Summary: Some of Jesus greatest words and works happened at the table. Some of the greatest evil words and works happened there too.
In today’s lesson there are two main things I’d like us to notice:
A lot of exciting events of Jesus ministry happened around the dinner table, and,
Evil is conniving, but God’s will wins.
First, from the salvation of the sinful woman in Luke 7 to Zaccheus’ house in chapter 19, Jesus was known as one that ate and drank with sinners. But those he joined at the table were never the same as before they came. Jesus often turned the tables on sin at the dinner table. But there were times at the table with evil showed it’s ugly head, but God’s will had a way of turning the tables on the conniving evil and working it all out for good.
As we study this passage in Luke 22:1-29 this week, like last week, we need to compare it to what we find recorded in Matthew and Mark. They all tell the same story, and here in the last part of Jesus’ life before his crucifixion, each one of these gospel writers gives an account. There are a few differences among Matthew, Mark, and Luke that make for a fuller view of what happened. Then, of course, there’s John’s gospel that gives four chapters on Jesus last discourse with the disciples where Matthew, Mark and Luke all cover it in less than one.
There are a couple of things in Luke that are in a different order, and Luke also leaves out the story of Jesus being anointed by Mary. By the way, all the other gospels tell that story. And putting their accounts all together gives us an insight about what may have triggered Judas’s betrayal. It was another meal at another table with other company besides just Jesus and the disciples. While Jesus was at this table, having this meal, Mary came to Jesus and poured this very expensive perfume, pure nard, on him. John tells us that it was specifically Judas that started all the complaining about it, calling it a waste. John then tells us that Judas was a thief and that he kept the money bag and used to help himself to what was in it. His love of money was part of his motivation for betraying Jesus. You can see this in John 12:1-8. Matthew and Mark record this story too, and they tell us how Judas’s complaints spread, so that some of the other disciples were indignant about Mary’s gift to Jesus too, and began saying to one another, “Why this waste, this was bottle of perfume was worth a year’s wages?” Some began scolding her for it, saying it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. But, remember, it all started with Judas. Well, Jesus rebuked them for bothering her and then he honored her for this act of love. Judas must have been furious. Evil is conniving. It was immediately after this that Matthew and Mark tell us about Judas going out to betray Jesus to the chief priests. Luke says the Satan entered him and he went to discuss with the chief priests how he might betray Jesus. Matthew tells us that Judas said, “What will you give me to deliver him up to you?” They paid Judas thirty silver coins, or one twelfth of the value of the Nard that Mary had poured in Jesus. It was the “Judas” portion.
I tell you, evil is conniving… but God’s will wins.
If you and I were among the chief priests when Judas came to us, we would see this as a great opportunity! These religious rulers were finally mad enough with Jesus to kill him, but they were afraid of the reaction of the crowds. You can almost see them ringing their hands and scowling with furry at what to do with Jesus. Jesus has said some harsh things about them, true things, but very harsh just the same. How dare he say such things! When we get our hands on him we’ll… we’ll…
Knock, knock, knock!
What do you want?
Judas comes in. “What are you willing to give me to deliver Jesus up to you?”
The Bible says in Mark and Luke, they were glad when they heard this! This word for “glad” means rejoicing, and it is the same word Judas used when he greeted Jesus in the garden when he came to betray him. It is a word with two uses: one is a rejoicing because of a great opportunity or event, the other is a greeting of a friend. Both are expressions of great happiness. These chief priests are overjoyed that they’ve got an insider working for them! Judas has just given them encouragement in their evil intentions and motivation toward their devious goals.
Judas collects his blood money and now begins looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus to them. Can you believe it? Evil is so conniving.