Luke 22:14-23: “The Last Passover and the Coming Darkness”
“And when the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. And He said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, ‘Take this and share it among yourselves, for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.’
“And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it, and gave it to them saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ And in the same way He took the cup and after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in My blood. But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table.
“For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!'” And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing” (Luke 22:14-23, NASB).
As I write these words, it will have been three days since what had looked to all purposes like one of the easiest re-elections of an incumbent President since Ronald Reagan’s re-election to his second term in 1984, where he carried almost all of the states and gained 489 electoral votes to Walter Mondale’s hold on his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. Within a few moments of the returns, all of the networks at that time (NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN) called it for the President; and no one challenged, questioned, or raised much of a fuss about the outcome save for some of the Washington elite and a few left-leaning journalists and personalities. There was no call for any recount or examination of ballots from anyone, and all went smoothly and peacefully.
The majority of Americans this past November 3rd felt the same way about President Trump’s campaign and its conclusion, until those states where he had apparently won were run by members of the opposition party, where, after 4:00 AM the next morning, thousands of ballots suddenly “appeared,” giving the victory to former VP Joe Biden, who was beginning to be connected with unethical business dealings and operations carried out by his son in an overseas company. The sudden rise in votes for Mr. Biden raised concerns of voter fraud in those states where he had won by several thousands of votes that all had his name on them.
There is now a great deal of unrest, uncertainty, and a fear that this election might be stolen, and power given to politicians that do not have the interest of the country in mind. Trump has sent out observers and legal teams to states and cities where the suspicious actions occurred, and there is little doubt that this will end up before the Supreme Court by the time you are reading this article, or other circumstances will have happened that will have many people looking at what they believe will be a bleak future for the nation.
There are also thousands of prayers and intercession going before the Throne of God for His will and plans to be triumphant and defeat the obvious work of evil people and the devil who is behind it and every type of rebellion, unrest, confusion, and setting of dark moods and spiritual oppression on both people and country. This is a definite sign to many Christians that the Lord Jesus is coming sooner than a lot of people are expecting, and it will usher in the eternal rule and reign of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the end of politics and its control by evil men and demonic forces worldwide.
You are probably wondering how the current situation in America is connected to the verses we are examining in Luke’s story. We are in what seems to be a “dark” time with no visible solution or acceptable answer for why these things are happening. Many of the faithful are wavering between faith and uncertainty on how God is going to be able to wring out this national quagmire. Too many people in America now are ignoring any discussion of Divine intervention or the existence of a Sovereign God altogether; and if there is no God Who has a plan and purpose for what we are seeing, all that is left is misery and the burden of atheistic dictatorships here and around the globe, all to end at the last breath we take.
As the Lord Jesus reclines at the table holding the Passover meal, He knows that in a few hours, He will be in contact with the encroaching spiritual darkness and agony of bearing the sins of humanity upon Himself as He endures the excruciating physical pain of being nailed to a cross. He is about to die the death of a criminal so horrible to witness that no Roman citizen is to be crucified due to its barbarity and cruelty as a form of execution and its terrible reminder of the price for defying the laws of Rome and the will of Caesar.
His apostles and a remnant of followers are all He can claim as His own now. The vast majority of His own people have blatantly rejected Him as their promised Messiah, and He has become the object of rank, demonically inspired hatred and impunity from the religious leaders of Israel for His exposure of their hypocritical behaviors, traditions, and burdens. They were devoid of real biblical foundations, affection, concern, and the expectations required of them by the Lord God in Whom they believe they are faithfully serving.
Jesus also knows that these men who have followed Him are still exhibiting frequent failures to understand His teachings and are often arguing with one another over petty grievances and whether one apostle was favored over another; or the constant cries from John and James for holy fire to destroy anyone who refused to hear Jesus; hearing out Thomas when He starts to bring up doubts and skepticism about the entire affair and yet will follow His Lord to the death the next moment; and Peter’s waves of boldness, brashness, and bumbling that endear him to the Lord and the others who see the big fisherman as a born but flawed leader.
The LORD also knows that one of His apostles, who is probably sharing a joke with the others and getting ready for this Passover meal, has been playing the part of a well-trained actor and has deceived everyone into thinking that he is just as devoted and loyal as the others claim to be at the moment. Judas Iscariot, the group’s treasurer, no doubt paid for all the necessary fixtures for the Seder meal and expenses for the use of the room in which they were all now assembled. Even now, Jesus knows that shortly another visitor will enter this sacred assembly and possess Judas to do what will be the most notorious criminal act of history, that of selling out Jesus, God Incarnate, for a few silver coins given to him by the Pharisees and other officials.
Satan and his dark minions are preparing to accomplish what they mistakenly hope will be an end to any plan of God to redeem His fallen creation and to gain control of heaven and earth for his own evil and malicious purposes, to rid him of the curse God put upon him in Eden, and to avoid the eternal doom awaiting him and his brood in the Lake of Fire. Kill Jesus, and all will be well, as he has deluded himself into believing. The forces of evil and darkness are to be given permission by God to put their plan into action, yet they are totally unaware that what they think will be a victory is part of the entire redemption situation about to occur. None of this has caught the Sovereign LORD by surprise, nor is this His attempt to put an alternative plan into place.
The dark actions of Jesus’ enemies, both human and demonic, are going to dominate the rest of the evening and the next couple of days, bringing the apostles to a place of fear and despair and the certainty that all was lost and what they had experienced was nothing more than the good and beneficial words of another sage and miracle worker that believed they were from God.
As Jesus lifted the cup and the bread, explaining that these elements were to be a representation of the sacrificial work of redemption He would endure and finish for the sake of those who would come to Him in repentance and faith, He would also devote the remainder of that night teaching about the arrival and mission of the Holy Spirit, of His presence within them after He physically departed to go back to the Father’s heaven, the promise of His return, the need to bear good spiritual fruit, and to emphasize that he and He alone was the Way to the Father and salvation.
What the Lord Jesus was preparing to endure would bring a permanent end to the darkness of our souls, the oppression of the devil, and the accomplishment of a foreordained mission that had been planned and sealed before the foundations of the world. The present darkness we are witnessing in the hearts of fallen and rebellious people through their actions and words seems to imply that this is all we can look forward to enduring from now on. Not so. He Who is the Light of the world will and shall bring these reprobates before His throne to account for and explain their wicked deeds, and to punish them and all rebels against His authority in the Lake of Fire.
We experience dark periods in history and personal growth here on earth, but we can also rejoice that — because of the sacrifice Jesus endured and the fact of His resurrection and triumph over death, hell, and the grave — light and the eternal victory and peace is ours if we would but surrender our lives to Him and trust Him.
Where do you stand with Jesus Christ? Let Him remove your sins and spiritual darkness today and live in His great light for all time.