Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jesus in Luke's Gospel P3 - The Savior's Supper

Luke 22:15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer

Introduction - The Savior of Luke
For the past several days we have been exploring the Gospel of Luke.  We first noted some major themes and an outline of the Book in Part 1, followed by a survey of how Luke portrays Jesus entering into humanity's plight and pain in Part 2.  In this final part of our series on Luke, we want to go to that scene on the night before Jesus' crucifixion.  Truly and significantly the Lord's Supper in Luke brings together everything that we have looked at over the past couple of days.  Luke uses the title "Savior" to describe Jesus more than any other Gospel writer, using it at least twice in his Gospel (Luke 1:47; 2:11) and at least twice again in his companion volume Acts (5:31; 13:23).1  Luke 19:10 is the chief verse of Luke's Gospel that describes the Saving work and effort of Jesus - "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” 

As we consider the Lord's Supper scene in Luke, what kind of Savior do we meet?  Based off of those two key words in Luke 19:10 ("seek" and "save"), we encounter the Willing and Working Savior.  The Willingness of Jesus is scene throughout Luke's Gospel, finding its most tenderest expression in Luke 22.  Then the Work of the Savior is expressed in Luke 22 that will anticipate the work Christ would accomplish in Luke 23-24. 

Jesus the Willing Savior.  Luke 1-22
In Luke 22:15 Jesus says to His disciples - "And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer."  The underlined phrase "earnestly desired" is the NASB attempt to capture the tone and emphasis of Jesus.  As Luke was writing this Gospel in the original Greek, He undoubtedly would had written down what he gained from his interview with eyewitnesses who were there on that night.  The Greek text repeats the words translated "desire" twice, emphasizing how willing and eager Jesus really was to enter into this meal with his disciples.

Jesus' willingness to be the Savior is certainly captured by Luke throughout his gospel.  From beginning to end Jesus exhibited an absolute willingness to be the Savior and to do His Father's Will as a brief survey of key passages will demonstrate:

-Jesus' entry into time by way of the virgin birth.  Luke 1:31-34
-Jesus entry into the bloodline of humanity as the New Adam.  Lk 3:23-38
-Jesus' willing identity with his people in His baptism.  Lk 3:21-22
-Jesus willingness to minister to the hurting.  Lk 4:18-19
-Jesus willingness to press onward to the cross.  Lk 9:51 and 19:28
-Jesus willingness to eat with his disciples.  Lk 22:41-44
-Jesus' willingness to do His Father's will.  Lk 22:41-44 

With the willingness of Jesus our Savior revealed at Luke's scene of the Lord's Supper, we see a second aspect of the Savior in this scene, namely...

Jesus the Working Savior.  Luke 22:19-38
As you go down through the text of the Lord's Supper Scene, as well as the scene wherein Jesus is praying in Gethsemene, you find out statements about Jesus' work.  What kind of work was Jesus aiming to accomplish as the willing and working Savior? 

1. Redemptive Work.  22:19-20
His institution of the Lord's Supper, with the bread and fruit of the vine, points to the redemption He would accomplish.  The fact He says "this is my body" and "this is my blood" treats His redemptive work as an already done deal, even though He had not yet done it.

2. Great Work.  22:29-30
His words to His disciples not only dealt with the work He was looking to accomplish on the cross, but also what He aimed to do in the future when He would come again.  What He accomplished in His First coming would pave the way for Him to return and exercise Judgment and Rulership as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

3. Preserving Work.  22:31-32
His prayer for Peter's faith not to fail reminds us that Jesus' Work as Savior preserves His saints.

4. Finished work.  22:37-38
Not by sword nor by force would the Kingdom of God and Christ's work be accomplished.  Rather He alone could finish it, which is why He told the dsiciples to put away their swords.

It is these two themes of Jesus as a Willing Savior and a Working Savior that we meet at the Lord's Supper in Luke's Gospel.


1. These counts are based upon the amount of times the title "Savior" occurs in the original text of Luke and Acts.  English translations may have the title listed in more places, since other phrases in the original language in other spots can easily translate "Savior" in English.