Betrayal: Last supper, Judas, Peter's Denial
In the week before Passover, Jerusalem is full of pilgrims, celebrating the Israelites’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. The desire for freedom from their oppressors, the Romans, burns strong. Now, Jesus makes his entrance riding on a donkey – a declaration that he is the Messiah. The crowd rejoices. But High Priest Caiaphas recoils in horror – any unrest and Pilate will shut down the Temple. Now, Jesus confounds all in a protest against hypocrisy by turning on the money- changers in the Temple. Enraged Caiaphas finds a way to get to Jesus – through disciple Judas who is coaxed into betrayal. The disciples are thrown into turmoil by Jesus’ announcement that their shared supper together will be their last. Not only will Jesus be killed, but one of their own will betray him. Judas runs from the scene and Peter receives his own devastating prediction – he too will fall away. Jesus and the disciples withdraw in prayer to the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas and the arresting Temple guards rush in. Jesus allows himself to be led away and the disciples scatter. He is tied up and faces trial by the Jewish elders, despite Nicodemus’ protestations. The accusation: blasphemy. The punishment: death. Caiaphas finds Jesus guilty and the crowd outside is told the verdict. Everyone feels betrayed.
All around them, the great court is filled with human activity. Lambs, doves, and goats are for sales, and their sounds and smells add to the human cacophony. There is the familiar clink of coins being counted and changing hands. The climax of Passover is as ritual animal sacrifice. Poor pilgrims traveling into Jerusalem from all over Israel must part with their hard-earned money to buy the animals. But their coins bear images of Roman emperors or Greek gods, images that are thought to be idolatrous by the Temple priests. So pilgrims must change all coins into temple currency. A portion of the proceeds from the exchange goes to the Temple authorities, part goes in taxes to the Romans, and the rest is pocketed by the corrupt moneylenders, who prey on the pilgrims by charging more than the law allows for making the currency exchange.
The disciples stay close as Jesus stops walking and studies all that is going on around him. His face and eyes are the picture of sadness. He sees more than just animals and money changers: an old man being shooed way by an angry moneylender, a poor family trying to buy a lamb but having only enough for doves, a frail old woman being jostled, and a lost little girl crying. The commotion makes it impossible for anyone to engage in devout prayer. Jesus' face clouds with anger and resentment. He walks calmly toward the stall where the moneylenders have set up shop. Coins are piled on the tables. Their hands are dirty from counting money. They banter with one another. Jesus grabs the table edge with two hands and flips it over. Then he goes on to the next table and does the same. all heads in the Temple court turn to the sound of spilling coins, and onlookers immediately race to scoop up the fallen money. "What are you doing?" shrieks one money changer.
"Rabbi!" Judas pleads, scooping up some coins in his palm. "No!"
But Jesus is not done. he cannot be stopped. On to the next table.
Jesus flips another table, which bounces again a birdcage and sets loose a flock of doves.
Judas sees a band of Roman soldiers lining up like riot police near the entrance to the Temple complex. "Jesus! Please!" Judas pleads. He doesn't have the stomach for Jesus' brand of revolution. Judas wants to be safe and protected. He fears he will be thrown into prison along with Jesus and all the disciples. Unlike the other disciples, he is an educated man who knows the way of the big city. "If only you would listen to me," laments Judas.
But Jesus doesn't listen to Judas. He isn't listening to anyone. Another table gets flipped.
"Why?" asks one vendor, disconsolate about all his earnings scattered about the Temple floor. "Why have you done this?"
"It is not written?"
"What on earth could you possibly mean?"
"It is not written?" Jesus repeats, but this time in a booming voice that echoes throughout the chamber. In an instant, the entire court is silent.
"My house… My house shall be called a house of prayer," Jesus continues. "But you have turned it into a den of thieves."
A Story of God and All of us
Judas - Joe Wredden
Nicodemus - Simon Kunz
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts (John 2:13-22)
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
© New International Version (NIV)
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22)
Paying the Imperial Tax to Caesar
15 Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not?”
18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away.
© New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus (John 3:1-21)
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
3 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
© New International Version (NIV)
The Last Supper, Jesus Arrested (Luke 22:7-53)
The Last Supper
7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.”
9 “Where do you want us to prepare for it?” they asked.
10 He replied, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, 11 and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.”
13 They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 You are those who have stood by me in my trials. 29 And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
35 Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?”
“Nothing,” they answered.
36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”
38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”
“That’s enough!” he replied.
Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives
39 Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. 40 On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” 41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. 44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
© New International Version (NIV)
The Last Supper
Jesus reminds the disciples to not be afraid. In John 14:6: “I am the Truth, the Way, and the Light.” The quote concludes with “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is a reaffirmation of Christ’s divinity and the purpose for his coming to Earth.
In regards to Communion, it is a reflection/repetition of the Jewish tradition of Passover. Passover was celebrated to remember God’s protection of the people of Israel while they were in bondage and to remember God’s providence in bringing them out of Egypt.
Christ's sacrifice, as remembered in Communion, was the supreme providence and protection.
As well, in the Jewish mind, eating a meal was a way to confirm a covenant. Partaking in Communion is a repetition of confirming our choice to live in the New Covenant Christ established.
In verse 24, Jesus begins by saying “As it is written . . .” He is referencing the prophecies of the suffering servant in Isaiah 42-53. Jesus references his claim to be the Messiah and to fulfill prophecy with this statement.
The other disciples call Jesus “Lord.” Judas calls Jesus “Rabbi” or “Teacher.” There is no reference in Scripture where Judas calls Jesus “Lord.” Judas was able to accept Christ as teacher but not as Lord.
By Jesus claiming that his body and his blood would be the sacrifice, he was claiming that he was the final and ultimate fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifices. His sacrifice on the cross would be the final one needed and fulfill all of the sacrificial requirements.
Questions to reflect upon
Why was Judas unable to call Jesus “Lord?” What is the difference between calling Jesus “Lord” versus calling him “teacher?”
How is Christ’s sacrifice the ultimate sacrifice? How does it fulfill the Old Testament sacrificial requirements?
Why did Jesus need to remind them to “remember” him? Why did they need reassurance that he would always be with them?
SMALL GROUP GUIDE
Below is sample list of small-group study and discussion questions for small groups that use this guidebook in conjunction with The Bible 30-Day Experience DVD Study.
- Open in prayer.
- Go around the room asking everyone to briefly answer this question: "Have you ever rescued someone? Has someone ever rescued you?"
- Watch video clip of The Last Supper.
- Question: "As you watched that video, what sore of things were you thinking and feeling?"
- Question: "Did you identify with one person the video more than another? If so, who? And why?"
- Introduce Scripture reading: "The Scripture passage we are going to study, from the Gospel of John, is part of the Upper Room conversation Jesus had with his disciples on the night of his last supper."
- Read John 15:1-17.
- Question: "Would you describe Jesus' words in this passage as 'relational' or 'religious'? And why?
- Question: "Jesus talks repeatedly about his followers 'remaining' (KJV: 'abiding') in hime. What do you think he means by that?
- Question: "What did Jesus mean by saying, 'apart from me you can do nothing' (v.5)?"
- Question: "How, in practical terms, do you think we are supposed to 'remain in' Jesus?"
- Question: "Are you 'remaining' or 'abiding' in Jesus, like he says in these verses? If so, how? If not, why not?"
- Close in prayer.
The Bible 30-Day Experience Guidebook © 2013 by Outreach, Inc.