Jesus before Pilate:
(Read Luke 23:1-25)
The trials and the death of Jesus were the ultimate injustice in human history. The charges the Sanhedrin brought against Christ were false. Several times Pilate pronounced his verdict, “I find no fault in this man”. The religious leaders intimidated Pilate to pronounce Jesus guilty (John 19:12). Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas because Galilee was under his jurisdiction. He desired to see Jesus but he was silent before Herod. Herod found Jesus innocent and sent him back to Pilate. And Pilate argued with religious leaders because he wanted to release Jesus. But they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him”. The crowd also shouted for Jesus’ death and requested the release of the rebellious murderer "Barabbas". Jesus was punished and the Barabbas was let go free. This is the great exchange spoken of by prophet Isaiah 53. Jesus laid down his life voluntarily that no man could take it from him (John 10:17-18). At last Pilate delivered Jesus to their will. The most innocent man was falsely accused and eventually sentenced to death (Luke 23:14-15). Jesus lived a perfect life and died the death we deserve. When Jesus was reviled, he did not revile in return and set an example for us to follow. (1 Pet 2:21-23). He fulfilled the prophecy spoken by the prophet Isaiah 53: 5-6. “And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all”. Our salvation is a gift that came with a price. Our deliverance was purchased by the sacrifice of Jesus. Read note on Matthew 27:11-26.
Christ’s Crucifixion and Burial:
(Read Luke 23: 26-56)
Jesus was led away to Calvary by Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers. They mocked and ridiculed Jesus. By contrast, Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of their sins. They forced Simon of Cyrene to carry Jesus’ cross. This devout black Jew must have become a Christian later (Mark 15:21). The mocking crowd said “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is really God’s chosen One, the Messiah”. A sign board was nailed to the cross above him with the words in Greek, Latin and Hebrew “This is the King of the Jews”. One of the criminals scoffed at Jesus. The other criminal protested and said “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds but this man has not done anything wrong". He pleaded for forgiveness and he received it. These two criminals are the examples of two different responses to Jesus. One criminal rejected Jesus and other criminal in humility repented and believed on Jesus. His faith in Christ enabled him to enter paradise with Jesus that very same day. All that required in order to be accepted into heaven is genuine faith in Christ. There was supernatural darkness from noon to 3 P.M. The veil in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Jesus said in a loud voice “Father into your hands I commit my spirit”. The way to God is opened to all. The veil represents Christ’s flesh (Heb 10:20). He has lived a perfect life of obedience and finished the mission he came to do. He was obedient even to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:8). Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus gave Jesus a royal burial. The women from Galilee saw the tomb where they placed his body. They prepared spices and ointment to embalm the body of Jesus. Read notes on Matthew 27:33-61.