Betrayed, Denied, & Tried (Luke 22:47-71)
Betrayed (verses 47-53)
Despite the many displays of Christ’s mercy to Judas in warning him not to become the betrayer, Judas nonetheless does betray Him, using a sign of friendship and love to mark Him out for the captors. Seeing what was taking place, the disciples ask Jesus whether or not they should strike the soldiers, yet Peter does not wait for an answer. Impatiently (though not without love and zeal for Jesus) he drew his sword and removed the ear of a servant. However, Christ mercifully restrains His disciples and, living out what He preached, He performs His last earthly miracle by healing an enemy who was seeking to destroy Him (Luke 6:27). Jesus knows, and makes clear, that this “hour” is a time that the Father has fixed for darkness to “reign.” He knows that it is determined by the all Sovereign God and that the enemies of God cannot act a moment before the time He allows and are prohibited from acting a moment longer than He permits.
– The triumph of God’s enemies is only ever temporary, and it has never been nor will it ever be entire or complete. How can you as a Christian find comfort in this for your own circumstances? How can we find comfort in this for our nation? What about for the world?
Denied (verses 54-65)
While most of the disciples had veered off the path of following Jesus, Peter (to his credit) is still following, though from a distance. In response to the servant girl and the two men that distinguished him as a disciple, Peter took refuge in the shelter of pretended ignorance. The same Peter that was bold as a lion in private lacked all courage in public. In the midst of his cursing and swearing, as the rooster crows, Peter is met with the compassionate gaze of the Lord. Christ did not look on Peter to condemn him, but to remind him of the words He had spoken to him, that though he would deny Him three times, Peter’s faith would not fail. The truth of Jesus’ words to him had been proven, and if He was right about the denials, Peter could be certain also that the rest of the prophecy would prove right (Luke 22:32).
In the meantime, while the officials were working on their plan to question Christ and determining how they would convict Him, the guards who were assigned to detain Him beat and mocked Him (c.f. Luke 18:32). All of this was taking place pre-trial, without a guilty verdict. In pointing out that they were blaspheming, Luke is clarifying Christ’s true identity as the Son of God. He is showing that, ironically, these men are guilty of the very crime that Jesus Himself is being charged with.
– In what sense was Peter’s denial the fruit of self-sufficiency? In what ways or in what contexts are you particularly tempted toward a false sense of self-sufficiency? How does self-sufficiency affect our witness for Christ? How is the merciful gaze with which Christ looked on Peter also an encouragement for us?
Tried (verses 66-71)
Though the “pre-trials” had been held pre-dawn, Jewish law required that cases be tried during the day. So, in order to give the appearance of legitimacy and legality, the formal trial began at first light, though the outcome had already been determined. The same men who insisted on waiting until day for the trial also demanded Jesus’ death, knowing that their law prohibited the death penalty on the day of trial. But there was no interest in doing what was right; they only wanted to find grounds to condemn Christ to death. What they failed to realize is that the execution of this “prisoner” is the first step in the process of seating Him at “the right hand of the power of God.” They are sitting in judgment over Christ, preparing to crucify Him, and yet as a result of the crucifixion, He will be seated at God’s right hand, and will be their everlasting Judge from on high.
– In what ways do we see Jesus’ mercy displayed even towards His accusers in the trial? What is the significance in our own day of the words, “From now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (v69)?