Saturday, September 18, 2021

2021.09.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Luke 23:1–12

Read Luke 23:1–12

Questions from the Scripture text: Who arose and led Jesus to whom (Luke 23:1)? Before the Roman governor, what three accusations did they try out (Luke 23:2)? With which one does Pilate cross-examine (Luke 23:3a)? How does Jesus answer (verse 3b)? What does Pilate conclude from this (Luke 23:4)? Which other accusation do they retry now (Luke 23:5)? What part of this catches Pilate’s attention (Luke 23:6)? Why—what is he able to do now (Luke 23:7)? How did Herod feel about this at first (Luke 23:8)? Why, what did he hope for? But what results did he get (Luke 23:9)? What made a sharp contrast with Jesus’s silence (Luke 23:10)? When his hope is disappointed, and he sees the conduct of the crowd, what does Herod do (Luke 23:11)? And what is the result of this (Luke 23:12)? 

The Innocent will be condemned. The Judge will be judged. The Son of God has come to be executed in place of sinners.

Jesus’s death is the obvious design of the whole multitude of the council (Luke 23:1a). In His religious trial, they had condemned Him for blasphemy (cf. Luke 22:71), but when they come to Pilate (Luke 23:1b), they charge Him with things they think can get Him murdered by Rome: inciting rebellion (Luke 23:2a), inciting refusal to pay taxes (verse 2b), and inciting rivalry with Caesar (verse 2c). There’s nothing Rome loved more than order, money, and authority. They throw their three biggest charges against Him and hope something sticks.

The one that seems to stick is the “King” claim (Luke 23:3). Apparently, Pilate takes that one as the foundation of the other two. Luke doesn’t tell us about the rest of Jesus’s answer, about the spiritual nature of His kingdom. He gives us the short version, in which Jesus is basically saying that Pilate’s words, which he got from them, are the only identifiable substance of the charge. There’s simply no case against Him, which Pilate immediately recognizes and declares (Luke 23:4).

That should have been it. Jesus should have been released. Pilate has authority over this innocent Citizen, so now his duty shifts from prosecution to vindication and protection. But these murderers will make use of this weak magistrate to turn him into a murderer with them. Their guilt is by no means reduced by the fact that it is God’s saving plan that the Innocent would die for the guilty (cf. Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27–28). 

The chief priests think that they are losing their mark, so they now appeal to Pilate’s personal prejudice. They know that he hates the Jews, and especially Galileans (Luke 23:5, cf. Luke 13:1). Probably they think they have struck the right cord by his response in Luke 23:6, but this has brought up the issue of jurisdictions, and Pilate has discovered his way out of the situation (Luke 23:7). Not only is Jesus’s hometown technically in Galilee, but the tetrarch is in town and available.

Herod is glad to have Jesus captive, because he hopes to see some sign (Luke 23:8). But Jesus isn’t here to satisfy Herod’s fleshly curiosity; He’s here to die. He shows no sign; He answers no question (Luke 23:9). Yet, the wicked will not give up on self-indulgence, and if Herod cannot indulge his curiosity, he will indulge his cruelty. He hears the vehement accusations (Luke 23:10) and exercises his authority by mocking the idea of Christ’s authority (Luke 23:11).

The wicked are not incapable of unity. Their raging and plotting can agree well, when the agreement is to oppose God and His Christ (cf. Psalm 2:1–2; Acts 4:24–28). But they have not heeded the warning (cf. Psalm 2:10–12). All of their little jurisdictions are in this One’s jurisdiction. For our sakes, the Judge was being judged.

Of what was Jesus guilty? Of what have you been guilty? What was happening to Jesus? Why?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You are God, Who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. And, these men did to Jesus what You had determined before, so that we could be atoned for by His holy blood. Grant unto us humble adoration of our Redeemer, so that we might love Him because He first loved us, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus”

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