Luke 22

Luke 22:1-2.324

Matt. 26:1-5; Mark 14:1f.

The end approaches, with all its solemn and momentous issues, which our Evangelist relates after his wonted manner, adhering to moral connection rather than illustrating dispensational change, or the series of facts in His ministry, or the glory of His person.

Luke 22:3-6.

Matt. 26:14-16; Mark 14:10f.

“Now the feast of unleavened [bread] which [is] called passover was drawing nigh,528 and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might kill him, for they were afraid of the people. And Satan entered into Judas Who is called325 Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve; and he went away and spoke with the chief priests and captains529 as to how he should deliver him up to them. And they rejoiced and engaged to give him money; and he agreed fully,530 Was seeking an opportunity to deliver him up to them away from [the] crowd.” When the will is thus engaged on the one side and on the other nearness to the Lord was enjoyed without self-judgment, nay, in conscious hypocrisy and the habitual yielding to covetousness; Satan readily found means to, effect his own designs, as a liar and murderer, against the Son of God. Yet how reassuring it is to observe that both man and the devil were powerless till the due moment came for the execution of God’s purposes, which their malice even then only subserved, unconsciously and in a way which they counted most sure to hinder and nullify them. But He catcheth the wise in their own craftiness.

It may be well here to note that the English Version misleads if it be inferred from verse 3 that it was at this time Satan entered into Judas; for we know from John 13:27 that it was only after the sop, the latter Gospel also distinguishing this full action of the enemy from the earlier occasion when he had put it into the betrayer’s heart. The truth is that Luke has no expression of time here, using only a particle of transition, and therefore contents himself with the broad fact without entering into the detail of its successive stages, which found their fitting place with him whose task of love was to linger on the person of the Lord.

Luke 22:7-23.

Matt 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25.

“And the day of unleavened [bread]”‘ came, in which the passover was to be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare the passover for us, that we may eat. But they said to him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said to them, Behold when ye have entered into the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; 532 follow him into the house where he goeth in; and ye shall say to the master of the house, The Teacher saith to thee, Where is the guest-chamber where I may eat the passover with my disciples? And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready. And they went away and found as he had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.”533 There is no ground of difficulty here for him who believes the Word of God. He who beforehand could describe thus minutely the person, place, time, and circumstances was in communion with the Divine power and grace which controlled the heart of the Jewish householder, even though a stranger hitherto, and made him heartily acquiesce in the Lord’s using it for the paschal feast with His disciples. That God should thus order all in honour of His Son for the last Passover seems to me beautifully in keeping as a testimony in Jerusalem where the religious chiefs, and even a disciple, with the mass were hardening themselves to their destruction in His rejection and death.

“And when the hour was come, he took his place, and the326 apostles with him.534 And he said to them, With desire I desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer, for I say unto you that I will not any more327 at all eat it until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And having received a328 cup, he gave thanks and said, Take this and divide it among yourselves; for I say unto you, I will in no wise drink 535 henceforth329 of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God 136 come.” What an expression of tender love for the disciples! For the last time He would eat it with them, not at all more. As to the cup of the Passover,537 they were to take and divide it among themselves, not He with them. The Passover was to be fulfilled in the kingdom of God; and of the fruit of the vine He would in no wise drink henceforth till the kingdom of God come. It is the sign of the passing away of the old system.

Next, the Lord institutes the new thing538 in a foundation sign of it. “And having taken a loaf with thanksgiving he broke and gave [it] to them, saying, This is my body which is given 539 for you;330 this do in remembrance of me.540 In like manner also the cup, after having supped, saying, This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood541 which is poured out for you.”331 It was a better deliverance on an infinitely better ground, as the cup Was the new covenant in His blood, not the old legal one guarded by penal sanction in the blood of accompanying victims. What immeasurable love breathes in “my body, Which is given for you,” “the new covenant in my blood,” etc.!542 It will be observed that Luke presents a more personal bearing of the Lord’s words here, as in the great discourse of Luke 6. Matthew gives rather the dispensational change in consequence of a rejected Messiah.

Luke 22:24.543

Luke 22:25f.

Matt. 20:5-27; Mark 10:42-44.

“But, behold, the hand of him that delivereth me up [is] with me on the table; and332 the Son of man indeed goeth according to that which is determined, but woe unto that man by whom he is delivered up! And they began to question together among themselves who then it could be of them who was about to do this. And there was also a strife (and emulation) among them which of them should be accounted greater. But he said to them, The kings of the nations rule over them, and they that exercise authority over them are called benefactors.544 But ye [shall] not [be] so; but let the greater among you be as the younger, and the leader as he that serveth. Luke 22:27-30. — For which [is] greater, he that is at table, or he that serveth? [Is] not he that is at table? But I am among you as he that serveth. But ye are they who have persevered with me in my temptations.545 And I appoint unto you as my Father appointed unto me, a kingdom, that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom546 and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” The Lord announces the betrayer’s presence at that last feast of love. How perfect the grace which knew but never once by behaviour made known the guilty soul! How consummate the guile of him who had so long heartlessly companied with such a Master! Now when His death in all its ineffable fragrance and power for them is before Him, and as a sign little then appreciated by them, He tells out the sad secret which lay on His heart, a bitter burden He felt for him who as yet felt it not at all. And the disciples question who it could be, but none the less strive for the greater place. How humbling for the twelve, especially at such a moment in presence of Him, of the supper before them, and of the cup before Him alone! But such is flesh, in saints of God most of all offensive when allowed to work. No good thing dwells in it. Tenderly but in faithful love the Lord contrasts the way of men with that which He would cultivate and sanction in His own. The condescension of patronage is too low for saints. It is of earth for Nature’s great ones. He would have them to serve as Himself. In a ruined, wretched world what can the love that seeks not its own do but serve? The greatest is he that goes down the lowest in service. It is Christ: may we be near Him! Then He turns to what they had been in view of His disposal of the Kingdom according to the Father’s mind, and puts the highest value on all they had done. Matchless love surely this. which could thus interpret His calling and keeping them as their continuing with Him in His temptations ‘ But such is Jesus to us as to them, while in the day of glory each will have his place, yet all according to the same rich, unjealous grace.

Luke 22:31-34.

Matt. 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; John 13:36-38.

But the Lord333 makes a special appeal to one while warning all of a common danger. “Simon, Simon, behold Satan has begged.547 for334 you to sift as wheat, but I have besought for thee that thy faith fail not, and thou, when once turned back 548335 establish (confirm) thy brethren.549 And he said to him, Lord, with thee I am ready to go both to prison and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter,550 [the] cock shall not crow today before that thou hast thrice denied that thou knowest me.” Love not only brings into what itself possesses, but holds out and provides against the greatest possible strain where every appearance must condemn the object loved. Yet it was no lack of love that exposed Peter to the sin of denying his Master, but his self-confidence made shipwreck of his faithfulness. Through grace alone his faith failed not utterly. We see it not only in the tears of bitter self-reproach, but yet more in the earnest ardour after the Lord which went into the tomb whither John had outrun him. But we see the grace of the Lord, which here supplicated beforehand, still shining after all in the message to “the disciples and Peter,” in His early appearing to him by himself, and in his later more than re-instatement when all his failure was traced and judged to the root. What can we express but our shame and sorrow that such is nature even in the most zealous, when put to the test, and above all when the Word of the Lord is practically slighted? If we believe not His admonition of our own weakness, we are on the point of proving its truth, perhaps to the uttermost.

Luke 22:35-38.

The Lord now prepares the disciples for the great change at hand. He contrasts their past experience with that which was coming. “And he said to them, When I sent you without purse and wallet 551 and sandals, did ye lack anything? And they said Nothing. He said therefore to them, But now he that hath a purse [pouch], let him take [it] and likewise his wallet, and he that hath none, let him sell his garment and buy a sword. For I say unto you, that this which is written must yet336 be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among lawless. [men]: for also the things concerning me have an end.”552 Thus the changes to them depended on Him. Jesus was about to be given up into the hands of wicked men; the protection thrown around Him, as around them, was now to be withdrawn. Clearly this is no question of atonement, though of suffering and rejection in which others could have communion, as the apostle expressly teaches in Philippians 3:10. Jesus was despised and rejected of men, yea, given up to it finally of God; besides He “who knew no sin” was about to be “made sin” for us.

Little did the disciples understand their Master. Indeed, flesh and blood can never relish suffering, more especially suffering such as His, where man proves his vileness and opposition to God to the uttermost. Even saints are slow to enter in. They necessarily feel the value of atonement; for otherwise they have no standing-place, not even a well-grounded hope of escape as sinners before God. “And they said, Lord, behold here [are] two swords. And he said to them, It is enough”553 — a correction of their thought, however mild. For had it been a question of the literal use of the sword in self-defence, two must have proved a wholly inadequate means of protection. The Lord had employed the sword, purse, and wallet as symbolic of ordinary means on which the disciples would henceforward be thrown, but certainly not to abandon personally the ground of grace in presence of evil, even to the last degree of insult and injury, on which He had insisted at the beginning of their call and charge as apostles. No more, however, is said; the true sense is left for that day when the Holy Spirit being given would lead them into all the truth. Alas! Christendom has lost the faith of the Spirit’s presence as well as the certainty of the truth, into which grace alone has been leading back a feeble remnant as they wait for the return of the Lord Jesus. Truths such as this cannot be appreciated unless we go forth unto Him without the camp bearing His reproach.

Luke 22:39-46.554.

Matt. 26:30, 36-46; Mark 14:26, 32-42.

But now we approach what is still more solemn and sacred ground. “And going out he proceeded according to his custom to the Mount of Olives, and the337 disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said to them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and, having knelt down, he prayed, saying, Father,555 if thou wilt, remove this cup from me, but then, not my will but thine be done.” It was, indeed, no wonted occasion even for Him, but the awful moment of the enemy’s return, who had departed for a season after his old defeat in the wilderness. But this garden was to behold an equally decisive defeat of the enemy as became the Second man, the Lord from heaven. It was no longer Satan seeking to draw away from the path of obedience by what was desirable in the world. He sought now, if he could not drag Jesus out of the path of obedience, to fill Him with alarm and to kill Him in it. But Jesus shrank from no suffering and weighed before God all that was before Him. He watched and prayed and suffered, being tempted. The disciples failed to pray and entered into temptation, so that nothing but grace delivered them.

The Holy Spirit does not give us the detail of the three prayers of the Lord as in Matthew, but rather a summary of all in one. In both we see His dependence in prayer and His tried but perfect submission to the will of His Father. Here, however, we have what is characteristic of our Evangelist, both in the angelic succour which was sent Him, and in the bloody sweat that accompanied His conflict. It is well known that many Fathers, Greek and Latin, have cast a doubt upon verses 43 and 44. “And an angel appeared to him from heaven strengthening him. And being in conflict he prayed more intently, and his sweat became as clots of blood falling down upon the earth.” Several of the more ancient MSS. indeed also omit them, as the Alexandrian, Vatican, and others, beside ancient versions; but they are amply verified by external witnesses, and the truth taught has the closest affinity to the line which Luke was given to take up.338 The true humanity and the holy suffering of the Lord Jesus stand out here in the fullest evidence.556

Here again, however, observe that the suffering differs essentially from atonement. For not only does He speak out of the full consciousness of His relationship with the Father but He has also the angelic help which would have been wholly out of season when forsaken of God because of sin-bearing. All was most real. It is not meant that His sweat fell merely like great drops of blood, but that it became this as it were; that is, the sweat was so tinged with blood which exuded from Him in His conflict that it might have seemed pure blood.557 “And rising up from his prayer, he came to the339 disciples and found them sleeping from grief. And he said to them, Why sleep558 ye? Rise up and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” We shall see presently the result of their sleeping instead of praying. Not only did the absent Judas betray, but all forsook, and even the most prominent of the three chosen to be nearest the Lord denied Him with oaths, denied Him thrice before the cock crew. They entered into temptation and utterly failed. We can only be kept by watching and prayer. Evil is not judged aright save in the presence of God. There the light detects and His grace is sufficient, even for us. But man has no strength against Satan. It must be His light and His grace; without the power of His might we enter only to dishonour our Master, Leaning upon Him, the weakest of saints is more than conqueror. Thus only is the devil resisted and he flees from us.

Luke 22:47-53.

Matt. 25:47-56; Mark 14:43-50; John 18:3-11.

“As340 He was yet speaking, behold, a crowd and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went on before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss him. And Jesus said to him, Judas, deliverest thou up the Son of man with a kiss?”558a How gracious, but how terrible the words of Jesus to him who knew his Master and his Master’s haunts enough to deliver Him thus to His enemies! “And those around him, seeing what was about to happen, said,341 Lord, shall we smite with [the] sword? And a certain one from among them smote the bondman of the high priest and took off his right ear.558b And Jesus answering said, Suffer thus far; and having touched the ear, he healed him.”342 He could still work miraculously by the Holy Ghost. Indeed, we know from John 18: that He could and did cast them all down to the ground by the power of His name; but here it is the witness of His grace to man, even at such a moment, rather than of His own personal majesty, which was about to be east off and to suffer on the cross. Each incident is of the deepest interest and eminently suited to the Gospel in which it occurs.

“And Jesus said to the chief priests559 and captains of the temple and elders, who had come against him, Have ye come out as against343 a robber with swords and sticks? When I was day by day with you in the temple, ye did not stretch out your hands against me; but this is your hour and the power of darkness.” God was giving up the Lord Jesus to men before He was forsaken in accomplishing the work of redemption.

Luke 22:54-62.560

Matt. 26:57f., 69-75; Mark 14:53f., 66-72; John 18:12-18, 25-27.

“And having apprehended him, they led and introduced344 [him]345 into the house of the high priest. And Peter followed afar off. And having lit a fire in the midst of the court, and sat down together, Peter sat among them. And a certain maid, having seen him sitting by the light fixed her eyes upon him and said, And this [man] was with him. But be denied [him],346 saying, Woman, I do not know him. And after a short while another561 seeing him, said, And thou art of them. But Peter said, Man, I am not. And after the lapse of about one hour, another stoutly maintained, saying, In truth this [man] also was with him, for he is a Galilean too. But Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he was yet speaking, a347 cock crew. And the Lord turned round and looked upon Peter562 and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he said to him, Before [the] cock crows today,348 thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter, going forth without, wept “bitterly.”349 We see here the worthlessness of natural courage in the saint and the weakness of one’s own love when relied on. Only God can sustain, and this, too, in exercised distrust of self, when the Word is received by faith and the heart abides in dependence on God. A servant-girl frightens an apostle, and the first false step involves others deeper and farther, if possible, from God; for what is our consistency if we be not consistent with the Cross? The unbelief which refuses the humiliating warning of the Lord works out the accomplishment of His Word. But the Lord never fails, and as He had not in faithfulness beforehand, so, after the fact, He does not hide His face from Peter, but turns round and looks at him. His own sufferings did not preoccupy the Lord to the extent of forgetting Peter, and Peter’s guilt and shame in no way turned the Lord from him, but rather drew His look towards him. “and Peter remembered the word of the Lord,” and his sorrow worked repentance, though the Lord carried it farther still, as we know, after He rose from the dead; for the root of evil must be judged as well as the fruit, if we are to be fully blessed and would know how to hell,) others, as Peter was called to do and did.

Luke 22:63-65.

Matt. 26:67f.; Mark 14:65.

Then follows the sad tale of men’s insolence and blasphemy towards the Lord. “And the men who held him,350 mocked him, beating him, and covering him up,351 asked him, saying, Prophesy who is it that struck thee? And many other things they were saying blasphemously to Him.” Such was the rude evil of the underlings. The chiefs might act with more seeming decorum, but with no less unbelief and scorn of His claims.

Luke 22:66-71.564

Matt. 26:59-66; Mark 14:55-64.

“And when it was day, the elderhood of the people, both chief priests and scribes, were gathered together, and led him into their352 council, saying, If thou art the Christ,565 tell us. And he said to them, If I tell you, you will not at all believe; and if I should ask, ye would not at all answer.353 But354 henceforth shall the Son of Man be sitting on the right hand of the power of God. And they all said, Thou, then, art the Son of God? And He said to them, Ye, say that I am. And they said, What need have we of witness further? For we have ourselves heard from his mouth.” There was lying testimony brought against Jesus; but it failed. He was condemned for the truth, which man believed not. He declined to speak of His Messianic dignity, which was already rejected by man, and was about to be replaced by His position as Son of man on the right hand of the power of God. If they all infer that He is the Son of God, say it or gainsay it whoever will, He acknowledges and denies not, but acknowledges that truth which is eternal life to every believer.

324 Cf. “Introductory Lectures,” pp. 375-387.

325 “Called”: so BDLX, 69, Memph. Arm. “Surnamed” is found in ACPR, etc., Syrsin.

326 Before “apostles” T.R. has “twelve,” from ACEPR Δ, etc., Amiat. Memph. Edd. omit, after BD, Syrsin Old Lat.

327 “Not … any more” ( οὐκέτι): so Weiss and Blass, after Ccorr DP, etc., Syrrcu sin Aeth. Arm. W. H. omit οὐκέτι after ABCpm HL. It can scarcely, however, have been added from Mark (Meyer, Weiss).

328 “A”: so Edd. with BCEGH, etc., most cursives. AD, etc., have “the.”

329 “Henceforth”: so Edd. after BDGKLM Π, 1, Syrcu Egyptians, Arm. Omitted in AC, etc., most cursives, and Old Lat.

330 “Which is given for you … poured out for you.” These words, accepted by Lachm. Tisch. Treg. and Alford, no less than by Wordsworth, as being in all uncials except D, the whole of the cursives and versions except Old Lat. and Syrcu, which last omits verse 20 (in Syrsin it is merely a question of arrangement), are on the “one cup” theory, discredited by W. H. (preceded by Dean Blakesley), Weiss and Blass. The English critics’ case against this alleged “interpolation” (from 1 Cor. 11:24f.) would be found stated in W. H., Vol. II., App., p. 63f. In defence of the title of the words to a place in Luke’s text, see Scrivener, Vol. II., p. 351ff., and Expositor, March-April, 1908. See, further, note 539 in Part II. of this volume.

331 Ibid.

332 “And”: so A, etc., Syrcu sin and Vulg. Edd. follow BDLT, Memph. “for.”

333 The words “And the Lord said,” are in ADQ. Edd. omit, following BLT, Syrsin and Egyptian versions. A precarious omission with no more than three uncials. (B.T.)

334 “Has begged for.” It is a mistake that ἐξαιτέομαι means always “to have prevailed,” though it sometimes bears this force. But it is often no more than begging off, or to have in one’s power, as here. “Obtain by asking” (Alford) is clean contrary to the context, and, indeed, to the truth generally. (B.T.)

335 “When once turned back.” The verb επιστρέφω is used both for the first turning to the Lord, and for turning back if one have wandered, as here. (B.T.) See, further, note 548 at end of this volume.

336 “Yet”: so Blass (omitting ὅτι, that), with ΔΛΠ, Syrcu Vulg. Arm. Other Edd. omit, after ABDHL, etc., 1, Memph.

337 “The”: so Edd., following ABDL, etc., Amiat. “His” (T.R.) is the reading of EQ Δpm, etc., 69, Syrrcu sin pesch.

338 Cf. “Lectures on Gospels,” p. 383f. Besides All, corrRT, and Akhmim MS., the Sinaitic Syriac omits these verses; whilst pm DFGHKLM, etc., most cursives, Syrrcu pesch hcl hier, ancient Armenian attest them, as do Old Lat. also Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome, Augustine, etc. After Lachmann, W. H. (see their App., p. 64ff.) and Weiss question; but Blass, after Treg. Tisch. Meyer, Alford, etc., upholds them. Cf. Scrivener, Vol. II., p. 353ff., and see note 557 in App. Their omission is explicable from lectionary arrangements.

339 “The”: so Edd. after BDQRT, Arm. The “his” of T.R. (Elzevir) came from 1, Latt. Syrrcu sin Memph. Aeth.

340 “As,” etc.: DE, etc., have “But as.” Edd., however, reject the δέ, following ABLRTX, etc., 1, 69, Amiat.

341 “Said”: AER Δ, etc., 1, 69, Syrr. Amiat. add “to him,” which Edd. omit, according to BLTX, Memph.

342 Blass follows D: “And stretching forth his hand, he touched him, and his ear was restored.”

343 “Against”: so most Edd., with BDL, etc. Tisch.: “to,” as GH, etc.

344 “introduced”: so most of the authorities. Blass follows DT, Syrrcu sin, and some Old Lat. with Aeth. in the omission of εἰσήγαγον.

345 [“Him”]: so EX Δ, etc., 69, Memph. Edd. omit, as ABDKLM, etc., Old Lat.

346 [“Him”]: so ADpm EGH, etc., most cursives (69), Amiat. Edd. omit, as BKLM, etc., Syrrcu sin pesch, most Old Lat. and the Egyptian versions.

347 “A”: so all authorities, except a few of the minuscules, Syrsin and Sah., which have “the.”

348 “Today”: so most Edd., after BKLMT, Syrsin Aeth. Blass omits, as AD ΓΔΛ, nearly all cursives, and copies of Old Lat. Syrcu Arm.

349 Verse 62, which W. H. bracket, Blass omits entirely because the verse is absent from some copies of the Old Lat. and he supposes was inserted from Matthew. It is in Syrsin as in all Greek MS., “Peter”: so A, etc., Syrr. Vulg. Aeth. Edd. omit, as BDKLM, etc., Syrrcu sin Memph. Arm.

350 “Him”: so Edd., with BDLM, etc., Syrsin Old Lat. Memph. “Jesus” is the reading of AEX Δ, etc., 1, 69, the other Syrr.

351 After “covering him up,” AX ΓΔΛ, etc., most cursives, Amiat., add “smote his face and,” which Edd. omit, after BKLM, Syrrcu sin and Egyptians.

352 After “their,” ΔΛ, 1, 69, add “own,” which is omitted by Edd. as not in BDLT, etc.

353 AD, all later uncials, most cursives. Syrr. (including sin.) Old Lat. here add “nor let me go,” which Edd. omit, as BLT, Memph.

354 ”But”: so Edd. with ABDLTX, Old Lat. ED, etc., omit. Syrrcu sin have “for.”