Text: Luke 22:1-23 | Listen to Message
A Divine Conspiracy of Grace
On the night of “The Last Supper,” two separate conspiracies that pursued diametrically opposite ends converged in the death of Jesus on a cross.
Israel’s religious leaders had wanted Jesus dead for a long time. Though he gave ample evidence that he was the true Messiah, they refused to believe. His power, authenticity, and popularity proved to be too much for their pathetically impotent and hypocritical souls. They were jealous – and terrified of losing control over a system that made them important – and that was reason enough for Jesus to die.
Judas Iscariot, the most infamous man in history, provided the missing link: he would betray his master for thirty pieces of silver – the price of a slave – and give his co-conspirators the opportunity to arrest Jesus privately, out of the sight of the adoring masses.
Satan was the final piece of this grotesque treason. He’d despised and opposed Jesus since his fall from heaven, but there was no way he could defeat his Creator – the eternal, omnipotent Son of God. Yet when Jesus took on flesh and became a man, Satan saw his chance. Perhaps this man could be tempted to sin; perhaps he could be killed. It was worth a shot.
So Satan, a disciple named Judas, and the religious leaders of Israel hatched a conspiracy to murder Jesus. With him out of the picture, each of them would get what they wanted.
But on the same night, in the same town, unbeknownst to the powers of darkness, another conspiracy – a counterconspiracy – was running on parallel tracks. This was the divine conspiracy of grace.
You see, Jesus was the Lamb of God who had come to take away our sin (John 1:29). Before the foundation of the world, Father, Son, and Spirit had conspired to stop at nothing to rescue prodigals and rebels. Though our sin deserved wrath, and death, and eternal separation from God, the Father would send His Son to take our place. Jesus would take the death we deserve so that we could get forgiveness and grace. He would break the power of sin and death so that we might be truly free in him.
This is the essence of what Jesus told his disciples at The Last Supper. He claimed to be the final Passover Lamb that would ever need to be offered. He said his body would be broken and his blood would be poured out for our freedom. He said our once-and-for-all redemption would be won at the cross. And Jesus was right.
Philip Graham Ryken concludes,
When Jesus was crucified, the religious leaders got what they wanted, Judas got what he bargained for, and Satan got what he had been scheming to get since the day God made the world. Only none of them got what they thought they were getting, for at the place where the conspiracy ended, the counterconspiracy was beginning to bring salvation. (Reformed Expository Commentary: Luke, Vol. 2, p. 457)
Thanks be to God.