We’re having such a marvelous time in the Gospel of Luke. We have come now in our study of this Gospel to the Passion Week, the final week of the life of our Lord before His death. And we have also come, during that week, to Thursday night.
Thursday night, the night that Jesus spent in the upper room with His disciples; the night in which they celebrated the last Passover; the night in which He instituted the Lord’s Supper, the communion service which we celebrate; the night in which He gave them final instruction and final promises about what was to come. But it was also a night filled with trouble.
You might have expected that on the last night that our Lord had, before He went to the cross to give Himself as a sacrifice for sin, that it might have been best to give Him a night of peace, a night of tranquility, a night of rest a night of comfort. Not so.
Consistent with the history of redemption since the fall, consistent with the history of the world, everything God does He does in the face of trouble. All the objectives and purposes of God are fulfilled perfectly, but always because God triumphs over trouble.
And while we may think of that evening with Jesus isolated from the mobs, isolated from the angry leaders of Israel who wanted Him dead, set aside in that upper room, with only the apostles who had been with Him for three years, that this would have been a night of love, a night of joy, a night of satisfaction, a night of some pleasure, it turns out it was filled with serious trouble. Serious trouble - and on the brink of far greater trouble than any of the disciples had ever imagined.
But that’s always the way it is in the purposes of God in a fallen world. This is a fallen world. The fall, recorded in Genesis chapter 3, affected every part of our universe, every molecule in it. Sin has stained everything. The purposes of God have been established and have been ordained from eternity past, have been written down in the Old Testament and pledged to be fulfilled. And they are fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled, but because God triumphs over trouble.
There is always trouble, and that night, in the upper room, there was trouble. Trouble from Judas the betrayer. Trouble from the apostles themselves who were arguing about which of them was to be the greatest and looked like they were totally inadequate to be evangels for the Gospel. Trouble from Satan himself, who came after Peter, wanting to sift him like wheat to destroy his faith, and who also came after the rest, scattering them in fear when Jesus was arrested.
Yes, there was trouble, trouble regarding Judas, trouble regarding the apostles, trouble regarding Satan coming after the apostles, and trouble with Peter as well, who goes on, as Jesus predicted he would, to deny Christ. Trouble.
And there is one final category of trouble that our Lord refers to on that night, and that is the trouble to which we look in Luke 22 and verse 35. Luke 22, verse 35, “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?’
“And they said, ‘No, nothing.’
“And He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a begin. And let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, “And He was numbered with transgressors;” for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’
“And they said, ‘Lord, look here are two swords.’
“And He said to them, ‘It is enough.’”
Perhaps you’ve never even read that passage. I don’t think in my life I’ve ever heard a message on that passage. And yet it is one of the most important ones in the New Testament for reasons that will become apparent to you.
Trouble from Judas? We’ve seen that. Trouble from the apostles? We’ve seen that. Trouble from Satan? We’ve seen that. Trouble with regard to Peter and the scattered disciples? We’ve seen that. Now we come to trouble from the hostile world. And the apostles are about to see that. But in every case there is triumph.
The worst that Judas could do had already been predetermined by God. In spite of the disciples’ pride and self-will and concern about their own promotion, and arguing about which of them was to be the greatest, they recovered from that. They were empowered by the Holy Spirit. They went out effectively and preached the Gospel. And they will, one day, Jesus promised to them, in this very passage, sit with Him at His table, in His kingdom, and they will actually be given the honor of reigning over the 12 tribes of Israel.
So, God triumphs over the betrayer, and God triumphs over the disciples. God also triumphs over Satan. Satan comes and wants permission to sift Peter, to destroy His faith, but He will not succeed, Jesus says, “For I have prayed for you. And when you are converted” – which means you’ll survive this. His faith was assaulted, it was not destroyed. Satan did not triumph. Christ, interceding for Peter and the rest, triumphs over Satan. And even Peter, though he looked like an abysmal failure, is wonderfully restored and becomes the great preacher of the Gospel on Pentecost and through the first part of the book of Acts in the establishing of the Church.
And now we come to the hostile world and the trouble that the hostile world is about to bring, on the very next day and subsequent to that, throughout all of history, and how our Lord triumphs even over that.
So, what have we called this passage, starting in verse 21? “Table Talks on Trouble and Triumph.” This is the final component. Trouble has come in every possible, personal form. On the human side, it has come from friends and enemies. On the angelic side, it has come from Satan himself. Trouble from saints, trouble from sinners, and trouble from Satan.
Finally, now, the last little vignette on trouble from the hostile world. Let’s go back to verse 35. “And He said to them” – by the way, that phrase, or one very similar to it, is used seven times in the section, beginning in verse 21.
So, this is a time when Jesus did a lot of speaking and teaching. The full expression of what He taught that Thursday night, in the upper room, is contained in John 13, 14, 15, and 16 – the full account that God has revealed to us is there. Luke only gives us small portions of it. Matthew and Mark give us small portions of it. John gives us the full record of what Jesus taught. But He had many things to say to them.
Among them, according to Luke, He said this, “When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything, did you?”
“And they said, ‘No, nothing.’”
Now, let me just give you the background that informs your understanding of that verse. Jesus is reminding them of how their previous ministry had been received. Okay? They had been generally received very well during the three year ministry of our Lord in Galilee and in Judea. When they were with the Lord, the Lord was received, welcomed by massive crowds who were thrilled to have Him there as He taught, and as He healed, and as He cast demons. They wanted Jesus in their town. They wanted Jesus in their presence. And so, they were happy to receive those who were with Him.
You might say that they had been welcomed everywhere they went by the world in general. And when I say “world,” I mean, in the broad sense, those who are outside the kingdom of God and therefore are against the purposes of God.
Now remember, this welcoming by the Jewish society and even, on some occasions by some Gentiles, gave them the impression that everything was going the right direction as far as their eschatology was concerned. Jesus had come; He is the Messiah; He is the Redeemer; He is the Savior. He is Son of Man, Son of God. He’s come to set up the kingdom promised to Abraham, promised to David, and reiterated by all the prophets. This is the hour; this is the Messiah born of a virgin; heralded by John the Baptist; proven to be the Messiah by miracles, signs, and wonders.
They’re convinced. Everything is on kingdom schedule, and the embracing of the society adds to their sense of well-being. They’re expecting the kingdom. And when the kingdom comes, they expect because they’re the intimates who are associated with Jesus more closely than anybody else and have been with Him through all of His trials and all of His struggles, and all of His travels. They expect to be in the most elevated positions. That’s why they’re arguing about which of them is going to be the greatest.
They understand that the world works typically in a secular way and hierarchical ways. And so, their assumption is they’re going to be in the place of prominence, a place of honor, a place of exaltation and glory. That’s why they’re arguing about their status. According to chapter 19, verse 11, they were expecting the kingdom to come immediately. Immediately.
And our Lord, this very week – in fact, the night before, on Wednesday night, had told them not to expect the kingdom to come, in fact, immediately. He actually told them a parable about a man who went on a long journey and came back after a long absence, to illustrate the fact that He was going away, and His absence would be a long one.
And then, in chapter 21, which also was given to them on that Wednesday night, the night before this, He laid out for them the fact that He would not return to set up His kingdom, until all kinds of things had happened on a global level: nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom.
There would be, all over the earth, all kinds of natural disasters: earthquakes, famines, pestilences. There would be a massive, escalating persecution of believers. Finally, in the end, there would be the armies of Satan collected around the city of Jerusalem.
All of these things were going to be taking place, stretched out over a long period of time, before He would return to set up the kingdom. But they were still having a hard time grasping that. Even after He was raised from the dead, in Acts 1 they said to Him, “Will You at this time bring the kingdom?” They’re really stuck on this engrained eschatology. The Messiah comes once, and the kingdom comes when the Messiah comes. So, they are expecting that the kingdom is going to come, and their reception by the people would lead them to maintain that expectation. They were embraced by the populace. They had never experienced persecution. Never.
Oh, there was that occasional person that didn’t want them in their home. It doesn’t tell us why, but there may have been some people who followed the Pharisees, who were against Jesus and didn’t want anything to do with those who were associated with Jesus. But for the most part, people through their homes open and cared for them. That’s why Jesus says, in verse 35, “When I sent you out without purse, bags, sandals, you didn’t lack anything, did you?”
“And they said, ‘No, nothing.’”
That’s exactly what Jesus did. Go back to chapter 9. When he commissioned them to go out, He told them specifically, “You don’t need to take any provisions.” He called the Twelve; He gave them power and authority over the demons, heal diseases; sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and perform healing. “He said to them” - Luke 9:3 – “‘Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag, nor bread, nor money; don’t even take two tunics apiece. Whatever house you enter, stay there; take your leave from there. As for those who don’t receive you, when that happens, just go out from that city, shake the dust, go to another place. You’ll run into an occasional person that’s not hospitable to you, but for the most part, you don’t need anything to protect yourself; you don’t need any clothing extra; you don’t need any food; you don’t need any money because they’re going to welcome you as they welcome me.”
In the tenth chapter of Luke, the Lord also sent out 70 other preachers, two by two, to every city and place where He Himself was going to follow. And He said, “The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are few. Go your ways.” He says in verse 3, “I send you out as lambs in the mist of wolves.” Now, there’s a hint – there’s a hint that they’re lambs, and they’re going into hostile territory. But that hostility never really shows up. “Carry no purse” – verse 4 – “no bag, no shoes. Greet no one on the way. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him” – and so forth. “Just stay wherever, and once you stay in a house, don’t change houses just to take advantage of people. If somebody turns you down, go to another place and stay there.”
Now, this is how it was, and that’s what is referred to in verse 35. But that’s not how it’s going to be. They expected that Jesus would lead them right into the kingdom, and they had never experienced any persecution. None. None. Well, Jesus was about to be arrested, and the shock of that arrest would send them scattering. It was a jolt. And that would launch the deadly hostility first against Christ in killing Christ, and then against them in killing them. For not long after Christ gave His life, they would, for the most part, be martyred themselves.
Now, our Lord had given them plenty of indication that this was coming. In the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, the first great sermon recorded in the New Testament preached by our Lord. He warned, “Blessed are those who are persecuted.”
In Luke chapter 9, He said, “If you want to follow Me, you better be ready to take up your cross,” which means it could cost you your life. In chapter 12, He said, “You’re going to be dragged into courts, and you’re going to be dragged into synagogues” – chapter 12, verses 11 and 12. In chapter 14 of Luke, He told them, “Look, you better count the cost; you better count the cost. The cost is high to follow Me. So, there had been plenty of indications that this was coming; that there was going to be a change in the way they were received. Deadly trouble in the future. But it hadn’t been their experience.
So, “He says, ‘When I sent you out in the beginning, I sent you without money belt, without bag, without sandals, and you didn’t lack anything, did you?’
“And they said, ‘No, nothing.’” All their needs were met. They were supported completely. The 11 – the 12 including Judas – and the 70 were completely supported. That’s over now.
Verse 36, “And He said to them” – here’s the two transition words – “‘But now’” – but now - “‘you’re not going to enjoy that in the future; you’re not going to find a welcoming world of unbelievers; you’re not going to find people in Israel or in the Gentile world throwing open their doors to invite you in to preach Christ. The nation has now rejected Me, and having rejected Me, they will reject you, because you belong to Me. You preach Me; they reject you.”
This has got to be a shock. “‘But now’” – the nation had made a choice against Christ. The whole world would follow. In the future, missionaries, witnesses to Christ, these apostles and early disciples would have to expect a hostile world. And so it has been, and so it is.
So, our Lord says, “‘But now, let him who has a purse take it along. You’re going to have to have to your own support; you’re going to have to have your own support; the world is not going to take care of you preaching the Gospel; unbelievers are not going to support Gospel preaching, because unbelievers are the enemy of the Gospel; they are the enemy of Christ. So, you’re going to have to support yourself. And if you have a bag, take that’” – that means a place to carry your goods, your clothing, your food - “‘and if you don’t have a sword, let him who has no sword sell his outer robe and buy one.’” Wow. Now, this is not a sword to attack; this is a sword, in a sense, for defense. “You’re going into a hostile world. You’re going to have to provide your own support, your own supplies, and your own protection. If you have a money belt, take it. If you have a bag for your supplies, food, and clothes, take it. If you don’t have a sword, then sell your outer robe and get a sword, because you’re going into a hostile world.”
This is not to say that the Gospel advances by the sword like Islam. Our Lord is using this figuratively. “You’re going into a hostile world, where you’re going to have to understand that you need to support yourself, supply yourself, and protect yourself.”
We know that the Lord is not saying take a store so that you can attack the enemies of the Gospel and slay them, because go down to verse 49, a little later that night, they came to arrest Jesus. Judas kissed Him, and in verse 49, “Those who were around Jesus” – the apostles – “saw what was going to happen. They said, ‘Lord shall we strike with the sword?’ And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.” Who was that? Peter.
“Jesus answered and said, ‘Stop! No more of this.’” Matthew 26 tells us He also said, “If you live by the sword, you’ll die by the sword.” Clearly this is just figurative. On no occasion, in the book of Acts, in the entire record of the apostles carrying the Gospel, on no occasion did they ever retaliate with force, did they ever retaliate with a weapon of any kind. It’s just a symbolic way to help them understand, “You’re going to go into a very hostile world.” Swords were used for things other than weapons. They were used for cutting world to make a fire. They were used for defending yourself against a wild animal. It could be brandished in the event that you were attacked by a robber for self-protection.
He says, “It’s going to be hard from now on.” Different attitude in the world. Now, that’s not all Jesus said about that. You know, they have a hard time getting things. And He had a lot more to say about this very specific issue. Luke doesn’t record it; John does. Turn to John 15. Right here you can insert John 15:18 and following. It’s at this point that our Lord expands on the subject. Verse 18, John 15, “If the world hates you” – this is Jesus talking to them, on the same night, in the upper room, around the same theme of coming hatred, hostility, persecution – “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world” – and the world here refers to Jews first of all, and to Gentiles – any who are the enemies of God who belong to the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Satan – “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you’re not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” So, He goes away from the symbolic language of a purse, and a bag, and a sword. And He gets specific and says, “Look, what I’m saying in those analogies is you’re going into a hostile environment, and they’re going to hate you because they hated Me.”
Verse 18, “If the world hates you, you know it has hated Me before it hated you.” And in verse 20 He says, “Look, a slave is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they’ll keep yours also.” And He further says to them, verse 23, “He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this in order that the word may be fulfilled that is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”
“They hated Me without a cause,” which shows that the hatred that the world has toward Christ and the Gospel has nothing to do with Christ or the Gospel; it is innate; it is characteristic of depravity. It doesn’t need a cause other than natural wickedness.
And so, He tells the disciples to expect to be hated as He has been hated. In verse 1 of chapter 16, “These things I have spoken to you, that you may be kept from stumbling. I don’t want you to stumble when the persecution comes. I don’t want you to trip up over this because you didn’t expect it. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, and an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. And these things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me. But these things I have spoken to you, that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. And these things I did not say to you at the beginning because I was with you. I didn’t need to tell you this at the beginning; I didn’t need to unfold all of this coming hatred because I was there to protect you and to shield you. Now you need to know. I’m leaving, and this is what you’re going to face; this is what you’re going to face.”
This is the great change in the world’s attitude, the inevitable result of hating Christ. That’s trouble. Trouble for Christ because they killed Him. Trouble for the apostles, because they killed them. Trouble throughout all history for believers have been relentlessly martyred and are being martyred for Christ even today. Lots of trouble.
But in this trouble, is there triumph? That’s verse 37, “‘For I tell you’” – for I tell you – “‘that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, “And he was numbered with transgressors;” for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.’” Wow. All this hatred, all this animosity, all this hostility, all this slaughter, starting with Christ, going through the apostles and throughout all the history of the preaching of the Gospel, all of this is connected to fulfillment of Scripture.” I tell you here is the triumph in the trouble. Here is the triumphant affirmation, the hatred of Jesus, the hatred of those who are His own, who bear His name, who preach His message is the direct fulfillment of Scripture. It is the direct fulfillment, therefore, of what God has said would happen, and therefore what God has determined should happen.
And you’re back to Acts 2:23 and Acts 4:27 and 28, that you have killed the Prince of life, but done so by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God. You’ve done the worst that you can do in killing Christ, but this according to the plan. Remember now, Christ goes to the cross primarily because God determines that He shall die. He is God’s chosen Lamb to expiate sin, to propitiate wrath. He is to be God’s chosen Lamb to provide the sacrifice that once and for all reconciles all who believe to God. He is God’s Lamb. Yes, he was killed by men secondarily; primarily He was placed on the cross by God. And so, the worst that men can do turns out to be the fulfillment of God’s plan.
That verse is so important, twice it says, “This which is written must be fulfilled in Me.” At the end of the verse, “That which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” Twice He says, “In Me to Me,” which is to say, “I am the fulfillment of this prophecy.” And what is the prophecy? There it is; you see it in the middle of the verse, “And He was numbered with transgressors.” Where does that prophecy come from? Isaiah 53, verse 12. Isaiah 53, verse 12.
The fifty-third chapter of Isaiah may be the greatest chapter in the Old Testament, is referred to, quoted six times in the New Testament. But here, it’s more than quoted, more than referred to. Here Jesus says, “That chapter refers to Me.” Twice He says it, “That which is written must be fulfilled in Me. That which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” And the chapter is indicated in the middle by a quote from Isaiah 53, verse 12. The quote, “He was numbered with the transgressors.”
What does that mean? Some people think it means that He died in the middle cross with a criminal on each side. And so, He’s counted there as among transgressors in his crucifixion. Some people think it means that He associated Himself, during His ministry, with sinners. It’s true; He was crucified between two thieves. It’s true; He associated with sinners in His ministry, but that’s not what that verse means. It means what all of Isaiah 53 means. That’s what it means.
Isaiah 53 is not talking about two thieves. Isaiah 53 is not talking about the people in Israel at the time of Jesus with whom He associated. Isaiah 53 is talking about something that transcends both of those notions. It means that Jesus is placed in the category of a transgressor by God, and then punished by God. What He is saying is, “Look, what they do to Me is not what they are doing to Me; it is what God is doing to Me.” Our Lord Himself explicitly claims that He is the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. That is crucial – crucial to an understanding of the fact that Jesus knew who He was and why He had come. It’s also the single most powerful New Testament interpreter of the meaning of Isaiah 53, because just the one quote, “He was numbered with the transgressors,” means that the whole chapter applies to Him, because that phrase, “He was numbered with the transgressors,” which means that God treated Him as a sinner, is repeated in different forms 20 times in Isaiah 53. Twenty times in Isaiah 53, in one way or another, it says that Jesus was punished as a sinner. Twenty times. This is just 1 of the 20.
By the way, that chapter is omitted in Jewish synagogue readings, because it is so obviously referring to the Lord Jesus Christ that they leave it out. This chapter, Isaiah 53, has been called the torture chamber of rabbis. Having said that, turn to Isaiah 53.
There’s a perspective on this chapter that is very important. This chapter is written from a very interesting vantage point. In fact, it actually starts in chapter 52, verse 14; we’ll look at that in a minute.
What you have pictured here is some Jewish people in the future, past Isaiah’s day, past the cross, past the time of Christ, who look back on the cross and say, “Oy vey, that was the Messiah.” It’s what Zechariah said, “They look on Him whom they’ve pierced, and mourn for Him as an only son.” This is written from the vantage point of those Jews in the future, who will look back at the cross and realize that the nation rejected the Messiah. It is a dirge; it is a sad, mourning, agonizing song. And they look at Him, and what do they see? They see this one dominant reality in this chapter that He is a substitute for them; punished by God for their sins. Wow. And they lament.
And it goes like this, verse 14, the second statement, “His appearance was marred more than any man and His form more than the sons of men.” The first thing they see, when they look back, is the one they’ve pierced. Let’s call Him the Scarred Substitute. They see the Scarred Substitute. And in verse 2 of chapter 53, “He has no stately form or majesty” – no beauty – “that we should upon Him; no appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He is despised, forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”
This is the first agonizing grief that comes up out of the heart of the penitent Jew on this side of the cross, who looks back on the one they’ve pierced and says, “All we saw was a scarred man. All we saw was an ugly, unremarkable person from whom we hid our faces. He was distorted, full of sorrow and grief, disfigured.”
But they see more. The Scarred Substitute becomes the Suffering Substitute. And in verse 4, the penitent Jews, looking back at the cross, grasp why He is so disfigured, why He is so sorrowful, why He is grieved, why He is in such agony, why He is so ugly, “Sure our griefs He Himself bore, our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions.”
There is the – there is the euphoria, there is the epiphany, there is the awakening. Now we see it was for our transgressions. “Yes, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening from God for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourgings, we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of all to fall on Him.” Now we see it.
What we want to see happen in the world today is for Jews to find their way into Isaiah 53 don’t we? To look back and see it the way it’s seen here. The Scarred Substitute disfigured becomes the Suffering Substitute sacrifice. And then the writer takes us from the Scarred and Suffering Substitute to the Submissive Substitute. He was not reluctant for this.
Verse , “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He didn’t open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He didn’t open His mouth. By oppression and judgment He was taken away; and as for His generation, who considered that He was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due?” The stroke should have fallen on us, but it fell on Him instead.
“His grave was assigned with wicked men, yet He was with a rich man in His death, because He had done no violence, nor was there any deceit in His mouth.” He took it. He took it from God, submissively, obediently. It was God who was pleased to bruise Him. It was God who had smitten Him. It was God who had afflicted Him, and He never opened His mouth. “Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done.” He was obedient to the Father.
And then the wonderful chapter closes with a look at the Sovereign Substitute. “The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering” – that’s not the end – “He will see His offspring” – He will see the children born of that sacrifice – “and He will prolong His days” – that’s the resurrection – “and He will prolong His days” – that’s the resurrection; it’s not the end of His life; He’ll rise from the dead – “And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. And as a result of the anguish of His soul” – on the cross – “He will see it and be satisfied, and by is knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, many will be justified.” He will see the justification of sinners, and, of course, His own triumphant glory as the one who bears their iniquities.
“Therefore” – verse 12 – “I will allot Him a portion with the great. He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors” – that phrase “numbered with the transgressors” then becomes the summary of everything in the whole chapter. That’s why Jesus picked that one out of the last verse. “He bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.” There’s the interpretation of that.
He was numbered with the transgressors in what sense? He bore the sin of many and interceded on behalf of those transgressors. Jesus is saying that day, to those apostles in the upper room, “Look, I’m going to die; it’s a hostile world. They hate Me; they’ll hate you. They’ll kill Me; they’ll kill you.” But this is the way of triumph. This is the way of triumph. The disfigured Scarred Substitute, the sacrificed Suffering Substitute, the obedient Submissive Substitute becomes the exalted Sovereign Substitute.
But what about them? Would they triumph? Go back to Luke 22. Would they triumph? He would through His cross and resurrection and the redemption of sinners. Would they? They’re not sure. Verse 38, “They said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords.’
“And He said to them, ‘It’s enough.’”
What is this? I like the idea that among 11 guys, there were only 2 swords; they weren’t a militant group. Probably one belonged to Simon the Zealot, and the other one to the tax collector Matthew. Don’t know. They would be the most likely people to have carried those things. But in the whole time they were with Jesus, they didn’t need any weapons. They would use them for purposes other than aggression.
They’re saying, “Lord, we just have 2 swords; we’ve got 11 guys.”
He says, “That’s enough.”
There’s a certain resignation in Him saying that. Like, “You guys just never really get it, do you?” A certain exasperation you might say. Why would He say, “It is enough”? What do you mean, “It’s enough”?
Well, the answer is this, “That’s all the swords you’re going to need, guys, because your future protection doesn’t depend really on you.”
Go back to John again – 14 – and let Me tell you what else Jesus said to them that night. “What about us? What about us? We’ve only got two swords.” John 14, verse 12, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall He do; because I go to the Father.” Whoa. You’re not going to have diminished power; you’re going to have expanded power. That’s pretty exciting, isn’t it? “You’re going to be able to see more of the power of God working through you than you’ve seen up to this point when I’m gone.”
How’s that going to happen? Well, before He tells them that, He says this in verse 13, “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything consistent with who I am and My purpose, I will do it. You’re going to do greater things, and you have access to all My power. All you have to do is as consistent with My will.”
Beyond that, “I will ask the Father” – in verse 16 – “and He’ll give you another Helper; He’s going to give you a Helper – a supernatural Helper – who will be with you forever, and that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it doesn’t behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” You will always have a greater power than all the enemies of the Gospel have because you will possess the power of the indwelling Spirit.
“I’ll be with you in the form of the Spirit. I put all of heaven’s repository of truth and resources at your disposal. All you have to do is ask consistent with My name. I will not leave you like orphans; I will come to you in the form of the Spirit of Christ.” What a promise.
Verse 23, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; My Father will love him” – I love this – “We will come to him” – “We will come to him and make Our abode with Him.”
The Father will be with you; the Son will be with you; the Spirit will be with you. Nothing to fear. Verse 26, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heats be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
“You have nothing to fear; I’ll be there. The Spirit will be there. The Father will be there. All of heavens resources are available to you.” Chapter 15, He has even more to say, verse 16, “You didn’t choose Me; I chose you. I appointed you that you should go and bear fruit. I’m going to give you fruit. And your fruit will remain, and whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He’ll give to you.” What a promise.
Chapter 16, verse 7, “I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away, because if I don’t go away, the Helper, the Holy Spirit, is not going to come; but if I go, I’ll send Him.”
Far better that you have the Holy Spirit doing greater works – that is greater in extent, having the truth, having all things come to your remembrance, having the peace and the protection that the Spirit of God will provide. And this kind of promise goes on and on.
Verse 13, “And when He comes, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth, will not speak on His own initiative; whatever He hears, He will speak. He will disclose to you what is to come. He’ll glorify Me. Take of Mine to disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore, I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. Everything you need, every provision of truth and grace will be provided for you. You have nothing to fear, nothing to fear.”
And finally, He caps it off in verses 32 and 33, “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered” – your persecution’s coming. He may have said this at the same time He was telling them about in the future take a bag and take a purse and take a sword. It’s coming. It’s here. You’re going to be scattered. And when He was arrested, they were – “each to his own home, to leave Me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.”
Is that the end? No. “These things I’ve spoken to you, the in Me you may have peace.” Relax, have peace. In the world you have trouble, but” – don’t leave this out – “but take courage; I have overcome the world.” Isn’t that the whole message of the whole evening? “You’ll have trouble. Promise it. I have overcome the source of that trouble.” And then to seal their peace, and to seal their confidence, He immediately prayed in chapter 17. And he prayed, starting in verse 6 all the way down to verse 19, for them. For them.
Pick it up in verse 9, “I ask on their behalf, Father; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me, for they are Thine; and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I’ve been glorified in them. I am no more in the world” – I’m leaving – “yet they themselves are in the world” – speaking of the apostles here – “and I come to Thee.
“Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished except the son of perdition that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
“Now I come to Thee, and these things I speak in the world that they may have My joy made full in themselves. I’ve given them Thy word; the world has hated them because they’re not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but protect them from the evil one.”
So, Jesus promises them peace and joy, and the Holy Spirit, and divine presence; and then pleads with the Father, as their great interceding High Priest, to be their Protector. And Jesus always prays according to the will of the Father, doesn’t He?
So, both Christ triumphs over His own death and the apostles triumph over their own deaths. And all who are in Christ, who lose their lives to a hating world, all who are persecuted triumph as well in the power of the Holy Spirit and under the protection of God. Nothing happens to any child of God except God lets it happen for their good and His glory.
What a night in that upper room. Every trouble was followed by the promise of triumph.
Father, we thank You, as we live our own lives, we can rest in these same wonderful promises, that in the world we will have trouble, but You have overcome the world; that we will triumph in our trouble.
Remember the words of the apostle Paul who said, “God always causes us to triumph in Christ.” Oh, how wonderful it is to be more than conqueror through Him who loved us. We thank You, Lord, that though the world is full of trouble, You have overcome the world. The worst that can come into our lives is only a pathway for You to accomplish Your glorious purpose.
We thank You for the promises of Jesus, the promise of peace and joy, the promise of heaven. We thank You for the promise of divine protection, divine presence. We thank You for the gift of truth which helps us to discern all the issues and all the trouble of life and see it from a biblical and thus divine perspective.
We thank You that we know and love and worship and serve the one who is sovereign over everything. There is no trial, no temptation that ever comes upon us that You do not make the way not only of escape, but the path of triumph. Thank You, Lord, for the promise; even as You faced the horrors of the trouble of sin bearing on the cross, You looked beyond it to the triumph as you always do. May we live that way, confident in the ultimate victory and confident in victory all along the path as You overcome the trouble of this world, by Your power, for our good and Your glory, in Christ’s name, Amen.
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