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Luke 23:13-46 “They crucified him, along with the criminals”

Three times (verse 22) Pilate asked Jesus’ accusers why they were so insistent on his death. He got no coherent answers, yet “their voices won out” (verse 23). Jesus was nailed to a cross by a public road. He asked God to forgive his executioners, promised a crucified thief eternal life, and prayed Psalm 31:5 as he died. On that bad Friday, Jesus absorbed and transformed human evil into God’s central saving act, and turned the day into “Good Friday.”

  • Pontius Pilate was somebody—Rome’s highest official in Jerusalem. Jesus looked like a nobody—a poor, traveling rabbi despised and rejected by the leaders of his own faith community. All through the gospel, Luke pointed to the way God lifts up the nobodies. Trying to remain a somebody, Pilate agreed to a gross injustice. Have you ever had to decide whether to do something you believe is right even if it will cause many people to be upset with you, maybe even turn against you? How did you decide?
  • We know many Jewish mothers used Psalm 31:5 (“into your hand I entrust my life”) as a children’s bedtime prayer. Jesus may well have learned the verse from Mary as a little boy, and repeated it on the cross. Mary was there that day (Luke 23:49). Imagine what she must have felt hearing her dying son repeat the trusting words of the bedtime prayer she taught him so many years earlier. Are you able to entrust your life fully into God’s hand?


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