2015-10-25 The Suffering of Jesus

LUKE 22:47-65                                                                                OCTOBER 25, 2015


I believe that suffering is something that most people seek to avoid. Jesus was no different. Jesus went to God in prayer. Luke 22:42 (NIV) 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Remember that Jesus had told his disciples that he was going to suffer and be executed by the hand of the authorities. Luke 18:31-33 (NIV) 31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. 33 On the third day he will rise again.”

In this passage of Luke we will look at the suffering of Jesus. The suffering was physical and mental. The cup of wrath or the suffering that Jesus was to undergo was undertaken in our behalf.

Luke 22:47-48 (NIV) 47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus had predicted that Judas would betray him, but regardless this encounter with Judas would be heartbreaking for Jesus. We can see this in his words, “are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

In the Middle East a kiss was a greeting given to one who had a special bond, like a kinsman. The kiss was usually a sign of affection. Here Judas twists the affection to one of betrayal. Judas has led a crowd of people to the garden, where Jesus could be arrested without the crowds being present. Included in this group were members of the household of the high priest and a group of soldiers.

The disciples jumped in thinking that this might be the time for using the swords they had brought.  Don’t forget that many followers of Jesus were still hoping that Jesus would lead a revolution against the Romans. Luke 22:49-51 (NIV) 49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. 51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.” We know from John’s gospel that Peter was the impetuous one who sought to defend Jesus, by using violence.

Peter acting on impulse, as he so often did misunderstood what Jesus was doing in allowing himself to be arrested. This is the last recorded healing of Jesus. Here we have Jesus healing one who opposes him. Jesus did not want there to be a fight. He was going to fulfill the mission for which God, his Father, had sent him. Luke 22:52-53 (NIV) 52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.”

Jesus reminds them that he is not a criminal and that the Sanhedrin had plenty of opportunities to arrest him each day that he was in the Temple. Jesus controls the situation by stopping the disciples and healing the servant who was injured. The authorities waited to arrest Jesus until it was night and out of site of the people. Satan was the one who was maneuvering this situation. Remember, in Luke 22:3-4 (NIV) 3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. 4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.” Paul talked of the darkness to the Colossians. Colossians 1:13-14 (NIV) 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus indicates that this is the time when Satan, in his darkness, is attacking the Son of God.

Luke 22:54-56 (NIV) 54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.” This encounter took place in the central courtyard of the residence of the High Priest, possibly where both high priests lived.

This denial by Peter is thoroughly known. I want to focus on how it affected Jesus. We will take up the story after the third accusation is leveled against Peter being a disciple of Jesus. Luke 22:60-62 (NIV) 60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.” The Lord knew exactly what had just happened. Judas had betrayed him, and the rest of the disciples had run away and now Peter has denied even knowing him. This had to bring him mental anguish, knowing how Peter was going to be remorseful and repentant.

The action now shifts to the soldiers guarding Jesus. Luke 22:63-65 (NIV) 63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.” It seems that the soldiers were playing some twisted version of Blind Man’s Bluff where they beat him and taunt him. We know this is when they forced a crown of thorns on his head. Jesus was tortured. The NIV uses the word insult but the ESV uses another word. In verse 65, “And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.”The soldiers ridiculed Jesus, the Son of God.

People still reject Jesus in much the same way, denying his very existence. They mock anyone who seeks to be a follower of Jesus. The school shooting in Oregon, where the shooter was a follower of Satan sought out Christians to shoot. We are in a spiritual battle. Ephesians 6:11-12 (NIV) 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

I hope that we will use Jesus as our example and follow his lead. Jesus prepared himself by being in prayer with his Father. Jesus put on the spiritual armor of God and then faced the enemy, Satan, and stood his ground. Ephesians 6:13 (NIV) 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ponder all of the suffering that Jesus endured in our behalf.

Romans 8:16-18 (Living Bible) “For his Holy Spirit speaks to us deep in our hearts, and tells that we really are God’s children. And since we are his children, we will share his treasures-for all God gives to his Son Jesus is now ours too. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will give us later.” Christ is with us in our sufferings as well. May we endure, as he endured, to the glory of God!

Let us pray.