Luke 22:1-20

 

“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.  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.  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 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 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 [new covenant] in my blood, which is shed for you.”

 

“‘Father we thank you for your Word, and for the opportunity we have to gather this evening around your living Word, Lord, these thousands of years after you walked the earth, Lord, how you’ve preserved that which you’ve inspired, and handed it to us.  And Lord as we look at the Middle East, and as we look at all of the trouble, Lord, in this present age, and Lord we see all of those things, harking of your soon return.  Lord, we come aware, Lord, we’re more aware than ever of the fact that the fields are white to harvest, and the labourers are few, and the billions of people on this planet, the task it seems insurmountable Lord, unattainable.  To look at our own nation, Lord, this our own city, the Estelle Valley, 6 million people Lord, how many are lost, Lord?  Lord, we are powerless, Lord, even to conquer our own hearts and our own minds, except Lord by the filling of your Spirit, except by your good pleasure, conforming us into the image of your Son, except Father you ignite within us Lord a greater fervency than we’ve ever known, Lord, that equals the desperation of the days that we live in.  Lord, we’re aware of that, we’re aware of the need in ourselves, Lord we’re aware that all that we thirst for is beyond the natural, Lord, it’s supernatural, it’s your very presence, your person, Lord, you, to fill us and to live through us, that we might find as individuals deeper communion with you Lord, a greater victory over our own sin and compromise, greater holiness Lord, as we sing those words, a greater impact on the lost world around us.  So Lord, we look to you, and always with tremendous expectation Father, you have given your own Son.  Lord, you’ve told us that you won’t deny us any other thing, but give us with him all things freely.  So Father because of your wondrous love, that we’ve hardly understood, your saving grace, your plan for our lives, for the present, for the future, Lord because of all of your goodness and faithfulness, we ask this evening for your continued blessing.  And we thank you Lord in time of singing your praises, and Lord as we open your Word and we look to you Lord, we pray you’d fill our hearts, that you’d touch us and challenge us, Lord as we fellowship with one another in the end of the evening, give us Lord a burden to pray for one another and exhort one another and challenge one another, Lord.  We put all of these things before you Lord, and our hearts cry out a thousand other things, Lord.  You can interpret them, you understand them.  You know every person in this room, the physical infirmity that needs your miraculous touch this evening.  Lord you know everyone here emotionally that’s drained, maybe from years of struggle, maybe from today, that need to be strengthened.  Lord you know everyone in this room that needs assurance that’s struggling with guilt.  You know everyone in this room who is still empty, never having come to you to be saved.  So Father we continue, Lord, in your Word now.  We ask Lord, that you walk in our midst, that you touch lives, Lord, that you have glory here this evening, Lord, for your name.  We trust you to do that Lord.  We move on with expectancy, we pray Lord Jesus in your name, amen.’

 

The Lesson of Judas, the man from Keriot

 

We are in Luke chapter 22, after a number of weeks looking at the 2nd coming of Christ.  Chapter 21 ends by saying “And in the day time”, this is the last week of his public earthly ministry, “And in the day time, he was teaching in the temple;”  And what a great tape-set that would have made.  “and at night he went out and he abode in the mount that is called the mount of Olives.”, no doubt looking forward to the day he will touch down there and split that mountain in half (cf. Zechariah 14:1-15).  “And all the people came” and Luke’s the only one who tells us, “And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.” (verses 37-38)  Because the parking lot was jammed, the camels were all backed up, everybody wanted to get there while there was still a seat somewhere in the Temple courts.  “And all the people came early in the morning to him in the temple, for to hear him.”  (Luke 21:38)  “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.” (Luke 22, verses 1-2) The atmosphere in Jerusalem, particularly at Passover, was an anxious atmosphere, because Passover was a feast of deliverance, when God had set them free, from Egyptian bondage and made them a nation.  [See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html for a complete Biblical and historic article about the first Passover in Egypt.]  Pontius Pilate, who normally was in the area of Caesarea by the Sea, would come during the Feast to Jerusalem, with extra soldiers to maintain order.  [Herod] Agrippa would come to Jerusalem.  Those political leaders in the area would set up residence there in the Antonio Fortress to ensure that there was no riot or revolt.  It was a tense atmosphere.  The religious leaders certainly were aware that many of the people are holding Jesus as a Deliverer, the Messiah, not understanding that he had come to deal with sin, but seeing him as a political Messiah, crying Hosanna as he came in on Palm Sunday [really Palm Friday].  There’s a great air of expectancy.  So the religious leaders are between a rock and a hard place, they are political more than they’re spiritual, so they always want to placate the crowds and the people, as politicians will. And on the other hand, they know that Jesus is taking away their authority, that the people are following after him.  So they’re looking for a way, quietly, they’re looking for some angle whereby they can put Jesus to death.  Now I think the same thing goes on in the world today, in the sense that, we’re going to see Satan’s working in the background here.  And he also is looking for that angle, stirring the hearts of men, the political leaders against Christ, as he’s doing today against real Christians.  And he will find a crevasse, he will find an angle through Judas Iscariot [Judas Ish Kiriot].  But it’s a very tense atmosphere.  Verse 3 says this, “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.”  “Ish”, man “Kiriot”, “man from Kiriot”, he’s the only Judean of the twelve, the rest are from Galilee.  “And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.”  Matthew says he went and asked how much money he could get for betraying him, he’s shopping.  “And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money”, because they were looking for a way to put him to death.  “And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.” (verses 4-5) So we have this interesting picture of Judas Iscariot, very strange, Satan entered into him.  Is Judas aware that Satan has entered into him?  We’re not told.  Jesus, in John chapter 6, verse 70, said “…there, have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you who is a devil.”  He said that there, knowing, and it tells us in 6:64 of John that Jesus knew from the beginning that it would be Judas who would betray him.  Very interesting.  And we have this whole controversy over Judas.  Could Judas have repented and been saved?  Or was Judas predestined to be this person.  Psalm 41 and some of the Psalms in the Old Testament, Zechariah chapter 11, verse 13, talking, prophecying of the one who would come.  The Book of Acts saying he went “as it was written of him, he went his way.”  And we look at this man and we think, man, what is this story here, was this a setup, this Judas, you know, was he just created to be a vessel of destruction, who couldn’t be saved?  Or could he be saved, could he have returned at the end?  I don’t know.  I don’t know.  Or, yes.  To which question?  Both.  Same answer. 

 

Things To Note About Judas

 

I think there are things for us to note about him.  You know, just sitting today and looking at him, and listening to an old tape, the word that’s always attached to him is ‘the betrayer’, the word ‘betray, betrayal’ always attached to Judas.  And I think in that, as we look at him, there are things for us to learn about him.  Here’s Judas, it says that Jesus had prayed all night before he chose the twelve.  And then he called twelve of his disciples who became apostles.  So in that all night of prayer, somewhere in there, Judas Iscariot was a part of a larger number of disciples, possibly being a disciple of John the Baptist in the beginning.  We don’t know.  And Jesus chooses him with eleven others, to be his apostles.  Judas Iscariot, a man who not only would witness miracles, but perform miracles.  It says after he chose them, he sent them and gave them exousia, he gave them the royal right and authority to perform miracles, and said ‘Go raise the dead, cleanse lepers, heal the sick, preach the good news.’  Judas Iscariot went and raised the dead, in the name of Jesus, healed the sick, raised the dead, cleansed lepers, preached the Good News.  And yet, as we look at him, he’s the one who crumbles, he’s the one who turns, he’s the one whose life seems to be taken down by covetousness, or greed, or his motives begin to come to the surface.  And I think in that there’s a warning for us, not that any of you is a devil.  ‘Have not I chosen you 2,400 and one of you is a devil,’ no, no, that’s not what I’m saying.  I’m saying, you know, that we have information about Judas in all the Gospels, so there’s something there for us as we look at him.  And I think the remarkable thing is he had so many advantages that you and I tend to say, ‘Hey, man, if I saw Jesus walk on the water, if I saw him rebuke the wind and the sea, if I saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead, and if I went out and raised the dead myself, and if I saw all these miracles, man, I’d be a strong Christian!’  Well, would you?  Here’s Judas Iscariot, he did and saw all of those things.  He had all of those privileges, and yet he’s taken down by sin.  You know, it’s interesting too, because it’s not adultery.  We might say ‘Well, there’s a biggie, there’s a biggie, or it disqualifies us from so many things,’ and it is.  It wasn’t murder, he didn’t commit the murder himself.  It was covetousness.  You would think, ‘OK, I’m warning all of you about covetousness,’ and you’re going ‘Oh man, warn me about the Big Ones.’  Judas, it tells us, the first time we hear any words from his mouth in John chapter 12, when Mary breaks open the alabaster cruse of ointment, of spikenard and pours it on Jesus, he says ‘Why was this waste made, this could have been sold, and the money could have been given to the poor,’ because it was about a year’s wage, the cost of that spikenard.  And then John says ‘He didn’t say that because he cared about the poor, he said that because he was the treasurer, he was holding the bag, and he was a thief.’  He just saw $24,000 or $30,000 go out on the floor.  And that tells us, by that time, he was already confused about Jesus.  Because Jesus is saying ‘I’m going to Jerusalem, and I’m going to be crucified, I’m going to be handed over to the religious leaders, to the Romans,’ and Judas Iscariot is already thinking ‘Wait a minute, I wanted one of the 12 thrones, you know, each of you are going to be given one of the 12 thrones to rule over Israel, I thought that you were going to overthrow Rome, and we’re going to rule with you.  Now you’re talking about how you’re going to die.’  There’s already something in Judas that’s saying ‘Well I’m going to get out of this what I can get out of this myself, because I am very disillusioned by this Jesus that I started following.’  And his heart is withdrawing.  He wishes he could have stolen the money that he could have gotten from the spikenard.  And now he goes out and figures ‘Well I’m going to get whatever I can get out of this.’  And it’s interesting, Luke says ‘he went his way.’  I think that’s a pretty defining and a scary phrase.  Judas Iscariot went ‘his way.’  And it’s interesting for me to see that Satan found an entrance into his life through this disillusionment, this greed, this attitude of “I’m getting out of this world what I can get out of this world,’ choosing his own way over the Word of God, choosing his own way over Christ as Saviour and Lord.  And how destructive ultimately that was in his life. 

 

Certain Parts of the Body of Christ Promote Judas’ Weakness, Covetousness

 

Now, it’s interesting too, because there are whole parts of the Church [Body of Christ] that build people’s faith around prosperity.  [To read a study of the last two era’s of the Body of Christ, which exist side-by-side next to each other right at the end-times, one ending up being promised protection, one going on into physical destruction, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/revelation3-1-22.html.]  Whole parts of the Church, that enforce on the minds of the people that attend there, ‘You do this, and you’ll prosper, you do this, and you’ll get that, you tithe and give offerings and the windows of heaven will be opened to you, you do this and you’ll be driving a Mercedes,’ and they really appeal to the covetousness in our hearts.  And it’s there, there’s a traitor that lives within everyone of us, if you haven’t noticed.  And it’s remarkable for me to look at this and think there are whole parts of the Church [the greater Body of Christ] that are built around the greed or the covetousness that’s in the heart of man, giving some guarantee that the Scripture doesn’t give in this present world.  [Comment:  The Biblical promise these Health & Wealth Gospel folks often quote is Malachi 3:9-12, which is part of the Old Covenant promises of blessings given for tithing, given to the nations, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, whereby they were to receive physical blessings for obedience to God’s Laws and physical curses for disobedience.  Many of these physical blessings and curses are listed in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.  But on the same hand, God’s physical people, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah were never offered salvation and the promise of eternal life, nor given the Holy Spirit, to help enable their obedience, and they were never offered an entrance into the Kingdom of God and eternal life.  Malachi 3:9-12 is merely a final statement of physical blessings for obedience to the tithing laws given in Deuteronomy for the physical nation of Israel.  The Health & Wealth Gospel churches grab this set of verses in Malachi out of context with the new covenant that Jesus just instituted at his last Passover, and apply them to themselves and their members.  Some of the Sabbath-keeping Churches of God have in the past made the mistake of misapplying Malachi 3:9-12 in a similar manner.  It’s time we recognized the error and step out of it.  The principle of giving a tithe to God, or saving a second tithe to attend the Feast of Tabernacles for these folk is not wrong at all.  But our rewards for obedience in these areas are eternal, to be received in the future, as we attain to a better resurrection.  See Deuteronomy 14:22-29 and http://www.unityinchrist.com/gifts.htm for a more complete study on the subject of tithing and Christian principles of giving.]  Oh, we will ultimately prosper, when we give to the Lord, when we serve the Lord, and we lay down our life to the Lord.  He says it’s going to be given back, pressed down, shaken together, in this world, and in the world to come.  And Hebrews 11 tells us about those who believed, and great things were accomplished in and through their lives, and then it tells us of those who died, they were crucified, they were sawn in half, they were eaten of lions, they were stoned, they lived in caves, and never saw the promises fulfilled [in this life]. 

 

Living & Fellowshipping With Believers Without Being A Believer

 

So it’s interesting for me to look at this personality and, and I think the warning for maybe some of you here who really don’t know Christ, is, that Judas lived with the believers without being a believer.  Judas served Christ, with the believers, without ever being a believer.  Judas gathered when the believers gathered, without ever being a believer.  Judas went and listened to the teachings of Christ with the believers, without ever being a believer.  Judas was what the world thinks is a Christian.  By outward appearance you couldn’t tell him from the rest.  In fact, over in verse 23 we’re going to see when Jesus says, ‘One of you is going to betray me,’ they all started to look at each other, they didn’t know who it was.  They started to question, ‘Is it me, Lord?  Is it me?’  Judas, they didn’t all look at Judas and go, ‘I knew it was him, he was shifty, his eyebrows are grown together, we knew right from the beginning that was the guy.’  Because what Judas had learned to do is put on a face, he was a hypocrite.  He had learned to put on that believer-mask, he had learned to be in their midst, and at the same time, be driven by these other motives, or ‘What can I get out of this?’  ‘You know, he said we’re all going to sit on 12 thrones, now he’s talking about this death stuff, now he’s talking about they’re going to put him to death.  I’m getting out of here, and I’m getting everything that I can get out of this before I do get out of here.’  You know, some say Judas was trying to force his hand [force Jesus’ hand, that is].  I don’t know that.  I just know that Judas went his way, never turned to the Lord’s way, that he never made Jesus his Lord, he never owned him above earthly circumstances. 

 

Anything You Choose Over Jesus Never Fulfills

 

And I know that for thirty pieces of silver he betrayed Christ, today’s value, 20 to 30 bucks.  Someone said it’s the price of a MacDonald’s meal with Supersized fries and Supersized Coke and everything in Russia, basically.  For 30 bucks.  And you know, the interesting thing is, as we follow him, he ends up saying, the last words that we hear from him, he says “I have betrayed innocent blood.”  We never get all the details of what it was that he was thinking, and what’s going on.  ‘But I have betrayed innocent blood.’  And it says he threw the thirty pieces of silver down in the Temple.  And as I look at that I think, you know, there isn’t anything that we can betray Jesus for that we will ever enjoy.  Whatever your price or my price might be, and we’re Christians, I’m talking about being in compromise, you know, the lesson for us, of Judas.  Whatever it is that we might, you know, make a choice.  ‘I know God’s Word says I should treat my husband this way,’ or, ‘I know God’s Word says I should treat my wife this way,’ or, ‘I know God’s Word says this about adultery,’ ‘I know God’s Word says this about stealing.’  He was a thief.  Even stealing a little bit.  ‘I know God’s Word says this, but…’   ‘I’m choosing this, because God’s not supplying it, and I need this right now.’  How much is that like him [Judas]?  And the lesson here as I look at it is, he threw that down, whatever it is you think, you know, a relationship on the side, or some type of sin or drugs or whatever it is, you know what?  You’ll end up throwing it down.  Because anything that you choose over Jesus never fulfills.  It never will.  And we just end up saying ‘I betrayed innocent blood.’  And when I look at Judas, and the mystery of Judas, and I think, ‘Well I don’t know, was he predestined?  Or could he have turned to Christ?’  I don’t know any of that.  But I do know when I look at it, there is this sobering challenge to my own heart.  Why did Jesus pick Judas?  Maybe he picked him for us.  I think he chose him for you and I, because Jesus loves us.  Maybe he chose us and wrote about him so we could look at him so close, playing the game, wearing the mask, never stepping over the line into the Kingdom.  You know, I pray that’s not you tonight, and I pray that you haven’t been coming just because you want to date a girl that comes here.  It happens all the time.  Or I pray that you’re not coming just to date a guy who comes here.  I pray that you’re not coming saying, ‘Oh yeah, I like the music.’  I’ve had people come up to me and say “You know, we come here, we really like the music, we don’t like the teaching.”   Boy, thanks.  “But we love the music.”  Of course we have people say ‘We can’t stand the music, drums up there, where do you get these guys?  But thank God the Bible is here.’  I pray that you’re not only coming to the house of God, I pray that you’re coming to the God of the house.  You know, I come, personally, with great expectancy.  I have no idea what’s going on here.  [laughter]  I come just to see what’s going to happen.  I come to see, ‘Are people going to get saved, are people going to get healed, are people going to cry, are people going to laugh, is the worship good…what in the world is going to happen?’  I just come with expectancy because he’s been moving in our midst, I just come to see what’s going to happen, because I know he’s going to be here.  And no offense, if he wasn’t here, I’d probably stay home, even if all you guys came.  I love you guys, but.  And I just looked today, you know he chose him [Judas] for us, to hold his life up in front of us, to just show how the human heart is, with all of the spiritual benefits.  And sometimes you know I think that familiarity breeds contempt.  Sometimes we can just take for granted what God is doing, or that we’re part of a fellowship that’s alive, or that God speaks to us, or has a calling on our lives.  Sometimes we can just, we can start to take that for granted, and allow, not the biggies, not adultery, not murder, but some thing, whatever we call it, greed, covetousness, some throne that we want to sit on instead of bowing the knee to his throne---wanting to sit on a throne in our own marriage instead of letting him have the throne in our marriage, wanting to sit on the throne where we work, instead of letting him be on the throne where we work, wanting to sit on the throne of our language, instead of him sitting on the throne of the language that we use, or the TV shows that we watch, or what we drink [or how much we drink], what goes up our nose.

 

The Lesson of the Betrayed

 

I think there’s another lesson, though, as we look at these verses that are interesting.  That is of the betrayed.  It really is interesting to look at Jesus in this.  Because all of us are going to be betrayed.  If you haven’t been already, you will be.  I’m trying to encourage you this evening.  You will be.  And not only that, you’ll be betrayed by somebody whose part of the Thing, you know.  I mean, it’s one of the lessons that are very important to learn, is that the Church [Body of Christ] is made up of humans.  It’s shocking when we find that out.  We come in, and we enjoy what’s going on, and we’ve never been in an environment where we can really let our guard down and become vulnerable, and then we do that in the church, and God nurtures great things into us because of that.  And I think we should still live like that [vulnerable, that is].  But then there’s betrayal, on different levels.  Simple, from somebody in our family, to a Christian that we really have looked up to or trusted, and all of a sudden we feel like, ‘Hey, we got stabbed in the back.’  And as I look at that, I think, ‘Well, what did Jesus do in this betrayal?’  You know, one thing is, I see this, he didn’t let it turn him away from God’s path.  And I think that’s of the utmost importance, because I see Christians who start to grow in Christ, and they pick out some mentor, some person, some man or some woman, someone they really look up to, and when they find out that person falls or they find out that person’s human, or they hear that person burp, and they think ‘Oh, they’re human, I didn’t know that…’  It’s almost, they feel betrayed by a human, and I see people then turn away from the Church [Body of Christ] because of that, and say ‘The Church is filled with hypocrites.’  It is, but we’re all saved [or in the process of being saved, on the road to salvation, but we’re not there yet, we’re still human, with human frailties and failings].  It’s a great thing.  One thing I see with Jesus is, his face was set like a flint, he was headed to the cross, and Judas betrayed him, but it didn’t turn him away at all from what God was calling him to do.  In fact, at the last supper he’s still going to hand Judas the sop, which was a token of the guest of honor, of caring about the person who was most to be honored at the table, a friend, even at the last moment, even past this point when Judas is out betraying him and Satan has entered into him, Jesus is going to offer the sop to Judas.  And I think it is a lesson.  You know, I haven’t learned it.  When I get stabbed in the back, or people gossip and backbite me, you know, my first reaction is something Rambo-ish, you know.  I mean, I don’t have this down yet, I just see it.  I’m glad that Jesus didn’t turn around and just smote Judas.  He could have just gone BLAM! and he could have just turned into a puff of smoke and be gone.  Or Jesus could have just used some karate moves nobody ever saw, 110th Degree, he could have…but that would have blown Jesus in our minds, he wouldn’t be the Jesus we know.  And he’s conforming us into his image and likeness [which is turn the other cheek.  Look up and read Matthew 5:39-47.  And then for a more in-depth study of being conformed into the image of Christ, see :http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm.]  And the one thing I see in his betrayal is the way that he reacted.  I believe he still loved Judas, he still loved the guy who betrayed him.  I’m convinced of that.  It didn’t turn him away from God’s path.  1st Peter chapter 2 says he didn’t revile when he was reviled, didn’t strike back, but he committed himself to the Shepherd and Bishop of his soul, the same way we should, he trusted the Father.  Because he knew that his life was under the Father’s care.  It says in Acts chapter 2, verse 23 that “it was by the predetermined counsel and foreknowledge of God that Christ was offered up.”  He says to the disciples at one point, ‘Lo, I go as it is written of me.’  Even in all of that, and all of the pain, and I believe that he felt pain in his heart, he did not take that revenge to himself.  And you know, I think that the challenge to all of us, it’s a challenge to me, because I think of people that I would really liked to have knocked their teeth down their throat.  You can pray for me, I’m just being honest.  [I’ve been betrayed by longstanding believer friends, royally stabled in the back, and have had the same initial feelings and mental reaction, although, just like Pastor Joe, I didn’t carry out my desire.]  Don’t look at me like you don’t understand what I’m talking about, either.  And you know God really had to deal with my heart about that.  Maybe you’re here this evening, and you’re bitter at a parent, or you’re bitter because you grew up in an abusive situation, you’ve been betrayed BIG TIME.  Well you need to let the Spirit of Christ reign over your heart, you need to let the Spirit of Christ have his way.  Because he knows how to do this without getting even, and I don’t.  It’s not natural to me, it’s supernatural.  I believe he can lead me.  And that’s interesting, as I look at him as the betrayed, how he reacted in all of this. 

 

“Go And Prepare Us The Passover, That We May Eat”

 

Now look at verses 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.”  So Peter and John took money, no doubt, went to the Temple precincts, purchased a lamb that had been inspected and approved by the priests, cut the throat, drained the blood, went through the whole process.  And then they brought it back to where they would celebrate the Passover.  But essentially, Jesus says ‘Go prepare for us the passover that we may eat.’  “And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?” (verse 9)  And Jesus doesn’t say out loud where they should go, because Judas is looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus in a place where Jesus is going to be away from the crowd.  So he says to Peter and John, and I’m sure Judas’ ears perked up, he said Go on and prepare a place for us to have the passover,’ and they said, ‘Where, Lord?’  Jesus said, ‘I want you to go into town, and you walk down the street, and you’ll see a guy walk by with a pitcher of water on his head, you follow him, and whatever house he goes into you go into the house with him, and he’s gonna turn around and say ‘What do you want?’ and you say ‘We’re looking for the place for the Master to celebrate the Passover.’  That’s where we’ll have it.’  Judas must have gone WHAT!?  And the thing is, I love the fact that Jesus can prepare a place where the deepest communion takes place, that no Judas ever knows about.  You know, Judas just doesn’t understand.  When Judas brought the Temple guards, they came with swords, they came with staves into Gethsemane.  If Judas understood at all who he was, he’d have said ‘Leave your swords at home, he’ll come.  You just come.  You don’t have to get into a sword-fight with him.’  Judas didn’t understand at all who Jesus was.  And I love the fact that even in the midst of betrayal, even when someone has injured us greatly, even when our heart is wounded and bleeding, there is a place of the deepest communion.  They’re going to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, he’s going to institute it.  There is a place of the deepest communion that no betrayer knows about and can take away from us.  [Comment:  In the days of the apostle Paul the early churches of God were observing a “Christian Passover” once a year, on Passover, or the evening just before the daylight portion of Passover, just as Jesus had here.  It was part of their continued early observance of God’s Holy Days which Yahweh had given Israel to observe in Leviticus 23.  See: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm to view some astounding historic and Biblical evidence.  Their early “Lord’s Supper” was not a monthly or weekly occurrence.]    And it’s the same today.  And I love it when the Lord does something like that.  You know when those circumstances happen in your life, and he does them just for you?  I can’t describe them.  I can describe something that happened in my life.  And you know this is not coincidence, ‘Lord, you are setting me up, you’ve got something cooking here.  I love it when those things happen.  You know, you get up in the morning, and you read your Word for the day [i.e. daily Bible study] or something, and it’s a certain verse, and then you get in the car and turn on the radio, and the guy on the radio is saying the same thing you just read, and you go ‘Oh wow!’, and then you get somewhere and it’s the first Christian you see, and he says ‘You know what I was reading this morning?’  Let me guess, you know.  And there are things where the Lord, the same as he was then, is now setting something up for us, leading us to a place, and we get there, and it can be in a crowd, it can be alone, and all of a sudden our hearts are blown, there’s tears in our eyes, and we’re just saying ‘Wow, Lord, you set up this place.’  And all of my betrayers, Lord, all of those who have injured me, all the unbelievers that surround me, know nothing of this place, Lord.  And this is what it’s all about.  They said, ‘Where Lord, where do you want us to 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?” (verses 10-11)  The guy’s going to walk into the house, turn around, these two guys are going to be standing right behind him.  “And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished:  there make ready.” Notice, “furnished”, what a setup.  “There make ready.”  I guess so.  “And they went, and found as he had said unto them:  and they made ready the passover.” (verses 12-13)  Goes without saying.  “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.”  Including Judas.  Judas now knows where it is, but now he can’t go to tell the soldiers. 

 

“With Desire I Have Desired To Eat This Passover With You”

 

God Rearranges Our Hearts & Gives Us Heavenly Desires

 

“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.”  (verses 14-18)  So, Jesus, and I love this scene.  He sits down with them, to a supper.  You know, I think, the staff here at church, it’s very much the same way, we try to conduct ourselves as a family.  I don’t think at the last supper anybody was keeping minutes.  ‘OK, Peter, did you get that?  OK, say that again.’  It wasn’t a board meeting, and it wasn’t a meeting they were bored at, that’s a bored meeting, you know, keeps minutes, wastes hours.  They sat down together, and they talked.  They laughed.  They fellowshipped.  They looked into his eyes.  They listened to his voice.  And he says ‘With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you.’  You know, it’s the same word for lust, that’s used throughout the New Testament.  When we hear that word, lust, or desire, immediately we think of sexual terms.  But, no, no, desire.  Desire is not wrong.  Before we come to Christ, the only things we can desire are the things of this world.  After going to enough of them, thank God by his Spirit as he draws us, we can admit we’re still empty, and that’s when we can cry out.  Desire for heavenly things is not born into us until we’re saved [or in the process of being saved for some].  When we’re saved, all of a sudden we’re longing for other things.  Jesus has been longing for this Passover, and the key word is this Passover, because that was the Passover that all other Passovers had pointed toward.  That was the Passover that every Passover since they came out of Egypt pointed toward.  [Comment:  To read a good historic research paper about the first Passover in Egypt, see: http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html.]  All of those things and all of those Feasts were merely a shadow, Colossians 2:17, Christ himself being the body.  And he says ‘This, from time and eternity, is the Passover that I longed to sit at the table and to look into your faces.  This Feast is the feast that I longed for before the foundation of the world.  How I have desired this.’  And how wonderful it is when Christ is born into our hearts, the things that we desire.  I desire the Rapture to happen [it may not happen the way he’s expecting it to, or when].  I genuinely desire the Rapture to happen.  Now somebody in your family whose not a believer is going to say ‘You desire WHAT!?’  Well, don’t you know about it?  The signs are all around us.  We’re near the 2nd coming of Christ.  And in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, when nobody expects it, the Lord himself is going to descend, with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the Trumpet of God, and we’re going to be caught up off the face of the earth, and we’re going to disappear.  [This is shown in 1st Corinthians 15:49-54.  Of course, we’re going to be coming back pretty soon, with Christ, to the Mount of Olives, as Zechariah 14:1-15 shows, to reign with Jesus Christ on earth for a thousand years, as Revelation 20:4-6 clearly shows us.  The Body of Christ disagrees on how long that “pretty soon” is going to be.]  And I can’t wait.  What do your relatives think of you when you say those kinds of things?  I am desiring, lusting, longing after that time, when we’re in heaven, and I see so many of you there, cancer-free, brokenheartedness gone, smiles on your faces, chronic illnesses disappeared, guilt gone, old things completely passed away, all things finally manifested in their newness.  I long for that, standing on a Sea of Glass and a fire, looking into the face of the Saviour  [Comment:  That period of time when we are in heaven is debated hotly, but it probably is the relatively short period of time that will encompass the “Wedding Feast” of Revelation 19:7-9, just prior to when we all will return with Jesus, which is shown in Revelation 19:11-21 and Zechariah 14:1-15. One interesting interpretation about  this Sea of Glass can be read at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm]  It’s in my mind, the whole scene is there.  Man, when I was not saved, I couldn’t desire a stitch of that.  I remember listening to born-again Christians and thinking ‘I don’t know what they’re on, but it’s better than the acid I’m taking.  Those guys, if they’re serious, they’re on a trip that’s way better than the one I’m on.’  And how remarkable that that’s born in us.  I mean, who would have ever dreamed?  I could have never dreamed, ever, that I’d look forward to church, Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night [or Saturday & Wednesday night].  My parents had to drive me from the house to go to church, they had to whip me, maybe it was the tie, I don’t know.  But they had to drive me out of the house to get me to church.  And when I knew they weren’t going to be there, I used go to [somewhere else teens hang out in Philly, illegible on the tape though], and come back and say ‘Church was great, coffee was great, it was great.’  And if there was a time in my life when somebody said to me ‘You’re going to be a pastor,’ I might have clobbered him.  Because in my mind, that was something far different, I hope, than what I think it is now.  And how he takes and rearranges our hearts and gives us heavenly desires.  And here Jesus is desiring for those things that they were yet to understand.  They would long for them in the not-too-distant future.  They would remember his words, they would come into focus as they were filled with the Spirit.  Here Jesus is desiring this night, this Passover, because now all is fulfilled, all has come to a point in time in eternity. 

 

“Do This In Remembrance Of Me”---Looking Back, Looking Inward, Look Forward

 

“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:”  He took the “Cup of Thanksgiving,” before his institutes the Passover Supper.  “And [he] gave thanks and said, Take this, divide it among yourselves: I say unto you I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” (verses 17-18)  Now imagine, there’s a day coming when we’re going to sit, this is literal stuff, we’re going sit at the Kingdom at some table with Christ, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb [cf. Revelation 19:7-9].  We’re going to be the Bride.  We’re not even the invited guests, and at the table, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Elijah, Miriam, Deborah.  Imagine what that scene will be like, Whitfield, Spurgeon, Moody, and all of us---long table.  “And then he took the 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 [Greek: new covenant] in my blood, which is shed for you.” (verses 19-20)  Again, remarkable scene to me, because it says that he gave thanks, he broke it, and he gave it to them.  It was his story, by the way, blessed, broken, and given.  That was his life.  And when it says he blessed it, he gave thanks.  Just imagine, because it would be shortly after this, he would be sweating great drops of blood.  The angels would have to strengthen him.  And it was a cold night, and he sweat great drops of blood, hemotridosis, the pressure breaking down his system and the capillaries bursting under the strain and the stress.  And yet at this point he gives thanks,  he takes the bread [it would be unleavened bread for this meal].  He alone knows the full measure of it at this point, that it will be his own body, that it won’t be long before his face will be beaten beyond human recognition.  The Scripture says that his beard is ripped out of his face.  He doesn’t even look like a man, like a human being, by the time they’re done with him.  They’ll spit on his face.  They’ll scourge him and take off his skin and his tissue, down to his bones, maybe down to his bowels, jam a crown of thorns on his head, nail him to a cross.  And he takes the bread and gives thanks.  Judas had no idea.  He took the bread and gave thanks, and broke it, and he gave it to them and said, ‘This is my body, broken for you, this do in remembrance of me.’  ‘Likewise he took the cup, he said, This is the cup of the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.’  How remarkable, giving thanks, saying, ‘this do in remembrance of me,’e HHe  it is a memorial [and memorials are kept once a year, btw].  I think ‘of me’ is very important, ‘this do in remembrance of me.’  Not in the remembrance of the miracles that I did, not in remembrance of the fact that I raised Lazarus.  Not in remembrance of the fact that I walked on the water.  ‘Do this in remembrance of me,’ and how they must have looked into his eyes, and thinking ‘How could we forget you, what are you talking about, how could we forget you?’  And yet here we are 2,000 years later, and how the Church has forgotten him.  How many churches you walk into that don’t honor his Word, they don’t believe he was born of a virgin, they don’t believe that he’s returning, they don’t believe in using the word “sin” because it’s bad for self-esteem, and forgiveness.  They’ve let other deities in the front door, Sophia and these different things.  They turn away from his Word, from his life, from his death and resurrection and his return.  Seems preposterous, ‘Do this in remembrance of me’ to those men who sat at the table, but how well he knows us.  When we take the communion [or the New  Testament Passover] he tells us we need to look in three directions.  He says, number one, ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’  Remembering that the price has been paid in full.  And you know what, I need to remember that.  Because I find in my spiritual life, I find a traitor that’s there, I find there’s those old desires that ruled me before towards the worldly things.  I find that since I’ve been born again by God’s Spirit, the power of them over me is broken.  Because now by the power of the Spirit I long for other things, for better things, for higher things, for the things of his Kingdom.  But I find that they are not still, they’re there, they’re alive, looking for an opportunity.  And I find that because of my awareness of all that’s wrong with my own heart, my own motives, because I’m good at saying a prayer that I think people will like, and I’m good at acting like a Christian in front of other people, and being a little less tough with myself when I’m alone with my wife and kids.  (They’ll never tell you that.)  I’m so good at doing so many things that are outward, and yet finding in my own heart there’s still so much that needs to change.  But how it does me good to take the cup, and the bread, and remember he saved me anyway.  He saved me anyway.  I may not be what I should be, but I ain’t what I used to be, and I ain’t what I’m gonna be.  [applause]  And how wonderful to partake of that cup and bread and do it in remembrance of him, that he’s paid the price in full.  A friend of mine told me a story of a woman that was sitting, and as the little cup came by, she just began to convulse and began to cry, just overwhelmed with what Christ had done for her, and her own selfishness and what she’d been doing in her own life.  And she was quietly kind of sobbing.  And she told her pastor the story, she said, ‘Right in the middle of it there was this hand on my shoulder,’ and she said, ‘I turned around and there was this old gentleman there, and said ‘It’s ok honey, this is for sinners.’  How wonderful.  So one direction we need to look is back.  Do this in remembrance of me.  Not of Egypt, not of the Passover night thousands of years ago, but of him, what he’s accomplished on our behalf. 

 

Looking Inward, Self-Examination

 

The other direction we need to look in when we take communion [or the New Testament Passover, which the early Church observed] is inside.  It says in 1st Corinthians 11, let a man examine himself [and Paul wrote that in direct context of the early Church keeping the New Testament Passover].  You know, ‘Lord, I’m not just taking this lightly.’  When it says we shouldn’t drink, partake of the body and blood of Christ “unworthily”, I think it’s talking about that crew there in Corinth, they were getting drunk at the communion [Passover] table, they didn’t love one another, they didn’t care about the poor people in the church.  You know, they were just out of order.  I don’t think it’s talking about the Christian whose wrestling with a difficulty in his life, or none of us could take it.  But if we’re examining ourselves, then it says he’s not going to judge us, we’re judging ourselves.  We take communion, I love to take it and just say ‘Lord, there’s still so much in me that needs to change, but I just praise you Lord, this is power, this is your blood [symbolically, he’s talking here], I love the song ‘this is the blood that cleanses me.’  You’re the God that calls things that are not as though they were.  You see me as a finished product, oh Lord, I look and still see there’s so much that needs to be done, and you see me complete.’  But if we confess our sins, we examine ourselves (cf. 2nd Corinthians 13:5). 

 

We’re Looking Forward, To Christ’s 2nd Coming

 

We look back in remembrance, we look in, [inside ourselves, self-examination], and I think most remarkably it says, that ‘As often as we do eat this bread and drink this cup, we do show forth the Lord’s death until he comes.’  We look forward.  The 2nd coming of Christ is tied right into it.  And here’s the reason why.  Because it seems as I look at the Scripture, that it’s only the Church of the Firstborn, that sits at the communion table.  The Old Testament saints who died in faith, died in faith without the cup and the bread, they died in faith looking at substitutionary atonement.  They understood they were sinners, and they believed that God had established a system where an innocent substitute could die in their place, and they were looking forward to the Messiah, and that was faith, and they died in faith.  But they didn’t sit at the table like we do.  And it seems that during the Kingdom age, there are sacrifices that take place that are a memorial, that look back to what this great King that sits on the throne had accomplished.  [And as a racially Jewish Calvary Chapel pastor once told all their pastors in a pastor’s conference, “You’d better get used to the idea of keeping the Sabbath and Holy Days, because in the Millennial Kingdom of God, we’ll all be observing them.”  My question is, if then, and the early Church did so, then why not now?  There is a nagging unanswered question that lurks about in Sunday-observing churches, and that is, ‘Has the Sabbath command been abrogated or transferred to Sunday?’  See http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Has%20the%20Sabbath%20Been%20Abrogated.htm to view an article that discusses this age-old question.]  And yet [while keeping these sacrifices in the Millennium] they will have to believe by faith that Jesus at one point in time, this great King that rules over all the earth, that at one point in time they ripped his beard out, they spit in his face, and they mocked him, and they beat him unmercifully and nailed him to a cross.  They will in that age have to accept Christ’s payment by faith.  But here, you and I, whenever we partake of the cup and the bread, we do show forth the Lord’s death until he comes.  We’re looking forward to his return.  And the only reason that we can look forward to his return is because of his broken body and his shed blood.  The price has been paid in full.  You know, in Titus, Paul gives us that statement, and I think it’s, for me, and you don’t have to turn there, the defining statement of grace in the New Testament.  He says this, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,”---‘do this in remembrance of me’---teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world,---let a man examine himself---“looking for that blessed hope and that glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”  That God’s grace brought us to salvation, it teaches us to live in this present world, denying ungodly lusts, and it makes us look forward to his coming.  What a wonderful thing to remember as we partake.  Now again, there are Judas’s that know nothing of that fellowship, of why he came.  They want an earthly kingdom, they want a throne now, rather than bowing their heart and their knee to the One who rightly deserves it, who paid the price, who deserves the throne in our lives and our marriages and our homes and in our work, wherever we are, whatever we do, even in traffic [Pastor Joe’s admitted challenge that he’s working on J.  Traffic must be horrendous in Philly]. 

 

The Guilt Of Judas---He Couldn’t Deal With It

 

And how wonderful it is that we don’t have to be plagued by guilt.  Judas, it says, threw down the thirty pieces of silver and repented, but it’s not the word used for New Testament repentance, it’s remorse or guilt.  He was guilty, and he had no way to deal with it.  He said “I’ve betrayed innocent blood.”  And his guilt was not dealt with, and he died, and was lost.  And people that don’t know Christ cannot bear the weight of their guilt.  I think of Joseph’s brothers, twenty years later when they come to Egypt to buy grain, and they’re going through this whole scene with Joseph there, not knowing it’s Joseph.  Finally they turn to each other and say ‘This is because of what we did to our brother!’  Twenty years before that.  I had a cousin, first cousin, when he was seventeen years old, got in a fight over his girlfriend with his best friend,  grabbed a rifle, they fought over the rifle, the rifle went off, shot him, hit his body, went to prison, life, involuntary manslaughter, was in prison for twenty years.  I remember when we were little kids we’d ask, ‘Where’s Johnny?’ they said ‘Oh, he’s away at college.’  So I grew up thinking ‘Man, he’s been away at college a long time.’  I’d seen my aunt and uncle cry.  Finally when I was old enough they told me, and I went to visit him.  He finally got out.  But the world between 1955 and 1975 had changed, greatly.  And he hadn’t.  Within a year he was back in, in a fist fight, got involved with a girl that was too young.  In a year and a half, out again.  The last I heard of him, and I didn’t talk to him, he was living with a Christian family somewhere in New Jersey, and I’m hoping somehow something happened.  He finally drove back to the place where he had killed his friend up near Scranton, almost 30 years before that, and took his own life.  Guilt.  I don’t know if you remember, just 1993, a woman named Alice Metzinger, in the late 60s, early 70s, involved with some student movement in Boston, decided that they were going to rob a bank and give the money to the Black Panthers to buy weapons.  She was driving the get-away car, things didn’t go good, police showed up on the scene, one of the police was shot, she was involved in it, her name was Catherine Power then.  Hid herself, finally made her way out to Oregon, changed her name to Alice Metzinger, opened up a restaurant, got married, had a son, lived for twenty some years as Alice Metzinger, and in 1993 she came back to Boston, walked into the police department and handed herself in because she could not deal with the guilt.  Judas.  Jesus chose him for you tonight, because he loves you.  If you don’t know Christ, before you leave here this evening, I really want you to know in your heart, what a relief it is, what it’s like to have the burden of my sin off of my back.  When I sit and take communion [or for Sabbath-keeping Church of God folks, when we sit and take the New Testament Passover, just as the apostle Paul did] how much it means to me, because you know, when I was a kid, I didn’t know anything about it, didn’t care, we’d break into the church [Lutheran church] and drink the Communion wine.  I had no idea.  I wasn’t saved, I didn’t know Christ, I knew about him.  Saw pictures of him, paintings, not photographs.  But I didn’t know him.  And yet he could say ‘Do this in remembrance of me.’  How can we do that if we don’t know him?  I’m going to challenge you, don’t play church, don’t sit amongst believers like Judas, don’t minister with believers like Judas, don’t play the game like Judas did, and the whole time in your own heart going your own way, and never really giving your life to him, never really coming to believe.  Because in the end he couldn’t bear the weight of his own guilt.  How wonderful it is for those who stayed at the table.  Judas went out into the night.  The rest of them sat there, and they partook of the cup and the bread.  And when Jesus was risen, they realized what it meant and it was a common practice in the New Testament, they always gathered.  And I think of those twelve apostles, eleven, I think, what it must have meant to them every time they got together and they remembered that dinner.  You know, we didn’t get to be at the dinner and look into Christ’s eyes and listen to his voice, but how it must have been for them when they got together after Christ’s resurrection and look at one another and think, ‘Wow, we hardly dreamed.’  And yet I can do that…now that I’m saved I can look back on my life and it seems like a different life, and I think ‘I could hardly have dreamed of his love, I could hardly have dreamed that he would receive me out of the world and all my sin, I could hardly have dreamed I could live today and have hope that Jesus is coming again.  I could have hardly dreamed that I could live today and genuinely in my heart desire spiritual things, and for them to be real to me.’  And how tragic it would be for anyone to leave here tonight, and not know Christ.  It says Judas left the Last Supper, and went out into the night, and it was dark.  And that is the story of his eternity.  I encourage you, don’t do that this evening.  I’m going to ask the musicians to come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Luke 22:1-20, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

Related links:

 

For a complete historic and Biblical study of the first Passover, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/exodus1.html

 

To see historic and Biblical evidence that the early Christian Church kept a New Testament Passover as their “Communion”, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm

 

To see one Biblical scenario of how the Wedding Feast of Christ might occur, and the events that lead up to it, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/revelation/Pentecost-Revetion1.htm

 

For a more in-depth study of being conformed into the image of Christ, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm

 

To read a good harmony of the Gospels covering ‘The Last Six Days of Jesus Christ’s Physical Ministry’, see:

http://www.unityinchrist.com/lamb/lastsix.htm