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Bible Commentaries
Luke 22

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

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Luke’s unique rendition of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus has several important characteristics. It contains more of Jesus’ farewell comments to the disciples at the Last Supper compared with the other synoptic accounts. It also clarifies some of the events surrounding Jesus’ trials. It provides additional details of the crucifixion, and it includes other of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. Generally Luke pictured Jesus as a righteous man suffering unjustly though pursuing the path that His Father, the Old Testament prophets, and He had foreordained and foretold. Though this is the concluding section of this Gospel, Luke left an ending to which he could later attach the Book of Acts smoothly.

Verses 1-2

1. The leaders’ desire 22:1-2 (cf. Matthew 26:1-5; Mark 14:1-2)

The leaders of Israel had already decided to do away with Jesus. His presence in Jerusalem for the Passover season gave them a chance to arrest Him and put Him on trial before Pilate and Herod Antipas. Both of these rulers were in Jerusalem for the occasion.

Luke mentioned the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread as the better known of the two feasts whereas Matthew and Mark both featured the Passover in their accounts. Greek readers may have known this feast as the feast of Unleavened Bread more commonly than as Passover.

The Jewish religious leaders took the initiative against Jesus, but the common people did not share their antagonism. The chief priests were mainly political leaders who owed their jobs to Rome. The situation also required the legal expertise of the scribes or lawyers. The Jewish leaders could not discover a way to take Jesus without causing a riot until Judas came forward with his plan.

Verses 1-6

A. The plot to arrest Jesus 22:1-6

This significant plot is the core around which several other incidents cluster.

Verses 3-4

Only Luke and John mentioned Satan’s entering into Judas now (cf. John 13:2). Perhaps Luke wanted to clarify that Jesus’ death was due to more than just human scheming (cf. Acts 5:3; 1 Corinthians 2:8). It was part of a cosmic plan to destroy the God-man (cf. Luke 4:1-12). Ironically Satan’s participation in Jesus’ arrest led to his own downfall (cf. Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14). Luke also clarified Judas’ identity for his readers (cf. Luke 6:16) and noted Judas’ contact with the Jewish officers of the temple guards. It was probably these soldiers along with Roman soldiers who arrested Jesus (cf. John 18:3). Perhaps Judas went to them because he originally anticipated Jesus being arrested in the temple area.

Verses 3-6

2. Judas’ offer 22:3-6 (cf. Matthew 26:14-16; Mark 14:10-11)

Luke omitted the story of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:2-8). He had already narrated a similar event that happened on another occasion (Luke 7:36-50). By his omission Luke allowed the story of the plot to arrest Jesus to flow more smoothly.

Verses 5-6

Judas was as hypocritical as the religious leaders; he, too, sought to avoid arousing the people. The theme of joy in Luke now crops up again, but this time it is joy in Jesus’ enemies at the prospect of His fall.

Verse 7

The Jews slew their Passover lamb on the fourteenth of Nisan and ate it after sundown. Sundown began the fifteenth. The fourteenth would have been Thursday until sundown. This verse marks the transition to Thursday from Wednesday, the day on which Jesus had His controversy with the leaders in the temple and gave the Olivet Discourse. This is another of Luke’s benchmarks that signals Jesus’ relentless movement toward the Cross.

Luke evidently referred to this day as the day of unleavened bread because it was the first day of the combined feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread. The Jews referred to the whole period as the feast of Unleavened Bread sometimes and as the Passover sometimes (cf. Luke 2:42; Luke 22:1; Acts 12:3-4). Another possibility is that this was the day on which they removed all leaven from their homes in preparation for the Passover. [Note: Morris, p. 304.]

Verses 7-13

B. The preparations for the Passover 22:7-13 (cf. Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12-16)

Luke recorded more details of these preparations than the other synoptic evangelists. Against the backdrop of a plot to arrest Him, Jesus comes across as the one who is in control and is quietly directing the events leading to the Cross (cf. Luke 19:29-35).

Verses 8-9

Only Luke recorded the names of the disciples whom Jesus sent to prepare for the Passover meal. Peter and John, of course, later became Jesus’ chief servants as leaders of the Christians in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 3:1-2; Acts 8:14). This detail links the Gospel and Acts. Luke also stressed Jesus’ initiation of plans to observe the Passover. These plans were confidential to avoid premature arrest.

Verses 10-12

It was unusual for men to carry pitchers of water. Usually women did and men carried water in leather skins. [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 791; Liefeld, "Luke," p. 1025.] This appears to have been a prearranged signal that was part of Jesus’ plan to avoid an early arrest. Judas would not have known where the upper room was since Jesus informed Peter and John of its location as He did. The title "teacher" (Gr. didaskalos) was one that Jesus’ disciples used to describe Him (cf. Luke 6:40). Evidently the owner of the upper room was a disciple. The upper room probably stood on the flat roof of a typical Palestinian house and served as an extra room. It would have been accessible by an external stairway. The owner would have furnished it with cushions for reclining on at least. [Note: Jeremias, The Eucharistic . . ., p. 48, footnote 1.] Traditionally the upper room was on Mt. Zion just to the north and east of the Hinnom Valley and west of the City of David. [Note: See the diagram "Jerusalem in New Testament Times" at the end of these notes.]

Verse 13

This verse underlines Jesus’ sovereign control. It also sets the stage for what follows.

Verse 14

The writer’s introduction to these events 22:14 (cf. Matthew 26:20; Mark 14:17)

Luke continued to imply Jesus’ authority in his account of the events that these verses introduce. The hour in view is the hour at which Jesus had determined to eat the Passover meal with His disciples. Luke probably called the Twelve "apostles" here because what took place in the upper room was foundational for the church, and the apostles were its leaders (Ephesians 2:20).

Verses 14-18

1. The Passover meal 22:14-18

Luke introduced this meal and then narrated Jesus’ words of welcome to His disciples and His drinking of the cup.

Verses 14-38

C. Events in the upper room 22:14-38

Luke included more information about what Jesus said and did on this occasion than Matthew or Mark did. John’s account is the fullest of all (John 13-17).

Verse 15

Jesus’ great desire (Gr. epithymia epethymesa, lit. "with desire I have desired") to eat this meal with the Twelve was due to the teaching that He would give them. It also arose from the fact that this would be His last fellowship meal with them. It was also the last Passover to be celebrated under the old Mosaic Covenant.

"With a Sacrament did Jesus begin His Ministry: it was that of separation and consecration in Baptism. With a second Sacrament did He close His Ministry: it was that of gathering together and fellowship in the Lord’s Supper." [Note: Edersheim, 2:491.]

Verses 15-16

Jesus’ words of welcome 22:15-16

These verses record Jesus’ introduction to what followed and are similar to the welcoming words of a host before his guests begin their meal. This is the seventh of nine meal scenes that Luke recorded in his Gospel (cf. Luke 5:29-32; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 9:12-17; Luke 10:38-42; Luke 11:37-54; Luke 14:1-24; Luke 22:14-20; Luke 24:28-32; Luke 24:36-42).

Verse 16

Jesus announced that He would not eat (a strong negative statement in Greek: ou me phago) another Passover meal until what the Passover anticipated, namely, His own sacrificial death, had transpired (cf. Luke 9:31).

"When His kingdom would arrive, the Passover would be fulfilled for God would have brought His people safely into their rest." [Note: Martin, p. 259.]

He would eat with them again next in the kingdom, specifically at the messianic banquet at the beginning of the kingdom. This announcement probably contributed to the apostles’ expectation that the kingdom would begin very soon (cf. Acts 1:6).

Verses 17-18

The drinking of the cup 22:17-18

There were four times that participants in the Passover meal drank together, commonly referred to as four cups. The Passover opened with a prayer of thanksgiving followed by the drinking of the first cup. Then the celebrants ate the bitter herbs and sang Psalms 113-114. Next they drank the second cup and began eating the lamb and unleavened bread. Then they drank the third cup and sang Psalms 115-118. Finally they drank the fourth cup. The cup in view in this verse may have been the first of the four. If it was, Jesus evidently did not participate in the drinking of the following three cups (Luke 22:18). [Note: Jeremias, The Eucharistic . . ., pp. 211-12.] The other Gospel writers did not refer to the first cup, so this may have been the third cup, the so-called cup of redemption. This view assumes that Jesus did participate in the drinking of the first and second cups, which would have been normal. "From now on" or "again" (Luke 22:18) could mean either after this cup or after this Passover. I favor the view that Jesus was referring to the cup, not the Passover, and that this was the third cup. Luke rearranged the order of events in the upper room considerably, as comparison with the other Gospels seems to indicate. Matthew and Mark have Jesus saying what Luke recorded in these verses just after what Luke recorded in Luke 22:20.

Jesus continued to lead by giving thanks to God and then encouraging the apostles to partake. His action was similar to making a toast. However, His announcement that He would not drink the fruit of the vine again until He did so with His guests in the kingdom was not customary. It reinforced His previous statement that the kingdom would come. Jesus was stressing the certainty of the kingdom’s coming. This was necessary since His impending arrest and death would cause the apostles to question whether it would come.

Verses 19-20

2. The institution of the Lord’s Supper 22:19-20 (cf. Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

Luke’s account stresses Jesus’ linking of His self-giving with the bread and His giving Himself for the disciples specifically, instead of for the "many" generally (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34; Jeremiah 32:37-40). According to Matthew and Mark, Jesus announced that He would not drink the fruit of the vine until He did so in the kingdom after instituting the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25). Perhaps Jesus repeated this announcement then. If so, this would have been Jesus’ third reference to the coming kingdom (cf. Luke 22:16; Luke 22:18). On the other hand, Luke probably rearranged the order of events and recorded Jesus instituting the Lord’s Supper after His promise not to drink again.

Luke’s account is more similar to Paul’s in 1 Corinthians 11 than it is to Matthew or Mark’s. This seems to be one indication that Paul influenced Luke as he wrote his Gospel as well as Acts. Alternatively Luke may have influenced Paul.

Jesus invested the common elements of unleavened bread and diluted wine with new significance. The bread represented His body given sacrificially for His disciples. The disciples were to eat it, as He did, symbolizing their appropriation of Him and their consequent union with Him. The cup, representing what was in it, symbolized the ratification of the New Covenant with Jesus’ blood (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Exodus 24:8). [Note: See Rodney J. Decker, "The Church’s Relationship to the New Covenant," Bibliotheca Sacra 152:607 (July-September 1995):290-305; 608 (October-December 1995):431-56.]

". . . Jesus meant that the new covenant would take effect through that which the contents of the cup signified, namely, his sacrificial death." [Note: Robert L. Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, p. 126. Cf. Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 806.]

Much of the New Testament is an exposition of the significance of Jesus’ sacrificial death to which He referred so cogently here. Luke stressed that Jesus gave His body and poured out His blood "for you." However "in remembrance of me" encouraged the disciples to focus on the person of Jesus Christ and not just the benefits of His death for them. [Note: See Eugene H. Merrill, "Remembering: A Central Theme in Biblical Worship," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 43:1 (March 2000):27-36.] Jesus commanded His disciples to remember Him. This is not optional for us (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26).

Verse 21

Jesus shocked His disciples with the announcement that one of them would betray Him. The reference to his hand being on (or at, Gr. epi) the table with Jesus’ hand highlights their close relationship and the irony of the betrayal.

Verses 21-23

3. Jesus’ announcement of His betrayal 22:21-23 (cf. Matthew 26:21-25; Mark 14:18-21; John 13:21-30)

Luke placed Jesus’ announcement of His betrayal after the institution of the Lord’s Supper whereas Matthew and Mark located it before that event in their Gospels. The effect of Luke’s placement is that the betrayal appears as especially heinous in view of Jesus’ self-sacrifice for His disciples. The connecting link is the reference to Jesus’ death.

Verse 22

Jesus then affirmed again that He was going to die and thereby fulfill God’s plan (cf. Acts 2:23; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Romans 1:4). Luke used a strong word (Gr. horismemon, "determined" or "decreed") to stress God’s sovereignty in these affairs. The title "Son of Man" helped the disciples appreciate that this was part of God’s will for the Messiah who would reign. Jesus pronounced woe on the betrayer as He had on the religious leaders and on Jerusalem for rejecting Him. There is a play on the word "man" (Gr. anthropos). The worst of men would betray the best of men. Note also the reference to both divine sovereignty and human responsibility in this verse (cf. Acts 2:23).

Verse 23

Luke is the only evangelist who recorded this conversation. It reveals the disciples’ concern and the extent of Judas’ hypocrisy. Judas still had an opportunity to repent, but he did not. It was especially despicable for Judas to share a meal with Jesus, which implied mutual commitment, and then betray Him.

Verses 24-25

Jesus’ point was quite clear. He did not measure greatness as the world does. In the world, authority over other people constitutes greatness, but in Jesus’ kingdom service of others does. Pagan rulers have two objectionable characteristics at least. First, they lord it over or tyrannize others (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 5:3). Second, they take titles to themselves that indicate their superiority over others such as "benefactor" (cf. Matthew 23:7). Really Jesus is the only true benefactor (Gr. euergete, cf. Acts 10:38).

Verses 24-27

The disciples’ concern for their greatness 22:24-27

Following Jesus’ announcement of His self-sacrifice and the announcement of His betrayal, the disciples’ argument over who of them was the greatest appears thoroughly inappropriate (cf. Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45). Jesus used the situation as an opportunity to teach them the importance of humility again (cf. Luke 9:46-48). Luke’s recording of the lesson again illustrates its vital importance for all disciples.

Verses 24-30

4. Teaching about the disciples’ service 22:24-30

Again Luke apparently rearranged the chronological order of events in the upper room to make certain points.

Verse 26

Typically the younger serve the elder, and the servants serve the leaders. The aged enjoyed great veneration in the ancient Near East. However with disciples all must serve regardless of age or responsibility (cf. Acts 5:6; 1 Timothy 5:1; Titus 2:6; 1 Peter 5:5). Luke’s selection of terminology ("is greatest," "youngest," "leader," and "servant," lit. deacon) in this pericope suggests that he may have had church leaders especially in mind. [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 813.]

Verse 27

In the ancient Near East the person waited on at dinner had a higher social position than the waiter who served him or her. The waiter was often a slave. Jesus had behaved as a slave (Gr. diakonon, one who serves in a lowly way) by serving others, even His disciples (cf. John 13:12-17). They should do likewise. If serving was not below their Master, it should not be below His servants. They should seek opportunities for service rather than status, and they should emulate their Lord rather than pagans.

This lesson is vital for all disciples. Luke’s Gentile readers would have been in need of it since they lived in a culture in which pagan values dominated life, as we do.

Verse 28

The basis of the reward is essentially faithfulness to Jesus (cf. Matthew 19:28). This is always the basis for believers’ rewards, works being the consequence of faithfulness. Here the manifestation of faithfulness was standing by Jesus in His past trials (Gr. pairasmos, i.e., dangers, troubles; cf. Acts 20:19). Satan was behind these difficulties.

Verses 28-30

The future role of the Twelve 22:28-30

Jesus balanced the need for humility and service with a promise of future reward. Though the Twelve are in view, the implication of reward for other faithful disciples is strong. Jesus evidently repeated this promise in different language from an earlier incident (Matthew 19:28).

Verses 29-30

The Father had delegated authority to the Son to rule in the kingdom. Likewise the Son delegated authority to the Twelve to rule under Him in the kingdom (cf. John 20:21; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 2:26-27; Revelation 3:21). They would enjoy table fellowship with Jesus then as well as the privilege of having authority over the twelve tribes of Israel then (cf. Daniel 7:9; Revelation 7:1-8). This is another reference to the messianic banquet (cf. Luke 13:28-30; Luke 14:15; Luke 22:16).

"Luke, by the way he has structured his two-volume work and by the insertion of material peculiar to him, displays an unmistakable interest in the question of the national restoration of Israel. . . .

"Luke’s manner of representing the nationalistic hopes of the Jewish people implies that he himself believed that there would be a future, national restoration. If Luke really believed that there would not be a restoration, he has certainly gone out of his way to give the contrary impression." [Note: Larry R. Helyer, "Luke and the Restoration of Israel," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 36:3 (September 1993):328-29.]

Jesus spoke of twelve disciples even though Judas would disqualify himself. This was gracious of Jesus and implied that there was still time for Judas to repent. Evidently since he did not repent Matthias will take his place in the kingdom (Acts 1:26). It is interesting that the choice of Matthias took place in an upper room, perhaps the same one as this one (Acts 1:13).

Upcoming events would test the faithfulness of the Eleven soon (cf. Luke 22:31-34). This promise doubtless encouraged them to stand by Jesus in His future trials, though they failed Him. The theme of testing and faithfulness is quite prominent in Luke. [Note: See S. Brown, Apostasy and . . .]

Verse 31

Jesus apparently put Peter’s testing, which Jesus knew was coming in view of His own arrest and trials, in a cosmic setting because Satan was ultimately responsible. [Note: See Page, pp. 456-57.] Jesus viewed what would happen to Peter similarly to what had happened to Job (Job 1:6-7). Sifting as wheat pictures Satan’s attempt to separate Peter’s faithfulness to Jesus from him (cf. Job 1-2). The Greek word translated "you" (hymas) is in the plural indicating that Simon was not the only disciple whom Satan desired to sift. Probably Jesus used the name "Simon," Peter’s given Jewish name, because it pictured Peter in his natural state, not as Peter the rock. He probably repeated it in pathos anticipating the sad consequence of Satan’s testing.

Verses 31-34

5. Jesus’ announcement of Peter’s denial 22:31-34 (cf. Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; John 13:36-38)

Luke placed this event next probably because of its logical connection with Jesus’ preceding comment about the disciples remaining faithful to Him during His past trials. That would not continue. However, he did not record Jesus’ announcement that all the disciples would desert Him (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27). Perhaps he did not do so because it presents a negative picture of disciples generally. They all proved unfaithful, but only temporarily. Luke wanted to encourage his disciple readers, not discourage them.

"Viewed in its primal elements (not in its development), Peter’s character was, among the disciples, the likest to that of Judas." [Note: Edersheim, 2:536.]

Verse 32

Jesus had already counterattacked Satan by praying to God for Peter (singular "you," sou) and presumably for all the other disciples (cf. Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).

"Notice that the Master did not ask that His servant might be freed from trouble. The undergoing of difficulty and hardship is an integral part of the Christian way." [Note: Morris, p. 309.]

Jesus described Peter’s faith as being stretched to its limit. He was confident that Peter would survive this attack with God’s help. His confidence indicates the superior power of Jesus over Satan in spiritual warfare. When he did turn back (Gr. epistrepho) to Jesus, Peter would need to help his brother disciples whose faith Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, trials, crucifixion, death, and burial would challenge (cf. John 21:15-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Peter 5:10; et al.). Jesus implied that Peter would turn away from Him temporarily. When Peter objected to this assumption, which he considered insulting (Luke 22:33), Jesus said frankly that Peter would deny Him (Luke 22:34). Evidently Jesus singled Peter out from the other disciples, all of whom needed God’s help in withstanding temptation, because of his leading role. He would be able to help the other disciples recover (cf. Acts 1:15; et al.).

Peter had a responsibility even though Jesus prayed for him. Prayer and action are not mutually contradictory but complimentary.

Verses 33-34

Peter’s commitment to Jesus was admirable. Luke alone recorded that Peter promised to die with Jesus, and he made no reference to the other disciples. Nonetheless, Peter overestimated his own ability to remain faithful when persecuted. Luke is also the only evangelist who mentioned that Jesus told Peter that he would deny that he even knew Jesus. Perhaps this was a particular temptation for Theophilus and Luke’s original Greek readers. "Rocky" would hardly behave as a rock. His overconfidence should be a warning to every disciple.

Verse 35

Jesus reminded the disciples that when he had sent them out on two previous missions they had lacked nothing that they needed (cf. Luke 9:1-3; Luke 10:1-3). In view of Peter’s failure that Jesus had just revealed, it seems that Jesus intended this question to remind the disciples to trust in Him in the up-coming crisis rather than in themselves.

Verses 35-38

6. The opposition to come 22:35-38

This last part of Jesus’ conversation with His disciples in the upper room is unique to Luke. It continues the theme of Jesus’ rejection leading to death and what the disciples could expect in view of that rejection.

Verse 36

Previously they had not equipped themselves for their ministry but had trusted other people to provide for them. However they were not to trust in other people now. They were to fortify themselves for the conflict that lay ahead shortly, namely, Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. Probably Jesus used the purse, bag, and sword metaphorically rather than literally to symbolize the disciples’ personal resources. Apparently Jesus wanted His disciples to arm themselves with personal preparedness including dependence on God and His Word for the impending crisis. He was calling them to be ready for hardship and self-sacrifice. [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 825; Creed, p. 270; Luce, pp. 335-36; et al.]

Some commentators took Jesus’ command literally. [Note: E.g., Plummer, p. 505; Liefeld, "Luke," p. 1029-30; and Easton, p. 329.] The purse and bag may indicate that they should provide for their own subsistence since no one else would. However this was not the case in the early days of the church or even during Jesus’ passion. There were still other believers who looked out for one another (e.g., Acts 1:3; Acts 1:15; Acts 2:44-47). Some take the command to sell one’s outer garment to purchase a sword literally as well. However, Jesus later rebuked Peter for using a sword to defend himself (Matthew 26:52). Furthermore Jesus never taught His disciples to arm themselves so they could defend themselves much less take active aggression against those who might oppose them (cf. Luke 6:35-36; Luke 22:52; et al.).

Verse 37

Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:12 to help His disciples realize that others would regard Him as a criminal. Therefore it would be very difficult for His disciples. They would face intense opposition, as Peter experienced in the high priest’s courtyard. Jesus did not want them to underestimate the strength of the opposition that they would face so they would depend on God and not on themselves to remain faithful.

"At this point Christ emphatically applies to Himself a portion of Isaiah 53. Therefore, to deny that the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah predicts Christ’s passion is to contradict the Savior’s own interpretation of the prophecy." [Note: The New Scofield . . ., p. 1116.]

Verse 38

The disciples evidently took Jesus’ words about buying swords literally. They produced two that they had already acquired. They had understood Jesus’ earlier warnings about what lay ahead of Him in Jerusalem and had armed themselves to this extent. This was not Jesus’ intention.

Some interpret "It (or That) is enough" as meaning two swords would be adequate in view of the coming conflict. This does not seem to be what Jesus meant since He later rebuked Peter for using even one sword to defend Him (Luke 22:49-51; cf. Matthew 26:52). Furthermore two swords would not be enough to defend Jesus against arrest. Others interpret Jesus as having meant that the possession of two swords was enough to identify Jesus and the disciples as criminals and so fulfill Isaiah 53:12. [Note: Danker, p. 225; P. S. Minear, "A Note on Luke xxii. 36," Novum Testamentum 7 (1964):128-34; and Martin, p. 260.] However it was not the possession of swords that identified Jesus as a criminal but the false charges that He had claimed to be a king opposed to Caesar. Probably Jesus meant that He wished to pursue the discussion no further. [Note: Manson, p. 342; Morris, p. 310; M. Bailey, p. 148; et al.] The disciples had misunderstood Him. They would only learn what He meant later as they would learn the meaning of many other things that He had taught them that they had failed to perceive. The expression occurs often in the Old Testament in this sense (cf. Genesis 45:28; Exodus 9:28; Deuteronomy 3:26; 1 Kings 19:4; 1 Chronicles 21:15).

Luke probably included this part of Jesus’ conversation with His disciples because it is a sober warning to all disciples of our need for personal spiritual preparation. We all face essentially what the Eleven did. We must not rely on physical defenses in spiritual warfare but make responsible preparations and arm ourselves with the resources that only God can provide (cf. Ephesians 6:10-20). The disciples slept in Gethsemane when they should have been praying (Luke 22:40; Luke 22:46). Likewise we often fail to ask God to help us and instead rely on our own resources.

Verses 39-40

Luke had earlier revealed that during this week Jesus spent His nights on the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37). It is apparently to this custom that the writer referred here. Judas would have expected Jesus to do this, and Jesus did not try to elude Judas. Jesus’ control over His own destiny is again evident in His leading the disciples out of the city to the mount. Luke did not identify the place where Jesus prayed as Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32) perhaps because he did not want to detract from the action in the pericope. Jesus focused the disciples’ attention on their need for God’s protection from temptation (Gr. peirasmon) and instructed them to pray for it (cf. Luke 11:4). Only Luke wrote that He told them to pray for this, and only Luke mentioned that Jesus gave this command to all the disciples. The effect is that the reader sees all the disciples as needing to pray and as failing.

Verses 39-46

1. Jesus’ preparation in Gethsemane 22:39-46 (cf. Matthew 26:30, 36-46; Mark 14:26, 32-42; John 18:1)

Luke organized his narrative so Jesus’ praying in the garden follows immediately His instructions to the disciples about their preparing for the crisis to come. The present pericope shows Jesus’ proper approach to it and the disciples’ improper approach. The next pericope reveals the consequences of their actions.

Verses 39-53

D. The arrest of Jesus 22:39-53

This section in Luke’s Gospel consists of two incidents: Jesus’ preparation for His arrest and crucifixion, and the arrest itself. The subject of the whole section is proper preparation for persecution.

Verses 41-42

Luke presented Jesus praying as any disciple could pray (cf. Romans 11:4; Romans 14:11; Ephesians 3:14; Philippians 2:10). His posture reflects His submissive attitude. Luke did not record that Jesus lay prostrate during part of His prayer vigil (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:35).

The prayer itself reveals complete dependence on the Father’s will. Jesus asked for a removal of the cup, the symbol of His sufferings because of God’s judgment on sin (cf. Psalms 11:6; Psalms 75:8; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15-17; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24). He requested it if possible (Gr. ei boulei). Notwithstanding He submitted to His Father’s will above all. Throughout his Gospel Luke made frequent references to Jesus’ conscious fulfillment of God’s purposes.

The submissiveness of Jesus’ prayer is a model for all disciples. When we do not know God’s will specifically, we can voice our request, but we should always submit our preferences to God’s will. Luke pictured Jesus as a real man, not a demigod.

"The effect of the saying is that Jesus, facing the temptation to avoid the path of suffering appointed by God, nevertheless accepts the will of God despite his own desire that it might be otherwise. He does not seek to disobey the will of God, but longs that God’s will might be different. But even this is to be regarded as temptation, and it is overcome by Jesus." [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 831.]

Verses 43-44

Only Luke mentioned the angel who strengthened Jesus (cf. Luke 9:26; Luke 12:8-9; Luke 15:10; Luke 16:22; Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13). Probably he did this to help his readers realize the supernatural strength that praying brings (cf. 1 Kings 19:5-6; Daniel 10:17-18). However the angel’s presence did not remove the agony that Jesus felt as He prayed. The implication may be that the angel’s help enabled Jesus to pray more intensely and so to resist temptation more effectively. Jesus’ fervency, like His posture, reflected His feelings, this time His horror at the prospect of the Cross. God does not always spare us trials, but He provides strength to face them. [Note: Bock, Luke, p. 568.]

"His going into Death was His final conflict with Satan for man, and on his behalf. By submitting to it He took away the power of Death; He disarmed Death by burying his shaft in His own Heart." [Note: Edersheim, 2:539.]

In what sense was Jesus’ sweat similar to drops of blood? Perhaps it was so profuse that it resembled blood flowing from a wound. [Note: Liefeld, "Luke," p. 1032.] Perhaps there is an allusion to this suffering being the fulfillment of God’s judgment on Adam when He said that Adam would live by the sweat of his brow (Genesis 3:19). [Note: Martin, p. 260.] Luke may have been creating a rhetorical expression, namely, tears of blood. [Note: Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 832.] Perhaps Jesus’ sweat was red because blood exuded through the pores of His skin. [Note: Plummer, pp. 510-11.] Probably Luke made a connection with blood because Jesus’ sweat was the result of His great sufferings as shedding blood is often the result of intense suffering. The point then is that Jesus was sweating profusely, and His sweat was the result of His suffering in anticipation of the Cross.

Verses 45-46

Instead of praying, the disciples were sleeping. Luke noted that they slept from sorrow. Evidently their sorrow (Gr. lupe, grief) at the prospect of Jesus’ impending death had worn them out. The NEB translation "worn out by grief" is helpful. Depression often results in weariness.

Jesus’ question had the force of "How can you sleep at a time like this?" They needed to pray so they would not enter into temptation much less fall before it. Spiritual preparation before testing has more effect than just calling for rescue when we are in it does (cf. Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4). Jesus showed concern for the welfare of His disciples even when His own needs were the greatest. Luke omitted the three trips Jesus made to the sleeping disciples that Matthew and Mark recorded (Matthew 26:42-45; Mark 14:39-41). The effect is more emphasis on Jesus’ praying and less on the disciples’ failing.

Verses 47-48

All the synoptic evangelists noted the close connection between Jesus’ praying and the arrival of the soldiers. It was very important that Jesus pray. Judas preceded the arresting mob (Gr. ochlos, crowd) as Jesus had preceded His disciples, namely, as their leader (Luke 22:39). Luke stressed Judas’ hypocrisy in betraying Jesus with a kiss, the sign of friendship (cf. Genesis 27:26-27; 2 Samuel 15:5; 2 Samuel 20:9; Proverbs 7:13; Proverbs 27:6), plus the fact that Jesus knew Judas’ purpose. Disciples of rabbis often greeted their teachers with a kiss on the hand. [Note: E. F. F. Bishop, Jesus of Palestine: The Local Background to the Gospel Documents, p. 246.] Luke described Judas as "one called Judas," a way of keeping him at a distance while viewing him. "Son of Man" stresses Jesus’ identity as the divine ruler whom God had sent. The word order in the Greek text that indicates emphasis is "kiss," "Son of Man," and "betraying."

Verses 47-53

2. Judas’ betrayal 22:47-53 (cf. Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; John 18:2-12)

Verses 49-50

The disciples asked Jesus if they should use their swords (Luke 22:38). Their question was not so much a request for permission as an announcement of the action they intended to take. Jesus had earlier expressed His submission to the Father’s will in prayer (Luke 22:41-44). The disciples had failed to pray and expressed their opposition to Jesus’ will here. Luke did not identify the assailant as Peter (John 18:10) probably to keep the emphasis on his act rather than his identity. Interestingly Luke identified Judas clearly, but he did not identify Peter. Perhaps this magnifies the seriousness of Judas’ sin while playing down Peter’s failure. Doctor Luke and John noted that it was the right ear that Peter severed. Evidently Peter had swung to split the servant’s head open and had missed. The sword (Gr. machaira) was small, curved, and commonly used for self-defense.

In Matthew and Mark, Peter’s attack follows Jesus’ arrest, but in Luke it precedes it. Probably the soldiers took hold of Jesus, then Peter flew into action, then Jesus restored the servant’s ear, and then the soldiers led Jesus away.

"Peter had been sleeping when he should have been praying, talking when he should have been listening, and boasting when he should have been fearing. Now he was fighting when he should have been surrendering." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:270.]

Verse 51

Jesus rebuked Peter’s aggressive defensive measure. This is more probable than that He spoke to the soldiers and requested permission to heal the servant. [Note: Henry Alford, The Greek Testament, 1:649.] Another improbable interpretation is that Jesus meant that the disciples should let the soldiers have their way with Him. [Note: Creed, p. 274; Marshall, The Gospel . . ., p. 837; and Morris, p. 313.] Jesus then reversed the damage done by healing the servant. He did what He had previously told the disciples to do, namely, do good to their enemies rather than evil. Again Luke noted Jesus’ compassion even for those who sought to kill Him. Jesus did not rely on the sword nor did He base His kingdom on the use of physical force.

Verses 52-53

By mentioning the representatives of the various groups-religious, military, and political-that had come to arrest Jesus, Luke highlighted the absurdity of their action, which Jesus identified. These were all leaders of the Jews, not common Israelites. They had come prepared for a fight, but Jesus assured them that He would not give them one. If they wanted to arrest Him, it would have been easier to do so in the temple in daylight. They did not do the deed then, of course, because they feared the people (Luke 19:48; Luke 20:19; Luke 22:2). By coming when and as they did, they only made the hypocrisy of their action more obvious.

"Hour" designates a time of destiny or opportunity. The power (Gr. exousia, "reigns" NIV, cf. Luke 4:6; Luke 23:7) of darkness is the authority of Satan that God gave him for that time. Coming after dark symbolized the power of darkness that was active behind their action.

"Each of us must decide whether we will go through life pretending, like Judas; or fighting, like Peter; or yielding to God’s perfect will, like Jesus." [Note: Wiersbe, 1:270.]

E. The trials of Jesus 22:54-23:25

The following table identifies the aspects of Jesus’ two trials that each evangelist recorded.

Jesus’ Religious Trial
Before AnnasJohn 18:12-14; John 18:19-24
Before CaiaphasMatthew 26:57-68Mark 14:53-65Luke 22:54; Luke 22:63-65
Before the SanhedrinMatthew 27:1Mark 15:1Luke 22:66-71
Jesus’ Civil Trial
Before PilateMatthew 27:2; Matthew 27:11-14Mark 15:1-5Luke 23:1-5John 18:28-38
Before Herod AntipasLuke 23:6-12
Before PilateMatthew 27:15-26Mark 15:6-15Luke 23:13-25John 18:39 to John 19:16

Verse 54

This verse introduces Jesus’ trials and Peter’s denial. Even though Peter followed Jesus at a distance he at least followed Him. The only other disciple to do so was evidently John (John 18:15-16). Seemingly this house or palace was the dwelling in which both Annas and Caiaphas resided (cf. Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65).

Verses 54-62

1. Peter’s denial of Jesus 22:54-62 (cf. Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; John 18:15-18, 25-27)

Luke placed Peter’s denial ahead of Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas whereas Matthew and Mark intertwined these events. The effect in Luke is to focus the reader’s attention on Peter’s behavior immediately after Jesus’ prediction of his denial. Luke wanted his readers to see how Peter fell into temptation because he failed to pray. Luke stressed the fulfillment of Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial (Luke 22:31-34), Jesus’ continuing concern for Peter (Luke 22:61), and Peter’s weakness in contrast to Jesus’ strength. After Peter’s denial, Luke moved on to Jesus’ trials and concentrated on Him.

Verses 55-57

Luke’s account is essentially the same as Matthew’s and Mark’s. Peter evidently joined the circle of people seated around the fire. He first denied acquaintance with Jesus.

"Peter’s response is called a denial. The word ’deny’ (arneomai, Luke 22:57) is used in the NT as the polar opposite of the word ’confess’ (homologeo). We are to confess (i.e., acknowledge) Christ but deny ourselves (i.e., disown our private interests for the sake of Christ; cf. comment on Luke 9:23). Peter here does the reverse. He denies Christ in order to serve his own interests." [Note: Liefeld, "Luke," p. 1035.]

Verse 58

The absence of Jesus’ name in this whole incident presents a picture in which Jesus was so much the center of everyone’s attention that no one needed to call Him by name. This helps us appreciate the pressure Peter was under.

The person who accused Peter next was another maid, though Luke did not identify her (cf. Mark 14:69). Evidently a man joined her in accusing Jesus since Luke wrote that Peter addressed him when he responded. Matthew and Mark did not say that Peter responded to the maid. Perhaps Luke wanted to stress the pressure that was on Peter from male critics.

Verses 59-60

Luke’s singular reference to an hour passing reflects his interest in the passing of time. The third accusation-this one spoken with conviction-came from another man, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off (John 18:26). Luke omitted the oaths that Peter added to this denial (Matthew 26:74; Mark 14:71). He also wrote that Peter denied knowledge of what the accuser meant, apparently in addition to his denying that he knew Jesus (Matthew 26:74; Mark 14:71). Immediately the cock crowed as Jesus had predicted (Luke 22:34).

Verses 61-62

Luke had not told his readers that Jesus was anywhere near Peter. Perhaps Jesus was visible through a window, or His guards may have been leading Him past a place where He could see Peter. Luke’s unique reference to His turning and looking at Peter adds to the shock effect of the moment. The word that Luke used to describe Jesus’ looking usually means to look with interest, love, or concern (Gr. emblepo). Peter suddenly remembered what Jesus had predicted earlier that evening (Luke 22:34) and, undoubtedly, His profession of loyalty to Jesus (Luke 22:33). The realization of his unfaithfulness in this light, along with Jesus’ teaching on the importance of faithfulness, caused Peter to leave the courtyard and to weep tears of bitter remorse.

Luke’s account of this outstanding disciple’s tragic failure stresses the importance of adequate spiritual preparation for times of testing. Like the other evangelists, Luke included this incident because of its timeless importance for all of Jesus’ followers.

Verses 63-65

2. The mockery of the soldiers 22:63-65 (cf. Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65)

Evidently this mockery happened during Peter’s denial and at the end of Jesus’ hearing before Caiaphas. Luke probably placed it here in his narrative as a transition to contrast Peter’s attempts to avoid suffering with the sufferings of Jesus. It introduces Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ trials. Luke’s is the longest of the synoptic accounts. It presents Jesus as a real man suffering unjustly at the hands of His accusers.

The men holding Jesus in custody were the religious leaders (Luke 22:52; cf. Matthew 26:66-67; Mark 14:64-65). Luke presented Jesus as a prophet. He probably included this incident to show that Jesus’ failure to prophesy was not due to inability but to His purpose to lay down His life as a sacrifice. Jesus’ passive acceptance of all this foul treatment shows the same thing. [Note: See Laurna L. Berg, "The Illegalities of Jesus’ Religious and Civil Trials," Bibliotheca Sacra 161:643 (July-September 2004):330-42.]

Verse 66

The Sanhedrin, also known as the council of the elders, was Israel’s supreme court. It could only conduct cases involving potential capital punishment during daylight hours. [Note: Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:1.] This seems to be the reason for the time of this meeting. Evidently the Sanhedrin members wanted to send Jesus on to Pilate for trial as early as they could. The Sanhedrin normally met in a building not far to the west of the western wall of the temple. [Note: Josephus, The Wars . . ., 5:4:2; 6:6:3.] But archaeologists have not yet been able to determine exactly where.

Verses 66-71

3. Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin 22:66-71 (cf. Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1a)

Luke is the only Gospel writer who gave us an account of what happened at this official meeting of the Sanhedrin. It followed informal interviews late at night by Annas and Caiaphas. This meeting took place very early on Friday morning, April 3, A.D. 33. [Note: Hoehner, p. 143.]

Verses 67-68

The Sanhedrin asked Jesus if He was claiming to be the Messiah. Jesus replied that they would not believe Him if He told them nor would they answer Him if He questioned them. Jesus and the religious leaders had formerly come to an impasse in their discussions (cf. Luke 20:1-8; Luke 20:26; Luke 20:40). Jesus’ point was that claiming or not claiming to be the Messiah would be pointless since His accusers would believe what they wanted to believe regardless of what He said. Furthermore they had a different idea than He did of what the Messiah would do. They were really talking about two different types of individuals when they discussed the Messiah.

Verses 69-70

Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah here, but He did claim to be the Son of Man. He referred to the discussion He had had with some of His accusers on Wednesday (Luke 20:41-44). Then Jesus had questioned them about the identity of David’s Son in Psalms 110:1. He had showed that David’s Son, the Messiah, was divine. Now Jesus referred to the same verse again and said that the Son of Man would sit at God’s right hand from then on. This was a claim of unique association with God that constituted blasphemy. [Note: See Darrell L. Bock, Blasphemy and Exaltation in Judaism and the Final Examination of Jesus, pp. 30-183.] It also denoted that Messiah would not reign immediately. The title "Son of Man" connected the divine Messiah with a future coming to the earth to reign (Daniel 7:13-14). Jesus was implying that Messiah would return to heaven and then return later to reign on the earth (cf. Acts 2:33; Acts 5:31). He seemed to the Sanhedrin to be claiming that He was the Son of God, and Jesus admitted that He was claiming that (cf. Luke 9:20-22).

Verse 71

The Sanhedrin recognized Jesus’ statement to be an unequivocal claim to be the Son of God. This was a claim to be God. Consequently it appeared to them to be blasphemous. They now had sufficient grounds to demand the death sentence from Pilate.

Luke’s record stresses the identity of Jesus as Messiah, Son of Man, and Son of God, but also His fearless testimony to His own identity regardless of the certain consequences. Thus the writer clarified who Jesus was and presented His testifying before hostile authorities as a model for disciples to follow.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Luke 22". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/luke-22.html. 2012.
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