Sunday, March 13, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Jesus' Last Lessons"

“Jesus’ Last Lessons”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
March 13, 2011
Luke 22:24-38

We are at the Last Supper.

Thursday night of Passion Week.

The night before Jesus’ crucifixion.

Last week, we talked about the plan for Jesus to die.  First, the plan of His enemies (verses 1-6) and then the plan of His Father which Jesus also chose (verses 7-23).

Jesus planned to die.  And at this Last Supper with His disciples, He told them about that plan and gave them a beautiful, simple, and powerful illustration of that plan in what we call “The Lord’s Supper”–the bread symbolizing His body and the cup symbolizing His blood, the New Covenant that He would inaugurate with His death.

We’re still right there at that Last Supper together.

A shadow has passed over the room.

What began as a glad celebration of God’s deliverance in the Passover has taken on a graveness and a sober character because Jesus continues to predict His suffering and His death.

It’s getting dark inside.  Night is falling.

So what we read next (verses 24-38) is “Jesus’ Last Lessons” for His disciples before  His crucifixion.

This is His last chance to deliver some teaching.

His last chance to give them some instructions before He is dragged away.

More was said at this last Supper than what we have here in Luke.

If you read Matthew, Mark, and John, you can see more of what Jesus taught His disciples in the Upper Room.  John, especially, has a lot more teaching to share there.

But this is what the Holy Spirit led Luke to emphasize in His Gospel.

And it’s what the Lord wants to say to us today.

Jesus’ Last Lessons.

The disciples sure could be real dummies, couldn’t they?

Jesus has just given them the most hauntingly beautiful prediction of His death that there ever was (bread and cup), and these dummies are arguing about their ranking in Jesus’ organization.

Which of them was the greatest?!  V.24

“Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.”

Do you think it’s me?
Do you think it’s me?

Or maybe they were taking each other’s sides.

I think Peter’s the greatest.  I think Matthew’s the greatest.  I think that John’s the greatest.  How about Judas?!


And this was not the first time that they had had this argument.  We heard them arguing about this already in Luke 9.

But you might have thought they had learned something by now.

Not yet.

These guys could be really thick-headed dummies.

And that’s good because that’s me.  Right?

That’s us. It’s sometimes hard for us to learn.

We want to be first.  We want to be “great!”

Well, Jesus doesn’t say that being great is bad, but He turns the idea of greatness on it’s head.  V.25

“Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”

Here’s lesson #1 today of 3.

#1. SERVE.

In Jesus’ kingdom, to serve is to be great.

The one who is greatest is the one who serves.

Jesus says that the world does it backwards.

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.”  That’s a joke.

“We’re your Benefactors!  Bow down.  Do what I say.

Do what the Great Benefactor commands!”

Don’t be like that.  Titles are not where it’s at.

You can say that you are Benefactor without benefiting anyone.

Jesus wants the opposite. V.26

“But you are not to be like that.”  Don’t lord it over others. Don’t insist on being first, on having your own way, demanding and dictating.

“You are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest (the youngest in that culture were the ones with the least amount of clout) and the ones who rule like the one who serves.”  V.27

“For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

The Gospel of John tells us that at this very meal, Jesus actually got down and washed all of their feet.  Like a common servant.

“I am among you as one who serves.”

Now, that does not mean that Jesus stopped being the Lord.

He didn’t relinquish or abdicate His authority.

So, this does not abolish authority in the home, the church, or the world.

But it does tell us how we need to exercise our God-given roles of authority.

Namely, “as one who serves.”


How are you doing at serving others?
Take a mental inventory of your last week.

How did you serve other people this week?

In what ways did you bend over and wash someone else’s feet?

That’s where greatness can be found.

Do you know who I think are some of the greatest people in all of the world?

Mothers of young children.

They have to serve people and they have to stoop to do it.

The world gets excited about politicians and rock stars and movie stars.

But they aren’t great like a mother of young children is great.

Often they are also the ones serving at the table, aren’t they?

Last week, we had our Wild Game Dinner.

And Keith and I and Dr. Dave got to hold the microphone and stand up front.

You might think that we were great.

And somebody needs to do those things.  They are valuable.

But if you wanted to know who was truly great, then go back behind the doors to the kitchen.

See who was there hours before setting up chairs.

Who was swabbing the deck afterwards.

Who was praying in secret and we don’t know what their name was.

In Jesus’ kingdom, the greatest are those who serve in both attitude and actions.

Let this be an encouragement to you if you are active in service and so many of you are.

And let this be a lesson to you if you are not.


Now, here’s how.  You can afford to serve others because of the reward to come. V.28

“You are those who have stood by me in my trials.  And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Now, these disciples have just been real dummies, but that doesn’t stop Jesus from giving them great grace.

He notes that up till now they have stood with Him (even if they didn’t understand Him), and He is graciously giving them a Kingdom.  Wow!

“Just as my Father conferred one on me.” Double Wow!

Here’s to expect, “so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

That’s the big feast coming that we talked about last week in verse 18.

There is a Messianic Kingdom coming, part of the 1000 year millennial kingdom that will come when Jesus returns.  And these disciples will sit on thrones (king!) judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

They can afford to serve because they will receive reward.

That’s how it worked for Jesus!

He served and will be rewarded with the kingdom.



Jesus pivots, in verse 31, and talks directly with Simon Peter about how hard it’s going to be in the next few hours.  V.31

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

There is so much here to think about.

What a strange passage.

Jesus says His name twice, “Simon, Simon.  This is important, listen.”

“Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.”  And the “you” there is plural.  The 2011 version of the NIV says, “Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.”  That’s right.

But it’s Simon Peter that Jesus is most concerned about at this moment.

What does it mean to be sifted like wheat?

We don’t do that today.

But it means tested, right?  Separating the wheat from the chaff?

Testing you like wheat.

How did that test work?

It involved shaking.

Simon, Satan wants to shake you.

He’s asked for it.  Who did He ask?

He asked God.  Like He asked God to shake Job.
And that should scare us and comfort us.

Scare us that God is involved in our being shaken.

Ultimately, He decides. 

Even if it’s Satan shakes Japan, He’s got to get permission first.

But it should comfort us.  Because Satan has got to ask permission!

The evil one is not in charge of the world, even of the evil things in this world.

God is in ultimate control!

And He’s somebody we can trust.

And even more comforting. V.32

“But I have prayed for you.”  Who is “I?”

“But Jesus has prayed for you.”  How comforting is that?

That’s what Jesus is doing right now for you and me who belong to Him.  Praying. Interceding on our behalf.

“I have prayed for you, Simon, that you faith may not fail.”

What was the answer to that prayer?

Well, Simon certainly failed.  We’re going to see that real soon.  Tonight.

He didn’t think he was going to.  V.33.

“But he replied, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ [Bring it on!  I get it, Jesus, you’re going to suffer.  Count me in!  V.34]  Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.’”

Peter is going to fail.

But, I’m not sure that his “faith” failed (v.32).

He sinned.  He denied.  He broke.  He failed.

But Jesus’ prayer did not.

He knew that Peter would turn back. He would make a comeback.  V.32 again.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”

I love that call for Peter, when He turns back, to strengthen His brothers.

He’s going to be shaken.

And He’s going to fail.

But he’s going to get back up and when he does, he’s got a job to do.
Proverbs 24:16 says, “though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.”

“Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.”

And when he does, he’s got a job to do.

Strengthen your brothers.

Some of you feel down this week.
Beaten down.
Fallen down.
Broken down.

I know the feeling.
So did Simon!

But here’s the lesson from our Savior: Get up and get busy strengthening others.

He’s praying for you!

Don’t let your sins beat you down.
Don’t let the shaking of Satan keep you down.

Get up and get to work, strengthening your brothers.

When Peter is “officially” reinstated at the end of the Gospel of John, Jesus tells him to feed his sheep.

Who are you strengthening today?

We tend to just look at our own sins and shortcomings and trials and troubles, and we don’t look up and see who needs our help.

Strengthen your brothers.

#3.  SUFFER.

Serve Others.
Strengthen Your Brothers.

Here’s Jesus’ last last lesson in the Upper Room from Luke.

It’s a call to be prepared for suffering.  V.35

“Then Jesus asked them, ‘When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?’ ‘Nothing,’ they answered.”

This is a reminder of the times when Jesus sent them out with nothing but His mission and God’s providence to supply for them.

And they didn’t lack because God was faithful.

Jesus wants them to remember that for two reasons.  One, because God is faithful.  They will need to remember that soon.

And Two, because the situation is now changing. They will no longer be popular.

They will no longer be a part of a Rock Star Entourage.

They will need to be prepared to suffer.  V.36

“He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.  It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.’  The disciples said, ‘See, Lord, here are two swords.’ ‘That is enough,’ he replied.”

What’s going on here?

No longer can they expect favor with others.  Not that it won’t ever happen, but that’s not going to be norm now.

Take supplies with you wherever you go.  Be prepared.

Even take along a sword for self defense. He’s not starting an army here. That’s not how His kingdom comes! But things will get rough, and it’s okay to defend yourself.

Be prepared to suffer.

Following Jesus from here on out will be difficult.

Here’s why. V.37

“It is written: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me.”

What’s that mean?

Jesus is going to be numbered with the rebels.

He’s going to be seen as a rebel, a bad guy.

He’s going to identify with wrong-doers, and get labeled as one.

And if that’s what is going to happen to the Master, then how should the disciples expect to be treated?

“You’re with Jesus?

Jesus was a troublemaker, so must you be.”

That’s how we can expect to be treated as followers of Jesus Christ.

It’s an historical anomaly that in America and in Europe, Christians have been highly respected.

And that’s wonderful.

But it’s not our right and it’s not what we can expect forever in the future.

Jesus told His disciples to be ready to suffer.

I don’t like hearing that.

I don’t like being readied for suffering.

But we need to hear that.

So that we don’t get huffy and whiny about how we are treated.

But instead are like Peter and John in Acts chapter 5.

They got this.

They had to go before the authorities and they were flogged (ouch) and ordered not to speak in the name of Jesus. And they (Acts 5:41), left the Sanhedrin rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name of Jesus.


Because Jesus suffered for us.

Can anyone tell us where this prediction of Jesus came from?  In verse 37?

“And he was numbered with the transgressors.”  Where is that from?

Isaiah 53.

Listen to Isaiah 53.

“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Written over 700 years before Jesus was born.

And on that night before Jesus was arrested, He said, “And I tell you that this must be fulfilled IN ME.  Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple

The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die