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Crucify, Crucify Him

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The innocent Man stands unwavering in trial to set the guilty free.

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Reading Fyoder Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot - After writing a novel about a guilty man (Crime and Punishment), Dostoevsky attempted to portray a character “of pure innocence”—clearly influenced by Dostoevsky’s regard for Christ as a “measurelessly, infinitely beautiful person”—the only “positively beautiful person.” I read some descriptions and reviews about it, learning that it explores the consequences of placing an innocent person in the center of the twisted morals and motives, passions and egos of worldly society.
I won’t give away the ending, because after 10 years I still haven’t finished it!
But, I will tell you that you don’t have to be an expert in classic literature to sense that tragedy is looming. In fact, you don’t even have to read the book to know that human beings have a track record for rejecting that which is truly good.
It’s partly what makes reading the passion narratives so difficult. 1. We feel so powerless at watching tragedy unfold, and 2. We recognize ourselves in those who oppose, betray, deny, abandon, accuse, question, reject, and crucify a truly good man.

What to do with Jesus

Set the scene: It’s early Friday morning in Jerusalem at Passover time. Jewish people have gathered from all over for this most special time. Extra security is put in place by Rome. The governor Pilate is stationed there to keep the peace. A company of distinguished Jewish leaders have brought to him a man that is stirring folks up, and Pilate finds himself in a dilemma — because he can’t find any guilt in this man. But, you’ve got to satisfy the crowd, otherwise you’ll really have a political problem… so he decides to punish Jesus (for nothing) and release him. Maybe that will settle things down.
I’m thinking Pilate probably woke up that morning with no idea that he would make a decision that would be remembered by the whole world forever.
1 Corinthians 2:8 ESV
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
that is, had they understood the “secret and hidden wisdom of God”
cosmic powers, not merely Pilate
It’s important to remember that we are not seeing here merely the work of a chanting mob and a sway-able politician; we are seeing evil give its worst and God give his best — and God will have the victory.
But that said, the human response to Jesus can never be downplayed. Like Pilate and the crowd, we have to ask ourselves what we will do with Jesus?

Portrait of Jesus

What portrait of Jesus is Luke painting for us? (Arrest and Trial)
arrest - they came out against him like he was a robber, with swords and clubs! He said, I was with you “day after day in the Temple.” He even healed the ear of one of those who came out to arrest him.
questioned by Pilate and Herod - neither one found any guilt in him
- Not hiding his face from the disgrace of spit and blows, but having “set [his] face like a flint” — that is to be unflinching
- Blind Man’s Bluff. Ironically, the one they mock as a prophet, had indeed predicted in advance the very beating he was getting at their hands (). He knew what was coming, and yet he was entirely yielded to the will of God.
Can you see his love in this suffering?
When the crowds were crying “Crucify, Crucify Him.” He was “arrayed in splendid clothing” (), and by this point (according to John) had a crown of thorns pressed into his scalp. Blood, no doubt, running down his face, bruised and swollen from the beatings, and with a back that had already had some degree of flogging.
They were mocking his claim: that he was the true King, just not in the ways they imagined that.
Before the council: Are you the Christ? Are you the Son of God?
unmistakable reference to , - everlasting rule
With references
Before Pilate: Are you the King of the Jews?
Luke would have us see that in spite of all appearances, accusations, and verdicts, this man was indeed Christ, the Son of God, the true King who would, as Jesus said, “be seated [from now on] at the right hand of the power of God” ().
None of them
That is reality. Question for them and for us: What will do with this reality?


Look at verse 23 - this is what old Dostoevsky observed about the human response of worldly society to a man of pure innocence and beauty.
twice in eight verses (between 18 and 25), Luke describes Barabbas guilt. In the same way that Luke takes great care to show us Christ’s innocence, he names Barabbas’ insurrection and murder (vss. 19, 20).
Symbolizes the overwhelmingly popular choice of darkness over light
Gives us a foretaste of the gospel: Christ’s death sets the guilty free!
Jesus, the innocent man, stands unwavering in trial to set the guilty free.
The thought occured to me this week, how tired Jesus must have been.
the agony in the garden (while disciples slept)
healing a man (power went out from him)
beaten, questioned, accused through the night
tried and questioned at length by religious and political powers
mocked, spit upon, flogged, and struck over and over again
apparently without a wink of sleep
And all the while, it would have only taken one word to put every mocker and accuser in their place. That takes guts. That takes iron resolve.
That is the determined love of God to set the guilty free.


Do you remember what it’s like to pull an all-nighter? No sleep may seem the least of Jesus’ problems at this point in the story, but haven’t you noticed how hard things are when your tired? Resolve weakened.
Can you imagine how tired Jesus was?
agony in the garden (disciples already struggling with sleep)
Jesus always calls us to make a choice about him.
healed a man’s ear ( - “I perceive that power has gone out from me”)
Choosing him is freedom, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. He calls us to follow him - “deny self, carry your cross”
Our Scripture reading this morning about the innocent one who set his face like a flint and gave his back to those who strike was from . Verse 10 gives us an invitation as we consider making a choice about Jesus and as we endure the difficulties of following (cross-carrying).
Isaiah 50:10 ESV
Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
just think of the psychological effect of having been betrayed, abandoned, denied, mocked, insulted, accused, and questioned… not to mention beaten and struck repeatedly
Physically beaten and mocked, He was questioned and accused through the night, struck by priest and guard alike.
Crowd - Jesus always calls us to make a choice about him—to accept him or oppose him
Now, after enduring all this through the night, there was talk of the Passover Pardon…and Pilate was talking about releasing him.
Stone pavement, governors headquarters in Jerusalem, surrounded by a crowd of people chanting, “Away with this man!” Crucify Him!
I imagine somewhere in that crowd are some disciples watching… not chanting, but watching in horror and dread.
Pilate spoke with the crowd multiple times, at one point bringing out Jesus who (on top of the night’s torture) had been flogged, then dressed in a purple robe and crowned with thorns to ridicule the idea that he was a “king.”
Pilate was perplexed at how silent Jesus was; surely his disciples were too. This was the man who with a word shushed storms and even the wind obeyed him. He had Pilate’s ear, if only he would say something to quiet this storm!
Let’s back up for moment...

Jesus Arrested and Tried

Luke 22:63–65 ESV
Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.
Blindman’s bluff - mocking him as a so-called prophet
Great irony - he had predicted the very thing they were doing
Luke 18:31–33 ESV
And taking the twelve, he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished. For he will be delivered over to the Gentiles and will be mocked and shamefully treated and spit upon. And after flogging him, they will kill him, and on the third day he will rise.”
This sets up a series of trials, in which it seems that the game of blindman’s bluff is reversed. It is Jesus identity in question, and everyone else is blind.
Jesus before the Jewish Council
Other accounts tell us of some accusing and questioning that went on in the night, but they had to wait until morning for an official trial.
Luke 22:67–71 ESV
“If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
Luke 22:67-
Crowd - Jesus always calls us to make a choice about him—to accept him or oppose him
Barabbas - Jesus stood firm in trial to set the guilty free
Jesus - lean on God when you are weary.
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