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This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this section. →
- Luke 22:15. The NRSV translates this verse: "He said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." However, the KJV nicely expresses the fact that the Greek uses two different forms of the same word twice in a row ("With desire I have desired..."). While desire is not an unfair translation of the Greek epithymia, it is often translated less felicitously, as coveting or lust, emphasizing its relation to the forbidden or secret (as well as its profound negativity). It would appear, that is, that something about this meal has been or perhaps even remains secret in relation to Jesus, has been or perhaps even remains forbidden. Whatever that means would require careful interpretation of the following verse: if so profound a longing or so real a lack in the Christ seems a bit strange, it is of importance to note that verse 16 provides a "reason" for Jesus' doubled desire.
- Luke 22:16. It is of the utmost importance to note that "kingdom of God" as a unique phrase appears far more frequently in Luke than in the other gospels (five times in Matthew, fifteen times in Mark, and twice in John, but thirty-two times in Luke). This has often been noted and is commonly read through the shocking announcement of Luke 17:20-21: "the kingdom of God is within you!" Whether or not this passage should be interpreted as announcing an immanently fulfilled eschatology, it is clear from the language of verse 16 here that something remains still to "be fulfilled," a time in which God's full power will be on the earth (whether that means through persons authorized to use that power, as D&C 65:2, 6 would suggest, or whether that means God Himself personally appearing on the earth, what D&C 65:6 calls the "kingdom of heaven").
- Luke 22:17. Mark 14:22 says that that when Christ administered the sacrament, they were already eating. It does seem, then, that there are two meals going on.
- Luke 22:31: You. Both instances of “you” (hymas) in the KJV are plural. Thus, “Satan hath desired to have [you all], that he may sift [you all] as wheat.”
- Luke 22:31: Sift. The root of “sift” (siniazō) is “sieve” (sinion), possibly---though not necessarily---implying a distinction between winnowing (tossing grain such that wind carries away light contaminants, i.e., chaff) and sifting (agitating grain through a sieve to separate out larger contaminants too heavy to be removed by winnowing).
- Luke 22:31: Desired. The phrase “hath desired to have” is translated from exaiteō, which means “to ask that one be given up to one from the power of another” (Thayer’s Lexicon).
- Note the similarity between Job 1:6–Job 1:12 and verse 31, especially in light of “to ask that one be given up to one from the power of another” translation of "desired to have."
- Luke 22:15: Sift you as wheat. Christ’s audience is the twelve apostles (Luke 22:14), whom Satan desires to “sift…as wheat.” One way to approach the simile “sift as wheat” is to focus on the result: to sift is to separate different-sized objects. In other metaphors for separation—sheep from goats (Matt 25:32), wheat from tares (Matt 13:30)—the result is to divide desirable from undesirable. It is unclear, however, into which categories Satan might wish to divide the individuals in a group. He does not desire the separation of the wicked from the righteous but that the righteous become wicked (2 Ne 2:18, 2 Ne 9:9, Ether 8:26, Moro 7:17). Another approach focuses on the process and its intermediate result: to sift something is to shake, agitate, and jolt it so that individual pieces are separated from each other, first by air during agitation and then by the grating. Thus, for Satan to sift a group as wheat is for him to “shake, agitate, and jolt” it sufficiently that individuals separate from each other.
- As rendered in the KJV—with the understanding that the “you” in verse 31 is plural—these verses indicate that Satan desires power over the Twelve so that he may disunify them. In the JST, the object is different: “Satan hath desired you, that he may sift the children of the kingdom as wheat.” Thus, Satan desires power over the Twelve so that he may disunify the whole church.
- When Christ gives similar instructions to the Nephites (3 Ne 18:18), the audience and the object are the multitude assembled at the temple on the first day of Christ’s visitation—those who received greater manifestations than those who came on the second day and thereafter. In the course of His instructions, Jesus expands the application to “whosoever” (3 Ne 18:24). Jesus begins with counsel: “watch and pray always” to avoid temptation because Satan wants to sift them as wheat. The because leads to a third way of interpreting the wheat-sifting simile. Whereas the other two approaches focus on the results of permanent division or temporary separation, the third idea focuses on the process of shaking and tossing around. Satan, who seeks “the misery of all mankind” (2 Ne 2:18) wants to toss the children of God around as an end in itself, just because it makes them less happy. In contrast, the Lord subjects them (or allows them to be subjected) to the sifter’s sieve and the refiner’s fire so that they may be purified, individually and collectively, and thus become happier.
- Luke 22:32: Thee, thy, and thou. All the second-person pronouns (sou, sou, and sy) are singular. Thus, “I have prayed for thee [Peter],” and so on.
- Luke 22:32: Strengthen. The word translated as "strengthen" (stērizō) can be translated as "to establish, to fix in place." Compare 1 Pet 5:10, which uses both stērizō ("stablish") and sthenoō ("strengthen").
- Verses 31 and 32---and the similar verses in 3 Nephi 18---can be understood as an injunction for unity and instructions for attaining it. In 32, the comfort and counsel Jesus gives Peter is that Jesus had prayed for him, that faith that did not fail was the key to not being sifted, and that Peter should help his fellows. In 3 Nephi, Christ teaches the people to “watch and pray always” to avoid temptation (3 Ne 18:18) and to do so “unto the Father in my [Christ’s] name” (3 Ne 18:19), which parallels His intercession in Luke 22:32 and His injunction in Luke 22:40 to “pray that ye enter not into temptation.” He further instructs the Nephites that they should pray in their families, for all those who came to their church meetings, and as they had seen Him do (3 Ne 18:24). In addition, He enjoins that they “meet together oft” and that they “not forbid any man from coming” to those meetings (3 Ne 18:22). Returning to the original idea, He posits that if they did not pray and meet as He had instructed they had been “led into temptation” (3 Ne 18:25). In both Luke and 3 Nephi, prayer, Christ’s intercession, and unity in the community of believers are presented as defenses against Satan’s sifting.
- Luke 22 and 3 Nephi 18 are similar in another way. In both cases Jesus institutes the sacrament and deals with church organization. Among the Nephites he explains that “there shall one be ordained among you…” to administer the sacrament and then goes on to describe meetings (3 Ne 18:22), who could participate (3 Ne 18:28), and church records (3 Ne 18:31)—before conferring the Melchizedek Priesthood on the Nephite Twelve (3 Ne 18:37). In Luke, after the sacramental meal, there is discussion about “which of them should be accounted the greatest” followed by instructions about leadership (Luke 22:24 – Luke 22:27) and the charge to Peter about his responsibilities in verse 32. Thus, in both situations strengthening the body of Christ is connected to partaking of the emblems of Christ’s body as administered by Christ’s church.
- The interpretation of “sift as wheat” as “shake, agitate, and jolt the church so that it becomes disunited” has at least two related images in the New Testament. Luke’s connection between not being tossed in a metaphorical sieve and faith that does not fail is similar to James 1:6: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” In Ephesians, Paul explains how the organization of the church helps all to “come in the unity of the faith” so that they will no longer be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph 4:14; Eph 4:11 – Eph 4:16).
- Luke 22:43: Our Role in Strengthening and Comforting Christ. Each of us for whom the atonement was wrought may have an opportunity to be the angel mentioned in verse 43. See exegesis on Mosiah 24:11-15.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Luke 22:7. Why does it say that the passover "must be killed"? What does it mean that the passover would be killed? Why must it be killed? Might this must be explanatory rhetoric because of Luke's audience?
- Luke 22:8. Why does he send Peter and John? What does it mean that they are preparing the passover? Does that just mean that they are preparing the meal?
- Luke 22:15. What does the Savior mean by "desire"?
- Luke 22:16-20. What differences can we see between the meal in verses 16-18 and the one in 19-20? Are they even two different meals? Verse 16-18 don't actually imply eating and drinking yet. What happened here?
- Luke 22:16, 18. When Christ says he won't "eat thereof" or "drink of the fruit of the vine", does he mean that he won't eat of the passover? What can we learn about the passover from these verses? What is the significance in the difference of language between "fulfilled in the kingdom of God" and "until the kingdom of God shall come"? What will be fulfilled? What is the kingdom of God? Is it the same thing as the kingdom of Heaven?
- Luke 22:17. What significance is there in the apostles dividing the drink among themselves?
- Luke 22:19. Why does Christ say that the sacrament bread is his body? Why does he tell the apostles to do it (eat the bread?) in remembrance of him? Is this merely a commandment to continue this sacrament after he's died? But then why does he tell them to remember him while he's still alive and with them?
- Luke 22:20. What is the "new testament"? A new covenant? Is this merely a fulfilling of the law of Moses? Why is it in the Savior's blood? What could that mean?
- Luke 22:31. What is the difference between Satan's "sift you as wheat" (Luke 22:31) and the Lord's "purge them as gold and silver" (Mal 3:3)? That is, what is the difference between the sifter's sieve and the refiner's fire? Both are methods of separation, but are used quite differently in the scriptures. (See also: Isa 48:10, Mal 3:2, Zech 13:9, D&C 128:24).
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