Luke 22 (1) (1)
Pray Psalm 55.9-15.
Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues,
For I have seen violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they go around it on its walls;
Iniquity and trouble are also in the midst of it.
Destruction is in its midst;
Oppression and deceit do not depart from its streets.
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me;
Then I could bear it.
Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me;
Then I could hide from him.
But it was you, a man my equal,
My companion and my acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together,
And walked to the house of God in the throng.
Let death seize them;
Let them go down alive into hell,
For wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.
Sing Psalm 55.9-15.
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Let judgment fall, O Lord, let violence cease.
Daily they mock Your Word while sins increase.
You were for us betrayed; You bore our grief.
By You was judgment stayed for our relief.
Read and meditate on Luke 22.1-6.
1. When does the action of this chapter take place? What happened at this feast?
2. How was Judas moved to betray Jesus?
Judas did not arrive at this treachery in a single step. He drifted from Jesus, pilfering the money box (of which he had charge), criticizing the Lord’s actions and words (Jn. 12.4-6), and—as is clear in these verses—allowing himself to be open to the suggestions of the devil.
What happened to Judas can happen to all who fail to heed Jesus’ instruction to watch our ways and pray without ceasing (Lk. 21.36). We are always being tempted to drift from Jesus and His salvation (Heb. 2.1). Many affections can set us adrift from the Lord: covetousness, lust, jealousy, resentment, haughtiness, and more. Therefore, we must keep a close watch on our soul, seeking the Lord in prayer to arrest any unrecognized sins and purging them from us (Ps. 139.23, 24; Ps. 119.59, 60).
Look at the perversion of affections at work in these verses. Judas, lusting after money as he dickered with the religious leaders for the best price; and the religious leaders, “glad” and ready to pay for Jesus’ betrayal. And fear—fear of “the multitude”, whom they hugely overestimated regarding their loyalty to Jesus.
Whenever you discover any drifting in your soul, cut it off at once, and re-anchor your affections in the Lord and His Word.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
What awful people the chief priests, scribes, and Judas were! Not only were they treacherous, but they were flat out stupid too. Really? Afraid of the people? Careful about the timing to betray Jesus in the absence of the multitude? What about God’s purview over all of life? Didn’t they care about fearing Him?
Way back in Ezra’s time, even though things had been tumultuous because of the people’s disobedience, the temple was now rebuilt and the people along with their leadership rejoiced: “Then the children of Israel, the priests and the Levites and the rest of the descendants of the captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy” (Ezra 6.16). They were headed on a good path.
In Isaiah’s time God spoke to him about Whom they should respect and fear: “The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” And then God predicted how these very leaders would react when Jesus arrived: “He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken” (Is. 8.13-15). They were being told, “watch where you’re going.”
In Jesus’ day, He sternly warned: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10.28). Because He knew they had not watched where they were going and had determinedly decided to follow the weighty path of darkness. The darkest path of all.
For three years Judas had heard Jesus’ teaching: “He who is not with Me is against Me…” (Lk. 11.23).
And then came the ultimate awful end for Judas, who had been warned to “watch your deviations.” Because he did not fill his heart with Jesus, it was empty and ready for Satan to enter (Lk. 22.3): “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Lk. 11.26). Good thing Judas was concerned about what the folks thought.
We need to get our priorities straight before the LORD GOD of heaven. This is no joke. “It is not a futile thing for you, because it is your life…” (Deut. 32.47). God does not take kindly to those who betray His Dear Son: “If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!” (1 Cor. 16.22).
God, through His Holy Spirit, has given us the strength and wisdom to follow Jesus. We do not have to be like the chief priests, scribes, and Judas: “I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts” (Ps. 119.99, 100). In His Word we learn to love and fear the Lord Jesus; and in so doing:
1. Typically, we don’t run from the Lord; we drift from Him. Explain.
2. How can you tell when someone is drifting from the Lord? When you might be drifting from the Lord?
3. How can believers help one another to stay on the Lord’s path and avoid drifting from Him?
It is hard to say whether more mischief is done to Christ’s kingdom, by the power of its open enemies, or by the treachery of its pretended friends; but without the latter, its enemies could not do so much evil as they do. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 22.1-6
Pray Psalm 55.16-23.
Cast your burdens on the Lord. Commit to seeking Him throughout the day, in prayers of thanks for what He has done and praise for Who He is. Prayer keeps us close to the Lord, so that we do not drift from Him.
Sing Psalm 55.16-23
(Bread of Life: Break Thou the Bread of Life)
Lord, I will call on You, answer and save!
Noon, morning, evening too, my voice I raise.
Grant me Your peace, O Lord; answer my foes!
All who reject God’s Word He overthrows.
Many assail, O Lord, many betray.
See how they draw their sword across my way.
Take up my burden, Lord; strengthen and bless!
Let judgment by Your Word their souls distress.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.