Crucifixion and Resurrection – Luke 23-24

Jesus was taken away to be crucified, and there were two criminals taken with him to be put to death, fulfilling Isaiah 53:12, which said he would be numbered with transgressors. Luke says that they came to a place known as the skull. It is also known as Golgatha which comes from an Aramaic word for skull. There, they crucified Him and the criminals with one on each side of Him. Jesus said “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

English: Statue of Pontius Pilate in Bom Jesus...

English: Statue of Pontius Pilate in Bom Jesus, Braga, Portugal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One prisoner began to mock as well, but the other rebuked him and asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus told him that this day he would be with Him in paradise (verse 43). Jesus, as we saw in other passages, did have the authority to forgive sins, and He exercised it there.

Joseph of Arimathea was a member of the Sanhedrin council who had not consented to their decision to railroad the Lord. Luke says that he was a good and righteous man, and was looking for the kingdom. He got custody of the body of Jesus from Pilate, and wrapped it in a linen shroud. Then he placed it in a tomb that was cut in stone and had never been used for burial. The women prepared ointment and spices. And then they rested on the Sabbath rested as commanded.

The day that Jesus rose, two of His disciples were traveling to the village of Emmaus. One was named Cleopas, but we do not know the name of the other. We are told in verse 16 that “their eyes were kept from recognizing him” when Jesus drew near. When He asks them about the conversation they are having, the two men proceed to tell him about Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus gave them a mild rebuke for being slow to believe what the prophets had spoken. He then interpreted Scriptures from Moses and the prophets concerning the Christ. The revelation of Himself to these two disciples would appear to serve one purpose – that of a proper eyewitness account.

 

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Luke 22, Luke 23, Luke 24, Acts 1, Acts 2

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some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

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All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Green Wood – Luke 23

Pilate was ready to release Jesus (following a sound beating, of course), but the chief priests and the rulers and the people that he had called to give this news to all cried out to him to take Jesus away and release Barrabas. Barrabas was in prison for insurrection and murder, but the Romans by custom would release one prisoner on Passover. Pilate tried again to reason with them, as he wanted to release Jesus. But the shouting to crucify him began.

Jesus helped by Simon of Cyrene, part of a ser...

Jesus helped by Simon of Cyrene, part of a series depicting the stations of the Cross. Chapel Nosso Senhor dos Passos, Santa Casa de Misericórdia of Porto Alegre, Brazil. Oil on canvas, XIXth century, unknown author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pilate tried again, saying “Why? what evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they grew more demanding, and eventually he released Barrabas and gave in to their demands. As they led Him to His fate, they got Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross. (Cyrene is now an archeological site in present-day Lybia. It was a settlement of the Greeks, but became Roman Province in 74 B. C.). There was a great crowd of people following Him, and women who were weeping for Him. But Jesus then said to them:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Part of this, Jesus quotes from Zechariah 12:10-14, which speaks of mourning for “him whom they have pierced.” For the second time (the first being when He arrived at Jerusalem in Luke 19:41-44), Jesus is foretelling the destruction of Jerusalem which will occur about 40 years from then. “They” in that last sentence means the Romans. The green wood represents the innocent savior, and the dry is what will be left of that Jerusalem generation after He is gone.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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The Sanhedrin Sham – Luke 23

Verse one says that the “whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate.” The Sanhedrin council was delivering the Son of God to Pilate. During his first questioning, Pilate could not find anything to accuse Him about, despite the Sanhedrin’ s urging – and even a lie they told him. Jesus never told anyone that they should not pay tribute to Caesar.  But when Pilate found out He was from Galilee, he decided to send Him to Herod because that was his jurisdiction, and he knew that Herod was in Jerusalem at the time.

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy,...

Christ before Pontius Pilate, Mihály Munkácsy, 1881 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Herod had been wanting to meet Jesus for a long time, so he was very glad to see him. He wanted to see some sort of “sign” from Him. But Jesus was not participating in some dog and pony show for Herod. Verse 9 says that he questioned Him at some length, but got no answer from Him. This fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:7:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth

Unamused with the Lord, Herod and his soldiers treated Him with contempt and mocked Him. Then they dressed Him in “splendid” clothing – solely as mockery of His claim to be king of the Jews. He was then sent back to Pilate (who the scripture says became good friends with Herod that day). But Pilate called the chief priests and elders in and told them that neither he nor Herod had found Jesus guilty of their charges. Nothing deserving death had been done, he said. So he was going to punish Him and release Him.

This not what the Sanhedrin had in mind at all.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Matthew 27 – The Crucifixion of Jesus

When morning came, the Sanhedrin had Jesus taken to Pilate.  When Judas saw that Jesus was condemned, he had a change of heart, and took the thirty pieces of silver back to them, saying that he had betrayed innocent blood.  But they are unimpressed.  So he threw it down in the temple and went and hanged himself.  Remorse, as we see, does not always include repentance.  The Sanhedrin has no problem with lies and the murder of an innocent man, but they want no part of this blood money, so they use it to buy a potter’s field.  The scripture that this fulfilled, referred to in verses 9-10, is from both Jeremiah 19:1-13 and Zechariah 11:11-13.

Jesus answers Pilate’s question of whether He was a king, but remains silent about the charges against Him.  We find in verse 20 that the chief priests and elders persuaded the people to choose Barabbas when Pilate offered to free one of them.  Fearing a riot, Pilate resigns himself to the will of the crowd, but uses the physical act of washing hands to declare his innocence of “this man’s blood.”  “Having scourged Jesus” is mentioned in passing, but this Roman form of flogging was anything but incidental.  It was a brutally painful beating with a whip weighted with sharp pieces of bone and metal. It was designed to lacerate, often exposing bone and intestines.  Crucifixion was an agonizing and tortuous death, but this beating would be equally painful.  An article about this scourging can be found at this link.

One traditional site of Golgotha is this hill with hollow eye sockets to look like the place of the skull. Another traditional site is in present-day Jerusalem, which in Jesus’ time was just outside the wall. It is called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

He was mocked and spit upon, stripped and made to wear a crown made of thorns.  Then he was led away to be crucified.  They made a man named Simon of Cyrene to carry His cross, and when they reached Golgatha (which means Place of a Skull), they tried to give him wine mixed with gall (a very bitter herb that could also be poisonous) to drink.  It was intended to dull the sense of pain, but it was God’s will that He should suffer, and He refused.  As they crucified Him, “they divided his garments among them by casting lots” – referring to Psalm 22:18.  Verses 36-44 detail the continued derision, mocking and reviling inflicted on Him as He suffered.

Crucifixion was a slow and excruciatingly painful method of inflicting death, and their are many stories of the cruelty of Roman soldiers experimenting with different poses for crucified victims (Josephus, “Jewish War” 5.449–551).  Hanging by one’s arms caused great difficulty in breathing, only alleviated by the victim pushing up with their feet in order to take the weight off of the arms. But that caused severe pain in the feet, arms, legs, and back, making the exhausted victim slump down again, only to be barely able to breathe again. Finally, he would mercifully die of asphyxiation, if he had not already died as a result of the cumulative effects of the multiple physical traumas inflicted.

In verse 45, there was darkness all over the land from the 6th hour until the ninth hour (about noon to 3:00).  About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” meaning, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  This is from Psalm 22:1.  This is one of the most puzzling verses in the Bible.  Jesus knows what is happening, and why He is doing it. One explanation that has been posed is that because Jesus did in fact become sin, at this moment Jesus felt the presence of God turn away from Him as He was dying.  Jesus then gave up the spirit with another cry.

Then in verse 51, the curtain of the Temple was torn from top to bottom.  It was between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, and was woven from 72 twisted plaits of 24 threads a piece. It was 60 feet high and 30 feet wide. No one was allowed to enter the Most Holy Place behind the curtain except the high priest, and then only on the Day of Atonement.  Being torn in two represents the removal of the separation between God and the people.  A high priest was no longer needed – Jesus is our high priest now.  More elaboration of this event, and what it symbolized, is in Hebrews 9:11–10:22.  Then the earth shook (Palestine sits on a major seismic rift), rocks were split, and tombs were opened.  As Matthew often groups events together topically, he then jumps ahead here in verse 53 to events after the resurrection, as many of the saints were raised and came out of the tombs to appear to many in the city.  We are not told whether they were taken to heaven after these eyewitnesses received these visits.  But clearly, God wanted many witnesses to understand the profoundly momentous significance of what had happened.

In verse 57, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came to Pilate that evening to request Jesus’ body.  He took the body and wrapped it in a linen shroud and placed it in his own tomb.  This fulfilled Isaiah 53:9.  Then he rolled a big stone in front of the entrance.  Then the chief priests, remembering how he had said that he would rise after 3 days, went to Pilate voicing their fears that Jesus’ disciples might come and steal the body.  So he gave them a guard of soldiers, and they sealed the tomb and stood guard.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

John 18 – Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

 

Olive Trees in the Garden of Gethsemane, on the Mount of Olives

Having finished the Olivet discourse, including His prayer, Jesus and His disciples went across the Kidron brook into a garden.  John does not identify Gethsemane as Matthew and Mark do (Matthew 26:36 and Mark 14:32).  But he does say in verse 2 that Judas knew the place where Jesus would be because He often met there with His disciples.  And we know from several scriptures (Luke 21:37 and Luke 22:39, for example)  that it was His custom to go to the Mount of Olives at night.  Knowing that this was the time, Jesus came forward to the soldiers and officers of the Pharisees that Judas had brought.  Much commentary has been written about verse 6 (“When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground”) – but we just do not know exactly what happened there.  Clearly however, this was a significant response that we would not have expected from Jesus’ captors.  But it really does seem appropriate for the Son of God at this hour in His life.

Verses 15-17 contain the account of Peter’s denial.  Though we are not told, the “other disciple” mentioned in verses 15-16 is probably John himself (the disciple that Jesus loved – as in John 20:2). John is the only one of the four gospels that gives us the account of Jesus going first to Annas. He had been High Priest from 6-15 A.D., but had been deposed by Valerius Gratus, the former Roman prefect of Judea (Josephus Antiquities 18.26, 34, 95).  But the position stayed in the family – currently his son-in-law, Caiaphas.  Since the position had traditionally been one that was life-long, Annas was still considered a High Priest by many Jews.  Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas.  John does not record the events of that encounter, but the synoptic gospels do (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, and Luke 22:66-71).  It was Caiaphas that had suggested that Jesus should die back in John 11:49-51.

After Judas singled Jesus out for arrest, the mob took Jesus first to Annas, then Caiaphas, the high priest. Jesus then was taken to Pilate

From there, Jesus was taken to the Praetorian – the Roman governor’s residence – to appear before Pilate.  In verse 31, Pilate wants them to “judge him by your own law.”  But the Roman government had supposedly taken away the Sanhedrin’s right to capital punishment (though clearly they exercised exceptions to this, as with Stephen in Acts 7:57-60), and they wanted Him put to death.  Besides, as verse 32 reminds us, it was the Roman method of execution that would fulfill the scripture (Isaiah 52:13, John 12:32-33).  When Pilate speaks with Jesus asking what He had done and whether He was a kink, Jesus lays aside all doubt as to what type of Kingdom He had come to establish in verse 36:

“My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Pilate still tries to avoid the responsibility for their blood lust, but he lacks the courage to go against the crowd.  So he offers to free either Jesus or the known criminal Barabbas, no doubt thinking they would choose the latter.

But such was not to be.  Jesus took the place of all of us, including Barrabas.

 

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.