Luke 22:39-42, “39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”
- Notice the phrase, “remove this cup from Me.” The word “cup” is a reference to Jesus’ death. In Isaiah 51 Isaiah is speaking of Israel facing God’s judgment and drinking His judgment as a “cup of wrath.” (Isaiah 51:17) Jeremiah 25, Jeremiah is speaking of God’s judgment as a “cup of wrath” (Jeremiah 25:15). Throughout Scripture the word “cup” is often associated with “God’s judgment” therefore, when Jesus prays the phrase, “remove this cup from Me” Jesus is speaking about the “cup of wrath” that is going to be poured out on to Jesus at the cross.
Luke 22:43-46, “43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45 When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
- It is possible the disciples are “sleeping from sorrow” because they are worried, but the cross, but I think we need to keep the larger story in mind.
- In Luke 17 Jesus is riding the colt into Jerusalem full of glory and humility. Men, women, and children are crying out, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord; peace in heaven and glory in the highest” and that’s on Sunday.
- It is now Thursday, Luke 22, and nothing has really changed. They are all still in Jerusalem. The announcement has been made, Jesus is Lord, Passover celebration is about Jesus, people are talking, and in verse 44 I think the disciples are sleeping from sorrow because nothing has happened.
- Jesus is supposed to the king who over powers their earthly oppressors, Jesus is supposed to be the One who flips the script, and at this point, from their perspective I am thinking the disciples are having a hard time trying to figure out how this is going to turn around, but you need to it is in our darkest circumstances that we see the glorious news of the cross.
Luke 22:47-48, “47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
- In their culture it would have been common to greet someone with a kiss, but a disciple would never have greeted his teacher with a kiss.
- Inferiors would have kissed the back of the hand, or kneel down to kiss at the feet, or even the hem of a garment to express reverence, adoration, or respect, but Judas kisses Jesus on the face so as to insult relationally and signal socially. Judas kiss of betrayal is to insult relationally and signal socially.
In Luke 22 Judas betrays Jesus, Jesus is arrested, and Jesus is taken to the house of the high priest in Jerusalem, and in verse 54 we see Peter follows along at a distance as he watches Jesus arrested, chained, beaten, and Peter must have been incredibly conflicted.
There must have been a part of Peter that wants to stand with Jesus, fight for Jesus, defend Jesus, but at the same time Peter remains at a distance watching this all unfold until Peter hears the bone chilling words, verse 56, “This man was with Him too.”
Peter responds quickly in verse 57, “Woman, I do not know Him.” At this point Peter must have been reminded of Jesus warning of Peter’s denial, and surely it must have been crushing until Peter hears another voice, verse 58, “You are one of them!”
Again, Peter denies being with Jesus even stronger than the first, verse 58, “Man, I am not with Jesus!” You would think at this point Peter would just make a run for it before the crowd closes in on him, but in verse 59 it says, “After about an hour had passed another man began to insist, ‘Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.’”
Then, in verse 61 I saw something I had never noticed before, but right there in the midst of Peter’s betrayal is Jesus watching it all unfold. Verse 61 says, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Can you imagine?
It is so easy for us to read through historical parts of humanity and say to ourselves, “How could they? I would have never!” But, you need to know that all of us have committed deep offenses of betrayal against Jesus, against humanity, and it is just as dark.
Therefore, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us look closely at how Peter responds to his betrayal, so that we might know how to respond to our betrayal.
Luke 22:62, “62 And he went out and wept bitterly.”
In verse 61 it says Peter remembers Jesus’ words of warning of betrayal, and in verse 62, “Peter weeps” in repentance because Jesus took the cup of all our offenses upon Himself at the cross. That is our hope. That is the gospel! That is the good news of Jesus.
Therefore, let us not clothe ourselves in fear and failures of our betrayal, but let us admit our betrayal in thought, word, and deed and hold tightly to the glorious news of the cross.