilling question: are you Peter or are you Judas?
And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. 15 And he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves. 18 For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. 22 For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” 23 And they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
28 “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
“31 Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, 32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” 33 Peter said to him, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.” 34 Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:14-34).
We are still around fifteen hours before Jesus’ death and the narrative is action packed. There is so much packed into the few hours before Jesus’ murder that you feel like you are watching three tennis matches at once. We are but one hundred eighty verses from the end of Luke’s gospel.
Today is Thursday in Holy Week and I want to ask your focus on two disciples – Peter and Judas. Jesus’ death is just around the corner and the hostility to Jesus is growing rapidly. Two men spent equal time with Jesus but came away from their encounter walking in completely two different directions for eternity. One man hung himself while the other went on to become a martyr for Christ. One faltered but was a genuine disciple while the other’s life is completely without the marks of a true disciple. What was it about these two men and their response to Jesus Christ?
1. Jesus is Abandoned
2. Judas is Himself
3. Peter is Tested
1. Jesus is Abandoned
Sandwiched in the tight space of the events of Thursday evening is Jesus’ washing of the Disciples’ feet, the eating of the Passover lamb, as well as the beginning of the last Supper. Again, sandwiched inside the tightest of windows is Jesus’ abandonment.