The Plot to Kill Jesus
Open Your Bible
Luke 22:1-71, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, Galatians 1:3-5
BY Guest Writer
When I was a freshman in college, I grew in my faith like never before. I became captivated by the gospel, thirsty for truth, and passionate about Jesus. It was one of the sweetest and most vibrant chapters of my faith, but this explosive growth was accompanied by one negative consequence: self-righteousness.
With my newfound convictions, I felt strongly about the way things should be done, and the way things should not be done. When I went home on breaks, I lectured my parents about our home church and the things that needed to change. I pronounced harsh judgments on friends who were not following Jesus. I frowned disapprovingly when my boyfriend’s parents drank wine with their dinner. I was, in a word, insufferable.
Thankfully, my parents were patient and wise. They listened and gently challenged some of my thinking, but they also recognized I was young and in need of shepherding. In contrast with my demeanor, they showed grace.
I will never forget that season of my life, when my love for Jesus resulted in some very un-Jesus-like behavior. I will forever be humbled by it, because it continues to remind me of the truth that human brokenness and sin runs deep, perverting even our noblest intentions.
In Luke 22, this aspect of sin is on full display. First we have the chief priests, who oversee Jesus’s arrest. In his commentary, The Gospel of Luke, New Testament scholar Joel B. Green explains that these religious leaders “believe themselves to be serving God, yet unwittingly serve a diabolical aim.” Then, we have a disciple who, in his desperation to defend his teacher, draws his sword and cuts off the ear of a chief priest’s servant. Swiftly and sharply, Jesus condemns this violence (v.51).
Within this scene we see two different types of people who are trying to honor God and doing just the opposite instead. How can we avoid doing the same?
First, we must admit that we will inevitably do the same, because we are human. The same brokenness that runs through the high priests, and the same brokenness that runs through the disciple (Peter, according to the parallel account in John 18) also runs through us. We will get it wrong, and that is precisely why we need a Savior. Even our best efforts can become mangled by sin. That said, the Lord’s Table—which sits at the center of this chapter—is a compass of sorts.
“And he took bread, gave thanks, broke it, gave it to them, and said,
‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me’” (Luke 22:19).
When Jesus instructs His disciples to remember, He is not only talking about His death. He is also talking about the example He set throughout His life. Jesus is the Savior who does not need weapons or worldly power to achieve His means. Jesus transformed the entire world by humbling Himself and laying Himself down—first in a manger, and then on a cross—and this is the standard to which we are held. This is how we preach Christ, without opposing Him in the process.
Sharon Hodde Miller leads Bright City Church in Durham, NC with her husband Ike. She also holds a PhD on women and calling, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.