Monday, September 27, 2021

2021.09.27 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)? 

Last week, we saw that the first response to this Scripture is to praise God that this trial of our Lord Jesus occurred exactly according to God’s Word, precisely to accomplish God’s redemptive purpose. As Pilate and Herod, king and ruler, make friends in Luke 23:12, we see a fulfillment of Psalm 2 for which the apostles also praised Him in Acts 4:23–28. And their continued response in Acts 4 models two other apostolic applications of Christ’s trial and this passage: imitating Christ and trusting Christ.

Imitating Christ. In contrast to the raging and plotting and turmoil of the people and Pilate and Herod, the Lord Jesus is the picture of calm in this passage. In Luke 23:3, He answers Pilate with two words. And He says even less in Luke 23:9, “He answered him nothing.” 1 Peter 2:20–25 picks this up, presenting Christ’s conduct under unjust attack as a model for us: suffer patiently, suffer politely, suffer prayerfully, and suffer perseveringly. 

Suffer patiently. There, the apostle is urging us to do good, so that if we suffer it will be for doing good. It is then that we are doing something “commendable before God” if we take it “patiently” (cf. 1 Peter 2:20). He says that this was one of the reasons for Jesus’s own conduct under His suffering for us: “leaving us an example, that you should follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).

Suffer politely. Again, the focus is upon doing good. The apostle points out in 1 Peter 2:22–23a that Jesus “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten.” The word ‘politely’ hardly covers it, but the point of the text is this: Jesus understood that there was danger of multiple tongue sins, precisely because of the injustice of His suffering, including (but not limited to): deceit (exaggerating His own case), reviling (attacking with His mouth those in offices where God has placed them and therefore necessitating our respectful speech), and threatening.

Suffer prayerfully. 1 Peter 2:23b gives us a window into the heart of our Lord Jesus throughout this trial. He “committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.” On earth, He was standing before those who were judging wickedly. But they are not the only judges, and they are not ultimately the judges of record. He committed Himself unto God. Considering what He was about to suffer for our sakes and our sin from the justice of this Judge, this is truly remarkable. The apostles in Acts 4 also made this application, not taking it upon themselves to mitigate the council’s threats but praying, “Now, Lord, look on their threats” (Acts 4:29). 

Suffer perseveringly. Jesus persisted in what He was given by God to do for us. He “Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24a). He did this not only that we would be forgiven (“by Whose stripes you were healed”), but that in union with Him we would begin to live like Him: “that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness.” The apostles in Acts 4 conclude their prayer by asking to speak boldly (Acts 4:29b) and then follow their prayer by proceeding to speak boldly (Acts 4:31b). When we are punished for doing good, we glorify God under that persecution by persevering in doing that good all the more! Jesus died for us because we “were like sheep going astray” (1 Peter 2:25a), but His success under this very trial has resulted in our returning “to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25b).

Trusting Christ. Ultimately, this brings us back to Psalm 2. As Jesus stands before kings and rulers who conspire against Him, we are reminded that all of humanity is split into two camps: those who resist His reign, and those who kiss the Son. When nations and kings and rulers attack Christ by attacking His church, it is a right response to praise Him and to suffer well (patiently, politely, prayerfully, perseveringly), but our right response is not the ground of our blessing. Yes, Psalm 2 tells us, serve (Psalm 2:11a) and submit (Psalm 2:12a); but, that is not where blessedness comes from. “Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him” (verse 2:12d)!

In what ways is the church generally, and are you specifically, being attacked for belonging to Christ or obeying Christ? How is your life exhibiting the responses of praising God and suffering well (patiently, politely, prayerfully, perseveringly)? What is your hope that this will turn out for your blessing?

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: ARP2 “Why Do Gentile Nations Rage?” or TPH525 “Savior, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us”

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