Chapter 22 begins the Passion of Jesus. The action moves pretty quickly and there’s a lot here. Let’s tag some highlights.
It starts with a meeting among the Jewish establishment to conspire against Jesus (vv. 1-6). The Jews had to stir up the masses to put enough pressure on the Romans to avoid an uprising by crucifying Jesus. We also read here of Judas falling to temptation and betraying Jesus.
Luke then recounts the event of the Last Supper, a sequence of events with which we are familiar. Remember the significance of the Passover- the Exodus, the Lamb, the Bread, the Wine. The New Exodus if a Passover from Death to Eternal Life. Jesus is the Lamb of God who will be slaughtered on the Cross and whose blood will be spilled for the Redemption of all Humankind. The Bread, the Eucharist, is that which will give life, more than the quail and manna that fell from Heaven during the Exodus. The wine become Blood is that which will mark the New Covenant- that those who eat and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus will live forever and have communion with him.
Even in this sublime action there is classic bickering among the apostles about who is the greatest between them. Jesus quickly puts an end to that discussion. Peter’s denial is foretold. This denial will solidify two things for Peter: his humility and his remarkable dependence on Jesus’s forgiveness.
Jesus sort of gives Judas permission to do what he needs to do in vv. 35-38. The swords represent the great battle that will occur between the forces of good and evil in the coming events, and at the end of time. Jesus, for his part, seems a little frustrated at this point though. Perhaps he is at the time when he wants to accomplish the Father’s will.
We know the rest of this chapter, the events that transpire that lead Jesus to his false trial, torture, crucifixion and death.
By way of prayer, look at vv. 54-62. Notice the way Jesus and Peter interact, especially towards the end of that section. Notice the description of Peter’s sorrow- he wept bitterly. Scholars say that the bitterly connotes a certain sorrow, and guilt and shame that will allow Peter to see his denial, but also accept Jesus’s forgiveness and then he will be prepared to serve Jesus and the Gospel for the rest of his life- even giving his own life for the Gospel. In other words, sometimes, it can be remarkably healthy to “cry” over our sins. It reminds us that we are human, and when we go to Him, he forgives us and empowers us and restores us. Him. Only Him.
Point for Prayer
“Holy Shepherd and Lamb of God, you became more giving and loving the more you suffered. AS the forces of pain closed in on you, trying to fill you with self absorption, you burst through with affection, healing, forgiveness, and love for each person you touched. Fill me with such a divine attitude that I may let your magnificent obsession with love pour out through me to the world. Amen”(199).