Summary: Though evil plotted heavily against Jesus He remained in total control of every situation. Sometimes do you adopt the ways of the world to accomplish God’s will?
Have you ever met someone who really comes across as having it together and being pretty impressive? I’m reminded of that old TV show The Pretender. In it a guy named Jared could instantly become anyone he wanted: a doctor, a cop, a scientist, whatever. He wasn’t really any of those things and couldn’t really function in those areas, he just put on the uniform and talked the talk.
In a way, the first 30 verses of Luke 22 are about those who either think they have real power, or are grasping for power-contrasted with the One who doesn’t seem to have any power at all, but controls all the rest.
Verses 1 - 2
The Chief Priests (most of whom were Pharisees) thought they had the power to hurt Jesus, whom they saw as a threat to their position. But out of their fear for people they had been unable to get Jesus alone so they could murder Him. Isn’t it odd that as they prepare to celebrate God rescuing them from a tyrant in Egypt who murdered their innocent sons, that they themselves had become tyrants bent on murdering God’s innocent Son?
Help comes to them from another man who wanted power.
Verses 3 - 6
We don’t know exactly why Judas did what he did. We know that Satan inspired it, then helped Judas maybe get up the gumption to actually carry it out. It doesn’t absolve Judas of responsibility just as Pharaoh chose to have a hard heart so in the end God helped him out by hardening it even further-giving him what he wanted in the first place. (Exodus 4:21)
Some think that Jesus didn’t live up to Judas’ expectations of a political Messiah. They suggest that Judas was merely forcing Jesus’ hand-that arresting Him would make Him have to use his superpowers to overthrow Rome.
Some think that Judas simply no longer believed that Jesus was the Son of God and so he was simply removing a make-believe Messiah.
Others think that Judas was a greedy crook, and when Jesus didn’t realize Judas’ dreams of riches he decided to look elsewhere for money and didn’t really care a wit about Jesus (John 12:12 - Judas used to embezzle money from the moneybag).
Others say that he was a pawn that had no control over what he did. Acts 1:25 suggests that Judas was destined to go to hell. If he was a pawn or puppet he was a willing one.
There is an interesting reference in Acts 1:20 when the disciples cast lots for Judas’ replacement. They quote a Psalm which is fascinating if laid over the betrayal by Judas.
Psalms 109:1-8 Be not silent, O God of my praise!
2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
3 They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
4 In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
5 So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.
6 Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand at his right hand.
7 When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
8 May his days be few;
may another take his office! ESV
So Judas conspires with the Chief priests and sells out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver - the price of a slave. The idea was to provide a time and location where no one could riot as they arrested Jesus. Here was a grab for power with the power brokers.
Verses 7 - 12
Passover (Exodus 12) commemorated God’s rescue of His people from Egypt by killing all the first born sons in the land, except those who had killed a spotless lamb and applied the blood to the doorposts of their houses. They were to eat the lamb along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. We’ll talk more about the huge significance of this on Wednesday. The Jewish Seder as, it’s called, is wonderfully and powerfully symbolic of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus had made prior arrangements for a safe, secure place for the Passover. This was a crucial and intimate time for Jesus to spend with the disciples. John 13-17 all happens at this time when Jesus gives his last instructions. He did not want to be arrested prematurely.
It’s kind of a cloak and dagger arrangement - kind of a dead drop sort of thing. Peter and John were to look for a man carrying a jar of water. Then there is the secret pass code: "The Teacher asks …" Normally women would carry water, so a guy carrying water would have stood out from the crowd. Tradition suggests that the Passover happened at Mark’s house, so the master would have been Mark’s dad and would have known the disciples and Jesus by sight.