We left yesterday sensing the urgency of Jesus’ message: the kingdom is near, watch for it! In light of this urgency, Jesus continued teaching in the temple, and the crowds continued to gather. Today in our text, Luke reminds us of the Jewish calendar – the daily, and yearly, rhythms of life for the Jewish people; it was the ebb and flow of waiting and celebrating, fasts and feasts that oriented the Jewish people toward a coming King and Messiah. And, in the very first verse we see that it is the “Feast of Unleavened Bread,” the Passover.
Read Exodus 12. What is the significance of this feast? Why do you think Luke includes this detail?
Without leaven dough can’t rise, and when dough can’t rise you can make bread much quicker. This feast reenacted, and memorialized, the haste in which God brought the ancient Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Luke also mentions the Passover, reminding us that there will need to be a Passover Lamb.
This feast would have drawn Jews from all over into Jerusalem for the feast, which would mean that Jesus’ crowds would also grow. This clearly angered the Sanhedrin (the Jewish leaders of the day). Luke makes a particular point of mentioning “who” was angered and what they were going to do about it: the chief priests and scribes were looking for ways to kill Jesus. They were resolved and resolute in their desire, but they seem worried.
Why do you think the chief priests and scribes “feared the people”(v.2)?
Well, this is too good of an opportunity for the Enemy to pass up:
“Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve.”
Satan sees a perfect opportunity. He seizes upon the Sanhedrin’s plot to kill Jesus by giving them the perfect ally: Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples. It was a clear foothold into Jesus’ inner circle, so Satan influences Judas to meet with the chief priests and scribes on how to plan the betrayal. Satan exercises serious influence here, but not absolute power. Judas still chooses to meet the Sanhedrin. Edwards reminds us how disastrous Judas’ decision was: “Satan entered Judas (v.3), and Judas left Jesus (v.4). A more disastrous exchange cannot be imagined.” And in this, Judas fails to do what Jesus told the disciples to do earlier: Be on watch!
How can you be more on “watch” for God’s coming kingdom?
Luke goes on to tell us that the chief priests were “glad” with Judas’ proposal. The Greek word implies that they were actually “delighted.” They were overjoyed at the possibility of killing the Messiah. In harsh irony, they delighted in killing Life himself.
Pray over this sobering reality today, thanking the Lord for his overwhelming grace in sending His Son to die for our sins.