A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF LUKE
Jesus is our Passover: The Anatomy of Injustice
INJUSTICE IS SUSTAINED BY FALSE ACCUSATION
False Charges 1-7
There are actually 5 trials of Jesus, but Luke puts the first two together. After His arrest Jesus was taken:
1. before Annas (Luke 22:54), the former chief priest, then
2. before an official Council of the elders (Luke 22:66) at the home of Caiaphas, his son-in-law (Matthew 26:57). When Jesus said He was the Son of God the council sent Him to
3. Pilate, gov. of Judea (3:1; 13:1), because the Jewish authorities couldn’t carry out the death penalty.
4. Pilot sent Him to Herod, and
5. Herod sent Him back to Pilate, who turned Him over to the Jews for crucifixion.
Here we see Jesus’ first trial before Pilate. They said He opposed paying taxes to Caesar, but Jesus had said the opposite 20:25 render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And the blasphemy charge was worded to sound as if Jesus was an insurrectionist 23:2 saying that He Himself is Christ, a King. But Pilate saw through their attempt to make it sound like Jesus was claiming He was king over Caesar. That’s why Luke records, So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” v 3. When Jesus said He was, Pilate stated clearly that Jesus was innocent v 4. But the Jewish leaders kept insisting that Jesus was guilty, so when Pilate learned He was a Galilean he sent Him to Herod, “tetrarch of Galilee” (3:1), who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
Provocative Allegations 8-12
Pilate was hoping Herod would pass judgment so he wouldn’t have to. The result of this was a friendship between Pilate and Herod v 12, who had come to Jerusalem for Passover. God uses Jesus death to unite enemies. Only Luke recorded this meeting with Herod. Luke records two previous instances where Herod wanted to talk to Jesus, but Jesus wouldn’t see Him (Lk 9:7-9; 13:31-32). Jesus’ trial before Herod consisted of four things:
Luke 23:9 1. Herod questioned Him at some length; but He Jesus answered him nothing.
Luke 23:10 And 2. the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.
Luke 23:11 And 3. Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him,
4. They dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.
FALSE ACCUSATION CORRUPTS JUDGMENT LEADING TO AN UNJUST VERDICT
Prejudiced Indictment 13-25
First, Pilate again told the Jewish chief priests and rulers I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him v 14. Then why not just release Him? Because, Pilate was afraid of the Jewish leadership.
Second, so he attempted a compromise I will punish Him and release Him v 16, 22. But what was Pilate punishing Him for if he found no guilt in Him? Anyway this didn’t work. But the Jewish leadership wanted Jesus dead not just scourged. Pilate even asked that He be released according to a custom for the Passover season v 20, but they insisted he release Barabbas instead v 25.
Third, Pilate restates their claim, you brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion v 14. This was obviously a lie, and the Jewish leaders knew it, and Pilate realized it. It’s amazing that the Jewish leadership hated Jesus so much they were willing to go through all this and yet all lies and they knew it. Apparently Pilate was just as amazed because he said to them the third time, Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death v 22. But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail v 23. And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted v 24. So Pilate knowing they were lying, knowing Jesus was innocent, gave into their demands.
Led to Slaughter 26-32
Luke reports two events between Jesus scourging and His crucifixion:
First, is the recruitment of Simon of Cyrene to carry the Cross, presumably because Jesus was too weak after the scourging (but the text does not say that). Second, is the statement to the women weeping, but Jesus said to weep for themselves and their descendants because of the upcoming judgment, not only in 70AD but in the tribulation v 28-31. Future prophecy was a staple of Jesus ministry. Then Jesus gave and illustration. The green tree v 31 is Jesus giving a new “green” message and the dry tree represents the believers at the end of the age when the gospel has been proclaimed when it is dry as fruit would be at the end of the harvest season. The green vs. dry statement is referring to what the world will do with Jesus and then the gospel throughout the age.
AN UNJUST VERDICT IS A TRAVESTY THAT PUNISHES THE INNOCENT
1. They came to the place called The Skull, which favors The Garden Tomb location v 33. All four gospels record the crucifixion site as the Place of the skull. It is powerful evidence that such an incidental comment would be in all four gospels.
2. In Jesus’ statement, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. Them probably refers to the soldiers, and it shows that we should forgive everyone even those who don’t ask for our forgiveness v 34. This takes forgiveness to a level beyond forgiving those who ask us for forgiveness. This is forgiving those who intend to harm us and are not repentant at all. They actually think they are on God’s side of the issue, doing the right thing. The point is always forgive everybody of every thing they do against you because that’s how you want God to deal with you (forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors). Do not harbor bitterness, seek revenge, demand justice or maintain hatred.
3. The dividing up of His garments is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:18. Also notice that was His entire estate. Jesus left this life with nothing. But then so does everybody. Even the richest person in the world leaves all of his wealth. Just before their deaths there was an extreme difference between the wealth of Jesus and the rich. At their death their wealth was the same. After their death their wealth was extremely different again. We don’t know where the well off is but Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God.
4. The rulers were sneering v 35, the soldiers were mocking Him v 36, one of the thieves crucified was hurling abuse at him v 39. But it says the people were watching, not mocking. These are probably some of those nearly 10,000 people who became believer in the first weeks after the beginning of the church. Many had to be eyewitnesses of this event.
5. The statement to the criminal today you shall be with Me in Paradise probably refers to heaven (2 Corinthians 12:4). The powerful incident of the believing thief on the cross v 40-43 is only in Luke. Some how Luke picked up this conversation the others missed, perhaps again from His mother Mary, because she was there (John 19:25-27). This shows the possibility of last minute, death-bed conversions. God seems to honor any humble return to Him, even at the end of life when facing certain death.
6. Joseph from Arimathea put Jesus’ body in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain v 53. Joseph of Arimathea’s request to take the body is in all four gospels but only John tells us that Nicodemus was also there assisting in the burial.
6. Darkness from the 6th to the 9th hour, noon to 3 PM is recorded in all three synoptic gospels v 44-45. 3 PM would be when the Judean Jews would begin sacrificing their Passover lambs. Jesus died on Passover. He is our Passover Paul declared in 1 Cor 5:7. Sin is paid for.
7. Luke only records Jesus last words in this life: And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last v 46. Last words are lasting words summing up the significance of a thing.
8. All three synoptic gospels tell us the veil in the temple was torn v 45. This is significant for the church age. The death of Christ paid the price for sin so now we have access to God through Him. We need no priest to represent us to God. 1Tim. 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
How does the bible characterize the nature of Jesus death?
1. He made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf 2 Corinthians 5:21. The innocent One took all our sin on Himself and paid the consequences of that sin with His blood on the cross.
2. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust 1 Peter 3:18. The reason suffering for good is sometimes the desire of good God is because it results in a greater good not possible without suffering. The example is the suffering of Jesus. He died for the sins of the unjust.
3. For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly Romans 5:6. That right time was while experiencing injustice. Paul told us something about the character of God when he showed that Christ died, not for a worthy or good people, but for hopeless sinners. Good people do not die for people they know are bad. But Christ did.