Luke 23

Luke 23 gives us a few more details on the crucifixion.  We learn what charges the chief priest leveled against Jesus:

  1. misleading our nation
  2. forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar
  3. saying that he himself is Christ, a king
  4. He stirs up the people

Of course none of these were true, but they were determined to make something stick.  Pilate learned that Jesus was Galilean, so he instructs Him to be taken to Herod who happened to be in town at the time.  Herod had wanted to meet Jesus having heard much about Him, but got no satisfaction as Jesus did not answer questions or defend Himself in any way.  Herod “sent Him back to Pilate” finding no fault at all.  Two powerful leaders question Him and neither finds any fault at all.  Pilate says it this way: “after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him.  Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us”.  There just wasn’t anything at all to go with for a charge.  But the people were in a frenzy and Pilate gave in to the crowd and releases Him to be crucified. 

Jesus goes to the cross.  “And there followed Him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him”.  The entire crowd was not in favor of crucifixion.  But the religious leaders had orchestrated things so those up front and in Pilate’s presence were all conspiring against Jesus.  They were dead set on His death.  Jesus went to the Cross and as He hanged there, facing death and bearing the burden of the sin of the world, He didn’t lash out and respond negatively.  He teaches us a great yet very difficult lesson.  Listen to the words He said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what to do”.  Did you catch that?  Jesus is falsely accused, wrongly convicted, punished horribly and hanged on the Cross yet He forgives.  What love.  He models what real forgiveness is all about.  You will recall He taught His disciples that they had to forgive, up to 70 times 7.  And here He is – death staring Him straight in the face – for no reason other than some selfish leaders protecting their turf – and He finds forgiveness in His heart.  Wow – that is what it means to model truth.  Joseph, one of the council members who asked for Jesus, “had not consented to their decision and action”.  So we learn here that not all were set on getting rid of Jesus.  Some were believers yet went along with the crowd or at least did not resist their actions.  We need to be willing to stand up for truth, to stand apart and be willing to stick out like a sore thumb if people are on the wrong path.  Jesus is put in the tomb and they “prepared spices and ointments….on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment”.  They had to hurry as the Sabbath was coming and they needed to get His body prepared before the day began.  Nothing was allowed to interfere with that day, not even death.  Jesus is in the tomb and we are waiting for Him to rise from the dead!

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