Innocent of any crime
It never ceases to amaze me that it was the Church leaders of the time – the Chief Priests and Religious leaders – who had Jesus arrested & handed over to the Government to be killed:
‘But the chief priests and our religious leaders arrested him and handed him over to the Roman government to be condemned to death, and they crucified him.’ (Luke 24:20)
I read Chapter 23 & 24 of the Book of Luke this morning and this comprised of the following events:
· Jesus stands trial before Pilate and then Herod.
· Pilate hands Jesus over to be crucified.
· Jesus’ crucifixion.
· Jesus is laid in a tomb.
· Jesus rises from the dead.
· Jesus appears to His disciples & other believers on different occasions.
· Jesus ascends into heaven
Jesus was accused by His own people and they said He was telling people not to pay their taxes – but I remember Jesus saying to His disciples –“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s. Also, I’m sure there’s the story of Jesus telling one of His disciples to fish and the fish he caught had money for taxes in its mouth! Clearly this was a complete lie. The Leaders also accused Jesus of claiming to be the Messiah. The fact that they didn’t believe He was, didn’t make it untrue, and in any case as both Pilate and Herod concluded; Jesus had done nothing that deserved the death penalty. In fact He was found innocent, but the Religious leaders wanted Him dead and shouted “Kill Him”, “Crucify Him”.
When Jesus died, the Captain of the Roman military, having seen what happened, announced, “Surely this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47)
I am struck today by Jesus’ innocence and the fact that this was announced by Leaders within the Roman Government: Pilate, Herod and the Captain of the Roman Military. It is heart breaking that it was leaders of His own people that set out to kill Jesus.
The other thing that stuck out for me was the conversation Jesus had with the women following Him as he was led to be crucified. In the midst of his pain, Jesus was more concerned for the women than Himself:
‘Great crowds trailed along behind, and many grief-stricken women. But Jesus turned and said to them,“Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but for yourselves and for your children.For the days are coming when the women who have no children will be counted fortunate indeed.Mankind will beg the mountains to fall on them and crush them, and the hills to bury them.For if such things as this are done to me, the Living Tree, what will they do to you?”(Luke 23:27-31)
Jesus knew that in only 40 years, Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed by the Romans.
Jesus was right when He said:
“Father, forgive these people,”…, “for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)