Nov9MonNovember 9, 2020
Hello Family of God,
Drama - "an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances." What a week of Drama we've had with the U.S. elections - unexpected, emotional, exciting to put it mildly. Actually, it would seem that since March, and the global pandemic shutdown, we have been living out a dramatic series of unexpected events. When I was a teenager, I used to listen to a Canadian band called RUSH. They were one of my favorites. They had a song called "Limelight" - the words have always stuck with me (partially taken from Shakespeare). Here they are:
All the world's indeed a stage
And we are merely players
Performers and portrayers
Each another's audience
Outside the gilded cage
When I read Chapter 22 of Luke, I feel like I am in a theatre watching a drama of the Life of Jesus. In this scene, in the left hand corner of the stage, it is dark, but the spotlight shines on a group of men gathered in secret, plotting to get rid of the main character -Jesus (Luke 22:1-6). There is a bribe taking place. Money is a big motivator for someone who is greedy. It required an insider who would betray Jesus - turn Him in to the authorities. Judas, one of Jesus' inner 12, who has already been introduced as a traitor (Luke 6:16), is the man for the job. He knows Jesus well - His in ands outs, comings and goings. So you have a group of men who have been wanting to do away with Jesus since He came on the scene - The chief priests and teachers of the law - the religious; and you have the temple guards who are in on it also. Behind all of this treachery, we are told that there is one called Satan, who, by possessing Judas, will facilitate the execution of Jesus. The light goes dim, and we move to another part of the stage.
The spotlight now shines on the right hand part of the stage, where we see two men, Peter and John, preparing for a Passover meal (Luke 22:7-13). We are told that this meal was all arranged in advance by Jesus, right down to the minute details. We have two contrasting images - on one side it looks like Satan is in charge. On the other side, it looks like Jesus is in charge.
There is a little shuffling on the stage, and then the huge spotlights light up the centre of the stage and we find 13 individuals gathered around a table, reclining on each other, seated on the floor (Luke 22:14-20). It is a real picture of community, intimacy, and love (vs. 14). Jesus says something demonstrating that He is actually totally in control of the whole scene. He reveals that it is the last Passover meal He will eat with them, and He is about to suffer (vss.15,16). But Jesus has already told them this (Luke 9:22; 18:31-33). "When the hour came" of verse 14 has a deeper understanding, especially in John's gospel. It demonstrates that God is in control, and determines the exact time when Jesus will be offered as a sacrificial lamb, coinciding with the Passover sacrifice. This meal scene introduces the "Lord's Supper" instituted as a memorial of the sacrificed body and blood of Jesus as the New Covenant! It also points forward to a reunion taking place in the Kingdom of God. This scene is full of meaning, hope and promise - even as it is for us today.
Suddenly the lights dim, and darkness is cast on this scene as Jesus drops a bombshell that one of them is going to betray Him. The solem scene gets loud as people start to argue amongst themselves, which leads to a "dispute" as to who was the greatest. Amazing how an offense can bring out the worst in people. It's no longer about Jesus' suffering, it's about them. So Jesus seizes the moment to teach them about humility, and that greatness comes through serving others. Then Jesus takes the time to give them a kingdom perspective - a future glory of reigning with him (Luke 22:21-30)
The spotlight shines right on Jesus and Peter, so that Jesus can tell Peter that he will betray Him. Peter will be momentarily deceived by Satan, but will turn back because of Jesus' intercession. Jesus informs His disciples to prepare for what lies ahead by arming themselves with swords (which is a mystery to all as to why he would say this). This scene ends with a quote from Isaiah 53:12, declaring that the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah are soon to be realized in the arrest and crucifixion.
Lights are completely dimmed, and the stage is prepared for the next scene!
What seems to be the end to the life of Jesus, who came bringing deliverance and salvation to people, is actually reaching it's pinnacle. It is not Satan and his dark forces who will win the day. It is God! His plan is unfolding just as prescribed. In all of the ugliness of this scene, there is a clear message of hope and a future. Every dark cloud, has a silver lining. Rejoice for God knows what He is doing...even in your life!
Have a great week,