Peace be with you!
The fate of Jesus is in the hands of the high priest, chief priests, scribes, and the Jewish council. Men are restraining Jesus as they mock and beat him (Luke 22:63). The guards blindfold Jesus and play the sick game of making Jesus guess who is beating him (Luke 22:64). They insult Jesus (Luke 22:65), and yet he does not fight back.
The chief priests have gathered the high priest, scribes, and the assembly of elders to question Jesus (Luke 22:66). The chief priests ask Jesus, “If you are the Messiah, tell us.” He replied, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God” (Luke 22:67-69 NRSV). Then the chief priests ask if he is the Son of God, and he replies, “You say I am.” (Luke 22:70).
The high priest, scribes, and the assembly of elders are convinced Jesus is committing blasphemy and take him to see Pilate (Luke 22:71-23:1). Nothing Jesus would have said could have changed their minds. The chief priests have been waiting for their chance to get their hands on Jesus and stop him from being “disturbance.” The chief priests bring three charges against Jesus: that he 1) misleads the Jewish nation, 2) forbids his followers from paying the emperor’s taxes, and 3) calls himself the Messiah, the King of the Jews (Luke 23:2). The first charge demonstrates the chief priests’ ignorance to Jesus’s message. The chief priests want nothing to do with the good news, because it would disrupt their way of life—their entitlement over the other Jews. The second charge is a lie, for Jesus endorsed paying taxes by saying, give to Caesar what he is owed (Luke 20:25). Jesus does not disrespect the political system, though he asks the tax collectors to only take what is owed. The third charge paints Jesus as a revolutionary trying to overthrow the Roman government. Although Jesus claims to be the Anointed One—a king, Jesus is not trying to lead a revolution; rather Jesus is trying to spread the good news and bring people into a relationship with God the Father. The chief priests have twisted Jesus’s words and actions to bring charges against him to evoke the death penalty.
Pilate asks Jesus if he is the King of the Jews, and Jesus answers, “You say so” (Luke 23:3). Pilate finds no basis to hold Jesus and finds the crowd annoying for bringing charges against an innocent man (Luke 23:4). There is no evidence to back the accusations the chief priests bring against Jesus. Pilate has no right to hold Jesus any longer.
However, the chief priests are insistent that Jesus has been disrupting in Galilee for years, and now he is disrupting the peace throughout Judea (Luke 23:5). When Pilate finds out Jesus is a Galilean, he sends him to see Herod since that is his jurisdiction (Luke 23:6-7).
The Jewish authorities and the Roman government are having a power struggle. Jesus is a problem for the Jewish authorities, but they cannot crucify him without the assistance of the Roman government. There is not enough evidence for the Roman government to kill Jesus. Yet the Lord finds a way to fulfill his scriptures.
Dear Jesus, thank you for taking our beating, our cross, our punishment for us. Help us to live a life worthy of your sacrifice. Be with us as we fight against the temptations in the world. Thank you for the power of your love. Amen.