Luke 23: Evil Won The Day

There is no mistaking Luke in this chapter.  Jesus was innocent.  He did nothing wrong.

“I find no fault in this man,” said Pilate to the chief priests and the crowds. (23:4)

“I [Pilate] examined him in your presence and I found no evidence in him of the charges you’re bringing against him.  Nor did Herod.” (23:14-15a)

“There is no sign that he’s done anything to deserve death.” (23:15b)

“What’s he done wrong?  I [Pilate] can’t find anything he’s done that deserves death.” (23:22)

“We’re [the criminals crucified with Jesus] getting exactly what we asked for.  But this fellow hasn’t done anything out of order.” (23:41)

“This fellow,” he [the centurion] said, “really was in the right.” (23:47)

Remember Luke is writing to the Gentile world where it might have been easy to write Jesus off as another rabble-rouser who got himself killed.  Maybe some said Jesus just got what was coming to him.  Luke makes it clear: he was an innocent man.  Pilate thought so.  Herod said as much.  Soldiers and bystanders saw it.  One of the criminals crucified beside him realized it.  Even one of the Jewish rulers, Joseph of Arimathea, wouldn’t go along with the court’s decision (23:51).  This was unjust, plain and simple.

And yet, Jesus was killed.  Pilate caved to the pressure of the crowd.  The conniving, power-hording Jewish leaders got their way.  Herod sat by and watched his people nail an innocent man to a cross like it was just another sideshow in the circus that was his kingdom.  Wright phrases the tragic reality of the situation well:

But they [the Jewish rulers and people] went on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he be crucified; and eventually their shouts won the day. (23:23)

Some days those who can shout the loudest win.  Some days wicked things are done.  Some days innocent bystanders are struck by gangbangers’ bullets.  Some days desperate meth heads break into houses and hurt the homeowners if they stand in the way.  Some days drug cartels take over whole parts of countries making them unsafe for virtuous people.  Some days angry citizens bomb their own federal buildings.  Some days terrorists fly planes into crowded office buildings.  Some days high school graduates are carted halfway across the globe to fight wars generals are not sure can be won.  Some days delusional loners cut down good people while they watch movies or shop in malls.  Some times evil wins the day. . . .

What injustice or act of evil do you lament today?

Categories: Luke | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Luke 23: Evil Won The Day

  1. Jesus is the Lamb of God. amen

    in the old testament, before a lamb is offered for sacrifice it is examined. the lamb must be without blemish, spotless, without defect. in other words perfect!

    Jesus was examined and found to be without fault!… how can the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law not see this?

    or could it be that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law have seen this? could Judas knew exactly what he was doing? otherwise Jesus would have never been crucified? was it all set-up and planned?

    or God knew that man will kill because man became evil no matter what good man does? and that God took advantage of that. ‘where sin abounds, grace super abounds’

    – grace and peace

    • Nice connection there to the perfect sacrificial animals. Of your two options, I tend to go with the later: God used the evil choices of people bent on destroying a foe.

  2. Sometimes there’s no explanation for evil. But I’m so thankful God is just, and Jesus reigns! One day evil will be confined to where it belongs, and God’s people will live free of it, forever (yay!) – that’s our greatest hope. In the meantime, we live as light in the darkness and can only pray against the evil that is inevitably at work, which is trying to undermine the good that God is doing.

  3. I love this description of Joseph of Arimathea: “He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God.” Now I would like to be that person!

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