Luke 22:19-30: March 24—Being served or serving?
Mar 17, 2013

Wiley Richards is a retired professor of theology and philosophy at The Baptist College of Florida in Graceville.
During my college days, we used to have a ministerial program with participating churches called “H-Day,” named after Howard College, now Samford University. We supplied “preacher-boys” to an association in South Alabama, which necessitated our spending Saturday at guest homes. I preached at my assigned church on the subject of a servant attitude. To my chagrin, all I could think about was the fact that I had not made my bed that morning. When I returned to the home, my bed was still unmade. I quickly corrected my error. The fact that the woman would have undoubtedly changed the linens mattered not. I had to live with myself to practice what I preached.

The role of serving can be seen in the events surrounding the memorial supper (vv. 19-20). Attempts to interpret what the Lord meant in this brief ceremony has resulted in four major interpretations. On one side of the issue stands Roman Catholicism and the Anglicans who believe the Lord intended to teach literally that to eat the elements is to ingest the body and blood of Jesus. A second, less intrusive view held by the Lutherans, contends that the body and blood of Jesus are in and around the elements. Third, Presbyterians and many Methodists contend that the body and blood are spiritually present when the elements where the elements are concerned. Baptists represent the fourth view that the supper is a memorial act without any automatic means of grace. Hence, we shun calling the supper a communion and call it simply, the Lord’s Supper. It looks back to the Crucifixion and forward to the Second Coming. We use grape juice not wine because the biblical accounts all simply say “cup” or “fruit of the vine.” We interpret the words, “This is my body” as a figure of speech similarly in which He calls Himself the Vine, Bread of Life, or Water of Life.

The opposite of servitude is personalized in Judas Iscariot’s betrayal (vv. 21-24). We wonder how Judas could be in personal contact with Jesus during his earthly ministry and remain untouched in his soul by the words and example of the Master Teacher. At least some insight is given when we note that twice the Bible says that Satan entered into him. The first is Luke 22:3: “Then entered Satan into Judas Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.” After that event, Judas left and made arrangements with the chief priests to tell where they could accost Jesus. John 13:27 describes a second filling at the Last Supper, “And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, that thou doest, do quickly.” His time had run out. 

Nevertheless, Judas was responsible for his own decision. John adds what amounts to a spiritual epitaph for Judas with the words, “He then having received the sop, went immediately out: and it was night” (v. 30).

Luke then describes what could be described as role reversals (vv. 24-27). While Jesus poured out His heart to the disciples as He faced the cross, they squabbled among themselves about who would be greatest in the coming kingdom. Jesus, ever gentle, laid our the way Gentile rulers solidify their positions by rewarding benefactors to his “political action committees,” so to speak, with prized positions in his government. Jesus said God reversed that process. The greatest are chosen from among the servants.

Jesus then explained the exaltation of kingdom leaders (vv. 28-30). We tend to spiritualize those kinds of words, explaining on the one hand the hierarchy in church organization, and on the other personal victories in life. Jesus was speaking, however, about His coming kingdom at the close of history as we know it. For example, 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 says believers will someday judge the world and angels. In Revelation 2:26, 27, faithful believers at Thyatira are to rule nations with power, a rod of iron. All the promises to the seven churches refer to the end-time rewards. Note Revelation 20:4, the promise which says “they” sat upon thrones exercising judgment. There is no listed antecedent in this context which identified who “they” are. The answer is found in 2:26-27 and 3:21. Jesus always honors His promises albeit not in the time or way we might think. We shall reign with Him.

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