Exactly as He Said
Exactly As He Said
If you are a guest with us this morning, here for the first time, we are going through the book of Luke verse by verse, chapter by chapter, and so our next passage comes from Luke 22. If you have a copy of scripture with you, I’d love for you to turn to the book of Luke.
The setting here is that Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Passover is a one day holiday followed by a week-long festival that Jewish people were required to travel to Jerusalem for. So Jesus has come here with his disciples and a huge crowd of people. Many of them are certain he is the Messiah they’ve waited for, so as Jesus rode into town on a small donkey, they cheered him on as the king who has come to save us! But to everyone’s surprise, instead of clearing the city of Romans, Jesus clears the temple of people selling goods and exchanging money, saying “this place is to be a house of prayer”. The religious leaders had already been looking for a way to arrest him and get rid of him, and this didn’t help. But Jesus loved the temple ever since he was a boy, so it’s not a surprise that he would be found there.
Luke 21:37-38 - During the day, he was teaching in the temple, but in the evening he would go out and spend the night on what is called the Mount of Olives. Then all the people would come early in the morning to hear him in the temple. 22:1 The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover, was approaching. We’ll talk more about this next week.  The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to put him to death, because they were afraid of the people.
The religious leaders aren’t looking for a way to get Jesus out of town. They aren’t looking for a way to make him leave the temple area. They want him to stop breathing. They want him dead, because he is not the Messiah they had pictured, but also because, quite frankly, he is a little too popular. The people are enjoying his teaching a little too much. Which leads to the problem at hand.
They can’t just walk up and arrest him in front of everyone. Just a few days ago, there were thousands and thousands of people throwing their jackets on the road and saying “God has saved us! Hosanna! Here comes our king!” So if you take Jesus out while he’s in public, you are going to start a riot! Then that turns into a huge problem quickly. The Roman military would have to be called in to stop it. People will die. But worse than that, the Romans will accuse them of breaking the peace, and, in punishment, take away some of the religious freedoms Jews have been able to have, or some of the leaders’ power and authority.
So they strategize. They plot. They imagine. They fantasize about grabbing him and taking him out. They scheme. They watch. It’s a little ironic that during the very holiday where they celebrate freedom from slavery, they have become slaves to their own religious system. During the very holiday they will celebrate how God spared them from losing their lives, they are plotting how to take one.
So that’s the backdrop for what happened next: The religious leaders are on the prowl, and then almost out of nowhere, the religious leaders get a huge helping hand.
 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, who was numbered among the Twelve.  He went away and discussed with the chief priests and temple police how he could hand him over to them.  They were glad and agreed to give him silver.  So he accepted the offer and started looking for a good opportunity to betray him to them when the crowd was not present.
It looks like Jesus really has his work cut out for him, doesn’t it? The net is starting to tighten. The religious leaders want to kill Jesus, but they aren’t getting it done, so a new player seems to have come off the bench to make this happen = Satan himself – the enemy of good, the enemy of truth, the deceiver, the father of lies, that ancient serpent from the Garden of Eden.
We haven’t run into Satan a whole lot in the book of Luke, but if you’ve been following the story of Jesus, we’ve watched as time and time again something or someone or something keeps trying to derail him and his ministry.
- At Jesus’ birth, the story was threatened. When the King at the time heard from the Magi that the king of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem, he sort of panicked a bit, and sent soldiers to kill every boy under 2 years old to make sure he was the only king. Jesus’ parents escaped thanks to a warning from an angel.
- When Jesus started his ministry, Satan met him in the wilderness, not to congratulate him on the new gig, but to offer him the world, power, fame - ANYTHING to get him to take a shortcut and abort the mission. Jesus overcame the temptation with the word of God.
- When Jesus visited his home church, the synagogue in Nazareth and he told them he was the Messiah, the leaders there tried to toss him off a cliff for blasphemy. Jesus simply walked through the crowd and went on his way.
- Another time when Jesus was predicting his death to his disciples, one of the 12 apostles named Peter spoke up to say, “Not under my watch. There is no way you’re going to die,” which Jesus must have interpreted as another temptation because he said, “GET BEHIND ME SATAN!”
- And of course, we’ve seen over and over during his whole ministry how the religious leaders have been plotting and scheming to take him out. And yet because of the crowds and fear of causing a riot, they can’t pull it off.
It sort of looks like no one could get the job done for Satan, so now he just shows up as if to say “I’ll do this myself.” So right before Passover, Satan has entered Judas, one of the 12, to begin the process of betrayal.
If you take this at face value, it sure looks like poor Judas got the bad end of the deal here. He was just minding his own business, genuinely trying to follow Jesus, when all of a sudden Satan just showed up on the front porch with all of his belongings and said I’m moving in. That doesn’t seem fair. Which raises another question – is Satan able to do that to anyone he wants? Can he just enter an innocent person and make them do stuff like this?
We’re going to look at three truths today that center around this moment in the story.
Truth #1: Sin and Satan work together. Ephesians 2 begins like this: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously walked – So these are YOUR trespasses and sins. You walked in them; you are responsible for them. They have brought you spiritual death. But that verse goes on to say that there are three forces at work that are the underwriters, the supporters, of the sin you commit:
- – you walked according to the ways of this world, – “the world” would refer to any people or system or patterns that are not oriented to the glory of God.
- 1 Corinthians 3:3 CSB - …For since there is envy and strife among you, are you not worldly and behaving like mere humans? There is a popular animated movie I’m sure many of you have seen called The Lorax. And if you’ve seen the movie, when the Once-ler starts chopping down all the trees, he is singing a very catchy song that goes like this: “How bad can I be? I’m just doing what comes naturally.” The sentiment of that song is the way of the world, according to this verse - doing what is merely human. [My apologies for getting that song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.]
- Romans 12:2 ESV - Do not be conformed to this world, 3 but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…
- The world has called things good and acceptable and natural that are completely outside of the will and plan and purposes of our Heavenly Father, and sometimes out of fear of missing out, or fear of being given a hard time, or because we don’t like to do the hard work of faith, we go right along with the crowd that is living life according to what comes naturally, and the result is sin and death.
- – you walked according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. Satan and his minions are actively working against the things of Jesus, salvation, right Christian worship, by twisting and manipulating the truth, deceiving and lying, so that we disobey.
- 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 – But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
- In other words, if a person does not believe the gospel, but carries on in unbelief and disobedience, it is because the god of this age (lowercase g; the same spirit at work in the disobedient) has blinded them. So some of the sins that kill us are because an evil presence is actively working against you like he was with Adam and Eve to distract and attract you with all kinds of worries and delights and problems and opportunities, so that you choose something outside of the will of God.
- But scripture does not teach that there is a demon under every rock. Not everything sinful we do is because “the devil deceived me” or “the devil moved in” like he did with Judas. Sometimes the blame goes nowhere else but yourself. 3 We too [we who are saved] all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also.
- There are the fleshly desires, which make us children under wrath just the same as if the world or the devil strung us along into sin.
- – you walked according to the ways of this world, – “the world” would refer to any people or system or patterns that are not oriented to the glory of God.
- James 4:1-3 – What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don't they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don't receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
- If you are tempted to do something you know is not the will of God, and you find yourself justifying disobedience in your head… that’s probably the devil trying to deceive you into something.
- But if you have a flat tire, and then the boss yells at you, and then you got a call that your kid got in a fight at school, and you’re about to just lose your cool –– it might not be the devil trying to get you – it might just be that your vision for having a perfectly peaceful and prosperous life has met some ordinary and non-satanic disruptions which have “accidentally” revealed some of your idols.
Put it all together, and you have what’s happening here in Luke 22. You may remember the scene from Luke 7 where Jesus was at a meal with some Pharisees, and a woman anointed his feet with perfume.
Luke records the Pharisee who invited him to the dinner thought Jesus should have stopped her, and the apostle John’s account of this story says that Judas agreed. He complained about how wasteful this woman was being. If she didn’t want the perfume, Judas said, she should have sold it and given the money to the poor instead of dumping it all over Jesus’ feet and on the floor. John goes on to say that Judas said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the finances for Jesus’ ministry, and often helped himself to the money in the bag.
Judas followed the inclinations of his own flesh: He loved money more than he loved Jesus.
Judas followed the ways of the world, which is to do what comes naturally: look out for yourself. And because he walked in those ways, Judas was a prime candidate for Satan to move in and go to work.
Wherever our desires are opposed to the things of God, Satan has an open invitation from you to come in and set up camp] (Piper).
The religious leaders don’t have any idea that Satan would be behind this, but they are absolutely delighted that Judas would offer his insider services to them. Judas hears that they want to do this privately and not draw a crowd or create a riot, so he offers to turn Jesus over sometime the crowd isn’t around. I mean, this is the kind of stuff they might have actually been praying for! They are #blessed right now!
And what better place to hand Jesus over than at the Passover dinner later tonight?! Everyone would be in their own homes eating the meal, so there’d be no crowds in the streets. It would be a private arrest, no one around to see them taking Jesus away… this will be perfect. Judas can just listen for the location of where Jesus and the disciples will eat the meal, let the religious leaders know, and then when they show up to take him away, all he has to do is act surprised for a few minutes. Easy money.
Truth #2: Jesus was never in the hands of Satan, Judas, or the religious leaders.
- Why else would Jesus be so settled in the face of opposition? Why else would Jesus be in the very city, the very temple, where the religious leaders were so intent on taking him out? It has to be because he was never afraid that he was in the hands of Satan or anyone else.
- As we’ll see next week, Jesus will say in verse 15 that he eagerly desired to eat this Passover meal with his disciples. It wasn’t because he loved the tradition or that he loved the food or that he was looking to spend some bro time with the guys. Look at verse 21 – he even knew Judas was going to betray him! Was he eagerly desiring to be betrayed? Actually, YES! He wanted to eat this meal with them because a) it was so strikingly symbolic of what he was about to do, and b) he knew that this meal meant the hour for redemption had finally come! The very reason he was on the planet was for this very hour.
So, look at what he does to make sure Judas doesn’t get the address for the house where they will be meeting. Verse 8. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.” Anyone think Judas might have volunteered to help? “Hey, I’ll go with them.” No, just those two. V9– “where should we prepare it?”
Judas is leaning in, listening for a street name, a homeowner’s name, a landmark… anything that would help him identify the building, so he could let the religious leaders know. Jesus says “look for a man carrying a water jug. Follow him home, right into the house, and tell the owner to show you which room is ours.” V13… they went and found it exactly as he said.
Jesus is not in the hands of Satan and certainly not in the hands of Judas. This will go exactly as planned. Which is the third point:
- Look ahead to verse 53… Everyday while I was with you in the temple, you never laid a hand on me. But this is your hour — and the dominion of darkness. Satan and Judas were unwittingly following God’s plan, right down to the very hour of the day. Details of the evil and suffering that would happen to Jesus were prophesied hundreds of years before it happened – every single detail was all fixed centuries before Jesus came so that Jesus would die at what Romans 5 calls, “exactly the right time.”
Jesus was never in the hands of Satan, Judas, or anyone else. He was in the perfectly loving and sovereign and eternally wise and powerful hands of his Father the entire time. Which brings us to Truth #3: That means it was not Satan who crushed Jesus at the cross. It was not the religious leaders who crushed Jesus. It was not Judas who crushed Jesus. It was God the Father who planned to crush his own Son.
God foresaw, but did not prevent (and therefore planned) that his Son would be rejected, betrayed, mocked, spit on, flogged, pierced, and killed. God could have planned to stop them, but he didn’t. These things were all done by evil men, evil actions, evil intent, but God himself planned these things and brought them to pass.
Isaiah 53:5-6,10  But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds.  We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished him for the iniquity of us all.  Yet the LORD was pleased to crush him severely.
Then in Acts 4, Luke writes this: “...in this city both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, assembled together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, 28 to do whatever your hand and your will had predestined to take place.
Satan and human sinning worked together to do exactly what God’s hand and his will had predestined to take place – that is, to make sure Jesus Christ, the Son of God faced the most brutal and horrific death imaginable to a human. God the Father crushed his own son for our rebellion. Yahweh, the LORD, punished Jesus for our sin… crushing him severely.
You might be about to lose me here, because that sounds so wrong…it sounds like divine child abuse. But stay with me. Romans 5:8 says that God shows his love for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
If Christ’s death was simply evil people doing evil, and God was just reacting to what was happening, we could not say the cross happened because of God’s love. We’d have to say God was not able to prevent his Son from being killed…therefore God is weak and incompetent in at least this area. We would have to say that Satan is more powerful than God, because he was able to orchestrate something God couldn’t stop.
But because God the Father orchestrated the whole thing, planned it right down to the details, and saw to it that it happened exactly as planned…this is incredible news for you and me and for the whole human race! It means Jesus’ death was not a conspiracy of the Jewish religious leaders; It’s not the undercover work of a disciple turned traitor. It’s not even the work of some deep dark satanic magic or oppression.
The cross is the work of God’s love, the highest gift that could ever be given! God’s wrath toward sinners was directed at Jesus instead of YOU, which results in your salvation when you believe! It’s not divine child abuse, because Jesus was in on the whole thing! That’s why he’s still hanging out in the temple during the middle of the day. He’s not hiding in the crowd, he’s hiding in the perfect plan of his Father! He knows that at the beginning of his ministry, his Father said “this is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” He doesn’t need anything more than that.
He also knows that on the other side of his suffering, his Father will be praised and glorified and worshiped and exalted by the very people his crushing death is meant to redeem! And so he went to excruciating pain and suffering, trusting the plan and purpose of his Father. And on the third day, to prove God’s love for his own Son that he had crushed, and to prove that the cross worked, that it accomplished everything they had determined it would accomplish, God raised and in Jesus being exalted to the highest place and given the name above all names!
In fact, instead of this passage making Satan look very powerful and sinister, like he is the instigator of every evil thing that happens in the world, the death of Christ orchestrated by God tells us that Satan is just a pawn in the hands of a holy and loving and gracious and compassionate and righteous God! Satan’s appearance in verse 3 didn’t surprise Jesus. I believe if we could see behind the scenes, we would see God saying, okay Satan, now you may go to Judas now.
For centuries the question has been asked again and again and again – ”Why does God allow evil to continue in the world?” Or the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? If he’s going to crush Satan eventually anyway, why does God do such a cruelty to his people as allowing Satan to go on doing horrible things to God’s children?”
While I can’t say that I have the full and perfectly clear answer to those questions, if you look at passages like this one closely enough, you will see that behind whatever evil there is in the world; behind every bad thing that happens to a “good” person – whatever Satan is able to accomplish in the world, every bit of it answers the plans and purposes of God. Not a single thing is outside of his sovereign hand and his will.
Not your flat tire. Not your diagnosis. Not your kid be in his 50s or 30s or teens who has still not made a decision for Christ, not the stock market changing or the economy collapsing – not even Satan himself is able to function or operate outside of God’s sovereign permission.
So, dear church, if you are in Christ, all of the settledness in the perfect plan of the Father that Jesus had, has been made available to you and no matter what is going on around you, you have nothing to fear.
- Where is the door open? Unconfessed sin is like leaving a window open. The cold comes in or the heat comes in or bugs come in. We will all battle sin until the day we die, but as we confess and repent, we shut down the work of Satan. But where sin lies unconfessed, the door is open and Satan has power. So ask the Lord to show you where you’ve left a door open, and confess it.
- How big is your God? Of course, you would tell me God is bigger than anything. But what does your life say? What do your prayers say? How big is God to you? Would you have to admit that you’ve felt like certain things are out of his control, even to the point where it seems evil has the upper hand? Lord, help me to trust your greatness and your power, even when I can’t see.
- Thank God for his plan! He crushed his son for your sins. The worst atrocity that mankind could ever commit was that it would brutally execute it’s Savior. But it was all part of God’s plan for the greatest rescue operation the world has ever known. If you have called out to Jesus for salvation, Praise him for the gift of his grace! If you have not done that, or you don’t know what I mean, God is here right now, he’s listening, he’s ready to welcome you to the family. Call out to him in prayer and praise him for what he has done for you in Jesus.
- Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996)
- R. C. Sproul, A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke (Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 1999)
- Leadership Ministries Worldwide, The Gospel according to Luke, The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible (Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide, 1996)
- John MacArthur, Sinister Players in the Sovereign Plan of Redemption (Luke 22:1-6), March 23, 2017: (https://youtu.be/O_LdGt8K1H8) accessed Apr 11, 2023.
- John Piper, Judas Iscariot, the Suicide of Satan, and the Salvation of the World, October 7, 2007 (https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/judas-iscariot-the-suicide-of-satan-and-the-salvation-of-the-world) accessed Apr 11, 2023.