Term 2 – Week 11
Big Idea – Jesus is the innocent one who became guilty for us
- Be convinced that Jesus really was innocent, he deserved no punishment. This is important so that we can be saved.
- Belief – believe that Jesus was innocent and we are guilty
- Behaviour – trust in his innocent life that makes the guilty such as us innocent
A lot has happened since the triumphant entry of the King into Jerusalem. We saw already how Jesus is the King yet his victory is not quite in line with the expectations of the people. A collection of teaching and parables that follow criticise false ‘religion’. Jesus faces questioning about his own authority and political opinions, and in answering he provides major critiques on the attitude, teachings and practices of ‘mainstream’ religion – whose representatives become increasingly incensed (19:45-21:4). Even the beauty of Jerusalem is only temporary, as Jesus promises the destruction of the city but also wider persecution and hardship will come before the Son of Man will return in Daniel 7-esque power and glory. Therefore the disciples must be careful, be on the watch and pray – an instruction that is ill-applied as we head into chapter 22.
The start of chapter 22 shows us that a plan is taking place, a sinister plan as the chief priests and teachers of the law look to get rid of Jesus secretly but effectively. Satan himself is on board with this plan as he enters the heart of Judas and tempts him to betray Jesus for a sum of money. The interaction between the jealousy, envy and sin of man with the evil schemes of Satan are in dreadful harmony. ‘They were delighted’. However, we already know that another plan is in place. For some time Jesus has been on his way to Jerusalem. His royal procession has come to an end but for some time Jesus has been predicting the events that would take place. Jesus shows his control over the situation in his directing of the Passover preparations, where he predicts his sacrifices and establishes its remembrance. This cup is agonising and Jesus prays in anguish for its removal, but was strengthened by an angel from heaven. Jesus is betrayed by Judas, let down by his zealous disciples and disowned by the once vociferous Peter.
As we turn to our passage we are faced with the awful treatment of Jesus. The one who has entered Jerusalem triumphantly is now being mocked, abused and insulted. His status is such that the guards feel it possible to beat him. At daybreak he faces trial first with the Sanhedrin, the council of the Jewish people. As he was questioned he provided enough of an answer to send them into rage at his blasphemy. He claims to be the Son of God. Yet this council has no real power, so send Jesus to the Roman ruler, Pilate. They provide random charges to cloak the main reason (blasphemy), but Pilate is unable to establish a sufficient crime.
Through the Sanhedrin, Pilate and then Herod, we see clearly that Jesus is innocent. He has done nothing to merit the death penalty. But that is where he is heading due to the force of will of the Jewish authorities and the self-preservation of the Roman authorities. Herod finds time to mock Jesus again after becoming frustrated at Jesus’ reluctance to play along. The lack of justice is shocking. Yet we know the beating and mocking of the innocent one is part of God’s plan of salvation. The Son of God with all authority in the universe lays down his crown and submits, so that his innocent life might become ours.
‘Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it,
and whoever loses their life will preserve it.’
Lift Up Your Voices – Awesome Cutlery
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