Sermon: Numbered With Transgressors (Luke 22:35-38)

Numbered With Transgressors

Luke 22:35-38

Introduction

This is a very important passage for us to consider this morning.  Jesus is warning His followers that there will be trouble and there will be resistance when you go and preach the Gospel in the world.

I’ve heard accounts from many of you and it’s always a blessing to hear that you are engaging the world with the Gospel.  It’s a blessing to me as your pastor to hear your stories and to be able to pray for you as you go and witness to the saving power of Jesus Christ to those God places in your lives.

Sometimes when we engage our culture with the Gospel we meet with resistance.  Sometimes we may even meet up with hostility.  But we must still be brave and valiant for the Gospel because if we are ashamed of the Gospel, our Lord tells us He will be ashamed of us.

Resistance from the world should be expected and not come as a surprise when we experience it.  I’ve had doors slammed in my face and gospel tracts wadded up and thrown back at me.  I’ve been told not to preach the Gospel or use the Bible so much.

These really were not examples of the kind of persecution many face in other places in the world today.

It’s very odd that seemingly without cause, when you engage people with the Gospel you will meet resistance.

In the lives of the Apostles, there was a time when most everyone accepted them, even lost people.  We have the account in Luke 9 and 10 about Jesus sending out His Apostles first and then later the seventy to preach the Gospel.  As they went, they were told not to take provisions.

Luke 9:1

  And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. [1]

Later in chapter 10, we also see a very similar scenario.  Jesus appoints 70 to go on ahead of Him preaching the Gospel.  Here He tells them that He is sending them out as sheep among wolves but they never experience resistance.

Primary Claim- When we engage people with the true Gospel we should expect resistance and even hostility.

Human Condition

We are often too timid to speak of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Our need addressed in this text today is the need for boldness.  We can, at times, fail to share the Gospel out of the fear of man.  We may be afraid of what someone might think of us.  We may also be afraid that if we share then they will know we’re Christians and then we’ll have to alter the way we behave in front of them.   Or perhaps, we think because of our behavior our witness is ruined.  We must behave as believers and we must fear God and not man.  We need to live as believers and not as lost people.

We also need to be bold and share the true Gospel, not some watered down half-hearted version.  Be brave and speak for Christ.  When we do, Jesus warns us to not be caught off guard when people are hostile and don’t like us anymore.

Notice with me in our text this morning the change that is about to take place.  Before, the disciples met with friendship on the gospel road.  Now, they will meet hostility.  Also, notice the reason for the change, Jesus was with them and now He will be counted among sinners.

Luke 22:

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.” [2]

1.  Sent Out by One Performing Miracles

35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.” 36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

Up until now, Jesus has basically been providing for the disciples.  Just as in the two examples sited above.  However, things are about to change.  Till now, Jesus had been performing miracles, teaching in the temple, and providing for the disciples.  The disciples lacked nothing.

Most everyone, even the general population saw in Jesus hope for a rebellion against the Romans.  They saw in Jesus One who had amazing power.  He healed everyone brought to Him.  He fed multitudes with just a few fish.  They believed Jesus was who they had been waiting and praying for.

This mentality is evident as even His closest followers had in mind that Jesus was about to set up God’s Kingdom on earth and that all the forces of evil would be destroyed.  In fact, a few minutes ago, they were in the upper room arguing about who would be the greatest in this kingdom.

So far, Jesus and His followers had met with very little resistance.  Baring an instance or two, Jesus was free to preach and teach.  All the people loved Him.  They even proclaimed Hosanna, Hosanna as He entered Jerusalem.

NOTE…The lost world will only tolerate Christianity if it thinks it can somehow benefit from it.  Before, everyone had delusions of grander when Jesus was preaching and teaching and performing miracles.  Now everything is going to be different.  Now, the world will hate the followers of Christ.

John 17

11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[3]

Jesus prays that after He is gone, His disciples will remain faithful while under the pressure of persecution.  Jesus will not be with them to keep them day-by-day.  From now on, His followers will need to be prudent and cultivate courage in the world.  The real issue here is that Christ’s followers are going to have to make it in the world like everyone else.

“But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.

Today, an evangelist will need to take some precautions.  Earn money, take money with you, and take any provision you need.  Jesus will not be with the disciples any longer to provide for them, they must take the initiative and earn a living.

The Apostle Paul was a tent-maker.  Sometimes he earned a living as a preacher and other times he had to provide for himself.

Jesus tells them to be courageous…take a sword.  He is speaking figurative here.  The sword is a symbol of the courage the disciples will need to withstand persecution.  It seems the disciples misunderstood Jesus because in a little bit, Peter will have a sword and even use it and Jesus will rebuke him.

2.  Sent Out by One Numbered With Transgressors

37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.” 38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”

So, what brought about the great change in how Jesus was welcomed and how the disciples also would, in the future, be welcomed.  What changed was now, Jesus was numbered with transgressors.

Here, Jesus quotes an OT passage and twice says it is all about Him…

Isaiah 53:

12    Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

       because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

       yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors. [4]

Most Bible Scholars see Isaiah 53 as a great and divine poem with the servant of God being One who gives everything up and chooses to be mistreated and suffers much in order to free His beloved people.

All of Chapter 53 is about Jesus.  He is the One identified.  He is the One that Israel waited for.  The sad story is that most of Israel missed their Messiah.  These verses are so striking and so clearly about our Lord that in Synagogue Worship Isaiah 53 is left out.  Jesus tells us it is about Him.

We don’t have time to develop a study on all of Isaiah 53, but I would like to read it to you today…

Isaiah 53:

Who has believed what he has heard from us?

And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

   For he grew up before him like a young plant,

and like a root out of dry ground;

       he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,

and no beauty that we should desire him.

   He was despised and rejected by men;

a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;

       and as one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

   Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

       yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

   But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

       upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

   All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

       and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

   He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

       like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he opened not 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,

stricken for the transgression of my people?

   And they made his grave with the wicked

and with a rich man in his death,

       although he had done no violence,

and there was no deceit in his mouth.

10    Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;

he has put him to grief;

       when his soul makes an offering for guilt,

he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;

       the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11    Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

       by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

12    Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

       because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

       yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors. [5]

I pray God has revealed to you today that all these verses are speaking of the same Person and Jesus tells us they speak of Him.

I’d like to take a small detour today…

Let’s turn to Acts 8

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

       “Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter

and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,

so he opens not his mouth.

33    In his humiliation justice was denied him.

Who can describe his generation?

       For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.[6]

Have you ever wondered what or who Isaiah thought of as he wrote his prophecy?

1 Peter 1:

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. [7]

Luke 24:

27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. [8]

Jesus tells His followers that He would be numbered with transgressors.  This statement does not mean He would be crucified in between two thieves.  He was crucified between two thieves but that is not what this statement means.  Jesus would be placed in the category of a transgressor.

Not only would He be numbered with transgressors but also Jesus is telling His followers that He was about to die for transgressors.

because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

       yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors. [9]

We have travelled back to the Gospel.  Jesus voluntarily giving Himself, the righteous for the unrighteous that the transgressor may be reunited with God.  This salvation is what the prophets longed to see come to pass.  They searched intently into the great mystery of whom they spoke about.  Angels themselves are so intrigued that they too search in amazement and wonder at this great salvation.  Oh what love God has for mankind that He would go to such lengths to save us.

Are you amazed by the grace of God shown in salvation of sinners?

If Isaiah were here today, he would be jumping for joy.  He might even say, I knew it!!  I knew it had to be God giving Himself.  I knew it had to be One Person of the Trinity who would come and die for the many transgressors.

If we had an angel here today, he would be utterly at a loss of words as he longs to understand this great salvation.

I pray we are more and more amazed as we are the ones who are blessed to even know more than Isaiah knew.  We know whom it is that Isaiah wrote about.  We know that He came and died a transgressor’s death and we know that we are those whom He was numbered with transgressors for.  For those who are called to salvation, these are some of the greatest truths we could ever hear.  However, for those outside of salvation, following One who is numbered with transgressors is highly illogical.  They do not see the truth of why Jesus was numbered with transgressors.  They simply see a man killed with sinners.

Before, the world accepted Jesus and His followers because they felt Jesus could give them something.  They thought Jesus was a means to an end; fame and riches were in their sight.  The lost world hates Jesus and His followers because there is nothing they can get from a crucified Savior who was numbered with sinners.  According to them, Jesus has nothing to offer and all His followers are worthless as well.

In fact, Jesus and His commands do nothing but impinge on their life style.   So, rather than the world accepting Christians, the world hates Christ and all His followers.  In John’s Gospel, we have recorded the rest of what Jesus told them that day…

John 18:

18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’ [10]

Please understand, the world demands tolerance.  They want the Hindu and the Buddhist and the Wicken and the Homosexual all to be tolerant and get along.  However, if you are a Christian the world is not tolerant.

Primary claim refocused

When we engage people with the true Gospel we should expect resistance and even hostility.

I pray today that it helps us to know that when we evangelize we will go up against resistance.  Human depravity and the Gospel are at eternal odds with each other.  When the two worldviews collide, there will be trouble.  Jesus knew this and warned His followers that they should be ready to confront the world with the Gospel and also be ready for trouble.

Human condition changed or Human need met

Will we be bold in the face of opposition?  Will we lovingly share the Gospel with the lost world or will we shrink back in fear?  Jesus wants us to be bold.  Jesus wants His followers to stand firm and not back down or alter the message.

Exhortation in godly living

Brothers and sisters boldly proclaim Christ and let the world through a fit.  Be brave and give your lost family and friends the undiluted pour Gospel and if they rebel and become hostile, at least they know the truth.  When we give them the real bold version we have shown them love.  When we share a watered down version we love ourselves.

 


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 9:1–6). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 22:35–38). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 17:11–15). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Is 53:12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Is 53:1–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ac 8:26–35). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (1 Pe 1:10–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 24:27). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Is 53:1–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[10] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 15:18–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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