11-15 But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood instead of using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable so that we can live all out for God.
-Hebrews 9:11-15 The Message
Verse 11: But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things have come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands, that is, not of this creation;
Verse 12: and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all time, having obtained eternal redemption.
Verse 12 study: This is imagery that comes from atonement rituals described in Leviticus 16. Redemption is the process of paying the price or ransom to free a slave. The good news is that he freed us from the slavery of sin forever through Christ’s death.
Verses 12-14 studies: You may know Christ, and you may believe you have to work hard to look good for God. But the rules and rituals never cleansed people’s hearts. Jesus’ blood alone;
Our conscience is cleansed.
We are freed from death’s string and can live to serve God.
We are freed from sin’s power.
If you have guilt carrying in you because you feel you are not good enough for God, you should sit down and take another look at Jesus’ death and the meaning of his death. Christ can heal you and your conscience and deliver you from the frustration of trying to earn God’s favor.
Verse 13: For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh,
Verse 14: how much more will get the blood of Christ. Through the eternal Spirit, the latter offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Verses 13-14 studies: God considered people’s faith and obedience when people sacrificed animals. According to the Old Testament law, God also considered them cleansed from sin and made them ceremonially acceptable. Christ’s sacrifice transforms our lives and hearts to make us clean on the inside. His sacrifice is more effective than animal sacrifices. No barrier of sin or weakness on our part can stop his forgiveness.
Verse 15: For this reason, He is the mediator of a new covenant so that, since a death has taken place to redeem the violations committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
Verse 15 study: In the Old Testament, the people were saved through Christ’s sacrifice, even though the sacrifice didn’t happen yet. In offering unblemished animal sacrifices, they anticipated Christ’s coming and his death for sin. There was no point in returning to the sacrificial system since Christ had come and had become the final, perfect sacrifice.
Father, the pressure of making sure we look good for you is there, and people may think this way. In these verses, thank you for helping us understand clean hearts and rituals. Let us remember that you can clear up our guilt in looking good for you and our sins. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
9 1-5 That first plan contained directions for worship and a specially designed place of worship. First, a large outer tent was set up. The lampstand, the table, and “the bread of presence” were placed in it. This was called “the Holy Place.” Then a curtain was stretched, and behind it, a smaller, inside tent set up. This was called “the Holy of Holies.” Finally, the gold incense altar and the gold-covered ark of the covenant containing the gold urn of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, the covenant tablets, and the angel-wing-shadowed mercy seat were placed in it. But we don’t have time to comment on these now.
-Hebrews 9:1-5 The Message
When Jesus died, the veil was torn apart so the church wouldn’t be divided. It was a symbol of Christ’s work on the cross. The veil at one point was hidden from the public view, but now that the veil was torn, it allowed everybody to approach God directly through Christ. We will go into the veil more in the book of Hebrews chapter 9. Let’s pray before we start into the study of the veil.
Father, I admit, I do not know much about the veil except what is talked about during Jesus’ crucifixion. But, as we get into a new subject, I pray that anyone (including myself) who doesn’t understand it will understand it by the end of the chapter and what it represents and give us more knowledge and a deeper understanding of Jesus. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
The Old and the New
9 Verse 1: Now, even the first covenant had regulations for divine worship and the earthly sanctuary.
Verse 2: For a tabernacle was equipped, the outer sanctuary, the lampstand, the table, and the sacred bread; this is called the Holy Place.
Verse 3: Behind the second veil, there was a tabernacle which is called the Most Holy Place,
Verse 4: having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, Aaron’s staff which budded, and the tablets of the covenant;
Verse 5: Above it was the cherubim of glory overshadowing the atoning cover, but we cannot now speak in detail about these things.
Verse 5 study: Cherubim are mighty angels. One of the tasks of the Cherubim was to serve as guardians. The angels guarded the entrances to both the tree of life (Genesis 3:24) and the Most Holy Place (Exodus 26:31-33). These two gold statues were believed to support God’s invisible Presence (Ezekiel 9:3, 10:4, 18). It is called “the cherubim of the Glory,” which refers to God’s glory, which covered the ark of the covenant (Exodus 40:34-36: Leviticus 16:2).
Genesis 3:24 study: 24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden, He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
The tree of life reference appears after God created Adam and Eve. God placed the tree of life in the middle of the garden of Eden, where the tree symbolizes God’s life-giving Presence, the eternal life that God makes available to us. God placed the tree of knowledge there as well. The garden of Eden is supposed to be enjoyed by the man and the woman as a paradise. After eating from the tree, Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God in three different ways:
They became convinced their way was better than God’s.
They became self-conscious and hid.
They tried to excuse and defend themselves.
Who has done what Adam and Eve have done? I know I have. That is how Adam and Eve broke their relationship with God. The good news is you can build your relationship with God; this is how you can do it:
Drop our excuses and self-defenses.
Stop trying to hide from God.
We must become convinced that God’s way is better than our way.
Exodus 26:21-33 study: The Veil and Curtain
31 “You shall also make a veil of violet, purple, and scarlet material, and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skilled embroiderer. 32 Then you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also of gold, on four bases of silver. 33 You shall hang up the veil under the clasps and bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; the veil shall serve as a partition for you between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
The curtain separated the room between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. The priest entered the Holy Place daily to commune with God and tend to the altar of incense, the lampstand, and the table with the bread of the Presence. The Most Holy Place was where God dwelt, his Presence resting on the atonement cover, which covered the ark of the covenant law. Only the high priest could enter the Most Holy Place, but only once a year which is on the day of the atonement, to make the atonement for the nation’s sins. The curtain tore apart when Jesus died on the cross from top to bottom (Mark 15:38). That is the symbol of our free access to God, and it is because of Jesus’ death. It is not necessary to approach God through priests and sacrifices.
Ezekiel 9:3 study: 3 Then the glory of the God of Israel ascended from the cherub on which it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed in linen at whose waist was the scribe’s kit.
The Cherubim is cherub as a singular word; it is an order of powerful angelic beings created to glorify God. God’s absolute holiness and moral perfection are associated with it. The cherubim were placed at the entrance of Eden to keep Adam and Eve out after they sinned, which we learned in Genesis 3:24. The Cherubim was used to decorate the tabernacle and temple. The lid of the ark of the covenant, called the atonement cover, was adorned with two gold cherubim (Exodus 37:6-9.) It’s a symbol of the Presence of God. Ezekiel sees the cherubim leave the temple along with the glory of God (chapter 10). Ezekiel recognized them as the living creatures he had seen in his first vision (chapter 1).
Ezekiel 10:4, 18: 4 Then the glory of the Lord went up from the cherub to the threshold of the temple, and the temple was filled with the cloud, and the courtyard was filled with the brightness of the glory of the Lord.
18 Then, the glory of the Lord departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim.
Christ revisited the temple in the New Testament times when God’s glory departed from the temple in the Old Testament. God’s holiness required that he leave the temple because people defiled it. God had to destroy what people perverted to bring true worship to be revived. We have to commit ourselves, our families, our churches, and our nation to follow God faithfully so that we never have to experience God abandoning us.
Exodus 40:34-36: The Glory of the Lord
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 36 Throughout their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the sons of Israel would set out.
The tabernacle was God’s home on earth. He filled with his glory, the overpowering sense of His Presence. Close to 500 years later, Solomon built the temple, which replaced the tabernacle as the primary place of worship. Again, God filled the temple with his glory (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). When Israel turned from God, his glory and Presence departed from the temple, destroyed by invading armies (2 Kings 25). The temple was rebuilt in 516 B.C. God’s glory returned in more extraordinary splendor close to five centuries later when Jesus Christ, God’s Son, entered it and started teaching. Jesus was crucified, and God’s glory left the temple again. But, God didn’t need a building after Jesus rose from the dead. God’s temple is now his church and the body of believers.
2 The Lord said to Moses:
“Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the atoning cover which is on the ark, or he will die; for I will appear in the cloud over the atoning cover.
The Day of Atonement covers verses 1-25, but here is what to understand. If you read verses 1-25, Aaron spent hours preparing to meet God, but the good news is we can approach God anytime (Hebrews 4:16). We have easier access to God than the high priests of the Old Testament times. We can’t forget that God is holy nor let the privilege cause us to approach God carelessly. The way to God was opened to us by Christ. However, the easy access to God doesn’t eliminate the need to prepare our hearts as we come close to him in prayer.
Father, let us rejoice in the education received on the veil. I pray we can continue to grab the knowledge to better ourselves for you. Thank you for allowing time for us to study the veil. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
50-54 There was a man by Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the Council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin.
55-56 The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. First, they saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. Finally, they rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.
-Luke 23:50-56 The Message
Jesus Is Buried
Verse 50: And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man
Verse 51: (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God— Verse 52: this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Verses 50-52 studies: Joseph of Arimathea was an honored member of the Jewish Council and wealthy. He was a secret follower of Jesus (John 19:38). The disciples that followed Jesus publicly fled. Joseph did a bold thing to ask for Jesus’ body to give him a proper burial. This action could cost him.
Verse 53: And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.
Verse 53 study: The tomb is a man-made cave cut out of one of the limestone hills in the area around Jerusalem. These tombs are large enough to walk into. After the burial, a large tomb would have been rolled across the entrance (John 20:1).
Verse 54: It was a preparation day, and a Sabbath was about to begin. Verse 55: Now, the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
Verse 56: And then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.
Verse 55 study: The Galilean women followed Joseph to the tomb. They did that so they knew where Jesus’ body would be at for when they returned back with their spices and perfumes. They women couldn’t do great things for Jesus. They couldn’t stand and testify or speak to the Jewish Council or the Roman governor on Jesus’ behalf. But they still did what they could. They stayed at the cross when the disciples fled; they anointed the Lord’s body. Their devotion is the reason why they learned about the resurrection. We may always believe as followers that we can’t do much for Jesus. But take advantage when you can, and not worry about what you can’t do.
Father, sometimes people feel helpless when they can’t defend you or speak about you in public places. It may be a situation where someone tried, and the words didn’t come outright. Some may just try to show more seriousness in you and not the loving side of you. Whatever the case, I pray we can take advantage of what we can do and not what we didn’t do. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
44-46 By now, it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout. Finally, the Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last.
* * *
47 When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: “This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!”
48-49 All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. However, those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.
-Luke 23:44-49 The Message
Verse 44: It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the entire land until the ninth hour,
Verse 45:, because the sun stopped shining, the temple’s veil was torn in two.
Verse 46: And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I entrust My spirit.” And having said this, He died.
Verse 47: Now, when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “This man was in fact innocent.”
Verse 48: And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, after watching what had happened, began to return home, beating their chests. Verse 49: All His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
Verse 44 study: For three hours, darkness covered the entire land. All nature seems to mourn over the tragedy of the death of God’s Son.
Verse 45 study: The tearing of the veil showed a symbolizing event in Christ’s work on the cross. The temple was divided into three parts: Courts for everybody; the holy place where only priests can enter; and the holy of holies, where the high priests can only enter once a year to atone for people’s sins. It was the holy of holies, the ark of the covenant, and God’s presence with it rested. The torn veil was the one that closed off the holy of holies from view. Christ’s death is the barrier that split in two between God and man. Now everybody can approach God directly through Christ (Hebrews 9:1-4, 10:19-22).
Father, verse 48 reads: “And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, after watching what had happened, began to return home, beating their chests.” While they are beating their chests, you are already 5,000 steps ahead of them. When we feel in doubt because our enemy defeated us, let it remind us we are already ahead, it takes time to show it through your plans. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
38 Printed over him was a sign: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!”
40-41 But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.”
43 He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.”
-Luke 23:38-43 The Message
Verse 38: Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
Verse 38 study: The inscription is ironic because a king who had lost his kingdom forever was stripped and executed in the public’s eyes. Jesus turned the world’s wisdom upside down and was coming into his kingdom. The death and resurrection would strike a death blow to Satan’s rule and establish Christ’s authority over Earth. Only a few people that read the sign understood it, but the sign stood steadfast. All was not lost; Jesus is King of the Jews, Gentiles, and the whole universe.
Verse 39: One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”
Verse 40: But the other responded, and rebuking him, said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation
Verse 41: And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our crimes; but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Verse 42: And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”
Verse 43: And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Verses 39-43 studies: As a man was about to die, he turned to Christ for forgiveness, and Christ accepted him. Deeds don’t save us; our faith does. It’s never too late to turn to Christ. Even in misery, Jesus had mercy on a criminal who decided to believe in him. Our lives are helpful and fulfilling if we go to God early, but those who repent at the last moment will be with God in paradise.
Verses 42-43 studies: The dying criminal had more faith than the rest of Jesus’ followers. The disciples love Jesus, but their hopes for the kingdom are shattered. Most of them went into hiding. Two days later, one of his followers said, “We were helping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel (24:21). The criminal looked at the man who was dying and said, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” The kingdom was finished by all appearances. His inspiration is the faith of this man who saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory.
Father, it is never too late to ask for forgiveness. It is not too late to follow and believe. I pray that those who think that it is too late understand that it is not. Let us speak truth and wisdom to those who are misled. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
32 Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution.
33 When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left.
34-35 Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!”
36-37 The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine: “So you’re King of the Jews! Save yourself!”
-Luke 23:32-37 The Message
Verse 32: Now, two others, who were criminals, were also being led away to death with Him.
Verse 33: And when they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
Verses 32-33 studies: The skull is another name for Golgotha. It was probably located somewhere outside on a hill in Jerusalem along the main road. The Romans executed people publicly as examples to the people. So when James and John asked Jesus for the place of honor next to him in his kingdom, he told them they didn’t know what they were asking (Mark 10:35-39). Jesus was preparing to inaugurate his kingdom through his death; places on the left and right of him were taken by criminals who were dying. So when a person wants to be close to Jesus, you have to be prepared to suffer and die. The way to the kingdom is the way to the cross.
Verse 34: But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”] And they cast lots, dividing His garments among themselves.
Verse 35: And the people stood by, watching. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.”
Verse 36: The soldiers also ridiculed Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine,
Verse 37: and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
Verse 34 study: The Roman soldiers divided up the clothing of executed criminals among themselves. When they cast lots for Jesus’ clothes, they fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 22:18. Jesus asked God to forgive those who put him to death; the Jewish leaders, Roman politicians, soldiers and bystanders. God answered the prayer by opening up the way of salvation to Jesus’ murderers. The Roman centurion and soldiers who witnessed the crucifixion said, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). After that, many priests were converted to the Christian faith (Acts 6:7). Because we are sinners, we do play a role in putting Jesus to death. The good news? God is gracious! He forgives and gives us new life through his Son.
Father, we tend to hold grudges when someone hurts us. With the crucifixion in the works, Jesus asked God to forgive those that put him to death. Now everybody has access to salvation and new life through your Son. Let us forgive those that hurt us, swallow our pride. Let this serve as a reminder of Jesus’ example of how to handle those who hurt us. In Jesus’ name. Amen!`
23-25 But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally, they shouted him down. Finally, Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted.
26-31 As they led him off, they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. A massive crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. At one point, Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?”
-Luke 23:23-31 The Message
Verse 23: But they were insistent, with loud voices, demanding that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
Verse 24: And so Pilate decided to have their demand carried out.
Verses 23-24 studies: Pilate didn’t want to give Jesus the death penalty. He thought the Jewish leaders were jealous men that wanted to get rid of a rival. The crowd threatened to report Pilate to Caesar (John 19:12), Pilate became afraid. Past records showed that Pilate was already warned by Roman authorities about the tensions in his region. He did not need a riot added to that in Jerusalem before the Passover time. The city was crowded with Jews from all over the empire. So Pilate decided to turn over Jesus to the mob to do as they pleased.
Verse 25: And he released the man for whom they were asking, who had been thrown into prison for a revolt and murder; but he handed Jesus over to their will.
Simon Carries the Cross
Verse 26: And when they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, as he was coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.
Verse 27: Now following Him was a large crowd of the people and women who were mourning and grieving for Him.
Verse 28: But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
Verse 29: For behold, days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are those who cannot bear, and the wombs that have not given birth, and the breasts that have not nursed.’
Verse 27-29 studies: Luke mentions the tears of the Jewish women while Jesus was being led through the streets to his execution. Jesus told them not to weep for him but for themselves. He knew the temple and Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans 40 years later.
Verse 30: Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’
Verse 31: For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Verse 31 study: Some people feel this proverb is interpreted to if the innocent Jesus (green tree) suffered at the hands of the Romans, what would happen to the guilty Jews (dry tree)? This is why this proverb is a little difficult to translate.
Father, the question I have is, do enough people empathize with what happened to Jesus like the Jewish women did? These women showed tears, but not everybody showed tears and had different ways of showing emotions. Let us show emotions when it is time, grief, anger for the things we know that happened that shouldn’t have. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
18-20 At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” (Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.) However, Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go and so spoke out again.
21 But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
22 He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. So I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”
-Luke 23:17-22 The Message
Verse 17: Now, he was obligated to release to them at the feast one prisoner.
Verse 18: But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas!”
Verse 19: (He had been thrown into prison for a revolt that took place in the city and for murder.)
Verses 18-19 studies: Barabbas has always been a part of the rebellion against the Roman government (Mark 15:7). He was a hero among some Jews, although he was a political agitator. Isn’t it ironic Barabbas was released on the same crime Jesus was accused of (23:14)? So, who is Barabbas? Jewish names had names that would identify them with their fathers. Let’s use Simon Peter, for example; he is called Simon Barjona (Matthew 16:17), meaning the son of Jonah. Barabbas was never identified by his given name, as his name doesn’t help either – bar-abbas means “son of Abba” or son of daddy. He could have been anybody’s son, which is the point. Barabbas is a son of an unnamed father that committed a crime. Because Jesus died in his place, he was set free. We are sinners as well and criminals who have broken God’s holy law. We deserve to die just like Barabbas, but Jesus died in our place for our sins, and we are set free. We don’t have to be essential people to accept our freedom in Christ. Thanks to Jesus, we all have been taken and adopted as sons and daughters and given the right to call him Abba – “daddy” (Galatians 4:4-6).
Verse 20: But Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,
Verse 21: but they kept on crying out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!”
Verse 22: And he said to them a third time, “Why, what has this man done wrong? I have found in His case no grounds for a sentence of death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
Verse 22 study: When Pilate said he can have Jesus punished, it is referred to as having him killed. The usual procedure was to bare the upper half of the victim’s body and his hands to the pillar before whipping him with a three-prong whip. The lashes depended on the severity of the crime, which can be up to 40 under Jewish law. Matthew and Mark recorded other horrors Jesus endured. Some of them are slapped, punched by fists, and mocked. Next, a crown of thorns was placed on his head. Finally, he was beaten with a stick and stripped before being hung on the cross.
Father, there is a lot of criminal things going on in the world. Down to politicians, down to us. In the Bible, the Politicians are talked about a lot as being corrupt. Followers who follow Jesus, we have broken holy laws. Let us pray on this, meditate on it, and get back on track with correcting our broken ways. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
13-16 Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge. And neither did Herod, for he has sent him back here with a clean bill of health. It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. So I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”
-Luke 23:13-16 The Message
Pilate Seeks Jesus’ Release
Verse 13: Now Pilate summoned to himself the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,
Verse 14: and he said to them, “You brought this man to me on the ground that he is inciting the people to revolt; and behold, after examining Him before you, I have found no basis at all in the case of this man for the charges which you are bringing against Him.
Verse 15: No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.
Verse 16: Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
Verse 15 study: Jesus was tried by the Jewish and Roman authorities six times but was never convicted of a crime deserving death. When he was condemned to execution, he was convicted of no felony. To this day, no one can find fault with Jesus. But people like Pilate, Herod, and religious leaders refuse to acknowledge him as Lord.
Verses 13-25 studies: Pilate sentenced Jesus to death. Although he wanted to release Jesus, he listened to the crowd that demanded him to condemn Jesus to death. He didn’t want to lose his position, which was already shaky because he allowed a riot to happen in his province. Throughout his political career, he understood the importance of compromise. He saw that Jesus was more of a political threat than a human being with rights and dignity. When peer pressure is up, it is the hardest thing to do for many people to stand up for what is right, and easy to see opponents’ problems to be solved than to be respected. If Pilate had been courageous, he would have done what was right, releasing Jesus no matter the consequences. Instead, the crowd roared, Pilate cracker under pressure. Many people are like Pilate, knowing what is right but not making the right decisions. When you have tough choices, don’t discount the effects of peer pressure. Remember that the right decisions will have unpleasant consequences. Social rejection, career derailment, and public ridicule. Think of Pilate and stand up for what is right no matter what other pressure people try to make you do. Uncrack the pressure.
To this day, no one can find fault with Jesus. But, father, I pray that people will not crack under the pressure of conversations such as someone saying false things about Jesus. Let us learn from Pilate and be better than the peer pressure, the pressure of other things, and not doing what is right. In Jesus’ name. Amen!
The book of Luke, chapter 23, is the last to read and study Jesus’ crucifixion. We started in the book of John and stopped at chapter 19. Then went to the book of Mark, chapter 15, and now we are in the book of Luke, chapter 23. After we study the last of Jesus’ crucifixion, we will finish up the rest of the book of John, continuing to study about Jesus and his love for everyone. We will then go into the book of Hebrews chapter 9 to learn about the veil after Jesus died. Feel free to follow along or take a head start and study yourself.
23 1-2 Then they all took Jesus to Pilate and began to bring up charges against him. They said, “We found this man undermining our law and order, forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, setting himself up as Messiah-King.”
3 Pilate asked him, “Is this true that you’re ‘King of the Jews’?”
“Those are your words, not mine,” Jesus replied.
4 Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.”
5 But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.”
-Luke 23:1-5 The Message
Jesus before Pilate
23 Verse 1: Then, the entire assembly of them set out and brought Him before Pilate.
Verse 2: And they began to bring charges against Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
Verse 3: Now Pilate asked Him, saying, “So You are the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”
Verse 4: But Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no grounds for charges in the case of this man.”
Verse 5: But they kept on insisting, saying, “He is stirring up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, as far as this place!”
Verse 1 study: Pilate is the Roman governor of Judea. He likes to harass the Jews. In one instance, Pilate took money from the temple treasure and used the money to build an aqueduct. In another example, he assaulted the Jewish religion by bringing imperial images into the city. Pilate knew it could backfire on him. If the people were to report Pilate, meaning makes a formal complaint against his administration, Rome might remove him from his post. Pilate felt insecure enough in his position when the Jewish leaders brought Jesus to trial. The question is will he give in to the demands to condemn Jesus? Or would he badger with the Jews and risk his political future? These are the questions facing Pilate on that spring day Friday morning nearly 2,000 years ago.
Father, as we continue to study Jesus’ crucifixion, right at the beginning, we see the peer pressure that Pilate face. The right thing or the wrong thing to do. Pilate didn’t want to put his political future at risk all because of the pressure of losing his job. I pray that we can do the right thing and lean on you when we can’t make the right decision. It is hard enough in this world to make our own decisions, why can’t we lean on you? Let us go into the discipline of letting you make the decisions. In Jesus’ name. Amen!