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Jesus Predicts His Death

While Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and said to them on the way, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised” (vv. 17-19).

Categories: crucifixion, jesus, matthew

Jesus’ Prediction

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised.” And they were greatly distressed (vv. 22-23).

Categories: crucifixion, jesus, matthew

Jesus Is Led to His Crucifixion

On the way to the place of crucifixion, they pulled a man from the crowd—his name was Simon of Cyrene, a person from the countryside who happened to be entering the city at that moment. They put Jesus’ cross on Simon’s shoulders, and he followed behind Jesus. Along with Him was a huge crowd of common people, including many women shrieking and wailing in grief.

Jesus (to the people in the crowd): Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me. Weep instead for yourselves and weep for your children. Days are coming when people will say, “Blessed are the infertile; blessed are the wombs that never bore a child; blessed are the breasts that never nursed an infant.” People will beg the mountains, “Surround us!” They’ll plead with the hills, “Cover us!” For if they treat Me like this when I’m like green unseasoned wood, what will they do to a nation that’s ready to burn like seasoned firewood?

Jesus wasn’t the only one being crucified that day. There were two others, criminals, who were also being led to their execution. When they came to the place known as “The Skull,” they crucified Jesus there, in the company of criminals, one to the right of Jesus and the other to His left (vv. 26-33, The Voice).

Categories: crucifixion, jesus, luke

Pilate Condemns Jesus

Pilate assembled the chief priests and other Jewish authorities.

Pilate: You presented this man to me as a rabble-rouser, but I examined Him in your presence and found Him not guilty of the charges you have leveled against Him. Herod also examined Him and released Him to my custody. So He hasn’t done anything deserving the death penalty. I’ll see to it that He is properly whipped and then let Him go.

[It was the custom for Pilate to set one prisoner free during the holiday festivities.]

Crowd (all shouting at once): Away with this man! Free Barabbas instead!

Crucifixion is a favorite Roman punishment for insurrectionists, slaves, and prisoners of war. Anyone daring to defy the power and authority of Caesar is executed in this public and humiliating way. Jesus indeed is a revolutionary. He doesn’t come to proclaim a new religion, but a new kingdom—a new way of life. He is indeed a threat to Caesar’s way of doing things, a way that co-opts the religious leaders.

Jesus’ revolution is a peaceful revolution. He doesn’t advocate the use of violence—in fact, when one of His disciples uses the sword to try to protect Jesus from arrest, Jesus heals the “enemy” and rebukes His disciple. So Jesus doesn’t support the regime of Caesar or follow the usual violent path of revolution: He leads a revolutionary revolution—in a path of love, healing, justice, and reconciliation.

Jesus appropriates and transforms the symbol of their power into a symbol of His greater power. He makes the cross not the icon of violent domination, but the reverse. By hanging on the cross and speaking of forgiveness, Jesus shows that there is a greater power at work in the world than the power of domination: it’s the power of God’s saving and reconciling love.

Barabbas had been imprisoned after being convicted of an insurrection he had led in Jerusalem. He had also committed murder. Pilate argued with them, wishing he could release Jesus, but they wouldn’t be silenced.

Crowd (shouting): Crucify Him! Crucify Him!

Pilate (countering a third time): Why? What has He done that is so evil? I have found in Him no offense worthy of capital punishment. As I said, I will punish Him and then release Him.

But they would not relent. They shouted louder and louder that He should be crucified, and eventually Pilate capitulated. So he pronounced the punishment they demanded.

He released the rebel and murderer Barabbas—the insurrectionist they had pleaded for in His place—and he handed Jesus over to them to do with as they desired (vv. 13-25, The Voice).

Outline of Luke 23

  1. Jesus is condemned by Pilate
  2. Barabbas is freed
  3. Jesus and two criminals are crucified
  4. Joseph of Arimathea requests Jesus’ body
  5. Jesus is buried

Wisdom

In verses 6-8, Paul explains that if leaders had had more wisdom during Jesus’ day, he wouldn’t have been crucified.

Marys

In Matthew 28:1-10, we learn that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the first two devoted followers to learn that Jesus rose from the dead. (The guards on-site learned a bit sooner that something big was going on!)

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