Sunday, March 06, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "The Plan for Jesus to Die"

“The Plan for Jesus to Die”
Certain of Jesus:  The Gospel of Luke
March 6, 2011
Luke 22:1-23

We’ve reached another turning point in the Gospel of Luke.

For the last couple of months, we’ve seen Jesus win again and again in his fight with the Jewish religious leaders.  Every since He came to Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, Jesus has been in a daily confrontation with the leaders of Israel.
And try as they might, those leaders cannot win one against Jesus.

They have been stymied again and again and they are very unhappy.

Jesus has answered their questions and asked questions they could not answer.
He has warned the people about them, and He has predicted the judgment and fall of their temple and city.

And nobody has stopped Him.

The last chapter ended by saying, “Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.”

He was growing and growing and growing in popularity.

But, now, that’s all going to change.

Because a conspiracy is about to be hatched to get rid of Jesus.

A plot is conceived to rid the world of Jesus and do away with Him.

And it is a plot that will succeed.

“The Plan for Jesus to Die”


Look at all of the people who are involved in this plan.  V.1

“Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.”

They couldn’t just come out and grab him, because they were scared of the crowds.

Jesus was more popular than a rockstar at that moment, and they would lose their power if they tried a frontal attack.

They’ve been looking for an opening.  We saw that in chapter 19, verses 47 and 48 and chapter 20, verse 19.  But they couldn’t find an opening.

But, now, here’s one.  V.3

“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.”

Satan steps in.

Remember Satan?  The tempter? The one who tried back in chapter 4 to get Jesus to sin and to rebel against His Heavenly Father?

And lost.

Luke said then that the devil left Jesus waiting for an opportune time.

The time as come.

Satan enters Judas, who was willing to be entered, and tempts and leads Judas, one of the Twelve(!) to betray Jesus.  V.4

“And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted (see them rub their hands together!) and agreed to give him money.  He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.”

The conspiracy has begun.

They have a deal.  There is now a contract on Jesus’ life.

The leaders have offered blood money to Judas for handing Jesus over (v.6) “when no crowd was present.”

This is just what they needed to get Him.  They needed inside information about when Jesus would be alone.

So the crowd could not stop them from getting rid of the troublemaker.

That’s their plan for Jesus’ to die.

Notice again who is planning here.

The chief priests, the teachers of the law (v.2), (v.3) Satan Himself the spiritual personification of sin and evil, Judas Iscariot (one of the Twelve), and the officers of the temple guard (v.4).
That last one is terrible. The officers of the temple planning to kill the Lord of the Temple.

They are all terrible!

Every one of these people should have worshipped Jesus but instead were planning for Jesus to die.

Even more people will get into this conspiracy before it’s done.

Including you and me.

Well, that’s their plan.

But their plan is not the only plan.  In fact, it’s not the most important plan for Jesus to die.


There is another plan at work here.

A plan that takes into account and even uses their nefarious plans for God’s own good purposes.

It’s God’s plan.

It’s Jesus’ plan.

Verses 7 through 13 tell the story of the preparations to be made for the Passover meal.  This takes place, on what we would call Thursday of Passion Week. V.7

As I read it, note the word “prepare” or “preparations.”  See how many times Luke uses it. V.7

“Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.  Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, ‘Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.’ ‘Where do you want us to prepare for it?’ they asked.  He replied, ‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'  He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.’  They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.”

Did you catch all of the “prepareds?”

There is a lot to be done to prepare for a big meal.

We saw that yesterday with the Wild Game Dinner.

I was at church and there was a parade of people came through getting this thing or that thing together for the meal.

And the Passover meal was a very special meal, supposed to be done in a special way because it commemorated the Passover–when the Lord spared Israel because of the lambs’ blood on the doorposts, passing over those homes and not taking their firstborn children.

It celebrates the Exodus and the Red Sea Rescue–when Israel was delivered.

So, there is a lot to prepare.

But notice how Jesus has it all planned out.

On the day when they did the ritual slaughtering of the Passover lambs, Jesus sent a team of two, Peter and John, to make the preparations.

And it’s kind of cloak and danger.  Like a couple of spies.


“‘As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. [Is that normal? Do men normally carry the water in jars?  No.  That wouldn’t be unheard of, but it would be unusual.] Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?' He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there.’”

Now, it’s possible that this shows Jesus’ divine foreknowledge and it’s miraculous.

But I think it’s more likely that Jesus has made some secret preparations of His own.

He doesn’t want to be interrupted at this moment.

Very few people know where Jesus is going to be at this moment–even though He’ll be with all of His closest disciples.

And I think the real thing that Luke wants us to see is that Jesus has a plan and He’s working it out.

Jesus is in control of His own destiny.

Remember the donkey a few days earlier?  I think it’s that story over again.  Jesus has everything planned out–down to the donkey, down to where they will eat together and He can free share His heart with His disciples. V.13

“They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.”

Just as Jesus had told them.

Jesus has a plan.

And it’s a plan, not just for supper but, for suffering.

And at that Last Supper before His death, Jesus tells them about His plan.

And He gives them an amazing picture of that plan in deeply powerful symbols–what we call the Lord’s Supper.

This is one of those passages that you just can do any justice to.

My words will fall far short of communicating the deep things that are present right here.

But we’ll try anyway. His plan.  V.14

“When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.”

Not like in Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting. Not upright chairs, but reclining on low “couches” like spokes on a wheel towards a central table.

Very intimate.  Very close. 

Jesus is the head. He is leading the seder supper.  He is acting as the host at the Passover meal and He adds His own twist to it, creating something new.

Luke reports that Jesus had strong feelings about this supper.  V.15

“And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”

Notice two things there.

Jesus’ eager desire.  The King James says, “with desire I have desired.”

Oh!  I wanted this.  For us to be together this last time.

For me to share these things with you.

For me to tell you how much I love you.

And notice also the last few words, “before I suffer.”

That’s His plan.  Again, He knows what is coming. He has chosen it.

The disciples didn’t get it.  They knew there was danger, but their Master had bested the leaders at every turn.  And He was so popular!

But now, Jesus talks as if suffering is right around the corner.

And it is.

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. [v.16] For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.’”

Jesus predicts that He will not have another Passover Meal until the Kingdom of God comes in all of its fullness.

Remember, the Kingdom has come, and the Kingdom has not yet come, but the Kingdom will come!

And when it does, the Passover will be fulfilled.

The Passover itself was just a shadow of what is to come.

Jesus passes out some wine in a cup to emphasize this idea.  V.17.

“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’”

This was probably one of the earlier cups in the traditional Passover meal.  Probably the first cup because He’s saying how much He wanted this meal with them and saying that it’s His last.

And saying that He won’t drink wine again until the Kingdom of God comes.

The book of Revelation pictures the coming of the eternal kingdom as a great wedding feast–the wedding Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9-10).

I’ll drink it again, Jesus says.

Isn’t it interesting how Jesus is tying the past, present and future together?

The first Passover, the present passover Lord’s supper that He’s creating and then that day when all is fulfilled and Jesus gets to eat and drink in the kingdom of God.

Isn’t that what it’s all about?

Notice that Jesus passes this cup around.  V.17 again.

“After taking the cup, he gave thanks [by the way, the Greek word there is “Eucharisteo” and it’s where we get the phrase “Eucharist” for the Lord’s Supper.  It just means, “Thanksgiving.”  He gave thanks’ ] and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. [pass it around.  Give it to one another.]”

I think that points towards unity and intimacy among Jesus’ followers.  We share a common cup, the one our Lord gave us.

And then the heavy symbolism begins.  V.19

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”

That’s the plan for Jesus to die.

He plans for His body to be broken like we break bread.

And He says that it is “given for you.”  For you.

In your place.

A gift.

His sacrifice.

“Do this in remembrance of me.”

Why don’t we just take a second right now and do that?

Would the men come forward and take the bread and hand it out?

Just leave your Bible open.  We’ll keep going in a second.

Please only take the bread if you are a believer and follower of Jesus, walking in fellowship with Him.

We’re not going to play music.  We’ll just sit here together like they did.

And think about Jesus.

Jesus knew in advance that He was going to die.

It was His plan.

This bread is His plan.

It symbolizes His body given for you.

In just a few short hours from this moment, Jesus’s body will be sacrificed.

He will be mocked and beaten to pulp.
He will be whipped.
He will be forced to carry His cross.
He will be crucified–and we can’t understand what that means.

If we did, we would throw up.  It’s the ugliest thing in the world.

And Jesus planned it.

He said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

Take and eat.


Given for you.

Now, of course, Jesus didn’t mean literally that it was His body.

His literal body was right there holding the bread.

It is a symbol, but a deep symbol.  It means that Jesus died for you.

Given for you.


“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Men, let’s pass that out, too.

Only take it if you are if you are a believer and follower of Jesus, walking in fellowship with Him.

This is a power symbol.

It stands for blood.

His plan was to die, to pour out His own blood.

Again, “for you.”

“Poured out for you.”

This is love.
This is sacrifice.
This is Jesus taking your penalty.
This is Jesus paying your price.
This is Jesus’ blood being spilt instead of yours.

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Take a drink.


Thank you, men, you may go back to your seats.

What does he mean when He says, “This cup is the new covenant?”

What is the new covenant?

What is new about it?

The old covenant was the covenant made with Israel through Moses.

It was a good covenant full of good commands and good conditions.

If they obeyed it, they would have much blessing!

But they didn’t obey it.  Not even one day.

It was good for showing sin and showing the need for a Savior.

But a new covenant was needed.  One that God would fulfill in them.

God predicted this covenant in Jeremiah 31.

Listen to this:

“‘The time is coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,’ declares the LORD. ‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.  No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’”

That’s what Jesus is saying is now here in His blood.

New Promises.
New Power.
New Presence.
New Pardon.

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”

Jesus is not just fulfilling the Passover. 
He is not just fulfilling the Day of Atonement. 
He is fulfilling all of the sacrifices of the Old Testament.

There were so many sacrifices under the Old Covenant.

So much blood spilled to show how sinful sin was.

But now there is a greater sacrifice, once for all, to pay for all of those sins.

A new covenant in His blood.

You might have noticed that I haven’t said a word of application yet this morning.

Here’s the biggest one for you:

Believe in the Blood of Jesus.

His plan was to die for you.

If you have not yet come to believe in Jesus, start now.

Put your faith and trust in what this cup symbolizes–the new covenant in Jesus’ blood.

Believe in the Blood of Jesus.

Everything you have ever done wrong is in that cup.  And it’s paid for by the blood of Jesus.

The cross was no surprise for Jesus.

It was His plan.

His plan to die.

Believe in the Blood of Jesus.

The other application is to Trust in Jesus’ Plan.

In God’s plan.

You can trust Him because His plans always work out.

It’s mysterious how He does it.
He uses other people’s plans without violating their wills, but His plans always succeed.

V.21. Jesus goes on.

“But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. [He knows!  Can you feel this moment?  He knows.]  The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed [as God has planned], but woe to that man who betrays him.’  They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.”

You can trust in Jesus’ plan.

We don’t always know what it is.

We don’t always understand it.

I said that this week at Merrill Nearhood’s funeral.

I don’t understand why the Lord would take Him.

He had just come to believe in God’s reality and power.

He had just been shocked by witnessing the death of a co-worker.  And it had sobered Him about eternal things.

He had a 7 year old daughter whom he loved very much.

He was in our adult baptism class getting ready to proclaim His faith in Jesus Christ.

Why would God take Him on Tuesday?

I don’t know.  I don’t understand.

But I know that God has a plan that includes even that.

And I can trust Him even when I don’t get a peek at the plan.

He has a plan.

And it was a plan for Jesus to die.

For you and me.

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