Tuesday, November 08, 2011

New Year: Luke 22-23 for Nov 6

By paying close attention to Luke 22-23 we realize how easy it is to understand the historical reasons for Jesus's death.

(Matt 26:1 - 27:61 and Mark 14:1 - 15:47 are in the same time sequence as Luke 22-23 when we read them synoptically.)

The particulars of His death were caused by a) the religious conflict since 6:7, 6:11, 20:19, 20:26 and especially after what Luke wrote in 22:2; b) actions of those in authority, not only "the chief priests and the scribes" (23:10), but Herod and Pilate (23:11-12). The fact that what "is written must be fulfilled in Me," 22:37 (which is what Jesus said about what was happening), was in fact happening did not provide the motivation to those who "were seeking how they might put Him to death" (22:2). They had the standard reasons of antagonism, power, and self-protection, as did Herod and Pilate. Jesus, for His part, did not countenance their religion either (16:15).

There are three sources of official antipathy to Jesus pictured here: a) the chief priests and the scribes; b) Herod; and c) Pilate, going from the strongest forces against Jesus, to weakest. Pilate's antipathy is so weak, that he is swayed by the crowd (23:23).

The obstacle to what the "chief priests and the scribes" wanted to do -- "put Him to death" (22:2) -- was the crowd. Judas provided them an opportunity to put that obstacle aside. Luke pointedly says that that Jesus was arrested at a place that it "was His custom" to go to (22:39).

Is that all there is to it, then? The antogonism of a religious group in power. Betrayal of one's routine by one of His disciples. Political expedience. Crowd manipulation.

All that. Add the devil himself (22:3). But Luke 22:37 governs it all. It was a fulfilment, and a fulfillment indeed, of Something great.

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