Reading for Tuesday, April 3: Luke 22
Luke has set the stage for the final act in this Gospel: the betrayal, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In v2, the chief priests and scribes stand in the shadows, plotting His murder “for they feared the people.” And we’re reminded: you’re at your worst when fear gets the best of you.
The setting of the Passover meal is one of hospitality: the Son of Man, with no earthly place to lay His head, is hospitably received by the unnamed “master of the house” (v11). And the early church will continue this table tradition, rooted in Scripture (Gen. 18; Ex. 24; Ps. 23.5) and the practice of hospitable reciprocity. As Jesus presides over the Passover meal with His disciples, He promises not to eat of it again “until it is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God,” (v16), an anticipation of the Great Messianic Feast of Jewish expectation (Isa. 25.6).
But Jesus defies the prevailing perceptions of authority and power that plague us:
Jesus defies the perception of the scepter-wielding Messiah: “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves…I am among you as the one who serves,” (v25-27).
Jesus defies the perception of an ivory-tower Deity: “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” (v37).
Jesus defies the perception of the petulant ruler: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done,” (v42).
Jesus defies the perception of the warmongering despot: “And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.” (v49-51).
And Jesus defies the perception of the spineless politico: “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ So they all said, ‘Are you the Son of God, then?’ And he said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.'” (v69-71)
And in Luke’s final few chapters, Jesus will defy our expectations yet again.