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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Skip Heitzig » Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:1-46

Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:1-46

Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:1-46
Skip Heitzig - Luke 22:1-46
TOPICS: The Bible from 30.000 Feet, Gospel of Luke, Bible Study, Passover

Luke 22 has seventy-two verses. That's a long chapter. It's like going through two chapters, so we need to get a move on. I was twenty-three years old when I became a temporary resident of Galilee. I moved there from America to become a migrant worker on one of their farms, and happy to do so. But what I wasn't prepared for is the celebration of Passover. I knew of it. I'd studied it. I'd been around some who practiced it here. But to be in that land during the greatest of all the festivals, it was just astonishing. I lived up north. I lived up in the Galilee region. You couldn't even get a hotel room or a youth hostel in Jerusalem. They were taken sometimes a year in advance. So packed downed there. But even the celebration in Galilee was just incredible as we went through the Passover story together.

At the same time, it was bittersweet for me, because I knew that many of those, most of those, really, except for just a few, understood the full impact of the Passover meaning as the Lord Jesus brings that meaning clear to his disciples in the story that is before us. Now, like modern times, in antiquity Passover has always been a big deal. It is one of the three mandatory feasts that if you live within a certain parameter of Jerusalem and you are an adult male, you have to go to Jerusalem to celebrate it. You have to go. If you live within fifteen miles of that city and you are an adult Jewish male, you go to the city of Jerusalem for Passover. That's what the law was understood to mean and that's how it was practiced.

But even if you didn't live within fifteen miles, if you were Jewish and you lived anywhere in the world, if you were part of what is called the great Diaspora, the dispersion of Jews around the world, it was always a dream that "Perhaps someday, maybe next year we could make it, I could be in Jerusalem." It is so inculcated into the fabric of the Jew that at the Seder Feast every year the statement is made, the prayer is made: "L'shanah haba'ah b'Yerushalayim!" "Next year in Jerusalem!" Always the hope, always the dream. For this Passover Jesus is with his disciples in that great city of Jerusalem. We know that Passover looked back to a great deliverance in Egypt, the death of the firstborn, the deliverance of the people from under the oppressive bondage of a king named Pharaoh, one of the pharaohs of Egypt who had a tight grip of those people and wouldn't let them go.

So it would look backward to an oppressive king, but it would also look forward to a coming kingdom. And here Jesus gives a totally new meaning to it, a fulfillment, if you will. Now, in the Exodus, the redemption, the deliverance, the Passover, which is written about in the first few chapters of the book of Exodus, you can familiarize yourself with that in another time, if you haven't already. During that redemptive process, the Exodus, God acted as a judge, he acted as a Savior, and he acted as a Father. First of all, as a judge. He was judging the false gods and the religious system of the Egyptians. He was judging the Pharaoh who thumbed his nose at God. So God acted as a judge by killing all of the firstborn people and animals of that land of Egypt.

Second, God acted as Savior, saving his people, whoever by faith applied blood to the lintels and doorposts of a home. And, third, God acted as a Father, bringing these people unto himself, to a place where they had to be totally dependent upon God. And God was creating a new nation, "His own peculiar people," the Bible says. Among other things, the overarching truth of the Passover is, first of all, there can be no redemption or aversion of divine judgment without death. Blood has to be shed in order for divine judgment to be stopped. That's the basic kind of no-brainer of Passover. For there to be redemption, for there to be the stopping of divine wrath, blood has to be shed. There must be death or there will be no life.

The second great overarching truth of the Passover is that there can be a substitute. Some thing, some life can be substituted for your life. In that ancient case, a lamb was slain and its blood applied, and God passed over the people of Israel and brought them to himself. Two great truths that will be fulfilled with Jesus Christ. Chapter 22, verse 1, "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called [pesach in Hebrew] Passover." Now you'll notice two things in that verse: "Unleavened Bread" and "Passover." There are two feasts that were lumped into one. First was the feast of Passover. It lasted one day. It was the fourteenth day of the Hebrew calendar month Nisan. Nisan, not the car, the month originally called Abib, then changed to Nisan. And on the fourteenth day of Nisan was the Passover.

Then immediately following that day from the fifteenth to the twenty-first day was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And so often you find those terms interchangeable and lumped together because it is an eight-day festival essentially: one day followed by seven more days, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. So they were put together because they were inextricable. Now, the idea of unleavened bread was simple: they had to get out of Egypt in a hurry. They didn't have time to put leaven, to put yeast into bread and let it rise, so they were on the move, and they would remember that. They would remember the Passover. They would also remember the provision of unleavened bread in these two festivals. It says, "The chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill him, for they feared the people."

Notice, not "if they should kill him or not." They didn't debate, "You know, should we stop the life of Jesus? Should we run him out of town or should we kill him?" They were determined to put him to death. And the other Gospels tell us they wanted to do it after Passover, and here's the reason: a riot could break out in Jerusalem. Tensions were high at Passover. You go, "Why tensions? I thought it was a celebration time?" Well, because the Romans occupied the land, right? And the Romans understood that Passover had political overtones. They were celebrating the redemption from an oppressive power, Egypt. Well, now they're under another oppressive power and all sorts of riots could be started. In fact, history is replete with riots in Jerusalem during this time, before, and after.

So that is why Pilate was in town. And that is why Herod was not in Tiberias, but he was in town, because they understood that things were at fever pitch during Passover. Well, they want to kill Jesus, but they also know that the people love him, so they're trying to figure out "What's the best plan here? What's the right way to get him and kill him?" And Judas was their answer, because he agreed to betray Jesus. It says immediately in verse 3, "Then Satan entered Judas." It's quite a statement. We find that statement made of Judas twice: once in his plotting, and once in the doing of the betrayal of Jesus Christ. "Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve." So, finally, their lucky break. There are so many people gathered.

By the way, how many people gathered in Jerusalem? Well, we can't be absolutely certain, but good guesses have been made. Just so you understand what happens in Jerusalem during Passover, you know what happens in Albuquerque during Balloon Fiesta. Put that experience on steroids and you'll get an idea. In a city that at that time had 400,000 people, perhaps, in the environs of Jerusalem, and then take the fact that Josephus said on one of the years no less than 256,000 lambs were slaughtered; 256,000 lambs were slaughtered. Now, keep in mind that they were slaughtered in a two-hour period, between three and five. So there was about two lambs being slaughtered per minute during that slaughtering time in the temple, 256,000 lambs.

The average meal serves ten. That was the minimum. So around two and a half million people during that particular reference point of Josephus crowded in and around Jerusalem. So you can understand how the Jewish leaders would feel very, very antsy about how they're going to get ahold of Jesus. "So he went his way," verse 4, "and conferred with the chief priests and the captains, how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he promised and sought opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of the multitude." During the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, there could be no leaven in the house. And so there was a little ceremony before the Passover called the search for leaven, the Bedikat Chametz.

It's where you tell the kids, "Go around the house and look for leaven." You take some yeast and you actually put it in some conspicuous places. And sort of like an Easter egg hunt, you know, you put it right there in the bush, so when they walk out they're going to say, "Oh, look what I found!" And so the kids would find it and they would bring it and they would rid the house of leaven. But what I find fascinating is during the Feast of Unleavened Bread you have a leavened betrayer who leaven has been growing inside of his heart for a long time. He doesn't truly believe in Jesus. He doesn't believe in the claims of Christ that he is divine. And so he looks for a fast way to make some cash and he agrees to betray Jesus. "Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed."

A couple things you should know. The month Nisan, that's the first month in their calendar, Nisan, on the tenth day of the month a lamb is selected. You will select the lamb on that day of the month that you are going to take to the temple to be slaughtered. On the fourteenth day of the month, so you have it for a few days. You take the little lamb home and all the kids fall in love with it for a few days. You see, you see the dilemma you're going to have come the fourteenth day? That cute little lamb is going to take your sin and its blood is going to be shed on your behalf. And you're going to look at that, you're going to bring it to the priest in the temple.

When you come home that night and there's lamb on the table, and your son or daughter goes, "Where's the little lamb that we had around the house the last few days, Mommy?" Well, you don't want to say, "You're looking at it. You're about to eat it." But on the fourteenth day the lamb was killed and on the fourteenth day the lamb was eaten. So, "It's the Day of Unleavened Bread, in that festival when the Passover must be killed. And he [Jesus] sent Peter and John," and by the way, Luke is the only gospel account that tells us the names of two apostles that were sent to find that upper room to have Passover in. The other ones tell us they were disciples, but we don't know which ones until we get to the gospel of Luke and they are identified, "Peter and John."

Now, Peter and John were a logical choice. They were part of the inner circle. You often read about Peter, James, and John. Peter and John were the two apostles that when the women said Jesus was raised from the dead, they ran to the tomb to see if it was so. Jesus knows there is a plot afoot. He knows that Judas was looking for the first possible opportunity to betray him, but Jesus is on schedule. He has a schedule to maintain to fulfill the Scriptures, to fulfill the Prophets, to fulfill the typology of which Jesus is the antitype, the fulfillment of the type. Jesus has to be killed on Friday. He has to be killed on the day when the lambs will be killed in the temple.

When the lambs are slaughtered between 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., that's when Jesus will die on a cross fulfilling the types, fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament. So he said, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat." Now there's a lot to that, because they're going to find the room, they're going to find the place. The lamb has already been selected on the tenth, a few days before this. They, Peter and John, have to go up to the temple and watch that lamb slaughtered, then take the slaughtered lamb, the bloody lamb back to this place that we'll read about and roast it, get it ready for the meal. They also have to make sure that the table has all the necessary things for the Passover: unleavened bread, bitter herbs, the wine. There'll be four glasses of wine in the Passover.

So it takes to prep time to get that meal ready, and that was their job. "So they said to him, 'Where do you want us to prepare?' And he said to them, 'Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters.'" Now most people reading this will go, "Oh, my goodness, there must be hundreds of men carrying pitchers of water." No. There actually will be no man carrying pitchers of water; that was woman's work. You'd find plenty of women who would be carrying pitchers of water, just like at the well in Samaria. There was a woman at the well in Samaria fetching water. In that ancient culture the women did that work, so to see a man doing it would be the red flag to them, would be the tip-off that that's the person, because it's an unusual sight.

"'And you shall say to the master of the house [verse 11], "The teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'" And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.' So they went and found it just as he said to them, and they prepared the Passover." I've always been intrigued that the Lord Jesus, in order to be remembered, didn't say, "I want you to build a temple with my name inscribed on the front." Or, "I want a large statue built that has my likeness on it that you can look at it and remember me." Of course, that would not fit the bill in Judaism at all. We know that. But what he did say, "Here's one thing I want you to remember me by and my sacrifice by; and that is, a meal. I want you to eat together."

Eating was sort of a sacred thing that happened. It wasn't just to fill your body and have a nice experience with food. The idea was to have a nice experience with other people, so that if I eat with you, you and I are becoming one with each other. The same food that is adding girth to my body and protein to my body and building me up is also building you up. So we're becoming a part of one another. "Remember me by this Passover meal," and he transforms the meaning. But there's something that hopefully has bothered some of you in reading this text in the Passover and the death of Jesus Christ; and that is, we have Jesus and his disciples eating the Passover meal, and we can safely say it was a Thursday evening when they did.

So they're eating the Passover meal, but then John in John, chapter 18, which is the next morning after Jesus is arrested and he's incarcerated and he undergoes several trials. He is brought before Pontius Pilate. But it says "The Jews would not go into the Praetorium, lest they be defiled, because they wanted to eat the Passover." And so here's what happens. You always have the skeptics and the naysayers. They loved stuff like this. They go, "I knew it. It's another discrepancy and contradiction in the Bible." Because you can't have the disciples in Jerusalem eating the Passover on Thursday night and then the Jews the next day not wanting to walk in and "be defiled, because they want to eat", future tense, "the Passover."

So how do you reconcile it? Well, fortunately history helps us and unlocks the mystery for us. According to Flavius Josephus the Jewish historian, and according to the Mishnah, the writings of the Jews, those in Galilee kept a different calendar than those in Jerusalem. Those in Galilee reckoned the day not like the typical Jewish reckoning from sunset to sunset, as their brethren did down south in Judea and Jerusalem. Those in Galilee reckon their days from sunrise to sunrise, which was the Roman, Gentile, pagan way of reckoning. The Gentile, sometimes called the Gentile, or Galilee, sometimes called the Galilee of the Gentiles, because so much of the culture had rubbed off on them, they reckoned their days from sunrise to sunrise.

So the fourteenth of Nisan was Thursday to them, Thursday evening from morning to the next morning, Friday morning, and then it ended; but the fourteenth of Nisan to those in Jerusalem started at sunset that night and would end at sunset the next night. Now this was not only written about in a couple of different records, there's actually more than two that give us that information. But what it shows us is a problem was solved. When you have millions of people needing to get lambs sacrificed in a short period of time, now you have two different shifts, one on Thursday and one and Friday. And that is precisely what happened, so that Jesus could eat the Passover meal with his disciples, and then he died, the Bible says, at three o'clock in the afternoon at precisely the time when the lambs were being killed in the temple for the Judeans.

Amazing fulfillment. I hope that helps when you read the text from now on. "When the hour had come," verse 14, "he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him." Now, we know what happened besides a meal that night, don't we? Jesus girded himself with a towel and he got down and his knees and he started washing feet. He took the role of a servant. He washed Peter's feet. Peter didn't want to have anything to do with it, remember? He washed Judas' feet, the betrayer. And he acted and he played that role of a servant, because they are arguing in the upper room as to who would be the greatest. You'll see it before the chapter closes. "And he said to them,", and this has always astonished me. It's been one of those breathtaking verses of Scripture.

"He said to them, 'With fervent desire,'" or with intense desire, it could be translated, "'I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.'" "I have looked forward to this meal for a long time. This has been on my agenda on the forefront of my mind since I've been on the earth, since I came from heaven to earth." You got to understand, the cross loomed in the thinking of Jesus every waking moment of every single day. He referred to it, "My hour has not yet come"; "Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son." He was thinking about this moment. Why this moment? This is the most monumental next few hours in human history.

He's going to die on a cross, and here in this Passover meal, this is the last Passover meal of any significance at all. It's been going on for 1,500 years. This is the last one that will have any significance from now on. The meaning gets changed. It's the last Passover and the first Communion, because all of the Passover ends. It is fulfilled now. They've been sacrificing millions of animals, millions of them for 1,500-plus years since the exodus. And why millions? Because there was never an animal that was enough. You had to keep sacrificing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again... until now. Now, a sacrifice will be made that will be once and for all. Over. Done. He, on the cross, will say, "Tetelestai!" "It is finished!"

All of that rigmarole, all of that ceremony, all of that pomp and ritual is done. It's fulfilled. I grew up with a phrase that was based upon the repetition of the Passover in the church I was raised in, in the Catholic Church. They called it the "continual sacrifice of the Mass." And the way the priests and the nuns explained it to me in school is that there needs to be a continual sacrifice; somewhere in the world a mass has to be going on to continue the sacrifice of Christ. Oh, I thank God for the New Testament. And I read the New Testament once and it's, oh, thank God that's not true. Thank the Lord it is done. It's finished. It's over. You can't add to it. And Jesus knew all of that was at this moment and he said, "I have longed with fervent desire to eat this Passover meal with you," which shows us his love.

You know, we know he got up from the table and he washed their feet, but, you know, we're talking about his disciples here: a doubter, a betrayer, a denier, all of them will flee and leave. You would think Jesus might say, "I have to eat one more meal with you guys?" Remember, he's omniscient. He knows what's coming down. He knows every single thing they're going to do. You'd think he'd go, "Oh, let's get this thing over with." "'It is with fervent desire,'" I have looked forward to, I have longed, "'I've desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.' He took the cup, he gave thanks, and said, 'Take this, divide it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.'" That's the millennial kingdom, by the way.

"He took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' Likewise he also took the cup after supper," notice that there's not one cup. "He took the cup after supper," he had taken one before, he takes one after. "He says, 'This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.'" Okay, do you know that the Passover meal revolved around four glasses of wine? And by the time of Christ there was an order of how it was to be done. And the order, the Hebrew word is seder. And so you've heard of the Seder Feast. Some of you have attended them before. It means the order. And then eventually they codified the seder into what is called the Haggadah, which is the "telling of the story."

They would tell the story and it was written out of what to do at what time. They followed a prescribed order. And to the first glass of wine of the four was the Kiddush, the blessing. The host would bless the Lord and give his blessing to those who were at the Passover meal. The second cup was the cup of judgment, and the host, Jesus in this case, would retell the story of the Passover and the judgment that fell upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He would break the bread. He would dip it in the bitter herbs, which speaks of the bitter bondage. He would also dip it in what's called the charoset. Say that ten times real fast. And that was this kind of gummy stuff that reminded them of the mortar that their forefather's made in Egypt.

Then after that the lamb was eaten, the meal was eaten. They had a long, leisurely meal. They were reclining, as I've told you before. They're laying on their left shoulder. Their right hand is free, free to take food, free to take the glasses of wine, free in conversation. We know that John was sitting to the right of Jesus, because he leaned his head on Jesus' bosom. In other words, he was reclining toward to left where Jesus was, so he was on the right. To Jesus' left was Judas Iscariot, the one that Jesus could dip the bread and give it to Judas, hand it directly to him. Both of those positions were considered position of honor and could only be granted by the host upon permission. So before the meal, "John, I want you to sit here, buddy. Judas, I want you next to me," reaching out to Judas to the very end.

So, "Likewise he took the cup after supper, he said, 'This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.'" This is so monumental. And, again, I know, I know the timing and stuff like this, and you know, we're only going to go till 8:30, but I sometimes pause and I go, "Oh, man, I wish I had a couple hours to just unpack all this." And I don't, so, and I've done a number of studies on this, but let me just kind of synthesize it by saying this: If the Passover and all of the sacrifices of the Old Testament, let's call that Sacrifice 1.0, then what Jesus is doing is Sacrifice 2.0, and it is the final version of the program. It is complete after this.

This is what Jeremiah was anticipating: "Behold, the days are coming, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, not like the former covenant that their forefathers enjoyed and had to keep. I'm going to write my law in their hearts." The new covenant, this night is the end of the old covenant, the Old Testament. It's over. It's done. This is the beginning of the new covenant. Now, only God inaugurated the first covenant, and only God can annul it and start a new one, and he's doing it at this meal. Verse 21, "'But behold, the hand of my betrayer is with me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom he is betrayed!' Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing."

What that tells me is nobody suspected Judas Iscariot. Jesus didn't say, "The hand of my betrayer is at the table and he's the guy with the black cloak with the handlebar mustache, with the spiked bracelets." Nothing gave him away. He was the guy that seemed so holy when that woman poured that expensive ointment and said, "That could have been sold and given to the poor." He sounded like he cared for the poor. He sounded so holy. He was such a good hypocrite. It's probably a good thing that Peter didn't know it was Judas at this point. We know what Peter will do in the garden; he'll take out a sword. If Peter had known it was Judas, he'd of taken the sword on him. That wasn't part of the plan. "Now, there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest."

Here's a question for you. Let's just kind of bounce this around. Jesus knew in advance that Judas would betray him, correct? Before Jesus picked his disciples, his apostles, including Judas, he spent a night in prayer with the Father and he still picked Judas. Why? If Jesus is all-knowing, omniscient, and the New Testament has ample examples of how that's true, why pick Judas to begin with? Well, the first obvious and most correct answer is, to fulfill Scripture, to fulfill prophecy. Psalm 41 for starters. Zechariah 13, another one that predicted how Jesus the Messiah would be betrayed by a close friend for thirty pieces of silver. To fulfill the text of Scripture, the predictions, to show God is in control.

But here's just a second thing with that, maybe not a reason, but it just shows something, and maybe it's a lesson for some of you. Love, to be true love, has to be vulnerable. Jesus knew he would be betrayed. Jesus knew that his love for Judas would be spurned. Jesus knew all of the malevolence and hatred and unbelief that dwelt in the heart of Judas Iscariot, and he picked him anyway. Now, I'm bringing this up because every now and then I talk to people who've had strained relationships or just full on bad relationships, could be marriage, could be dating, could be friendships, and I watch people develop coping mechanisms to ensure that friendships or marriage relationships in the future will be without hurt, without pain. "How can I get to a place where I won't be hurt by people?"

You'll have to go to the moon for that... alone. Love hurts. Love gets its heart broken. It's part of the vulnerability. But what astounds me is that Jesus knew in advance and still picked Judas and showed him his own love, put his heart out on the line for this guy knowing all this was coming down. This is true love. This is why in a marriage ceremony the question is asked, it's not for formality. It's a good statement: "I take you as my lawfully wedded wife or wedded husband for better or for worse." I don't say, "for better or for best, for richer and if we win the lottery on top of that." But it's always, "I promise to be with you and love you through the good and the bad, the nice and the ugly." It is a promise. It is a covenant.

Anybody can love an ideal person. It's loving a real person that's the challenge. That's real love. That's real commitment. And Judas with Jesus is a good example. Okay, so here's the argument, the "dispute among them as to which of them should be considered the greatest." Now, this must have been a big deal to them, because this isn't the first time they argue about this. This is on their minds. And perhaps that night it was sort of refreshed because of the seating order in the Passover. "What's-what's John doing up there? Ho-how did Judas get there?" We don't know, but it got up again. Again, they're expecting the kingdom to come now, to come soon. They want a revolution to happen.

"He said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors', 'friends'. They are called friends, but they act like enemies. These are frenemies to the people. The rulers come out, politicians every season: "I'm your friend. I'm just like you are." That's part of the sell. "'But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs is he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he would sits at the table? Yet I am among you as One who serves.'" So they're still thinking about the kingdom.

And, by the way, there will be, if you're taking notes, take this down, there will be a kingdom, a real kingdom that is coming that you will be a part of. It's not just, "I'm going to die and go to heaven." There will be a kingdom upon this earth called the "kingdom age" or called the "millennium." It's going to happen. Look at the reference of Jesus just here, verse 16, "I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God." Verse 18, "I will not drink of fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." There is a coming kingdom. And when that kingdom comes, when it is set up, it is the fulfillment of the Passover. It is complete deliverance. It is total rest for God's people in an environment where Jesus is the King and rules over the earth.

By the way, he will rule over the earth geocentrically from Jerusalem, from Mount Zion. Psalm 2, Isaiah, chapter 2, a number of Scriptures that point to "I will set my King on the holy hill of Zion," Psalm 2. From Zion the word of the Lord will go forth and come from Jerusalem. So they're asking about the kingdom and the kingdom is coming. The big problem is it's not coming according to their timetable. They're thinking, "I don't know, a week or two it'll be here." But he says, "But you are those who have continued with me in my trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as my father bestowed one upon me, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

There will be a special place for these apostles of our Lord in the kingdom rule. Christ the Messiah, King David resurrected will be a coregent with Christ, the Bible tells us in Jeremiah. And here's something wild and crazy, and maybe I'll just give you a little homework assignment. According to Ezekiel during the kingdom age there will be certain festivals that will be reinstituted as memorial ceremonies, one of them will be Passover. During the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth in the book of Ezekiel, it talks about the Passover. You say, "Well, why? Passover is fulfilled in Jesus." Well, Passover was fulfilled for the children of Israel in Moses too, but they kept doing it because they were looking back to something that happened.

And so most conservative scholars who are premillennial scholars believe that the Passover that will take place in the kingdom age, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, will be similar to what Communion is for us. It will be a celebration and the thanksgiving that it's all fulfilled in Christ. And it just tips the hat to the history as a point of reference to gather people together for the sake of worship. But they, "[You] will sit on twelve thrones judging twelve tribes of Israel." "And the Lord said, 'Simon, Simon!'" I don't think I'd like to be Peter at this meal, because Jesus is about to tell him something and it seems to be in the public context. And then he uses his old name. You know, his name was changed to Peter. Simon was his original name before Jesus renamed him.

And so why would Jesus call him by his old name? Because Simon is going to revert to his old behavior and he is going to lean and trust on his old self. "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat." Now the "you" there in the Greek language is in the plural. So he's addressing Simon as sort of the head of the apostolic band, the spokesmen of them. But he's also saying, "All of you, Simon, Simon! I want to tell you and everybody else at this table something: Satan wants to sift you like wheat." That'd be unsettling to hear, wouldn't it? I'd get nervous if Jesus said, "Oh, you know, Satan keeps asking about you." Because my first question is: "And you told him what?" By the way, that's the kind of relationship you want with the Devil.

When he knocks at your door, let Jesus answer it. Don't you even bother talking to him. I get worried when I hear Christians, "Devil, I bind you!" Why are you talking to the Devil? Hello!? Let Jesus do that. Don't spend your time praying to the Devil. Talk to God about the Devil; don't talk to Devil about God. Let Jesus do that. Jesus said, "But I prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren." And some reading this go, "Well, his faith did fail. He denied the Lord." Oh, no, no, no. His faith was never overturned. His courage failed. And we know his faith wasn't overturned because of his restoration by Jesus in John 21. But his courage did fail. "But I prayed for you. I know that you're going to be unsettled. You're going to be like sifted wheat."

It's very unsettling, but it's also very refining. That's what the wheat and chaff winnowing will do; it'll refine a person. "But he said, 'Lord, I am ready to go with you, both to prison and to death.' And he said, 'I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you deny me three times that you know me.'" Jesus predicted Peter's fall, but please note Jesus predicted Peter's restoration and effectiveness. This became the turning point for this man. This, his worst failure, became the threshold to a whole new effective ministry, and I think we ought to learn from that. Allow your failures to be your instructor, not your undertaker. You have no right to say, "I'm just, I blew it. I'm gonna just go home. I'm not going to go to church anymore. I'm not going to get involved and hang around and serve the Lord."

No, no, no, no. Learn from it and move on. Don't let it bury you. You get a do-over and you'll be better for it. You'll be strengthened because of it. And you'll be an encouragement to others who struggle and fail. By the way, I've never yet met a Christian who doesn't struggle and fail. When people say, "Skip, I'm such a failure," I give them a hug and I go, "You're in the right place. Welcome home." This is where all failures hang out to study the Bible and get restored for future ministry. "And he said to them, 'When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?' So they said, 'Nothing.' But he said to them, 'But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in me.'"

And he quotes the text, "'"And he was numbered with the transgressors." For the things concerning me have an end.' So they said, 'Lord, Look, here are two swords.' And he said to them, 'It is enough.'" "Boys, apostles, Peter, John, James, all you guys, all y'all, do you remember back in chapter 9 and chapter 10 when I send you guys out?" "Oh, yeah, those were the days, Lord. So awesome that you sent us out first and then you sent us out along with the seventy around Galilee. And, oh, we didn't lack anything. It was so cool to watch you provide." He said, "Okay, that was good. That's how I sent you out then, but now from this point on instead of that kind of supernatural provision where you didn't need to bring extra shoes or you didn't need to take any food or any money, I just provided for you, things are going to be different.

"It's not going to be supernatural provision, it's going to be natural provision. You'll have to set your mind to certain things, so that supernatural provision and protection that you had then, you're not going to have at the same level now. So even if you don't have a sword, go get one." Sort of like a concealed carry. Okay, so you know, they're thinking it's all about the sword. They go, "Oh, we got two of them. We got two swords." And then Jesus said, "It's enough." Now there's different commentators, and I've told you before, certain taters are more common than others, but certain commentaries on this passage that struggle with what Jesus is saying, "It is enough." And there's several, about four basic interpretations. Let me just boil them down.

Some people think that when Jesus said, "It's enough," he's saying, "Enough of this talk. It's not what I'm talking about. Enough of this stupid misunderstanding." Or when they said, "We've got two swords among us," the twelve, Jesus is saying, "That's all you need. That's enough." So there's just not enough information in the text to be definitive and interpretation would be based upon all the other factors that we use to interpret the text plus a conjecture. So I honestly don't know what it is exactly when Jesus said, "It's enough." He's says either, "Enough of this. Stop talking like this and thinking superficially"; or he's saying, "Two will do you just fine. That's enough."

"Coming out, he went to the Mount of Olives, as he was accustomed, and his disciples also followed him. When he came to the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation.' And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and he knelt down and he prayed, saying, 'Father, if it is your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours.' Then an angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. When he rose up from prayer, and he had come to his disciples, he found them sleeping from sorrow. He said to them, 'Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.'" We are now dealing with the very heart of the struggle of Jesus taking his cup of suffering on himself. We're walking into holy ground here, and because our time is up we'll have to wait till next time to really walk through this garden of Gethsemane setting.

Let me kind of conclude with something we read and just, it's food for thought. Why blame Judas Iscariot? It says he's doing what was determined for him to be done. Isn't that what Jesus said? How do you blame a guy for fulfilling what has been predetermined in the foreknowledge and sovereignty of God to do? How do you blame a person? This is what you must never forget. Divine sovereignty never negates nor destroys human responsibility or accountability. Divine sovereignty never negates nor destroys human responsibility nor sovereignty.

The fact that God knows what you're going to do before you do it, doesn't alleviate your responsibility from making the choice to do it. God has foreknowledge and God is sovereign. God knows all things. But Judas was given a choice and he seized upon that choice, so he is totally and utterly responsible for the choices he made, while at the same time is demonstrated the sovereignty of God in writing about it in advance in Zechariah 13 and Psalm 41 and others, predicting what would happen. That boosts our faith, because nothing has taken him off guard, even this betrayal, even at this moment. And, by the way, Jesus sent Peter and John to find that place. Nobody else among the disciples knew where they were going to eat the Passover, only those two.

Judas was looking for the nearest opportunity to betray him. He didn't want Judas to know where they were going to go, because Jesus was to be captured later on that evening so that he could be brought to trial through the evening, taken to Pontius Pilate in the morning, delivered up to die at three in the afternoon when the Passover lambs were slain. "My hour... my hour... my hour." He's in total and absolute control. Can you tonight rest knowing that your life is under the same control? How can we read Scripture like this and not walk out going, "Haahhh, its okay." It's okay. He's in absolute and total control of your life. And so as the writer of Hebrews said, "Strengthen the hands that fall down, and the feeble knees. Stand up straight." Be strong in the Lord.

Father, whatever we face, you are good for that. Wherever we go, you will meet us there. If you have gone before us, you will lead us through. Lord, David said, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," oh, we hate that valley. But it's a valley we all must pass through. But the promise is your presence. You're with us. You'll lead us. At the other end of the valley is our Father's house. I pray, Father, you would strengthen those in the congregation here tonight that need the extra special touch from you. Show them, Lord, that you are in control and that you can override and even superintend any choice that people make, even against them, just as with Judas. You are that much in control and we can rest and we do rest, in Jesus' name, amen.

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