Read Luke Chapter 23
On Luke 23…
It’s alarming, but not surprising, just how few people knew who Jesus was. Even the disciples who knew He was the Messiah, didn’t fully understand His mission. The Pharisees and the Scribes couldn’t see it: They saw Jesus as ‘misleading the nation’ (23:2) and ‘stirring up the people’ (23:5), or at least this is what they told the Roman authorities. Jesus spends His whole ministry demonstrating His identity, but not directly telling anyone, except His closest disciples, who He is. Now as He is being examined, although remaining quiet whilst being falsely accused, answers simply about His identity: “Are you the Son of God?” – “Yes I am”; “Are you the King of the Jews?”- “It is as you say”. Here Herod finally gets to meet Jesus, but Jesus doesn’t give him the satisfaction of performing for him, instead He remains quiet throughout all the questions (23:8-9).
But, neither Pilate nor Herod condemned Him (23:14-15). It seems that Jesus was ensuring that the religious Jews were to be entirely responsible, since even after ignoring all the evidence from the Scriptures, the signs He performed, the answers to their questions, now were crying “Crucify Him, Crucify Him” and this, even after Pilate had wanted to release Him. Finally, after all the plotting and scheming they were now getting their way and openly calling for His demise; it was all on them.
Luke 23:20 “Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified.”
So that was that, Jesus would be crucified. His disciples and followers must have been confused and bewildered at this turn of events, but we must be careful not to lay the blame with the Romans or the Jews, since it is the sin of all of us (see Romans 3:23) and God’s mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5) upon us which took Him there. It wasn’t until after His Resurrection that they begun to make sense of it all.
Luke 23:33 “When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him”
During His time on the Cross, Jesus became sin for us all. It’s difficult to imagine how this was for Him. We live in sin, so we know it. Jesus never knew sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), He was the Son of God, He was pure and yet here He was suffering it’s affects in His own body, taking upon Himself God’s wrath against it (Romans 1:18), so that by faith we wouldn’t have to. Although it isn’t mentioned in Luke’s account, when Jesus cried out “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34), He was experiencing separation from God. In the same way that we are all separated from God now, Jesus was separated then in order to make a way for us to be joined (reconciled) back into a relationship with Him for good. Having been in communion with the Heavenly Father since before creation; how difficult this would have been. Perhaps, beyond the misery of the crucifixion, this was the real agony, His being separated from His Father.
Luke 23:44 “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last.
The thief next to Jesus made His simple declaration of faith, “Remember me,” an encouragement for all of us. Soon after this Jesus ‘gave up the ghost’.
One cannot kill God, so He had to surrender to death voluntarily (John 10:18). It was dark for 3 hours while Jesus suffered and at the end the curtain in the temple which veiled the inner room (the most holy place which represented God’s presence), tore in two signifying free access: God no longer ‘belonged’ to the Jews, relationship with Him was possible for all.
Then followed what must have been the most difficult of times for those who had hoped in the Christ, while Jesus lay dead in the tomb. They had experienced the very first ‘Good Friday’, and what a traumatic day that was. But look up because ‘Sunday’ is coming…