Luke 22

Luke 22 gives us a few more details of the events leading up to the crucifixion.  Dr. Luke is a bit more of a detail guy than the other gospel writers.  He tells us that “Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot”.  The enemy is out to kill, steal and destroy, and every one of us is his target.  Remember that Judas Iscariot has spent the last three years literally in the company of Jesus.  And yet, with all that first-hand experience and training, he still is a target.  Satan comes after him and takes advantage of his weaknesses – greed and power being the key ones that appear to cause Judas to betray Jesus.  At the Last Supper, Jesus lets the 12 know that one of them will betray Him.  They immediately look around and ask who that might be.  But very shortly the focus changed from identifying who the betrayer might be, to who is the greatest.  Check out what Luke writes: “they began to question one another, which of them it could be who was going to do this.  A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest”.  Do you see the transition?  From being concerned about who would be the one to betray Jesus to arguing about who would be the greatest. The focus changes to self and completely moves away from the issue at hand.  Is Satan tempting them by working on their humanness?  Sure, just like he caused them to fall asleep while they were to be praying as Jesus asked. Jesus doesn’t get wrapped up in their petty arguments but gives a very important statement: “I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom”.  Jesus is telling the 12 that the time is near when they need to step up and continue the work that He had started. They definitely are not tuned in, but the words are important.

Jesus also makes it clear that Satan wants to come after Peter.  He says Satan wants to get to Peter “that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers”.  Jesus knows that Peter will fail and fall to temptation.  He knows that Peter will deny Him.  But as we often see in scripture, there is grace for those who fail.  God can not only restore, but can then turn and use sinners to make significant impact after restoration.  That is Peter’s fate.  He completely falls off the bus – he denies ever knowing Jesus at all.  But Jesus tells him that he will play a critical role in the early church – to be one who strengthens the brothers.  Elsewhere we know Jesus said Peter will be the “rock” on which the church would be built.  That doesn’t sound like a guy who would deny the Man he has followed for the last three years.  But that is how God works.  He takes us where we are and exercises grace as we repent and come back to Him.  We know that Peter denies Jesus three times as different people accuse him of being one of the 12. Luke adds one critical fact: “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter”.  Remember that Peter was not close – he was hiding in the shadows and staying away from the crowd.  Jesus turns and looks at Peter.  He makes eye contact.  At that moment scripture tells us that “he went out and wept bitterly”.  Peter knew he needed to repent.  He had failed His Lord.  He had turned his back on the One who He had been following and decided to give his life to.  But when the chips are down, he turns his back and denies Jesus.  Our relationship with Jesus is very personal.  Jesus knows us deeply.  Jesus knows our heart.  He is the intimately knowledgeable of who we are and how we relate to Him.  Do you deny Jesus?  If you do, it is time to evaluate your relationship with the Savior.  Are you in denial?  Or do you just need to come to the Savior?               

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