Manna for Today

 

Jesus Condemned to Death (Luke 23:13-25)

Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18 With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.  (Luke 23:13-25)

Learn it:

            We now read about the verdict that Pilate gives after examining the accusations made against Jesus.  Pilate finds no basis for their charges!  Yet the crowd continues to ask for him to be crucified and the murderer Barabbas to be released.  Pilate is caught in a tough position.  He has the power to release Jesus even if the crowd wants him crucified.  Pilate is a politician and he likes his position of power and he needs people to like him.  Does he administer justice, or does he keep the people happy?  He makes three attempts to sway the people and even offers to punish Jesus, but nothing satisfies them.  Only the cross.  Pilate finally gives in to their demands and in doing so plays his part in God’s plan. 

Live it:

            Throughout this process Jesus is silent.  He humbly accepts the will of God for him to go to his death.  We see there is no justice in this trial that Jesus faces, and it makes his sacrifice more beautiful.  Not only does he willingly go to the cross, but he takes the place of Barabbas.  He is a man that deserves death on the cross, yet Jesus takes his place.  It is the same in our lives as well.  We all deserve death.  We are sinners who have done or thought terrible things.  Jesus went to the cross for us.  He experienced the pains of death so that we could be freed.  Since he sacrificed his life for us, that calls us to give our lives back to him.  Thank Jesus today for the freedom he has given you.  Praise God that he took our place!   


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Jesus Before Pilate and Herod (Luke 23:1-12)

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”

3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies. (Luke 23:1-12)

 

Learn it:

Luke has been wanting his readers to decide if Jesus is the Son of God or not. Now in his writings, he gives two eyewitnesses who are asked by the Jewish leaders to make a judgment about who Jesus is. The Jewish leaders bring three charges against Jesus, (1) he was stirring up trouble, (2) he opposed giving taxes to Caesar, and (3) he claimed to be king. Pilate, a Roman leader did not care about the first two charges and asked him about number three. Which after talking with Jesus he did not see him as a threat to the Roman Empire. Trying to cover himself he sent Jesus to Herod to get his input.

Herod did not really care about the Jewish leader’s concerns but wanted to see Jesus “perform” some miracles. He thought Jesus was more a magician than a religious leader. While Jesus was with Herod, he was silent because he did not respect Herod at all. He did not want to give him any authority by talking to him. This rubbed Herod the wrong way and it led to him mocking Jesus and dressing him up as a fake king. Neither Herod or Pilate saw any threat in Jesus, and it led them both to say that he was innocent. It also drew them close together as friends.

 

Live it:

We now have two leaders examining Jesus to see if any of the charges the Jews brought against him were true. Both found him innocent. Jesus was not stirring up a political revolt and he was not telling people to not pay their taxes. Jesus was a king but of a different type of kingdom. This is what the Jewish leaders, and some of Jesus’ own followers, did not fully understand. It is when people do not understand Jesus that they are hostile to him. As followers of Jesus, it is up to us, through the Holy Spirit, that we continue to talk with unbelievers about who Jesus really is. We must pray that the Holy Spirit would open people’s eyes and minds to the truth of Jesus. How can you bring clarity to the life of Jesus? Who in your life has a misunderstanding of who Jesus is and what he did? How can you lean on the Holy Spirit to graciously speak the truth?


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The Beginning of Jesus’ Trail (Luke 22:54-71)

63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”  (Luke 22:63-61)

Learn it:

            Jesus has been arrested and was taken to the house of a high priest.  At the house, Jesus is treated unfairly.  The Jews do have rules and laws about how a trial is supposed to proceed.  They do not follow a lot of these rules in the case of Jesus and what his claims are.  They are also beating Jesus before his case is even heard!  Jesus exposes their biases and how it does not matter what he says they have already decided in their hearts. 

            Jesus again quotes Psalm 110:1, he did this back in 20:41-44, that he is the Son of God.  He hints that someday the Jewish leaders will learn what his identity is, and he will be seated at the right hand of God.  After that statement, the ask directly, “Are you the Son of God?”  Jesus basically answers, “Yes, I am the Son of God.”  This is finely the clear evidence the leaders needed to take their case to the Roman courts to get rid of Jesus. 

Live it:

            Luke is so concerned with his readers deciding as to who Jesus is.  We finally get a line of questioning where Jesus must state clearly who he is.  He is the Son of God.  When faced with people abusing him physically, psychologically, and breaking laws.  Jesus was still willing to speak the truth of who he is.  Here the Holy Spirit is giving him the strength to endure this unfair trial and gives him the words to speak. 

            We should be amazed at what Jesus has done for us and this is just the beginning!  It is about to get much, much worse.  Jesus knew what was about to come and he lovingly walked in obedience.  This is our Savior and we should be worshipping him all of our lives for what he has done for us.  Take time today to praise God.  Maybe that’s through prayer, music, or taking time to sit in silence and meditate on his actions.  Do something to bring glory to God. 


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Who Do You Side With? (Luke 22:47-53)

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”  (Luke 22:47-53)

Learn it:

            The time for Jesus’ betrayal has come.  Judas uses a sign that is normally used for affection and turns it into something evil.  When his disciples realize what is going on, they immediately get defensive and want to draw their swords.  One of them does draw a sword and cuts off a high priest’s ears!  The disciples still don’t fully understand Jesus’ purpose for coming to the earth.  They are wanting him to be a new king that will rule over Israel. 

            Jesus corrects them and tells them to stop.  He then goes on and heals the person that has come to arrest him.  Jesus is still all about showing love to his enemies.  Imagine the impact this had on the crowd watching this scene unfold.  Jesus goes on to ask the chief priests why they have come to arrest Jesus in this manor?  He was not leading a revolt but wanted to save the world.  This was the time when Satan would think he was interfering with God’s plan but really, he was doing exactly what God wanted.  Just this short hour and soon he would defeat the darkness through his resurrection.

Live it:

            In this passage Luke is wanting his readers to think about who’s side they are on.  Are they on the side of the high priests who don’t believe he is the Son of God?  Or are they on the side of the disciples?  They want their Messiah to come now and reign in Israel.  They probably want a political revolution and all the current leaders to be removed from power.  Do you side with Jesus?  Whose mission has been to love his enemies.  Serve others and be humble.  His ways seem backwards to most of his but that is what the kingdom of heaven is like.  The decision a person makes about this passage will change the way they live their lives.  So, you do you say Jesus is?  How does that change the way you live your life?  


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Pastor’s Corner