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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Luke 22

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-39

Luke 22:1-2. Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.

Dastardly fear often drives men to the greatest crimes. He who is not brave enough to be master of his own spirit, and to follow the dictates of his own conscience, may do, before long, he little knows what. Because of the fear of the people, the chief priests and scribes were driven to compass the death of Christ by craft, and to bring him to his death by the cruel betrayal of Judas, one of his own apostles.

Luke 22:3-6. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

Was it not a sad thing that the betrayer of Christ should be one of the twelve? Yet deeply trying as it must have been to the heart of Christ, there is something useful about even that horrible transaction. It says to all the professing Church of Christ, and it says to us who claim to be Christ’s followers, “Do not think yourselves safe because you are in the visible church; do not imagine that even holding the highest office in the church can prevent you from committing the basest crime. Nay, for here is one of the twelve apostles, yet he betrays his Master. Sometimes, we have found this betrayal to be a source of comfort. I have myself desired, in receiving members into the church, to be very careful if possible only to receive good men and true; yet, though pastors and elders of the church may exercise the strictest watch, some of the worst of men will manage to get in. When that is the case, we say to ourselves, “No new thing has happened to us, for such a sinner as this marred the Church from the very beginning.” Here is Judas, when Christ himself is the Pastor, when the twelve apostles make up the main body of the Church, here is Judas, one of the twelve, ready to betray his Master for the paltry bribe of thirty pieces of silver, just the price of a slave. Yes, we might have been put out of heart in building up the Church of God if it had not been for this sad but truthful narrative concerning Judas and his betrayal of our Lord.

Luke 22:7-8. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.

Notice how carefully our Lord respected the ordinances of that dispensation so long as it lasted. The passover was an essential rite of the Jewish faith, and our Lord therefore duly observed it. Learn hence, dear brethren, to esteem very highly the ordinances of God’s house; let baptism and the Lord’s supper keep their proper places. You do them serious injury if you lift them out of their right places, and try to make saving ordinances of them; but, in avoiding that evil, do not fall into the opposite error of neglecting them. What Christ has ordained, it is for his people to maintain with care until he comes again; and if he kept up the passover even when, in himself, it was already on the point of being fulfilled, let us keep up the ordinances which he has enjoined upon us. If any of you have neglected either of them, let me remind you of his gracious words, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness,” and “This do ye, in remembrance of me.”

Luke 22:9-13. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

Observe in this passage a singular blending of the human and the Divine; no mention is made of either as a matter of doctrine, but incidentally our Lord’s Divinity and humanity are most fully taught. Here is Christ so poor that he has not a room in which to celebrate the most necessary feast of his religion; he has made himself of no reputation, and he has no chamber which he can call his own; yet see the Godhead in him. He sends his messengers to a certain house, and tells them to say to the goodman of the house, “Where is the guestchamber?” It all turns out just as he said it would be, and he is welcomed to this man’s best room, and to the furniture thereof. Jesus speaks here as did his Father when he said to Israel in the olden time, “Every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.” All the guestchambers in Jerusalem were really at Christ’s disposal; he had but to ask for them, and there they were all ready for him. Here we see the majesty of his Deity; but, inasmuch as he had no room that he could call his own, we see also the humility of his manhood.

Luke 22:14-16. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

This was to be his last meal with his disciples before he died, and he had looked forward to it with great desire. It was a most solemn occasion, and yet to him a most desirable one. May something of the Master’s desire overflow into your hearts, beloved, whenever you are about to partake of the sacred feast which he instituted that night!

Luke 22:17-20. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

Do you see how this new memorial was blended with the passover, how it melted into that social meal which formed part of the paschal celebration? There was a cup, then bread, and then the cup after supper; so there was a gracious melting of the one dispensation into the other. We see our Lord’s wisdom in thus leading his children on from step to step, without a break, conducting them from one line of service to another and a still higher one.

Luke 22:21. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

This was a sad and solemn fact; yet it has often been so since that night. The nearer to Christ, the farther from him, — so has it sometimes happened since. He who was in some respects the highest in the College of the Apostles became the lowest in the ranks of the children of perdition.

Luke 22:22-23. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.

Let us also pass that question round among ourselves.

“When any turn from Zion’s way,

(Alas, what numbers do!)

Methinks I hear my Saviour say,

‘Wilt thou forsake me, too?’

“Ah, Lord, with such a heart as mine,

Unless thou hold me fast,

I feel I must, I shall decline,

And prove like them at last.

“The help of men and angels join’d Could never reach my case;

Nor can I hope relief to find But in thy boundless grace.

“What anguish has that question stirr’d,

If I will also go;

Yet, Lord, relying on thy Word,

I humbly answer, No.”

God grant us more grace, that we may be held fast by the records of love!

Luke 22:24. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

Let me read you these two verses together; they strike me as being very remarkable. Here are two questions: “They began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing,” that is, betray their Lord. “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” What poor creatures we are! How we are tossed with contrary winds! The new question comes up; and yet the old question, which ought to have been smothered by it, still remains there. It is possible that Luke is here alluding to some dispute which the apostles had previously had; and now the Lord, remembering that even in the ashes of contention lived the wonted fires of ambition, would quench the last sparks of the evil fire.

Luke 22:25. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.

The people are compelled to use sweet terms to express a very bitter bondage; so they call their tyrants “benefactors.”

Luke 22:26-27. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth?

The guest, or the waiter at the table?

Luke 22:27-31. Is not he that sitteth at meat? but 1 am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

As our Lord Jesus looked upon his eleven apostles, he felt that their time of greatest trial was fast approaching. Beyond anything they had ever endured before, they were now to be put into the devil’s sieve, and Satan would toss them to and fro, and seek, if possible, to destroy them.

Luke 22:32. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: —

“I have made thee, Simon, a special object of thy prayer. All the brotherhood will be tried, but for thee I have especially prayed, for thou, who seemest to be the strongest, art the weakest of them all, so I have prayed specially for thee, that thy faith fail not.”

Luke 22:32. And when thou art converted, —

“When thou art restored,” —

Luke 22:32-39. Strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing.

Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.


Verses 1-71

Luke 22:7-20. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the good man of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them. With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament —

(Or, covenant — )

Luke 22:20-21. In my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

What a shadow this revelation must have cast over that solemn feast over the Saviour’s heart, and over the minds of all his attached disciples! We can scarcely imagine what pangs tore his loving spirit. He could have used the language of David, with even deeper emphasis, and said, “It was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him: but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.” “The hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.” O beloved, I pray that you and I may never betray our Master; if ever we should so fail as to deny him, may the Lord stop us where Peter fell, and never suffer us to betray him as Judas did!

Luke 22:22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!

The decree of God does not lessen the responsibility of man for his action. Even though it is predetermined of God, the man does it of his own free will, and on him falls the full guilt of it.

Luke 22:23-24. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

Be astonished, dear friends, as you read, in such a connection as this, “There was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.” What! while yet the anxious question as to which of them was the traitor was being passed round, “Lord, is it I?” Is it so closely followed by another question, “Which of us shall be highest in the kingdom?” Oh, the awful intrusiveness of pride sad ambition! How it will come in, and defile the very holy of holies! Nay God prevent our falling victims to it! The last question for a Christian ever to ask is, “How may I win honour among men?” The one question for a believer should be, “How can I glorify my Master ?” Very often, that can best be done by taking the very lowest place in his church.

Luke 22:25-26. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

Let every respect be given to the elder, and let such as God honours be honoured among us; but let no man honour himself, or seek honour for himself. After all, in Christ’s kingdom, the way to ascend is to descend. Did not the Master act thus? He descended, that he might ascend, and fill all things; and so must his disciples do. Less, and less, and less, and less, must we become; and so we shall really be, in his sight, more, and more, and more, and more.

Luke 22:27. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

For he had just then taken a towel, and girded himself, and washed their feet, so becoming Servus servorum, the Servant of servants, though he was in very truth the King of kings.

Luke 22:28. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.

There is a reward to the righteous, though they serve not for reward, for the Lord says: —

Luke 22:29-30. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink; at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Ah, but see what follows! No sooner, in this chapter, does the thought seem to rise than it is dashed down again; the brightness ever has a shadow cast across it,

Luke 22:31-32. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

We are thinking about thrones, and about which of us shall have the loftiest throne, but see how the Master is thinking about the necessary while we are doting upon the superfluous. He thinks of our needs while we are dreaming of something great. What a blessing it is that we have our Saviour praying for us when we ourselves may be fancying that we need not pray! Our hands are ready for the scepter, and we are anxious to sit down on the throne, when the Lord knows that our proper place is at the footstool, pleading for mercy still.

Luke 22:33. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

That is bravely spoken, Peter; and yet it is very foolishly said, too. He spoke out of his very heart, and he meant what he said; but Peter did not know what a poor weak body Peter really was. His Master understood him far better.

Luke 22:34. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

And so it came to pass. Let us read a part of the sad story, beginning at the fifty-fourth verse.

Luke 22:54. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priests house. And Peter followed afar off.

I do not think that he was to be blamed for that; I do not see how he could very well have followed any nearer, for he was already a marked man. That sword-cut of his upon the ear of Malchus had made him specially prominent amongst the apostles, even if he had not been well known before. He got into the crowd, and came after his Master at such a distance as seemed safe for him.

Luke 22:55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

I do think that he was to be blamed for that action, for it brought him into dangerous company. Better be cold, than go and warm your hands in ungodly society.

Luke 22:56. But a certain maid beheld him as he eat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him,—

As the flame came flashing up every now and then, she looked at him, and Peter was troubled by her gaze: she “earnestly looked upon him,”

Luke 22:56-59. And said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him; for he is a Galilaean.

For he got talking to this ill company, and his speech had betrayed him.

Luke 22:60. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.

Another Evangelist tells us that he began to curse and to swear, as if that was the surest proof that he could possibly give that he did not know Jesus; for, when you hear a man swear, you know at once that he is no Christian, you may conclude that safely enough. So Peter thought that, to prove that he was no follower of Christ, he would use such ill language as the ungodly speak.

Luke 22:60-61. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.

God has all things in his hands, he has servants everywhere, and the cock shall crow, by the secret movement of his providence, just when God wills; and there is, perhaps, as much of divine ordination about the crowing of a cock as about the ascending of an emperor to his throne. Things are only little and great according to their bearings; and God reckoned not the crowing bird to be a small thing, since it was to bring a wanderer back to his Saviour, for, just as the cock crew, “the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.” That was a different look from the one which the girl had given him, but that look broke his heart.

Luke 22:61. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

How many there are, who sin with Peter, but who never weep with Peter! Oh, if we have ever transgressed in such a way as he did, let us never cease to weep! Above all, let us begin at once to lament it, and rest not till the Master looks again, and says by that look, “I have blotted out all thy transgressions; return unto me.”


Verses 7-54

Luke 22:7-13. Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. And ye shall say unto the good-man of the house, the Master saith unto thee, Where is the guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

The hour of Christ’s humiliation was drawing nigh, but he was still “The Master.” He had but to send his servants, and his request was at once obeyed, just as he might have asked for more than twelve legions of angels and they would have been immediately placed at his disposal.

Luke 22:14-22. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!

What consternation those sentences must have caused in that little company! Christ and his twelve apostles alone present, yet one of them was about to betray his Lord!

Luke 22:23-24. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

How strange that such a quarrel should be going on just then! Their Master was going out to betrayal and crucifixion for them, yet they were disputing about which of them “should be accounted the greatest.”

Luke 22:25-30 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

What folly and sin to quarrel about earthly precedence when such heavenly honours were awaiting them!

Luke 22:31-32. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Trial would be general to all the apostles: Satan hath desired to have you;” but the danger would be special to Peter on account of his tendency to presumptuous zeal: “’I have prayed for thee.’ Thy danger will be that, after having transgressed, thy faith will fail, so I have specially prayed about that. Where thy greatest danger lies, there have I planted my batteries of prayer: ‘I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.’”

Luke 22:33. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

And I have no doubt that he thought he was ready to do all this; he spoke out of the fullness of his heart, but he did not know the weakness of his flesh. We are all too apt to promise great things, and to fail in the fulfillment of them.

Luke 22:34-36. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

At first, our Saviour had great popularity amongst the people; and, under the cover of this, his disciples were received with respect and kindness so that, though they went forth without purse or scrip, they lacked nothing. But, now, Christ warns them that there is to be a very different state of things. Jesus is about to die, and people will not be ready to entertain them; they will need to have a purse and scrip of their own. They will constantly be in peril of their lives, and they will need the sword now, and the scrip. This is all that the Saviour meant.

Luke 22:37. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.

“They are drawing to their close. I am about to be put to death as a transgressor, and you will be treated as though you were the off-scouring of all things, and were not fit to live, because you are my followers.”

Luke 22:38. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.

A smile must have passed over the Saviour’s face as he saw how egregiously they had misunderstood him. He did not mean that they should literally carry swords, but that they should now have to go through an alien world, and to meet with no friends or helpers. He evidently did not mean that they were to defend him with the sword, for two such weapons would not have been “enough” against the Roman legionaries who were sent to seize him. How apt they were to misconstrue, and take literally that which he was accustomed to speak in figures, just as, to this day, some will have it that the bread on the communion table is Christ’s body and the juice of the vine is his blood.

Luke 22:39-40. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

“There is a peculiar temptation coming upon you. I have taught you to pray every day, ‘Lead us not into temptation;’ but, tonight, make very special use of that petition: ‘Pray that ye enter not into temptation.’”

Luke 22:41-44. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Was he heard? Ah, my brethren he was indeed heard, but especially in that part of his prayer, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done;” and that was the most vital part of his prayer; for, much as he shrank from that bitter cup, still more did he shrink from any thought of going contrary to the will of his Father. That ought to be the heart of all our prayers; whatever we are asking for, chiefly and above all else this should be our cry, “nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Luke 22:45-46. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

There must have been some very peculiar temptation about that night, that Christ’s disciples should have needed to be again and again commanded to pray this prayer.

Luke 22:47-50. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss? When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

No doubt he meant to cut his head in twain, but the sword slipped, and merely took away his right ear.

Luke 22:51. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear and healed him.

There was no lasting mischief done; but, on the contrary, another instance given of the divine power of Christ. No other miracle of this kind is mentioned in Scripture; I mean, the healing of a wound received by violence, the restoration of a member which had been cut off: and Luke is the only Evangelist who mentions it:-it has been thought that, because he was a physician, and had a quick eye for acts of healing, that he mentions that Christ touched the ear of Malchus, and healed him.

Luke 22:52-54. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.


Verses 14-24

Luke 22:14-16 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat the passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

This was to be the last occasion on which our Lord and his disciples would thus meet.

Luke 22:17-18. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

That was the passover cup. Now the passover melts into the Lord’s supper; and, henceforth, the Lord’s supper remains, and the passover has passed away.

Luke 22:19-21. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

What a sobering, saddening effect this must have had upon those who were at that festival! We have reason to fear that it will be true of our gathering also. There were only twelve apostles, yet there was a Judas among them; we shall have many hundreds at our observance of the ordinance, may we not fear that there will be many a Judas, too! Can we expect that we shall have a better selection of professed followers of Christ than the Lord had made for his apostles?

Luke 22:22-24. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

That had been their question among themselves, but now they have another enquiry, of quite a different sort, to answer. It was wise of the Master to give them a heart-searching question, to drive out that question of ambition which had filled them with pride and contention. Oh! if any of us ever had such a thought as that in our bosom,— which of us is greatest? — who can speak the best? — who can serve God the most? — who can take the lead?

— let all such questions be set aside while we sorrowfully enter in the other sad enquiry,— which of us will betray our Lord? God grant that none of us ever may do so!

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; and Luke 22:14-24.


Verses 14-46

Luke 22:14-16. And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.

And it is fulfilled, for Christ himself is the Lamb of our Passover. His blood has been shed and sprinkled; his people have been brought up out of their Egyptian bondage; and, by faith, they feed upon him, and are glad. How sweetly the passover melted away into the Lord’s supper, and how graciously did our Saviour thus teach us that, as a rule, he does not make violent changes in the development of his people’s spiritual life, but he leads them on gradually from one stage to another! There may be, sometimes, very sudden elevations; but, as a general rule, we go from strength to strength, a step at a time; and the truth is revealed to us little by little.

Luke 22:17-18. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

This was the passover cup,-the cup with which they concluded the paschal supper. At such times, they also usually began to chant a Psalm in happy unison. Just at that point, Christ interjected the first part of the celebration of the new ordinance,-the Lord’s supper, into which the paschal supper was to melt.

Luke 22:19. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you this do in remembrance of me.

It was clearly impossible that he could have meant that bread to be literally his body, because his body was there at the table. Therefore, the misunderstanding, or misrepresentation, of the Church of Rome is altogether without excuse. Our Saviour plainly intended to say, “This bread represents my body; it is an emblem, a symbol, of my body.” If this had been spoken concerning the bread after Christ had been dead and gone, and not before, there might have been some warrant for the teaching of the Papists; but there cannot be any such warrant, as he used the words while he was sitting there with his apostles. Let us be careful not to lose the true meaning of Christ’s words, while we combat the false interpretation that has been given to them.

Luke 22:20. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

He could not have meant that, literally, that cup was the new covenant; I never heard of anybody who thought he did. Why, then, take one part of the ordinance literally, if not the other? But our Lord did mean that the contents of that cup represented the blood, which seals and ratifies the eternal covenant on which our hopes are built.

Luke 22:21. But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.

Lamentable circumstance,-sad index of what often still occurs! The worst traitors to Christ are not outside, but inside the visible church; there they have the best opportunity for doing mischief; there they can give the unkindest cut of all. God grant that none of us may be among that miserable number!

Luke 22:22. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined; but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!

The fact that it was determined, in the eternal decrees of God, that Christ should die, did not at all diminish the responsibility of all had a share in bringing about that death. Learn, beloved, to believe firmly in Divine predestination without doubting human responsibility. Even though you may not be able to show how these two things agree, do not be anxious about that matter; be satisfied to believe what you cannot understand. Both these things are true, and they are both of them in this verse.

Luke 22:23-24. And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.

What a strange thing that it should have been so! Is there any such strife among us here? If so, how utterly unworthy are we to be the disciples of such a Master as our Lord Jesus Christ!

Luke 22:25-26. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

You know, brethren, that it always will be so. If a man tries to be great in the church, somehow or other his brethren generally think very little of him; but he who is willing to serve,-whose one ambition it is to lay himself out for the glory of his Master, and for the general good,-that man usually has a great deal more honour than he would have expected to receive. The way to be great in the church is to be serviceable to all around us, to be meek and lowly, to be willing to wait upon others. We have good reason for being the servants of our brethren when we remember the humble position that our Lord himself assumed.

Luke 22:27. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.

He served in the very humblest capacity, for did he not even wash the disciples’ feet? And if he, who was the greatest of all, thus condescended to perform the lowliest service, who among us shall be so lifted up as to suppose that no common work is good enough for him? Brethren, we must be humble, or else we shall be humbled. And let me remark that the latter experience is by no means a pleasant one, while the former experience is most sweet and gracious. God give us the grace to be humble!

Luke 22:28-30. Ye are they which hove continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Yes, there are thrones and a kingdom for those who are faithful to the King of kings; but there is something else to think of beside that kind of glory, for notice our Saviours next words,

Luke 22:31. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:

And between us and the kingdom there will be struggles and dangers; and watchfulness and wrestling prayer will be required of us. And here is our only hope of escape from the perils of the way, as it was with poor Peter

Luke 22:32-34. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren; And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

Though Peter did not really know himself, Christ knew him. That is one of our comforts,-that the Lord Jesus Christ foresees all future ill, and so provides against it; he looks down into our nature, and deals with us as we need to be dealt with. It is well for us that we are in his hands.

Luke 22:35-40. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end. And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough. And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the Mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

Or, “into trial.” We do not often enough present that petition, “Lead us not into temptation.” We are not able to bear temptation if it goes beyond a certain point; and it is a greater mercy to escape temptation than it is to pass through it, and to overcome it. I mean, of course, only in some respects. We may ask to be delivered from the evil one if we must be tempted by him; but our first prayer should be that we may not enter into temptation.

Luke 22:41-42. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

We can read these words in a calm, quiet tone; but they were uttered by our Lord with an intensity of agony which we can scarcely call up before our mind’s eye. So terrible was that agony, that our Saviour became utterly weak and faint through the intensity of his pleading.

Luke 22:43-44. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly:

More and more intense was that brief prayer as his supplication was continued.

Luke 22:44. And his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke was a physician, you know, so he was the most likely one to record this phenomenon. It has happened-so we have been told,-to some other persons in intense fright or agony, that their sweat has been tinged with blood; but we never remember reading or hearing of anyone but our Lord of whom it could be said, “His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

Luke 22:45. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

Great sorrow may have quite opposite effects upon different men. You have, perhaps, sometimes noticed that intoxication produces upon some men exactly the opposite effect to that which it produces upon others; some become irritable and noisy, while others become taciturn and quiet. It is also quite a matter of fact that great sorrow has various effects upon different minds. In the Saviour’s case, it aroused him to an awful agony of earnestness in prayer. In the disciples case, it sent them to sleep.

Luke 22:46. And said unto them, Why sleep ye! rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

The great trial for them, as well as for their Lord, was close at hand then. It was late at night, and they were drowsy and sleepy; yet no time is amiss for supplication. Prayer is never out of season, and never unnecessary. We never know when temptation is near, so let us pray without ceasing to him who is able to preserve us from temptation, or to deliver us out of it.


Verses 39-65

In anticipation of the communion that is to follow this service, let us read once more the story of our Lord’s agony and arrest, as recorded in the twenty-second chapter of the Gospel according to Luke. Probably we are all familiar with the narrative of the event which happened on that dreadful night; may the Holy Spirit teach us what they meant!

Luke 22:39. And Jesus came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.

The garden of Gethsemane had often been the place of our Lord’s private prayer, and it was therefore well selected as the scene of his fierce struggle with the foe. Where we get strength from God in private, it may often happen that we shall have to endure our greatest conflicts. Singularly enough, it is said that the Jews had a custom of taking the red heifer to the Mount of Olives before it was sacrificed, as if they set forth in that very act the leading of Christ Jesus into Gethsemane, and the bringing him back again with his raiment all red with his own blood. We might alter the prophet’s words a little, and ask “Who is this that cometh from Olivet, with dyed garments from Gethsemane?” and the Divine Sufferer himself might answer, “I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.”

Luke 22:40. And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.

He knew what sore temptation meant, and he was about to feel it at its utmost, and he therefore exhorted his disciples to pray even as he had formerly taught them in the model prayer, “Lead us not into temptation.”

Luke 22:41-43. And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

This is so plain a proof of Christ’s condescension as a man that it has overwhelmed some persons; they could hardly understand how it could be true. Hence, I believe this forty-third verse is omitted in some versions of the Scriptures, and there have been several learned men who, while they could not disprove the existence of the verse in the most ancient manuscripts, have yet laboured hard to cut it out, since they thought it too great a stoop for Christ to take. But, my dear friends, in this condescension of our Lord we learn how truly he was bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh. Doubtless, we receive much strengthening from angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” And why should not Christ, who was in all things made like unto his brethren, also be strengthened by an angel?

Luke 22:44. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

The Greek has the idea of the stretching of the sinews; Christ prayed to the very stretching of his nerves and sinews. As when men wrestle for their lives, so did Christ in prayer strain every power of mind and body that he might prevail. Luke alone describes this dread scene of Christ’s agonizing even unto blood; but there is no doubt whatever, from this passage, that our Lord Jesus did actually sweat blood, — not something like blood, but blood itself, — and that in great drops and in such quantities that it did not only adhere to his flesh, and dye all his garments, but there was such an abundance of it that in great drops it fell down to the ground.

Luke 22:45-46. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, and said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Our Lord was himself so smarting under the pain of fierce temptation that he would have his disciples pray even unto an agony, that they might not be led into it. And oh! if you and I have to pray that we be not led into temptation, how much more should we be instant in supplication when we are in the furnace of temptation! Then, indeed, if we restrain prayer before God, we shall be in an evil case.

Luke 22:47. And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

It is a remarkable fact that we do not read in Scripture that any other of our Lord’s apostles — not even John, — ever kissed the Saviour. It seems as if the most impudent familiarity was very near akin to dastardly treachery. The eleven would have thought it a high honour to be allowed even to kiss Christ’s feet; but Judas, having lost his respect for his Master, it was no very great descent for him first to sell his Lord, and then to betray him with a kiss. Mark you, brethren, our Lord Jesus Christ is generally betrayed thus. How, for instance, do men usually begin their books when they mean to undermine the inspiration of Scripture? Why, with a declaration that they wish to promote the truth of Christ! There is the Judas-kiss, and the betrayal comes quickly afterwards. How is it that Christ’s name is often most grossly slandered among men? Why, by those who make a loud profession of love to him, and then sin foully as the chief of transgressors!

Luke 22:48. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Christ might put that question to many of his nominal followers in the present day: “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

Luke 22:49. When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, lord, shall we smite with the sword?

There is always that tendency, even among Christian people, to get their hands on the sword-hilt, and a good man’s hand is never more out of place than there. When he has his hands clasped in prayer, or placed upon the promises of God, then it is well; but a Christian with his hand upon his sword is something like an angel putting forth his hand unto iniquity.

Luke 22:50-53. And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut of his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

“This is the time when I am given up, on the one hand to the temptations of Satan, — the power of darkness, — and, on the other hand, to you: ‘This is your hour.’” And, as beasts that prowl in the darkness are generally the most ravenous and fierce, so were these chief priests and captains and elders most determined in seeking the blood of Christ. Paul afterwards wrote that none of the princes of this world knew the hidden wisdom, “for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” It was just the darkness of their minds that led them thus to hunt the only Saviour of sinners to his death. Satan himself would scarcely have had a hand in crucifying Christ had he understood that, by that very crucifixion, Christ would break the old serpent’s head for ever.

Luke 22:54. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off.

For which he is not to be altogether blamed. I do not find that any other disciple followed Christ so near as Peter did, John was, probably, even farther off at first. Yet, dear friends, you and I may rent assured that, if we follow Christ afar off, it will not be long before we deny him. Those disciples who are ashamed of their Master, who never come out and openly confess their faith in him, have the seeds of treachery already sown within them. O brethren and sisters, be bold, and cleave close to Christ, for this is the way to walk securely!

Luke 22:55. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

“Evil communications corrupt good manners.” Get up, Peter and run away; what business have you sitting there? Better be in the cold, far off from in company, than in the warm in the midst of sinners.

Luke 22:56-57. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.

See how the most courageous are often cast down by the very slightest means. The tongue of a poor feeble woman is too much for this valiant Peter, who said that he never would deny his Master, even though he should die with him.

Luke 22:58-60. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest.

Matthew and Mark tell us that, to prove this statement, and to make it quite clear that he was not a follower of Christ, he began to curse and to swear, as if the best evidence that he was not a Christian would be afforded by his cursing and swearing.

Luke 22:60-61. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.

How that look must have pierced Peter through and through!

Luke 22:61-64. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee?

Upon this passage, a good man well observes that, one of these days, Christ will answer this taunt. With his unerring finger, the Judge of all shall point them out, and say to each one, “Thou art the man.” There are many of you, perhaps, who are committing sin in private, and you think it is not known. You are almost ready to ask the question of him whom you look upon as a blindfolded God, “Who is it that smote thee?” Ah! but he sees you all the while, he reads the secret the thoughts of your hearts, and the day will come when he will let you know that nothing has escaped his all-seeing eye.

Luke 22:65. And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.

The Lord bless to us all the reading of this sad, sad story! Amen.


Verses 54-62

Luke 22:54-56. Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them.

But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire,-The flickering light helped to reveal his features to this maid “as he sat by the fire,”

Luke 22:56-58. And earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. And after a little while another saw him, and said Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.

Both Matthew and Mark say that it was a maid, and another maid who spoke to Peter; and now Luke mentions a man; but there is no reason why all three of them should not have united in bringing this charge. One maid began the accusation, and the others joined with her.

Luke 22:59-61. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter.

The Saviour had been standing in the upper part of the room, which was probably roofed over, while Peter and the rest were down below in the courtyard, which was open to the sky, and therefore they needed a fire to warm them. Jesus had been standing before his judge; but on a sudden, as the cock crew, he “turned, and looked upon Peter.”

Luke 22:61. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

That cock crowing had come at the very moment Christ had foretold, for Peter had already denied his Master thrice.

Luke 22:62. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Now hear what John has to say about this matter. He wrote after the other three Evangelists, and he generally supplies their deficiencies. He it is who tells us how Simon Peter got into the hall. (See John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27)

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 26:31-35; Matthew 26:57-58; Matthew 26:69-75 Mark 14:53-54; Mark 14:66-72 Luke 22:54-62; and John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27.


Verse 63

Luke 22:63-71. And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Thereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. And they said, what need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.

Luke 23:1. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 18:12-14; John 18:19-26; Mark 14:53-65; and Luke 22:63-71; Luke 23:1.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Luke 22:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/luke-22.html. 2011.

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