For an introduction to this series, click here.
April 6, 2007
This chapter tells the story of the Crucifixion. Talk about a pack of lies! Listen to the council's accusation against Jesus: "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king." (23:2) Jesus never once told people not to pay taxes to Caesar; in fact, He said the exact opposite.
Meanwhile Pilate finds out that Jesus is a Galilean and sends Him to Herod, who happens to be in town, presumably for the Passover. Herod is a pathetic figure. He was only interested in seeing Jesus put on a magic show. Jesus does nothing, and Herod is furious and sends Him back to Pilate. Pilate tries to reason with the religious leaders: "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish him and release him." (23:14-16) But of course we know that more powerful forces were at work.
I'm skipping over a lot here, but Luke is the only Gospel to mention the faith of the thief who was crucified next to Jesus. It is instructive that the man said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." (23:42, ESV) This man had more faith than the disciples. They all fled (with the exception of John), figuring the kingdom was over. Here is this man looking at a man being executed, asking Him for favor when He enters His kingdom. No doubt he was the only person there who actually thought that Jesus would have a kingdom, with the possible exception of Mary His mother, who knew who He was but surely did not understand everything that was going on.