Study Notes—Chapter 22
the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, which is called Passover: Strictly speaking, the Passover, celebrated on Nisan 14, was distinct from the Festival of the Unleavened Bread, which lasted from Nisan 15 to 21. (Le 23:5, 6; Nu 28:16, 17; see App. B15.) In Jesus’ time, however, these two festivals had become so closely connected that all eight days, including Nisan 14, were treated as one festival. Josephus speaks of “a feast for eight days, which is called the feast of unleavened bread.” The events described at Lu 22:1-6 occurred on Nisan 12, 33 C.E.—See App. B12.
Iscariot: See study note on Mt 10:4.
temple captains: Here the Greek text literally reads “captains,” but Lu 22:52 adds “of the temple,” to indicate what kind of captains were referred to. Thus, “temple” was added here for clarification. Luke alone mentions these officials. (Ac 4:1; 5:24, 26) They were leaders of the temple guards. They may have been included in the discussion with Judas to make the planned arrest of Jesus appear legal.
silver money: Lit., “silver,” that is, silver used as money. According to Mt 26:15, the amount of money was “30 silver pieces.” Matthew is the only Gospel writer to mention the amount for which Jesus was betrayed. These were possibly 30 silver shekels minted in Tyre. This sum appears to show the chief priests’ contempt for Jesus, since under the Law, it was the price of a slave. (Ex 21:32) Likewise, when the prophet Zechariah asked for his wages from unfaithful Israelites for his prophetic work among God’s people, they weighed out to him “30 pieces of silver,” suggesting that they considered him to be worth no more than a slave.—Zec 11:12, 13.
The day of the Unleavened Bread now arrived: As mentioned in the study note on Lu 22:1, the Passover (Nisan 14) and the Festival of the Unleavened Bread (Nisan 15-21) had become so closely connected in Jesus’ time that all eight days, including Nisan 14, were sometimes referred to as “the Festival of the Unleavened Bread.” (See App. B15.) The day mentioned here refers to Nisan 14 because it is said to be the day on which the Passover sacrifice must be offered. (Ex 12:6, 15, 17, 18; Le 23:5; De 16:1-7) What is described in verses 7-13 likely took place on the afternoon of Nisan 13 in preparation for the Passover meal in the evening, that is, at sunset when Nisan 14 started.—See App. B12.
when the hour came: That is, when the evening came, marking the start of Nisan 14.—See App. A7 and B12.
accepting a cup: The cup mentioned here was part of the Passover celebration in Jesus’ day. (Lu 22:15) The Bible does not state that wine was used at the Passover in Egypt; nor did Jehovah command that it be used during the festival. Therefore, the custom of passing a number of cups of wine among the Passover participants was evidently introduced later on. Jesus did not condemn the use of wine with the meal. Rather, he drank the Passover wine with his apostles after giving thanks to God. He later offered them a cup to drink as he instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal.—Lu 22:20.
took a loaf . . . broke it: See study note on Mt 26:26.
means: See study note on Mt 26:26.
the evening meal: Evidently referring to the Passover meal that Jesus ate with his disciples before instituting the Lord’s Evening Meal. Thus Jesus celebrated the Passover according to the accepted custom of the time. He did not alter it or interrupt it by introducing anything new into the observance. In this way, he kept the Law as one who was born a Jew. However, when the Passover had been observed according to the Mosaic Law, Jesus was free to introduce the new evening meal for memorializing his approaching death on that same Passover Day.
new covenant by virtue of my blood: Luke is the only Gospel writer to record that Jesus on this occasion referred to a “new covenant,” an allusion to Jer 31:31. The new covenant, between Jehovah and anointed Christians, was made operative by Jesus’ sacrifice. (Heb 8:10) Jesus here uses the terms “covenant” and “blood” in a way similar to the way Moses used the terms when acting as mediator and inaugurating the Law covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. (Ex 24:8; Heb 9:19-21) Just as the blood of bulls and goats validated the Law covenant between God and the nation of Israel, Jesus’ blood made valid the new covenant that Jehovah would make with spiritual Israel. That covenant went into effect at Pentecost 33 C.E.—Heb 9:14, 15.
. . . poured out in your behalf: The words from the middle of verse 19 (“which is to be given . . .”) to the end of verse 20 are missing in some manuscripts, but this passage has strong support in early authoritative manuscripts.—For more information about how ancient manuscripts are used to establish the Greek text, see App. A3.
But look! the hand of my betrayer is with me: What is described in verses 21-23 evidently does not follow in strict chronological order. A comparison of Mt 26:20-29 and Mr 14:17-25 with Joh 13:21-30 indicates that Judas departed before Jesus instituted the Lord’s Evening Meal. Judas had definitely left by the time Christ commended the group for having ‘stuck with him in his trials,’ something that could not have been said about Judas; nor would Judas have been taken into the “covenant . . . for a kingdom.”—Lu 22:28-30.
is going his way: According to some scholars, this is a euphemism for “is going to his death.”
Benefactors: The Greek word eu·er·geʹtes (lit., “one who is doing good to [others]”) was often used as an honorary title for princes or distinguished people, especially those recognized for their civic contributions. Those “taking the lead” among Christ’s followers should not consider themselves to be “Benefactors” to whom their fellow believers are somehow indebted, for they are not to be like the rulers of this world.—Lu 22:26.
the one taking the lead: The Greek word he·geʹo·mai used here also appears at Heb 13:7, 17, 24 to describe the work of overseers in the Christian congregation.
ministering: Or “serving.” Related to the Greek verb di·a·ko·neʹo, used here, is the noun di·aʹko·nos (minister; servant), which refers to one who does not let up in humbly rendering service in behalf of others. The term is used to describe Christ (Ro 15:8); ministers or servants of Christ, both male and female (Ro 16:1; 1Co 3:5-7; Col 1:23); ministerial servants (Php 1:1; 1Ti 3:8); as well as household servants (Joh 2:5, 9) and government officials.—Ro 13:4.
serving: Or “ministering.” The Greek verb di·a·ko·neʹo occurs twice in this verse.—See study note on Lu 22:26.
I make a covenant with you . . . for a kingdom: The Greek verb di·a·tiʹthe·mai, here rendered “make a covenant,” is related to the noun di·a·theʹke, “covenant.” At Ac 3:25, Heb 8:10, and 10:16, both the verb and the noun are used in the phrase “to make [or “conclude” (lit., “covenant”)] a covenant.” Here Jesus makes reference to two covenants, one between him and his Father, and one between him and his anointed followers, who are to join him as corulers in the Kingdom.
eat and drink at my table: To eat a meal with someone signified friendship and peace between those involved. Therefore, one who was privileged to eat regularly at the table of a king was especially favored and enjoyed a very close bond with the monarch. (1Ki 2:7) This is the kind of relationship that Jesus here promised his faithful disciples.—Lu 22:28-30; see also Lu 13:29; Re 19:9.
to sift you as wheat: In Bible times, wheat was sifted, or shaken vigorously to pass through a sieve, after it had been threshed and winnowed. Sifting separated the straw and chaff from the grain. (See study note on Mt 3:12.) As a result of the trials Jesus was about to undergo, his disciples would also be tested. Jesus likened this test to the sifting of wheat.
returned: Or “turned back (around).” It appears that Jesus is referring to Peter’s returning or recovering from his fall that would be caused largely by his overconfidence combined with a fear of man.—Compare Pr 29:25.
a rooster: All four Gospels mention that a rooster would crow, but only Mark’s account adds the detail that the rooster would crow twice. (Mt 26:34, 74, 75; Mr 14:30, 72; Lu 22:60, 61; Joh 13:38; 18:27) The Mishnah indicates that roosters were bred in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, lending support to the Bible account. This crowing likely occurred very early in the morning.—See study note on Mr 13:35.
Carry on prayer: Or “Keep praying.” This exhortation, apparently recorded by Luke alone, seems to be addressed to the 11 faithful apostles. (Compare the parallel account at Mt 26:36, 37.) A second, similar exhortation is recorded at Lu 22:46, which parallels Mt 26:41 and Mr 14:38. The second exhortation was addressed only to the three disciples who accompanied Jesus when he was praying in the garden. (Mt 26:37-39; Mr 14:33-35) The fact that Luke mentions both exhortations (Lu 22:40, 46) is an example of how his Gospel emphasizes the matter of prayer. Several instances in which Luke alone mentions the subject of prayer or of Jesus’ praying are Lu 3:21; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18, 28; 11:1; 23:46.
remove this cup from me: See study note on Mr 14:36.
an angel: Of the four Gospel writers, only Luke mentions the angel appearing from heaven and strengthening Jesus.
his sweat became as drops of blood: Luke may have been drawing a comparison by indicating that Christ’s perspiration formed like drops of blood or by describing how the dripping of Jesus’ sweat resembled the dripping of blood from a wound. On the other hand, some have suggested that Jesus’ blood may have exuded through his skin and may have been mixed with his sweat, a condition that has reportedly occurred in certain cases of extreme mental stress. Blood or the elements thereof will seep through unruptured walls of blood vessels in a condition called diapedesis. In a condition known as hematidrosis, there is an excreting of perspiration tinged with blood pigment or blood or of bodily fluid mingled with blood, thus resulting in the ‘sweating of blood.’ These, of course, are only possible explanations for what may have taken place in Jesus’ case.
. . . falling to the ground: Verses 43, 44 appear in some early manuscripts, though others omit them. However, they are found in most Bible translations.
One of them: The parallel account at Joh 18:10 shows that it was Simon Peter who struck the slave of the high priest and that the name of the slave was Malchus.—See study note on Joh 18:10.
struck the slave of the high priest: See study note on Joh 18:10.
and healed him: Of the four Gospel writers, only Luke mentions that Jesus healed the slave of the high priest.—Mt 26:51; Mr 14:47; Joh 18:10.
hour: The Greek word hoʹra is here used figuratively to refer to a relatively short period of time.
the authority of darkness: Or “the power of darkness,” that is, of those who are in spiritual darkness. (Compare Col 1:13.) At Ac 26:18, darkness is mentioned together with “the authority of Satan.” Satan exercised his authority by influencing human agents to carry out the works of darkness that led to the execution of Jesus. For example, the account at Lu 22:3 says that “Satan entered into Judas, the one called Iscariot,” who then betrayed Jesus.—Ge 3:15; Joh 13:27-30.
a rooster crowed: See study note on Mr 14:72.
Prophesy!: Here “prophesy” does not imply making a prediction but, rather, identifying by divine revelation. The context shows that Jesus’ persecutors had covered his face. They were thus challenging the blindfolded Jesus to identify who had hit him.—See study note on Mt 26:68.
assembly of elders: Or “council (body) of elders.” The Greek word pre·sby·teʹri·on used here is related to the term pre·sbyʹte·ros (lit., “older man”), which in the Bible primarily refers to those who hold a position of authority and responsibility in a community or a nation. Although the term sometimes refers to physical age (as at Lu 15:25 and Ac 2:17), it is not limited to those who are elderly. The expression “assembly of elders” here evidently refers to the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court in Jerusalem, which was made up of the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. These three groups are often mentioned together.—Mt 16:21; 27:41; Mr 8:31; 11:27; 14:43, 53; 15:1; Lu 9:22; 20:1; see Glossary, “Elder; Older man,” and study note on their Sanhedrin hall in this verse.
their Sanhedrin hall: Or “their Sanhedrin.” The Sanhedrin was the Jewish high court in Jerusalem. The Greek word rendered “Sanhedrin hall” or “Sanhedrin” (sy·neʹdri·on) literally means a “sitting down with.” Although it was a general term for an assembly or a meeting, in Israel it could refer to a religious judicial body or court. The Greek word can refer to the people making up the court itself or to the building or location of the court.—See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary, “Sanhedrin”; see also App. B12 for the possible location of the Sanhedrin Hall.
Son of man: See study note on Mt 8:20.
at the powerful right hand of God: Or “at the right hand of the power of God.” To be on a ruler’s right hand meant being second in importance only to the ruler himself. (Ps 110:1; Ac 7:55, 56) The Greek expression for “powerful right hand” also appears in the parallel accounts, Mt 26:64 and Mr 14:62, where it is rendered “right hand of power.” That the Son of man is seated “at the powerful right hand of God” implies that Jesus would be infused with power, or authority.—Mr 14:62; see study note on Mt 26:64.