The Gospel According to Luke: Part 65 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Luke 22:39-53: ‘Agony, Betrayal, and Injustice”

“And He came out and went, as was His custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed Him. And when He came to the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you might not enter into temptation. He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but yours be done. And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground. And when He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow and He said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you might not enter into temptation.’

“While He was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ And when those who were around Him saw what would follow, they said, ‘LORD, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the servant of the High Priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ and He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against Him, ‘Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple you did not lay hands on Me. But this is your hour, and the powers of darkness” (Luke 22:39-53, ESV).

The Passover seder has ended, and now the LORD and the eleven disciples head to a familiar place near the Mount of Olives. This place will be a silent witness to a drama that begins with Jesus’ full emotions on display as He wrestles with the oncoming task that He will undertake and to which He submits in accordance with God the Father’s will. The wrath of God the Father that should have been poured out upon us for our sins, rebellion, and wickedness against Him, starting in Eden, will be put upon the perfect, sinless Son of God as the Passover sacrificial Lamb, dying in our place so that we might be reconciled with God.

He did not have to do this work of mercy, grace, and love on our behalf. Because of our depravity, we deserve just and eternal punishment in hell. We are owed nothing by the Sovereign God of all creation, and we deserve nothing. He could have allowed us to go on with our wickedness both here on Earth and on into eternity, and He would be perfectly right to do so. Yet, He chose to redeem us and rescue us from such a fate. He loves us enough to open the door to receiving eternal life and the forgiveness of our sins once and for all, along with the undeserved honor of being with Him and the redeemed of all time in heaven for all eternity, free from the bondage of corruption and sin forever.

This gift of salvation is available for all who come to Him in repentance and total surrender of their lives to His Lordship. No other religion or philosophy can guarantee this peace and assuredness of salvation, and you cannot accomplish it on your own or on your terms.

Jesus Christ said that He was and is the ONLY way to peace with the Father. No one else can make that claim. See these scriptures:

  • Isaiah 9:1-7, 52:13–53:12
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • John 3:16, 10:28-30, 11:25, 14:6
  • Acts 4:12, 16:31
  • Romans 3:10-18, 5:6-11, 8:31-39, 10:9-10
  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
  • Ephesians 2:8-9
  • Philippians 2:5-11
  • Colossians 1:15-20
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17
  • Hebrews 7:25
  • Revelation 1:12-20, 19:11-21

If He had merely died on a cross like any other accused criminal or insurrectionist, He would not be remembered nor acknowledged by anyone, forgotten to history, or mocked as a delusional sage whose words were legends and lies. If He is Who He claimed to be and willingly did what He did for our sakes, we have no right or reason to do anything but bend the knee in submission and thanksgiving for a love we do not deserve, yet was and is given to us freely and will never be taken away from us (John 10:28-30).

This is what is at stake as our LORD goes before the Father and agonizes over what will come to Him both physically and within His pure, sinless soul as He takes upon Himself the sins and wickedness of all who will receive Him as Lord and Savior. He will face the unmitigated wrath of the Father as this burden and its terrors are placed upon Him for the hours He will endure on the cross, beaten, torn, bleeding, mocked, and derided by all who see Him hanging there naked and open before a world and people who will either embrace His sacrifice or reject it over the course of human history. He will endure and agonize not just the unbearable pain of being on a rough cross, but also the pain of abandonment by the Father as He turns away from the sin that His Son will represent and bear.

While in those dark moments, Jesus will quote the 22nd Psalm as He cries out for His Father, but will receive only silence until the task of redemption is finally and forever completed, of which He will declare openly before the people who witness His last breath. It will be both a dying thief and a pagan Roman soldier who will affirm and declare that He is the Son of God and the righteous King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As Jesus receives the hypocritical and loveless kiss of feigned friendship from Judas, a scene of violence and rage occurs from the disciples that ends with one of the individuals who came to arrest Him wounded and then healed in an act of mercy and compassion. Even in this, the priests and officers solidify their hearts and minds against Jesus.

He is nothing more to them than a troublemaker and someone who has exposed them for their hypocrisy and true nature underneath the robes of religious pomp. They want Jesus dead and gone from the scene and things to get back to what they consider “normal.”

This vicious attitude has not gone away after two thousand years. The world would love nothing more than to rid itself of every follower of Jesus Christ and to have His name and influence wiped off every page of history, every church destroyed, every Scripture eliminated, and the idea and being of God wiped out of the memory of people forever. Hatred for Jesus is so widespread and ingrained in people today that they will literally attempt to kill Him as He comes back to Earth. This murderous and reprobate attitude is obvious and widespread and is a clear sign of the end times as described in Scripture.

There are some of you reading this exposition who fall into that category, and you know it. You have mocked, blasphemed, hated, and ridiculed the name and person of Jesus Christ for most, if not all of your life. So, what has it gotten you so far? Approval from your colleagues and friends? A smug attitude of intellectual superiority that will not listen to or study the evidence about Jesus Christ that proves otherwise? Are you afraid of a bruised ego or loss of pride? Are you worried about what others might think of you?

It is time for you to stop, shut up, and get a dose of reality. You will die one day, and you know deep down that life does not end with you pushing up the daisies until the world runs out of energy and withers away. You will be held accountable for what you have done, said, and thought, and do not kid yourself otherwise.

Any thought you might have about there being no God or Being outside of space, time and matter is nothing more than a foolish and wasted time of wishful thinking on your part, and you need to face that blunt, real, honest fact. If your unbelief is wrong and you end up in the hell that the Bible claims to exist, it will be too late for you and anyone who thinks like you. If you hate God so much that you want nothing to do with Him in this life, He certainly is not going to allow you to share His heaven forever, and there is no “ghetto heaven” that you can move into and try out until things get better.

There was a show on one of the “Discovery” networks whose title will fit you like a glove if you reject the free offer of salvation given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ. It was appropriately titled Dude, You’re Screwed!

I do not want that for you, your family, or your friends, and for those of you reading this who have drifted away from the LORD or think that you do not deserve His love. You need to stop and get this fact in your head and soul: God loves you if no one else does. He offers you the opportunity to turn away from your unbelief, secret sins, failures, wickedness, witchcraft, or whatever is holding you captive. Ask Jesus Christ to save you from your sins, turn away from the things that you know are wrong, and surrender your life to Him NOW (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Get a copy of the Bible (I recommend a translation such as the English Standard, New King James, New American Standard, or King James), read these passages, and think on what Jesus went through for your sake and out of love and mercy for you. Talk to Him as a Friend and be honest. Let Him take your wounded heart, your doubts, anger, unbelief, sorrow, grief, bad memories, loneliness, and sins away. He bore all of that for you, and it is time to lay all of that at the cross today. You have nothing to lose and real peace to gain. Jesus is waiting with open arms. I want you in heaven with me, my friend, and so does He.