Sheila Gregory 1 Fulfillment in The Kingdom of God Luke 22

Sheila Gregory 1
Fulfillment in The Kingdom of God
Luke 22: 14-27
New Testament scholar N.T. Wright wrote, “When Jesus himself wanted to explain to his
disciples what his forthcoming death was all about, he didn’t give them a theory, he gave them a
meal.” Jesus was the master of table fellowship. His last supper is a touching picture of
something all Christians experience: the fulfillment of their present relationship with him, and
the longing for their future completion in him. When Jesus took the time to sup with them, they
were experiencing the privilege of being in the presence of God. The act of eating together
cemented Jesus’ fellowship with his disciples. Each time the disciples dine together, they are to
remember Jesus, his mission, and his ministry. Not only are the disciples to remember Jesus
through their eating, but they are also to remember how he was willing to save them with his
life. With this breaking of bread experience; Jesus leaves a living will; so that they might pass it
on to others. Only in Luke does Jesus give a discourse at the table, explaining future membership
and life in the presence of God. This brings me to my thesis, “Fulfillment in The Kingdom of God.”
“As the author of this Gospel and its sequel, the book of Acts; Luke is responsible for over a
fourth of the content of the Greek New Testament.” He brings a distinctive perspective to the
Gospel. While many of Jesus’ followers had the reputation of “unschooled, ordinary men”
(Acts 4:13 NIV). Luke’s writing displays the sophisticated style of Greek historians, and then
moves into smooth everyday language. His eye for detail is keen in numerous places. Luke
doesn’t identify himself in either of the books he wrote, but there has been little dispute that he
was the author. He was a physician (Colossians 4:14), and notes specifics, in several of Jesus’
healings that other writers do not point out. The fact that Luke tends to give details about
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Jewish locations, that wouldn’t be necessary for Jewish readers, causes one to believe that
Luke was a Gentile believer writing for a Gentile audience. The primary recipient of both his
books, was the “most excellent Theophilus” (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1), a title that suggests someone of
wealth and authority – perhaps a ranking official. Theophilus may have been a financial backer
for Luke’s travels and writing. While he may have been the first recipient of Luke’s words about
Jesus, it isn’t likely he was intended to be the sole reader. Theophilus had already heard about
Jesus; Luke was writing to confirm the authenticity and validity of the gospel. Luke began with
eyewitness accounts and then personally investigated them to ensure accuracy (1: 1-4).
Why was it so important for the Kingdom of God to come? The people had been waiting for
the Messiah for hundreds of years; and there had been nothing but silence. Luke’s Gospel was
written in the context of the first – century Christian mission movement; against the backdrop of
the first Jewish war. With Christianity spreading beyond the boundaries of Palestine territory;
the roots of Christianity had not been deeply rooted; and was considered a minority. It was a
new culture in the Roman world. “The community’s experiences at that time, their social,
economic, and political systems shaped the focus of the people; which inspired Luke to
reinterpret the tradition he had received.” He was the only writer out of the four gospels to give
a detailed account of the mission movement of the early church into Gentile territory. Luke
presents Jesus as determined to include Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation. Jesus is seen as the
Savior of all nations (2:32); Jesus genealogy is traced to Adam, the father of all humanity. (3:38)
The Gentiles were waiting for him; a Savior, who prompted them to run to the church in large
numbers. And because of the rejection and diversity of houses, Christians were forced out of the
synagogues; into the arena of the Roman Empire, because of local persecution. Jesus was
considered a threat to the religious leaders, as were his followers. And Luke was determined to
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clear Jesus name, as well as the reputation of his fellow Christians, be it Gentile or Jew.

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In Luke’s concern for the Gentiles, he reveals the oppression of the economic system; and
stresses individual’s privilege to repent and be forgiven, and the joy that results from that
decision. (15:7, 10, 32). Numerous Samaritans, women, children, Roman officials, and other
traditional outsiders are shown in a positive light. Only Luke tells about the thief on the cross
who repents and is promised a place in paradise with Jesus (23:39-43). He introduces his readers
to thirteen women who appear nowhere else in scripture. He records much of what Jesus had
to say about wealth that others didn’t include. Luke is the only source for Jesus’ Parable of the
Rich Man and Lazarus (16: 19-31). He also tells of how the twelve disciples, and then another 72
were sent out with no provisions, in order to see for themselves that God would provide (9:1-6;
10: 1-17). And the theme of money is carried throughout the Gospel, as he notes attitudes
toward the poor as well as the rich. Luke also highlights the prayer habits of Jesus (3:21-22; 5:16;
6:12; 22:41-44; etc.). Because of His example, Jesus disciples began to ask about improving their
prayer life (11:1). Over half of Luke’s Gospel contains content found nowhere else in scripture:
Elizabeth and Zechariah, the Nativity stories, and Jesus at the age of twelve. If it were not for
Luke’s Gospel we would miss out on many of the most read portions of scripture: the parable of
the Good Samaritan (10:30-37) and the Prodigal Son (15:11-32), Jesus’ visit to see Zacchaeus
(19:1-10), one of the accounts of a resurrection from the dead (7:11-17), the healing of the ten
lepers (17:12-19), the two disciples on the road to Emmaus (24:13-35), Jesus’ “Father, forgive
them” prayer from the cross (23:34), and more.
“A number of studies have highlighted the relationship between Luke 22: 14-38, and the
testamentary genre that seems to be reflected in both biblical and Greco-Roman sources.” It
may help to explain why Luke and John created a farewell speech for Jesus; and how he spoke
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about certain arrangements before leaving the disciples. This passage occurs at the very
beginning of the last three chapters in the Gospel of Luke, just before Jesus arrest, and after
“Satan entered Judas” (22:3), prompting him to go to the chief priests and strike a deal to turn
Jesus over to them (22:3-6). Luke gives the account of Judas’s agreement, just before the Lord’s
instructions concerning the preparation for the last Supper (22:7-13).

Outline for Luke 22: 14-27
Celebration of God (vv. 14-16)
Relax and eat (v. 14)
Anticipation (v. 15)
Wait to eat (v. 16)
Giving of Thanks (vv. 17-20)
Initiate new covenant (vv. 17-18)
Jesus took the bread (v. 19)
Fulfilled old covenant (v. 20)
Betrayal (vv. 21-23)
Announce betrayal (v. 21)
Conceal betrayer’s identity (v. 22)
Who’s the Greatest (vv. 24-27)
Bad Leadership (v. 25)
Serve (v. 26)
Remember me (v. 27)
Celebration of God (vv. 14 – 16)
The apostles were with him; why not the disciples? Because all apostles are disciples, but not all
disciples are apostles. Luke uses apostles rather than “the twelve” possibly because of Jesus’
sensitivity to Judas’ betrayal and a desire to minimize his presence, or because of his desire as
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elsewhere to connect apostleship to service at meals (9:10; 12:41). The apostles are reclining
with him, instead of him reclining with the apostles. Jesus has the central role as teacher and
father and host. Normally the father would perform the Passover ritual by giving thanks and
explaining the elements. Jesus loved his disciples as they were and strongly desired to be with
them regardless. It’s obvious that the disciples needed Jesus in profound ways. Yet, Jesus loved
and wanted to be with them in a place of deep struggle and pain. He didn’t want to be with them
because of the depth of their maturity; rather, he longed to be with them with all their flaws and
defects because he knew that they loved him to the degree that they were capable of loving. I
find this comforting to know that Jesus actually wants to be with me with all my imperfections
and weaknesses. “I have desired with desire,” that’s a lot of love. These introductory remarks in
Luke are different from those in Mark 14: 18-21 and Mathew 26: 21-25. Those Gospels begin
with the prediction of the betrayal and lead to the questioning by his disciples concerning the
betrayer’s identity. Luke in turn, puts the statement about the betrayal after the words over
both the bread and cup (22:21). To be fulfilled is the Passover meal itself.
Giving of Thanks (vv. 17-20)
Initiation a new covenant (vv. 17-18) “Luke uses eucharisteo which refers to the berakah or
blessing formula spoken over the elements at all Jewish meals, including the Passover.” This
Gospel mentions two cups of wine, while Mathew and Mark mention one. They may be speaking
of the final cup of wine drunk in this special Passover meal; the cup whereby Jesus instituted the
new covenant. Luke may have been speaking of another cup of wine; perhaps the fourth cup. In
the traditional Passover meal. Jesus said he would abstain from wine; he reserved the drinking
of this cup for the future fulfillment. “The Kingdom of God” refers to the time of the complete
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fulfillment of the rule of God. The fruit of the vine in the kingdom will be new like Jeremiah’s
new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). When Jesus celebrate with his people, all God’s promises
will be fully realized. When Jesus made good on God’s greatest promise to his people, he sealed
it in his blood. He turned that Passover into something new, something that looks not to
deliverance from Egypt, but to deliverance God achieved with his body and blood. In the midst
of this Passover meal, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them. Jesus
knew about the down trodden and broken hearted. He had a special sense of mission for
oppressed people. The disciples knew what it was like to be broken. Jesus had a sensitivity to it!
He stood up in the synagogue at Nazareth and read from the prophet Isaiah. Jesus knew what it
was like to be without. No where to lay his head; he could feel their pain. To break his body for
the ones he loved was so fitting for him. Jesus gave this Passover an entirely new meaning. Jesus
said, “This is my body” which symbolizes the spiritual nourishment believers obtain from a
personal relationship with Jesus. “Jesus isn’t saying that the bread and wine transform into
something they’re not. Instead, he is naming the sign by what it points to.” Centuries before,
God had promised to make a new covenant with his people (Jer. 31;31-34). Psalm 23 equates
abundant life with an overflowing cup, a potent image in a semiarid world. The culmination of
the positive image of the cup is in Psalm 116. The metaphor of the cup, like life itself can be
negative. The cup can represent fate. Isaiah 51: 17 personifies Jerusalem as a woman who
drained the cup of wrath to its dregs. God takes pity on the city and intervenes. “See, I have
taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger the goblet of my wrath” (v.22). This cup
is then given to the tormentors, indicating that they will suffer in their turn. Was the passing
around of the cup, Jesus’ fate being shared? You know, take up your cross!
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Betrayal (v. 21 -23)
Breaking the intimate mood of Jesus’ pledge to give his body and blood for his disciples, Jesus
declares that he will be betrayed by one who has eaten with him. The effect is a dramatic
refocusing of the plot to kill him. At the beginning of the chapter the reader is told that the chief
priests and scribes were looking for a way to kill Jesus. Verse 22 addresses the paradox of divine
foreknowledge and human freedom. God is not responsible for Judas’s act. While the readers
know that Jesus was speaking of Judas, the disciples do not know. Love makes betrayal all the
more devastating. Luke’s account of Jesus’ discourse at the table is not for those who are afraid
to confront their own capacity to sin, but to those who are ready to acknowledge their sinfulness
and make a new covenant with God.
Who’s the Greatest? (vv. 24-27)
Jesus begins his response with an appeal to the exercise of authority by Gentile kings. As
members of an occupied and oppressed country, the disciples would have an immediate dislike
for the Gentiles oppressive exercise of power. They establish their own position by subordinating
others. Gentile kings and princes were called Benefactor. The hoarding of wealth is awful among
the powerful! “A survey of the NT passages in which these terms appear confirms that they
carried overtones of roles within the Christian communities. Jesus’ words to the disciples in
which these terms are used as metaphors inevitably created connections between the gospel
and the life situation of the church.” Verse 27 moves the argument a step further by introducing
the example of Jesus’ life. A fitting comment in a farewell discourse. Common sense dictates
that one who reclines at the table is greater than the one who serves. It is not so! Jesus did not
exploit the privileges he could have expected.
There are people from all walks of life. Everyone of us has different experiences, challenges,
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thought patterns, strengths and weaknesses. Jesus came down to save us from ourselves. But
no matter what you have done; fulfillment can be found in Christ. Christ was the kingdom of
God. The kingdom of God was seated at the table with them. Everything they needed was there.
It doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have. Nothing can fill the void, of the love of God. How
can this be? Only God has the ability to bring order to the universe. Because He loves us, not
because of who we are or what we’ve done. He longs to have a personal relationship with us. If
we are not doing the thing that God created us to do, which is to follow Him, how can we be
fulfilled? If we separate ourselves from the One who made us, what good are we?
Everything Jesus did at the Last Supper was purposeful. He made sure the preparations were
in order because He needed to spend time with his family one more time. They were considered
family because they were doing the will of the Father. When Jesus broke the bread, it
represented his body, but it could have been a representation of how broken the world was.
Jesus knew who he was sitting at the table with him. He knew them inside out, he knew how
fickle they could be; but it didn’t matter. Jesus loved them just as they were. God knew they
needed they were loving him the best they knew how to love. But in this dark place that Jesus
found himself; he longed to be in an intimate place with them. Even though Jesus knew Satan
was in the mix, he didn’t allow him to prevent what needed to be done. Although Jesus
announced his betrayal, he wouldn’t dwell on it. Jesus was focused on the bigger picture; saving
mankind. His initiation of a new covenant, that would affect the church, even today.
Jesus knew what his disciples had to face. He wanted to prepare them for what lies ahead.
He wanted to keep their eyes fixed on him, by remembering who he was and what he did for
them. He wanted them to remember how he loved, shared, served, and forgave. He gave them
was priceless and would change the world. Jesus knew that this Passover meal was not simply
the close of another day, but the end of his earthly ministry. He knew it was time to return to
the Father. But he didn’t focus on the cross! He set his eyes on things above! Jesus had the
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opportunity to experience the brokenness of the people. He knew He was their only hope,
and in order keep the promise God made, he was willing to die.

Bibliography
Culpepper, Alan, R. “The Gospel of Luke,” In the New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. IX, ed.
Leander E. Keck, 425. Nashville: Abingdon, 1995.
Freedman, David, Noel. “Book of Luke”. In the Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. Gary A. Herion,
David F. Graf, and John David Pleins, 337. NY: Doubleday, 1992.

Jamieson, Bobby. Understanding the Lord’s Supper. Buies Creek, N.C: 2016.

Accesses April, 30, 2018. Pro Quest Ebrary.

Martin, Ralph, P. “The Book of Luke.” In the Word Biblical Commentary, 35c, ed. Bruce M.
Metzger, David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barker, 1041. Dallas: World Books, 1993.

Patte, Daniel. “The Book of Luke.” In the Global Bible Commentary, ed. J. Severino Croatto Nicole Wilkinson Duran, Teresa Okure, 388. Nashville: Abingdon, 2004.

Strauss, Mark Dr. “Luke ; John” Simplfied Bible Commentary. Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour
2008.

7. Wright, N.T., Evil and the Justice of God. Downers Grove, Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2006.

CAMPBELL UNIVERSITY DIVINITY SCHOOL
BUIES CREEK, NORTH CAROLINE
FINAL EXEGESIS PAPER
SUBMITTED TO DR. ALCIA MYERS
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF
DIVI 1100
BY SHEILA GREGORY
DAT DUE: May 7, 2018
DATE SUBMITTED: MAY 7, 2018

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