Arresting Revelations: 2016 Gospel of Luke #88
This is an exposition of Luke 22:47-65. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, December 31, 2017.
H.G. Wells once said that the world is like a great stage production, directed and managed by God. As the curtain rises, the set is perfect, a treat to every eye. The characters are resplendent. Everything goes well until the leading man steps on the hem of the leading lady’s gown, causing her to trip over a chair, which knocks over a lamp, which pushes a table into the wall, which in turn knocks over the scenery, which brings everything down on the heads of the actors.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes God, the Producer is running around, shouting orders, pulling strings, trying desperately to restore order from chaos. But, alas, he is unable to do so! Poor God…he is a very little, limited God. Wells’ sentiment is shared by an increasing number of folks in our culture. While a great number of people profess belief in God – I’m afraid most of them believe in the little, limited God described by Wells.
To be fair, I can understand why some would view God with such skepticism. Who hasn’t experienced hurt and confusion at the hands of a world that seems out of control? Who hasn’t, in a time of sever crisis, cried out, “God why is this happening to me? God why don’t you do something?” At times it seems as if the world is out of control and no one is at the wheel. That is certainly what it felt like that night in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. A night of feasting and celebrating. A night of remembrance and promise. What a high and holy moment it was when our Lord declared, “This is my body given for you. This is the new covenant in my blood.” The beauty of that moment was overshadowed by talk of betrayal, denial and death. The sweet sound of new life and hope was silenced by the petty claims of greatness and importance by self diluted and glory-hungry followers. In the Garden as our Lord faced the final test before the cross, in the hour of his greatest need, as he cried out in agony and great distress – his friends, a stone throw away – slept. Emerging victorious from the struggle, having been strengthened by an angel, our Lord awakened his drowsy followers and said, “My betrayer has arrived.” Our text this morning is found in the 22nd chapter of Luke’s Gospel.
Text: Luke 22:47-65
It’s been an amazing week.
Just days before, our Lord entered Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!”
In a matter of hours an angry mob will cry, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
The events of the week leave your head spinning in an attempt to make sense of them. Words of power and authority from our Lord as he silenced his critics, confusion and questions in the hearts of his disciples with talk of the temple’s destruction.
Acts of hatred and hostility as the religious establishment plotted his death.
The black-hearted betrayal by one of his own.
An act of love and tenderness as our Lord washed the feet of his disciples.
It was a week of revelation.
Our Lord began the week with an unmistakable revelation of his person.
“I am the Messiah.”
His wisdom was revealed in his handling of his critics.
His authority was revealed in his pronouncement of judgement upon Jerusalem.
The extent of our depravity was revealed in Judas’ betrayal.
Our Lord’s tenderness and compassion was revealed in the upper room.
His beauty and love for his own made abundantly clear in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And now another revelation as we come to the arrest.
Wells my think him a little, limited God. Albert Schweitzer may consider him a well-meaning, diluted visionary but they have failed to grasp the whole picture. He is not the victim in all of this – he is the victor! This is not a sudden turn of events. This began weeks before when our Lord boldly declared, “We must go to Jerusalem” and then set his face as a flint for the holy city. His disciples protested. “Lord not now. It is too dangerous.” “Now is the time,” he replied. But it actually began long before that.
In withstanding the temptation of Satan in the wilderness prior to his public ministry – he said yes to the cross. But even that was a reaffirmation of his determination. It began in eternity past. When, in covenant with the Father our Lord agreed to redeem sinful, fallen humanity. You see he is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world! This is not an unforeseen glitch in the plan. This is the eternal will of God. Look closely at these verses and stand in awe of the glory of our Savior.
Thesis: The arrest of our Lord serves as the perfect backdrop for revealing the essence of his being.
Crises have a way of revealing just what a person is made of. One of the reasons for that is that pretense cracks under pressure. Our Lord is under incredible pressure in these moments and rather than cracking – he radiates with glory. There are three things I want us to note in our text.
- First of all, note his sovereignty in the face of betrayal. (22:47-52)
- Second, note his love in response to weakness and failure. (22:54-62)
- Finally I want us to note his majesty in response to hatred and ridicule. (22:63-65)
“For the joy set before him he endured the cross despising the shame.”
This is our Savior.
This is no mere man.
This is the Sovereign, loving, majestic Son of the Living God!