March 14 – Gospel Readthrough – Luke 23

Read Luke 23:1-56

I have spent hours of time watching the horrors of war unfold in Ukraine lately. If you have seen any of the coverage, you would agree that the Ukrainian people are suffering greatly.

It is heart-wrenching and almost hopeless.

I put myself in the shoes of those mothers and wives and can hardly imagine how I would leave my home with only a bag or two and leave my husband behind.  Several newscasters have commented how this is the first time we have been able to watch war unfold in real time. We don’t have to wait for the news to be relayed to us a few days after it actually happened. We are able to see the effects right away.

It made me think of the crucifixion of Jesus that we read about in Luke 23. Though not a war, it was definitely a significant event that many people from all over the world were interested in.  If newscasters could have broadcast the events leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection, would it have made a difference? Would people have understood more clearly His purpose? Or would news organizations have struggled to make sense of the politics involved and the dire consequences humankind faced without a Savior?

Tonight, we are coming to you live from Jerusalem. A short viewing with Pilate, the Roman governor, has ended. The crowds demanded Pilate arrest Jesus for inciting riots wherever He goes and making false claims about Himself. Pilate sent Jesus and the crowds on to further pursue their complaints with Herod Anitpas.

Now Herod is a person sure to take little pity on Jesus. He once beheaded his predecessor, John the Baptist. He will surely want to make a statement with his ruling. Stay tuned as we watch this trial unfold.

It isn’t hard to imagine a news scenario like this at all. We are so used to having the facts thrown at us, that we expect them to be instantly available and become frustrated when we have to wait. The crowd following Jesus’ trial would have heard the facts reasonably quickly as news spread throughout the angry mob.

However, they missed the bigger picture.

They missed that this was all part of God’s plan to redeem people. This had always been the plan. It was the only plan that would work.

As Jesus was marched through the streets of Jerusalem carrying His cross, being mocked and spit upon, news reporters would have given the play-by-play. As Roman soldiers drove the spikes into His hands and feet amid the crowds cheering and jeering, the report would have been conclusive that Jesus was being punished for His wrong-doing. However, news reporters may have missed the words of Jesus for the noise of the crowds. In verse 34, Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing.” In verses 39-43, in the midst of being crucified, Jesus converses with the criminal next to Him. Without an ounce of selfishness, He said, “I assure you today you will be with me in paradise.”

Jesus comforted the man next to Him despite the agony they both experienced.

The news that evening would have proclaimed a victory for the angry mobs and Herod. The story not being told would be one that would have an eternal effect on you and me. The words to the Chris Tomlin song “Jesus Messiah” say it so well:

He became sin, who knew no sin
That we might become His righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing, love so amazing

Jesus Messiah, name above all names
Blessed redeemer, Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners, the ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah, Lord of all

Let the report we give to people today be that of hope. Let the message be clear. Christ died for us because He loved us. He IS love. He is the sacrifice and Savior. His humble, amazing love rescues all of us from the sin that separates us from God.

What good news!

We must broadcast this message to our friends and family so that they will know there is hope of life everlasting with Jesus. Sing this song today and boldly share this wonderful hope we have because of God’s love for us!

Tammy Finney

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