The (in)justice of the mob in Luke 23

We pick up the story with Jesus before Pontius Pilate,

And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

Pilate then sent Jesus to Herod, and when Herod was done with him,

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 

The crowd would have nothing of it.  They demanded Jesus be crucified.  Pilate continued,

22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 

You can almost feel sorry for Pilate.  It’s hard to resist the mob and maybe hardest of all for a politician to do so, even one as awful as this one.  The raging crowd often gets its way, and that is what happens here, but is seldom altogether right in what it demands.  Mob scenes are never a good place to carefully debate all the options, but ideal if your goal is to make bad things happen.

Exodus 23:2 says,

You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice.

In this case the sinless Son of God was sent to his death, a slow, arduous, humiliating, hellish death.  Of course, we can be happy for that.  It was part of God’s plan to use evil to bring about good.  The worst injustice that ever occurred on planet earth accomplished the greatest good for the maximum number of people. 

As we read in Romans 8:31-34,

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Thank you Jesus!

Honest Q & A: Bible (1) – Sins of the Fathers

Some of the questions turned in for Honest Q & A relate to the Bible – as in, “What does this mean?” or “How should we properly understand that?” Today we will look at one such example.

In Exodus 20:5, God gives us a certain description of himself,

“I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.”

That alone might be hard enough to handle as is, but it is made a tad more difficult by something else God says in Ezekiel 18:20,

“The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”

What are we to do with this seeming contradiction? Is there a way to reconcile them? Or the even explain the apparent harshness of the first statement? I think there is.

For the first item, think in terms of the consequences of the fathers’, or even parents’ sins. (Moms don’t get a free ride here, I’m afraid.) These indeed are passed down from generation to generation, whether we like it or not. Consider the too-frequent example of the absent, irresponsible father. There is no denying that the children bear the consequences. And they don’t always overcome these obstacles, but as a result may be more prone to falling into various types of sin themselves, perhaps drunkenness. In that case, the consequences go farther and farther down the line. Sin can have lasting effects. Problems do pass down from generation to generation. Of course positive things can do the same, so the trick is to break any negative cycles and give our own kids a better chance. This is a general characteristic of how God has made the world. We are wise to take note of it and act accordingly.

On the other hand, in Ezekiel it seems necessary to make a distinction between consequences and actual guilt. The prophet is talking about the guilt of specific sins being handed down from parents to children. Therefore children will not suffer punishment from God based upon what the father has done. Referring to the earlier example, we might point out that the children do not bear the guilt of their absent father’s irresponsibility. They do bear the consequences, but not the guilt. He is guilty; they are not.  Consequences last. The guilt of a given act is confined to the specific individual who does the deed.

Thanks for asking. I hope that helps!

 

Palmer St. Podcast: Saved by the Blood

 

The night Jesus was betrayed, he celebrated the Passover with his disciples.  Christ died in conjunction with the Passover.  That was no coincidence.  “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you…” (Exodus 12:13)

Exodus 12.mp3

Exodus 12.pdf

Exodus 12.pptx

Palmer St. Podcast: Becoming Holy

What is holiness anyway? From dictionary.com:

  1. 1. the quality or state of being holy; sanctity
  2. a title of the pope

How about sanctity?

  1. “holiness…” (This isn’t getting us very far.)

Hebrews04.mp3

Hebrews 04.pdf

Hebrews 04.pptx