Text: Luke 22:19-38
Event(s): The last supper, disciples argue about greatness; Jesus predicts Peter’s denial; Supplies for the road
Luke 22:19 “This is My body which is given for you….” Jesus instituted a new meal which is not only a memorial of His death, but also a fellowship meal of unity. 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.
Luke 22:19 “do this in remembrance of Me.” Communion should draw our attention to Jesus Himself, not just the benefits of His death.
Luke 22:20 “This cup is the new covenant in My blood…” The Greek word for covenant is “diatheke” which refers to a will, a testament, or contract. An agreed upon plan to which both parties subscribe. While the word may signify an agreement between two parties, with each accepting mutual obligation, in the Bible, God initiated the whole action. He sets the conditions, and defines it as a decree. In the Old Testament (or the old contract, covenant, agreement) the “plan” was the Law. Now, God was instituting a new agreement, through Jesus. The new covenant would take effect through that which the contents of the cup signified, namely, Jesus’ sacrificial death.
Luke 22:22 “but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed.” 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 especially heinous in view of Jesus’ self-sacrifice for His disciples.
Luke 22:24-30 “judging the twelve tribes of Israel” In a previous post, where this content overlaps with what we’ve read in the other Gospels, I spoke to servanthood. However, I would add a quick comment regarding this phrase in vs 30. Jesus spoke of “twelve”, even though Judas would disqualify himself. This was gracious of Jesus, and implied that there was still time for Judas to repent. As we know, he didn’t and later in Acts 1:26 we find that Matthias would take his place.
Luke 22:31 “Satan has asked for you that he may sift you as wheat.” The Greek word for you here is plural, indicating that Satan had asked permission to trouble all of the disciples. Sifting wheat was a process that separated the grain from the chaff. So to “sift one as wheat” implied that the enemy’s goal was to separate Peter from Jesus in regards to his faithfulness to Him. (Jesus goes on to say in verse 32 that He has prayed that his faith should not fail.)
Luke 22:32 “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail…” Jesus didn’t pray that he might be freed from the trouble. He knew that Peter’s faith would be stretched to the limit, but Jesus was also confident that with God’s help, Peter would make it.
Luke 22:36 “But now…” This is a great example of why we must be careful to not make ordinances out of one piece of text. When it comes to the righteousness of God, there is only one standard and that never changes. But when it comes to His particular instruction and direction for our lives, we must maintain a relationship that allows us to hear His fresh word for the now.
Luke 22:38 “It is enough..” Jesus wasn’t saying the two swords were sufficient; instead, He was basically saying, “that’s enough of that”. The disciples were misunderstanding Him. He wasn’t asking them to rise up to His defense, He wanted them to be prepared because conditions were about to change. We all face essentially what the eleven did. We must not rely on physical defenses in spiritual warfare, but make responsible preparations by arming ourselves with the resources that only God can provide.
Today’s Takeaway: Communion is one of the most powerful weapons of spiritual warfare. If we can embrace what Jesus said about it, many of us will be delivered, healed and saved as we take communion, because to the degree that we believe God dwells within us is the degree to which we are like Him.
Additional (optional) reading: Hebrews 7 speaks beautifully to the new covenant replacing the old covenant. (I recommend reading this in the NLT or AMP) 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 is another great reference for Communion.