Luke 23 – Do You Understand Who Jesus Is?

After being betrayed, arrested, and beaten, Jesus faces the religious leaders and government officials.

Even as most religious leaders, most soldiers, most of the crowd, and one of the criminals oppose Jesus there is one religious leader (Joseph of Arimathea), one soldier, some of the crowd, and one of the criminals who believe in Him.

To understand who Jesus is, simply start with praying something like this: “Jesus, forgive me for I don’t know what I’m doing. I need you to lead and guide me. I choose to follow You, and I need your help to do so.”

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Video:

https://youtu.be/Z61B3cBcFiw

Message Notes:

Jesus is betrayed, arrested, mocked, beaten, and faces the authorities. At the beginning of Luke 23 he is accused of teaching against paying taxes to Caesar. He is also accused of claiming to be the Messiah. The first accusation is false. He actually taught the opposite. The second accusation is true. The religious leaders and the crowd with them did not believe he was the Messiah and wanted him killed because of his claims.

Pontius Pilate the Roman governor and Herod Antipas, the Roman-appointed ruler of Galilee and son of the much-hated King Herod did not understand who Jesus was. Pilate thought he was the victim of some theological debate among the Jews and Herod thought he was a miracle worker who could entertain him.

Some soldiers mocked him but one soldier saw him crucified and “praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭‭47‬ ‭NIV‬‬) 

One criminal crucified along with Jesus mocked him telling him if he was the messiah then save himself. The other criminal crucified with Jesus rebuked the other criminal and said to Jesus: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42 NIV)

Some in the crowd were so mad at Jesus they beat their chest with rage before leaving in disgust. Some in the crowd stayed mourning the loss of the One who had seen them, included them, healed them, and gave them hope.

Remarkably to all who were involved, to all who were there, Jesus prays: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭34‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

It’s remarkable how so many people can see the same thing and have such a different view of what’s happening.

As we’ve been reading through the Gospel of Luke, he wrote a thorough account of the life, ministry, and death of Jesus based on eyewitness testimony. It’s very clear that Jesus saw Himself as the Messiah who would suffer and die on behalf of the sins of humanity – all who came before Him, all there that day he was crucified at the place called the Skull, and all those who came after Him. 

Being crucified and lifted up on that cross was His way towards being enthroned as the King of God’s New Kingdom – an invisible Kingdom made up of those who acknowledge they need forgiveness. They simply confess they need what Jesus did on the cross to count for them.

Jesus was humiliated, beaten, crucified, and killed and that was His path to be enthroned at the right hand of God in the heavenly realms as He described to “the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law.” (‭‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭66‬ ‭NIV)

Admitting you need a Savior, a Leader, a new King requires humility. In God’s Kingdom, those who humble themselves are those who are lifted up! 

To understand who Jesus is, simply start with praying something like this: “Jesus, forgive me for I don’t know what I’m doing. I need you to lead and guide me. I choose to follow You, and I need your help to do so.”

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