August 21, 2015.
I am switching Friday and Saturday’s reading this week due to timing issues. I appreciate you bearing with me. Thank you for reading and following along!
Daily Reading: Luke 23-24.
Background: Luke 21-22.
Concepts and Connections.
The trial, crucifixion and burial of Jesus: Luke, being the historian that he is, lays out the next sequence of events after the betrayal in a clear and concise manner. Without too much frill, we learn that Jesus is taken by the council to Pilate after they had their own trial, we we grant that word to what actually went on, because the Jews did not have the authority under Roman rule to put anyone to death (note that the Jewish punishment for blasphemy was to be stoned, not crucified, see Leviticus 24:16). It is also interesting to note that the charges that they accused Jesus of here before Pilate are different than those that they charged him with in the previous chapter, for they knew that blasphemy under their law would get them nowhere in a Roman court (see John 18:28-32). The charge they bring against Him of telling people not to pay taxes to Caesar is a boldfaced lie, even (see Luke 20:25). After this, however, Pilate finds no guilt in Jesus. The crowd continues to insist that Jesus be put to death, and then Luke records something that no other gospel does. When Pilate learns where Jesus is from, he sends him to Herod, who was the tetrarch of Galilee (see Luke 3:1), seemingly to pass the judgment to someone else, for he didn’t want to deal with it. Herod is very excited to see Jesus, not because of the current situation, but because he had heard of His miracles and wanted a show. But Jesus remained silent throughout all the questioning while His accusers grew louder, and Herod sent Him back over to Pilate, implying that he too found no fault deserving death in Him. When He gets back to Pilate, Pilate asserts a second time that he finds nothing deserving death in Him and tries to release Him. The crowd was in a frenzy, however, and they called for Barabbas, an insurrectionist and murderer, to be released instead. A third time Pilate replied to their cries for death with the fact that he found no guilt in Jesus, but because of the crowd’s persistence, he gave Jesus over to their will. On the way out to the place of the Skull, one Simon of Cyrene, was compelled to help carry the cross of Jesus, and a great number of people followed, including women who were lamenting. Even in the midst of all this, Jesus says to the women that they should not be lamenting Him, but rather for themselves and their children, and then He foretells what is likely the destruction of Jerusalem, which would happen in AD 70. Jesus was crucified between two criminals, and His garments were divided beneath Him. This gruesome scene is descried very adequately in Isaiah 53, hundreds of years before this would take place. Most everyone present mocked Him as He hun on the cross, even one of the criminals beside Him. But the other criminal asked the Lord to remember him when He went into His kingdom, and the Lord told the criminal that he would be with Him in paradise (see Mark 2:10). Darkness covered the land for three hours, and when came the 9th hour, or 3pm as we count time, Jesus committed His Spirit into the hands of His father. There were some who saw everything that was happening and started to realize that Jesus was more than just a common criminal. Joseph of Arimathea came to retrieve the body of Jesus and laid it in a tomb. Then the people followed the Sabbath as the Lord had commanded.
The resurrection and following events: As we come again a third time in the gospels to what is perhaps the most important part of the life of Christ, we again read and rejoice in the empty tomb. On the first day of the week, some of His company went to His tomb to anoint it, but to their surprise, they found the stone rolled away and Jesus gone. The women who had come to the tomb then received the good news, the gospel: He is risen. They are reminded that Jesus had told them what was going to happen to Him, and they went back and told the apostles and disciples, and Peter (along with other people) came to see form themselves. Jesus was not int the tomb. Luke then records for us an interesting conversation between two of Jesus’ disciples who were talking about everything that had taken place, and Jesus joined the conversation. They were amazed at all that happened, but still were slow to fully believe that the Christ had risen. Jesus’ identity was hidden from them as they talked, but He starts talking to them after they tell Him everything that had happened, and He teaches them the law and the prophets, how they had all pointed to this Jesus. They urged Him to stay and eat with them at Emmaus, and He did. When He broke the bread and blessed it, however, their eyes were opened and they recognized Him. Then He vanished, and they understood more fully what had just happened. They went to find the apostles to tell them that they had seen the risen Lord. Then we read of an account where Jesus appeared to His disciples, startling them. He calmed them down, made it clear that it was He and asked for something to eat. It is interesting to point out here that Paul says we will be raised just as He was raised, in a body like His (see Philippians 3:20-21). He explains to them that the things that had happened to Him happen so that the things written about Him in the law, prophets and psalms would be fulfilled. He explains the prophecies, and then tells them that the gospel would be proclaimed to all nations, starting in Jerusalem. He was going to send the promise of the Father (which seems to be a reference to the Holy Spirit, see John 14:26), but they were supposed to remain in the city until they received power from on high. This would be the baptism of the Holy Spirit, spoken of by John the baptizer and fulfilled in Luke’s second volume (see Acts 1:8, 2:1-4). They would be His witnesses. Then Jesus took them as far as Bethany, and ascended into heaven after blessing them, and they returned to Jerusalem, worshiping Him with great joy. They had experienced the gospel. Now it was time to start sharing the good news.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Ezekiel 37-42.
Take the name of Jesus with you.