Wednesday, August 21, 2019


LUKE 23:44-48

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Susie: Since Passover falls in the middle of a month, this could not have been a solar eclipse. It was a supernatural occurrence in which God shielded or “turned off” the sun for three hours between noon and 3:00 PM.

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

MacArthur Study Bible
Mark 15:33 darkness. A mark of divine judgment (cf. Is. 5:30; 13:10, 11; Joel 2:1, 2; Amos 5:20; Zeph. 1:14, 15; Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). The geographical extent of the darkness is not known, although the writings of the church fathers hint that it extended beyond Palestine.

Susan: Perhaps there was an hour of sorrow for each member of the Trinity.

Susie: This phenomenon of unexplained darkness in the middle of a day would certainly capture the attention and remain in the memories of the people witnessing the execution of Jesus. Since the Jewish people there would associate darkness with God’s judgment, it may have struck fear in the hearts of some.

Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Susan: Susie and I studied the tearing of the veil for a devotional post. We are going to interject that post here rather than “reinventing the wheel.”

Matthew 27:50-51a Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

Susan and Susie: At the very moment Jesus breathed His last on the cross, a miracle occurred. The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom. This was nothing a person could accomplish. This veil was thick enough that it was completely opaque (no one was allowed into or could even look into this holy place except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement). It was as much as sixty feet tall. Therefore, scaffolding would have to be built to start tearing it from top to bottom! This is an impressive miracle, but it was merely a symbol of the greater miracle Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave on the third day. The way to the Holy of Holies in the Temple was physically exposed by the tearing of the veil, but access to the true Holiest place where God is seated upon His throne was opened to us by the tearing of Jesus’s flesh when He was scourged and then nailed to the cross.

Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest  by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Susie: John’s gospel reports that before Jesus put His spirit into the Father’s hands, He declared that the purpose for which He had come to earth as a man was complete:

John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Susan: At least one commentary conjectured that Jesus had declared His thirst and had His mouth wet with vinegar in order to have the strength needed to make the proclamation, “It is finished!” Jesus had fully accomplished the plan His Father had set forth and now the Son proclaims, “All done!”

Susie: Since the salvation of all who would believe was now secured, there was nothing left but to, as the King James Version puts it, “Give up the ghost.” I have stood at the bedside of three loved ones at the very moment of death. Even though the person may have been laboring to breath for a long time, there comes an instant when it is obvious they have left their body; and only the shell they once lived in remains. This was that moment for the God-Man, Jesus.

Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Susan: Mark records a slightly different version of what the centurion said, perhaps a more specific quote. We must remember that the Gospel writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit but each wrote from their own unique perspective. Perhaps the Roman soldier said both things, and the Holy Spirit had Luke emphasize one and Mark the other.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Susie: The centurion would have been the officer in charge of the crucifixion crew and responsible to verify the deaths of the prisoners. Therefore, he stood near the crosses observing. He had been in a position to see how Jesus faced this ordeal all day long, had witnessed His graciousness, the miraculous darkness, His confidence in commending His Spirit to God. Because of this, He exclaimed that Jesus was the righteous One.

Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Susie: Beating one’s breast was a sign of sorrow, mourning, or repentance.

Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Susan: If I were a Jewish person witnessing the darkness and the death of Jesus, I may have gone home truly repentant. I may have even come to the belief that Jesus truly was the Son of God and begged the Lord to forgive me. Of course, this is easy to say since I am looking back with the full knowledge of the New Testament. They were blinded by the teachings of the religious leaders and were, also, fearful of suffering the same persecution and death that Jesus endured.

Ponder this and Apply it: Because of the blood of the Prince of Peace, we have peace with God. Because of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we become the sheep of the Great Shepherd. Because God gave His Son to die in our place, we can become children of the Heavenly Father. Because the veil, Jesus’s body, was torn we can be raised from the walking death of our sin to a new, eternal, joyous life in which we can boldly approach the Holy, All-Powerful God through prayer.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


LUKE 23:39-43
(see also Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32)

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Susie: The other two synoptic gospels report that both of the criminals which Matthew calls “thieves” joined the jeering crowd in demeaning Jesus. Perhaps early in the process they both reviled Him, but one changed his tune.

Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Susie: Only Luke records the conversation between Jesus and the thief on His other side.

Luke 23:40-41 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Susan: The other thief turned to the one scoffing at Jesus and called him on the carpet. He reminded him that he, too, was hanging naked on the cross and asked him, “Don’t you even fear God considering you are dying for crimes you actually committed?” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and apparently this guy was not wise at all!

Susie: The believing thief then pointed out that Jesus was innocent, not deserving their mutual sentence of crucifixion. How did he come to the realization that Jesus was innocent? Perhaps he was there when Pilate pronounced Jesus blameless. He may have based his statement on Jesus’s calm and forgiving demeanor. Perhaps he had heard Jesus preach or heard about His ministry.

Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Susan: We do not know how much this man understood about the Kingdom of God. He asked no special favors, but only that Jesus remember him when He came into His kingdom. The assumption is that he be remembered in positive way as the one who ceased to degrade Jesus.

Susie: His question presumes that Jesus is, indeed, a king (maybe even THE KING, the Son of God) and He will somehow survive crucifixion. This man may have heard Jesus predict His resurrection, but I doubt it. The Holy Spirit drew this penitent thief and gave him the basic understanding he needed to be saved.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Susan: The only way to be saved, to join Jesus in paradise, is to believe He is the Son of the One true God. Jesus promised the thief he would be with Him in Heaven. Therefore, the thief must have believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, because Jesus can see into our hearts.

Susie: Note that the thief was not going to live more years to serve his newly professed Savior. He had done no good works to earn a place in Heaven, but he had done plenty of evil that should have sent him to Hell. Jesus granted this man salvation purely on the fact that he believed. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth to him, and he expressed that belief in asking Jesus to remember him.

Susan: After a person dies on this earth, it is too late to be saved. You might say this man scooted in under the wire in the nick of time. That may not seem fair to those who have served the Lord all their adult life, but Jesus is God and has a right to redeem anyone He chooses. After all, it was He who shed His blood to purchase their freedom.

Ponder this and Apply it: Good works are not the criteria for entering Heaven. If so, the thief would not have qualified. The only thing necessary for Jesus to bring you into right relationship with God is faith—belief—and the Bible says that even the faith we need to believe in Him is a gift:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


LUKE 23:32-38
(see also Matthew 27:32-44,
Mark 15:22-32, John 19:18-24)

Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

Susan: Here we have another one of those words that is not in common use today—malefactors. From the context, we know that these are others who have been condemned to death, but we looked it up in the dictionary to be sure of the precise meaning.

The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

MALEFAC'TOR, noun [supra.] One who commits a crime; one guilty of violating the laws, in such a manner as to subject him to public prosecution and punishment, particularly to capital punishment; a criminal.

Susie: Matthew and Mark clarify that the two were thieves or in some translations “robbers.” More than one source speculated that the two thieves may have actually been a part of Barabbas’s crew since robbery would not usually warrant the death penalty unless there were other circumstances.

Matthew 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Mark 15:27-28 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Susan: Calvary was another name used for the place of crucifixion which the Jews called Golgotha or “Place of the skull.”

Easton's Bible Dictionary as quoted at

Calvary - only in Luke 23:33, the Latin name Calvaria, which was used as a translation of the Greek word Kranion,  by which the Hebrew word Gulgoleth was interpreted, "the place of a skull." It probably took this name from its shape, being a hillock or low, rounded, bare elevation somewhat in the form of a human skull. It is nowhere in Scripture called a "hill." The crucifixion of our Lord took place outside the city walls (Hebrews 13:11-13) and near the public thoroughfare. "This thing was not done in a corner."

Susan: Jesus was an innocent man sandwiched between two who were guilty.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots.

Susie: This is the first of seven statements Jesus made while on the cross. Here is a link to the entire list:

Susan: Whereas most people in the process of being executed would be praying, “forgive ME,” Jesus who was innocent graciously prayed, “Father forgive THEM.” Jesus was in no need of forgiveness because He was dying as the Father’s sacrificial Lamb, taking the place of those guilty ones who trust in Him for salvation. The guiltless took on the sin of the guilty in order that those who believe, trust in, rely on Him might be redeemed by His blood.

Susie: For whom did Jesus ask forgiveness? Certainly, the Roman soldiers who were merely carrying out orders as executioners did not know exactly Whom they were nailing to the cross. Pilate knew He condemned an innocent man but had no real understanding of the true identity of Christ. The Jewish religious leaders who cried out for Him to be crucified knew full well that He was not guilty of insurrection, but they were blinded to the truth that He was their Messiah because of their unbelief. Perhaps this prayer was for all who had a part in this unjust execution. In that case, He may have even been praying for me because it was my sin and yours for which He died. See the devotional post “Who Sent Jesus to the Cross” at

Susan: The Apostle John shares more specific details about the soldiers gambling for Jesus’s clothing. They parceled out some of the garments but did not want to tear a unique robe made with no seam.

John 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Susie: As John’s gospel notes, even the gambling for Jesus’s clothing was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy:

Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

Luke 23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

Susan: The mob in unison with the religious leaders stood gawking and mocking. Jesus hung absolutely naked on the cross. Unlike the paintings that depict Him wearing some sort of loin cloth, Jesus was completely exposed—exposed to the elements and exposed to the glaring stares of the crowd—humiliated. Jesus came into this world as a naked baby, and He died naked again and with no worldly goods since the soldiers even took possession of the clothes off His back.

Susie: The religious leaders led the scornful taunts, telling Him to save Himself if He really was the Messiah. They still need a miracle to believe, but they do not really expect one since they are completely blinded to the truth.

Luke 23:36-37 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

Susie: The Roman soldiers, pretending to do an act of kindness by offering Jesus a drink, gave Him vinegar instead. This seemingly inconsequential detail was a fulfillment of the following Messianic prophecy:

Psalm 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Susan: Mark says the vinegar or sour wine was mixed with a pain-deadening agent:

Mark 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

Susan: John MacArthur explains why Jesus refused this narcotic in his note for Matthew 27:34:

MacArthur Study Bible
27:34 wine mingled with gall. “Gall” simply refers to something bitter. Mark 15:23 identifies it as myrrh, a narcotic. The Jews had a custom, based on Prov. 31:6, of administering a pain-deadening medication mixed with wine to victims of crucifixion, in order to deaden the pain. Tasting what it was, Christ, though thirsty, “would not drink,” lest it dull His senses before He completed His work. The lessening of physical pain would probably not have diminished the efficacy of His atoning work (see notes on 26:38, 39). But He needed His full mental faculties for the hours yet to come. It was necessary for Him to be awake and fully conscious, for example, to minister to the dying thief (Luke 23:43).

Susie: The soldiers joined in the jeering by tempting Jesus to save Himself to prove He was the King of the Jews. We have the benefit of looking back at the cross and realize that Jesus was performing the greater miracle of purchasing our redemption, our freedom from sin. This miracle of grace is far more important than displaying God’s power by saving Himself from the cross.

Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.

Susan: Where normally there would be a plaque delineating the crimes of the criminal being executed, Pilate had ordered that a sign be placed reading, “This is the King of the Jews.” He had it translated into all the languages commonly spoken by the people of Jerusalem. When the chief priests urged Pilate to change the sign to read, “He said I am the King of the Jews,” he refused.

John 19:20-22 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Ponder this and Apply it: The main idea to ponder in this passage is the extreme grace of Jesus that even as they nailed Him to the cross, He prayed the Father would forgive them. He died in order to extend that forgiveness to all who trust in Him. If you believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God, that He died to free people from sin and enable them to be in right relationship with God, and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day, you are able to place your complete trust in Jesus. Romans 10:9 “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” If you have any questions about surrendering your life to Jesus, please contact us through our website as we would like to pray for you and answer questions you may have. Click on the link below and then click on the “Contact/Prayer/Donate” tab.

Sunday, August 11, 2019


LUKE 23:26-31

Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

Susie: Cyrene was in Northern Africa and is modern day Tripoli in Libya.

Susan: A colony of Jews lived in Cyrene, and the Cyrenian Jews even had their own synagogue in Jerusalem. Simon and his sons had probably been staying in the countryside around Jerusalem and were walking into the city to celebrate the Passover.

Susie: Simon and sons came across the procession to the place of crucifixion, and Simon was pressed into service by the Roman soldiers. We do not know whether Simon intended to witness the execution or if this just happened to be his route to the city.

Susan: By divine providence Simon was there when Jesus needed someone to carry the cross beam usually borne by the prisoner. By this time, Jesus had been beaten, severely flogged, and deprived of sleep. He was unrecognizable, barely resembling a human being. He was in no shape to carry the heavy crossbeam.

Susie: Mark’s gospel includes the fact that Simon had his two sons with him. We do not know the age of these sons when this incident occurred. Their names must have meant something to Mark’s readers in the early church. Some commentators believe this is the same Rufus mentioned by Paul in the book of Romans.

Susan: No matter the ages of these boys, they probably wished they had not been with their dad that day. However, witnessing Jesus on the cross may have led to their eventual salvation!

Susie: Ray Bolz uses his imagination in the song “Watch the Lamb” but the message behind it is great. Follow this link to listen:

Mark 15:21 (VOICE) Along the way, they met a man from Cyrene, Simon (the father of Rufus and Alexander), who was coming in from the fields; and they ordered him to carry the heavy crossbar of the cross.

Romans 16:13 (CJB) Greet Rufus, chosen by the Lord, and his mother, who has been a mother to me too.

Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

Susie: An execution always seems to draw a crowd—those who knew the prisoner, those who accused him, and those who come out of morbid curiosity. There was a large crowd following Jesus and the other two men who were to be crucified that day.

Susan: No doubt, some of the women in the crowd were devoted followers of Jesus and, of course, His mother. Others may have been professional mourners or as we read in numerous commentaries, women who made it their personal mission to try to ease the suffering of those subjected to this cruel death by offering them narcotics.

Luke 23:28-30 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

Susie: Jesus, in His compassion, tells the weeping women they should not weep for Him but for themselves and their children. If we read this in light of Luke 21:20-24 where Jesus prophesied about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., we know why He gave this warning.

Luke 21:20-24 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Susan: When we first read this verse our minds said, “Huh?” Therefore, we looked up the point of view of several commentators. Our two favorite responses are quoted below. In summary, Jesus is represented by the green tree—innocent, full of life, and bearing fruit (For, eve in His dying He produced the fruit of believers who would become the adopted sons and daughters of God.) The dead tree represents the Jews in Jerusalem who refused to believe He was the Messiah, and all who never trust in Him—guilty, cut off from life, and fruitless.

The MacArthur Study Bible
23:31 green wood…dry. This was probably a common proverb. Jesus’ meaning seems to be this: If the Romans would perpetrate such atrocities on Jesus (the “green wood”—young, strong, and a source of life), what would they do to the Jewish nation (the “dry wood”—old, barren, and ripe for judgment)?

Susie: Note that only Luke’s gospel records this speech Jesus made to the women following Him to Golgotha.

Susan: Luke often included details about women that are neglected by the other synoptic gospels.

Pulpit Commentary as quoted at
Verse 31. - For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? Bleek and others interpret this saying here thus: The green wood represents Jesus condemned to crucifixion as a traitor in spite of his unvarying loyalty to Rome and all lawful Gentile power. The dry wood pictures the Jews, who, ever disloyal to Rome and all Genesis the authority, will bring on themselves with much stronger reason the terrible vengeance of the great conquering empire. Theophylact, however, better explains the saying in his paraphrase, "If they do these things in me, fruitful, always green, undying through the Divinity, what will they do to you, fruitless, and deprived of all life-giving righteousness?" So Farrar, who well summarizes, "If they act thus to me, the Innocent and the Holy, what shall be the fate of these, the guilty and false?"

Ponder this and Apply it: Are you intertwined with the “green tree,” Jesus Christ and grafted into the family of God? Is He living in you? Is Jesus your vitality? Or are you a dead branch, one who has not trusted in Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior? A dead branch is thrown into the fire because it is worthless. Praise the Lord that the dead branch can be brought back to life and filled with sap when you surrender your own will to the will of Jesus Christ. Can you say the following with Paul the Apostle?

Philippians 4:13 (AMP) I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]

Monday, August 5, 2019


LUKE 23:18-25
(see also Matthew 27:20-26;
Mark 15:11-15, John 18:40-19:16)

Luke 23:18-19 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

Susan: Pilate had hoped against hope that the Jews would do the right thing and have him release Jesus in honor of the Passover.

Susie: Instead, they called for the release of Barabbas, a notorious leader of an insurrection who plundered and murdered—in essence, a terrorist.

Susan: The religious leaders were so eager to dispose of Jesus that they were willing to release Barabbas whose name in Israel means “son of shame and confusion” back into their streets!

Luke 23:20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.

Susie: Pilate again tried to persuade them to agree to have Jesus flogged and released. Jesus’s judge has now become His advocate. So far, Pilate is still trying to win the battle with his conscience and refuse to kill Jesus.

Luke 23:21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

Susan: The priests, scribes, and the entire crowd (spurred on by the priests) insisted not only on the death penalty for Jesus, but the cruelest death devised by the Romans—crucifixion.

Susie: They wanted Jesus humiliated in front of the people, painfully nailed naked to the cross and left to agonize and suffocate until death.

Susan: Death on the cross would be especially degrading in light of this passage which all Jews would recognize:

Deuteronomy 21:22-23  And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

Luke 23:22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him and let him go.

Susan: Pilate persisted in questioning the validity of the death penalty for Jesus although he was still willing to have this innocent man viciously flogged in an effort to appease the Jews.

Susie: In fact, John’s gospel brings out the fact that Pilate tried just that. He turned Jesus over to the Roman soldiers to be beaten with a cat-o-nine-tails. They beat our Lord until his back looked like raw hamburger and plunged a crown of long thorns on His head. Then Pilate brought out this barely recognizable man and tried once more to release Him:

John 19:5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

Luke 23:23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

Susan: It was not just the uneducated, common person crying out for Jesus to be crucified. The priests—who had poured over the scriptures all their adult lives and should have been the first to recognize their Messiah—were the instigators of the demand for the death penalty. These men should have been able to make a list of the prophecies concerning the Messiah and match them up to the events of Jesus’s life to that point. They should have been worshipping Him as the Son of God instead of demanding His execution as a blasphemer!

Luke 23:24-25 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Susie: At this point, because of his fear of the Jewish leaders and what they might report to Rome, Pilate caved! He pronounced sentence that Jesus should be crucified. Matthew tells us that Pilate washed his hands of the entire mess (literally!).

Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Susan: The Jewish people who were demanding Jesus’s death then pronounced a curse upon themselves and their offspring (a generational curse):

Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Ponder this and Apply it: We vilify Pilate for refusing to stand up for what was right, but we must admit he was “between a rock and a hard place.” He knew what was right, but he also knew doing the right thing could ruin him politically and ultimately personally. The Jewish leaders blinded themselves to the truth and demanded the death of their own Promised One. How often to do we blind ourselves to truth that is staring us right in the face or give into temptation because of the cares of this world? Let us take an honest look at our own actions and pray the Holy Spirit arrests us and enables us to let righteousness prevail in our daily decisions!

Sunday, July 28, 2019


LUKE 23:13-17
(see also Matthew 27:15-19;
Mark 15:6-10, John 18:38-39)

Luke 23:13-14 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

Susie: After Herod Antipas sent Jesus back to Pilate, placing the problem of judgment into his hands once more, Pilate decided to make his decision as public as possible. He gathered together not only Jesus’s accusers (the chief priests and scribes) but also a crowd of people.

Susan: Pilate stated the charge they had brought against Jesus that He was leading the people in a riotous rebellion against the Roman rule. He told this crowd of people that he had examined and interrogated Jesus thoroughly.  Then proclaimed Him innocent of the charges. More than that, he declared he found “no fault” in Jesus. He further stated he found no reason for Jesus to be accused. He found Jesus inculpable!

The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

INCULP'ABLE, adjective [Latin in and culpabilis, from culpa, a fault.]

Without fault; unblamable; that cannot be accused.

Luke 23:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

Susie: Pilate further stated that when he passed the problem of judging Jesus to King Herod who ruled the region Jesus was from (Galilee), King Herod did not find Him guilty of any crime either.

Susan: Pilate and Herod (long-time enemies) had agreed together that Jesus had done nothing warranting the death penalty! They both had to admit that He was guiltless.

Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
Susie: Pilate declared Jesus innocent but still proposed that He be flogged as fitting a lesser offence. He so feared the crowd and especially the influential religious leaders that He sought to appease them by punishing Jesus even though he had concluded that He should not have even been accused.

Susan: Pilate was the puppet of whomever he felt was the greatest threat to his position and well-being. The Jewish religious establishment was pulling his strings because he feared they would report to Caesar that he failed to squelch an uprising led by Jesus.

Luke 23:17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

Susie: There was a tradition that the Roman governor would release one criminal from prison at the Feast of Passover. Therefore, Pilate hoped he could get by with having Jesus flogged and then release him as was the custom. However, as we will see in the next lesson, the priests and scribes would not accept that proposal.

Ponder this and Apply it: Pilate vacillated because he was torn by his conscience (and as we see in Matthew 27:19, his wife’s dream) knowing that Jesus was innocent and his fear of the Jewish leaders and crowd. Even this Roman governor could see that Jesus was not a criminal while His own people sought to have Him executed. We are hard on Pilate, but I wonder honestly what might we have done in his sandals? We are looking back from this side of the cross and resurrection. The important thing to take away from this is that Jesus was truly inculpable, an innocent man dying in our place to pay the penalty we deserved. Take a moment to praise Him and thank Him for suffering your shame and pain in order to redeem you to be an adopted child in the Kingdom of God.