Summary: Jesus' last discourse in Luke 22:21-38 shows us several areas of failure in the disciples.
Jesus’ last night on earth was spent eating a meal with his twelve apostles. In fact, Jesus celebrated the last, divinely-sanctioned Passover meal, and also instituted the first, divinely-sanctioned Lord’s Supper. The meal took place over several hours, and Jesus spent his last hours teaching and interacting with his twelve apostles.
All four Gospel authors record Jesus’ last meal and discourse with his disciples. John’s Gospel is perhaps most detailed with the Upper Room Discourse. Nevertheless, we can also learn a great deal from Luke’s description of Jesus’ last discourse with his disciples.
Let’s read about Jesus’ last discourse in Luke 22:21-38:
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.”
35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” (Luke 22:21-38)
Jesus and his twelve disciples, also known as the twelve apostles, were eating the last, divinely-sanctioned Passover meal in the furnished upper room, somewhere in Jerusalem. During the course of the Passover meal, when the main course of the sacrificial lamb and bread was served, followed by the third cup of wine, Jesus instituted the first, divinely-sanctioned Lord’s Supper. The bread and the wine represented the body and blood of Jesus. That is, the bread and the wine represented the sacrificial death of Jesus to pay the penalty of sin for sinners, thereby reconciling them with God the Father.
It must have been a truly special evening. Jesus earnestly desired to eat this meal with his disciples, knowing that he was about to suffer and die. He poured out his heart to them one final time. The disciples were keenly aware that Jesus had many enemies, most of whom wanted him dead. But they were having a hard time wrapping their minds around what Jesus was saying to them. Eventually, they would understand Jesus’ teaching. But that night they did not understand his teaching and showed several areas of failure.
Jesus’ last discourse in Luke 22:21-38 shows us several areas of failure in the disciples.
Let’s use the following outline to show the areas of failure:
1. Deception (22:21-23)
2. Dissension (22:24-30)
3. Denial (22:31-34)
4. Dullness (22:35-38)
I. Deception (22:21-23)
The first area of failure is deception.
At the point of the institution of the cup in the Lord’s Supper, Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). And then, apparently without a pause, Jesus continued and said, “But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table. For the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!” (22:21-22).