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The arrest, trial, and death of Jesus. A travesty of justice and yet...
Luke 22-23
The arrest, trial, and death of Jesus. A travesty of justice and yet...
Luke 22-23

In Psalm 89:14 it says of God; "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you."

Justice is a big deal to God. He does it and will do it on the Day of Judgment, and he expects us to be committed to it as well. This is why it says in Proverbs 17:15; "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-- the LORD detests them both."

In Canada, we don't have a perfect record when it comes to acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty.

Steven Truscott's wrongful conviction of murder in the death of Lynne Harper stood for 48 years before finally being overturned August 28, 2007.

In 1969, 16-year-old David Milgaard was convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of 20-year-old nursing aide Gail Miller. After 23 years of imprisonment, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed for the release of Milgaard. Five years later DNA testing proved his innocence.

Ronald Dalton was wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda, in August 1988. It was later found that Brenda Dalton choked on cereal.

Guy Paul Morin was wrongfully convicted in 1992 of the murder of Christine Jessop; he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 1995.

When the justice system fails, whether it be because people are released who shouldn't be, or the innocent are convicted, we should be upset. Being upset when injustice is committed is a proper response. This is why I found the reading of Luke 22 and particularly Luke 23 upsetting and unsettling this week.

The clear depiction of Jesus' arrest, trial, and death in the Gospel of Luke is this: Jesus was INNOCENT. Repeatedly in these two chapters the INNOCENCE of Christ is trumpeted. While clearly innocent, Jesus is arrested, abused, mocked, wrongly convicted, and dies a most horrible death. When I read of this in Luke, I couldn't help but be angry, angry at the crimes committed against Christ, incensed by the evil that took place.

While angered by my reading of what Jesus endured, my irritation is tempered by ONE singularly great truth: If Jesus hadn't died as he did, if he wasn't treated as he was, if he- though perfect and innocent in every way - had not been wrongly convicted and hung upon the cross- there would be no forgiveness of sin for you, me, or anyone.

A LOOK AT THE TEXT start reading at Luke 22:39

As we read pay attention to how Jesus is treated. Observe the number of injustices committed against Him. Pay attention to how his innocence is highlighted. Note how Jesus responds to what happens. Try and let your feelings get in touch with what is going on in the text.

How was Jesus treated, what injustices did he suffer?

Betrayed, abandoned by his disciples, arrested under the cover of darkness as if he was a dangerous criminal, mocked, beaten, blindfolded and hit, insulted in countless ways, lied about about, misquoted, slandered, ridiculed, dressed up as a king and mocked, condemned to die while Barabbas an insurectionist and murderer was released, crucified because people loudly shouted for his death****Luke 23:23. Mocked some more, sneered at, etc

Some other things to note

1. No legal basis existed to arrest Jesus. No charges against him had been registered
2. He was arrested in the middle of the night.
3. His trial was illegal (being conducted in the middle of the night)
4. Jesus was afforded no defense
5. The judges were not impartial. Their stated goal was kill him (John 7:1)
6. False witnesses were allowed to testify against him (Mark 14:57)
7. He was declared guilty by the Jewish leaders though innocent
8. Under false charges and pretenses he was handed over to Pilate and Herod
9. Instead of arresting the perpetrators of the crime committed against Jesus and quite convinced that He was innocent Pilate still consented to crucify Jesus

All these things explain the anger and frustration that is stirred in me as I read this section of Scripture.

The innocence of Christ

Luke 23:4 "Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

Later on that morning Luke 23:13-15 "Pilate called together the chief priest, the rulers and the people, and said to them, "You brought 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. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has nothing to deserve death."

Luke 23:22a "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."

Luke 23:39-40 "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said "since we are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

Luke 23:47 "The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man." also meaning innocent

I. THE ARREST, TRIAL, AND DEATH OF JESUS; A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE AND YET....Because of it we can come to have the forgiveness of sins and peace with God.

Such is by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Faith accompanied by confessing our sins and asking God for the forgiveness of them on the basis of what Jesus did on the cross.

Closely tied to this point is our next point.

II. THE ARREST, TRIAL, AND DEATH OF JESUS; A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE AND YET... without it there can be no forgiveness of sins

Hebrews 9:22 says; "without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness".

Ultimately what Hebrews 9:22 has in mind is the innocent/perfect blood of Christ. (remember how the innocence of Christ is emphasized in Luke 23) Jesus, the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Jesus, the fulfillment of all the blood sacrifices of the Old Testament sacrificial sins (the great shortcoming of all the animal sacrifices is this: "the blood of bulls and goats is not sufficient for the forgiveness of sins" Hebrews 10:4. A more perfect sacrifice was needed: That was Jesus (perfect/sinless/spotless Lamb and Son of God

III. THE ARREST, TRIAL, AND DEATH OF JESUS; A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE AND YET... through it Jesus satisfied the demand of God for justice for our sins

The wages of sin is death. The rightful consequence of sin and rebellion against God is separation from Him and punishment/judgment.

Yet, God in His love devised a plan to reconcile us to Himself-- the sending of His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us. This is why John 3:16 says; "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I John 4:9-10 also says; "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins"

NOTE: The phrase 'atoning sacrifice' has another word behind it "propitiation"

Propitiation is all about the satisfying of God's wrath

When Jesus died upon the cross he bore the wrath of God that we deserve to come upon ourselves for our sins. Jesus took the punishment we deserve. Justice was done. Jesus bore the penalty for our sins. He stood in our place.

A sign of God's wrath-- the darkened sky stands as a Biblical symbol of the wrath and anger of God.

And so: While the wages of sin is death, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23


God can bring good out of the evil that people and Satan have in mind. Such is exemplified in the arrest, trial, and death of Jesus on the cross--- A great injustice and yet... by His stripes we are healed.

By the hands of wicked men Jesus was put to death and yet the perfect and prophesied plan of God came to pass. (see Isaiah 53, dozens of other O.T texts, and Jesus' own words - Matthew 20:17-19). Such only happens because God is perfect and He is sovereign over all things.

Two further things to draw from today's scripture reading of Jesus' arrest, trial, and death: His death resulted in the immediate conversion and salvation of two people -- the thief on the cross, the Roman centurion. (Luke 23:39-43; 47)

There is only one way to be saved and to escape the Judgment to come-- that's through and in Jesus and by His sacrificial death on the cross.

Have you turned to Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?
Have you put your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord?
Are you living for Him?