Pray for the justice system

Posted Apr 15, 2022

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Daily Scripture

During Lent, we are using short videos to share a daily idea (linked to the gospel of Luke) on how to grow spiritually. Watch today’s video. Click here or on the image below:

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Note: We are reading the entire gospel of Luke in the GPS. Some day’s readings are longer than usual. We hope you’ll have an extra cup of coffee, or use your lunch break, and read Luke’s entire story of Jesus.

Jesus' judges behaved in ways that condemned them Luke 22:63 – 23:31

63 The men who were holding Jesus in custody taunted him while they beat him. 64 They blindfolded him and asked him repeatedly, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 Insulting him, they said many other horrible things against him. 66 As morning came, the elders of the people, both chief priests and legal experts, came together, and Jesus was brought before their council.

67 They said, “If you are the Christ, tell us!”

He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe. 68 And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69 But from now on, the Human One [or Son of Man] will be seated on the right side of the power of God” [Psalm 110:1].

70 They all said, “Are you God’s Son, then?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony? We’ve heard it from his own lips.”

23 1 The whole assembly got up and led Jesus to Pilate and 2 began to accuse him. They said, “We have found this man misleading our people, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he is the Christ, a king.”

3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “That’s what you say.”

4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no legal basis for action against this man.”

5 But they objected strenuously, saying, “He agitates the people with his teaching throughout Judea—starting from Galilee all the way here.”

6 Hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was from Herod’s district, Pilate sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. 8 Herod was very glad to see Jesus, for he had heard about Jesus and had wanted to see him for quite some time. He was hoping to see Jesus perform some sign. 9 Herod questioned Jesus at length, but Jesus didn’t respond to him. 10 The chief priests and the legal experts were there, fiercely accusing Jesus. 11 Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt. Herod mocked him by dressing Jesus in elegant clothes and sent him back to Pilate. 12 Pilate and Herod became friends with each other that day. Before this, they had been enemies.

13 Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people. 14 He said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. 15 Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death. 16 Therefore, I’ll have him whipped, then let him go.” [Scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament do not include 23:17 He had to release one prisoner for them because of the festival.]

18 But with one voice they shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” (19 Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of a riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.)

20 Pilate addressed them again because he wanted to release Jesus.

21 They kept shouting out, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time, Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I’ve found no legal basis for the death penalty in his case. Therefore, I will have him whipped, then let him go.”

23 But they were adamant, shouting their demand that Jesus be crucified. Their voices won out. 24 Pilate issued his decision to grant their request. 25 He released the one they asked for, who had been thrown into prison because of a riot and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.

26 As they led Jesus away, they grabbed Simon, a man from Cyrene, who was coming in from the countryside. They put the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A huge crowd of people followed Jesus, including women, who were mourning and wailing for him. 28 Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Rather, cry for yourselves and your children. 29 The time will come when they will say, ‘Happy are those who are unable to become pregnant, the wombs that never gave birth, and the breasts that never nursed a child.’ 30 Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us’ [Hosea 10:8]. 31 If they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Note: “Good Friday” was only “good” in retrospect. Click here for information about how Resurrection invites you to mark this somber day when Jesus suffered the worst that evil and hate could do.

Reflection Questions

Jesus' enemies had dogged his footsteps through most of his public ministry. They claimed he was a false teacher, even demonic (cf. Luke 11:14-16). But when they had him in their power, the contrast was striking. The leaders, sure of their “righteousness,” behaved in frenzied, unfair, cruel, hate-filled ways. Jesus remained calm and in control of himself.

  • Luke said Jesus' guards taunted and beat him BEFORE his trial (Luke 26:62, 66). This “trial” was like Alice in Wonderland—“verdict first, evidence later.” Even Pontius Pilate, a cynical Roman politician, saw through their charges, saying, “I find no legal basis for action against this man” (23:4). Has anyone ever treated you unfairly? How can you grow toward having the spirit with which Jesus met this unfair trial?
  • The religious leaders loathed tax collectors for working with Rome. They easily forgot that “principle” to insist that the Roman procurator help kill Jesus. From God’s point of view, who was really on trial—Jesus, or Pilate and the religious leaders unwilling to even consider that Jesus might be who he claimed? When have you seen the use of bad means disgrace a desired goal?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I wasn’t part of that awful “kangaroo court” trial. But fear or prejudice can blind me, too. Forgive me, cleanse me, give me a clearer vision of how my actions heal or harm. Amen.


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Whether you’re just starting to explore the Christian faith, or you’re a long-time Christian, we want to do everything we can to help you on your journey to know, love and serve God. The GPS (Grow, Pray, Study) Guide provides Scripture and insights to enhance your journey. If you have a question or comment about the GPS Guide, please send it to GPS@cor.org.

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe

Darren Lippe helps facilitate Journey 101 “Loving God” classes, guides a 7th-grade Sunday school class, is a member of a small group and a men’s group, and serves on the curriculum team.

A few years ago, my wife, Doris, & I co-wrote a study, entitled “CrossFit,” that focused on several “heart-healthy” hikes/walks of the “Greatest Personal Trainer Ever” - Jesus. Let’s take a closer look at the Kidron Valley, which Jesus traversed several times during Holy Week.

Aside: Hiking around mountain lakes & streams during the rainy season sometimes means we have to hike come hill or high water.

The Kidron Valley is a 20-ish mile ravine that begins north of Jerusalem, runs past the Temple, Calvary, Garden of Gethsemane, Mount of Olives, & empties into the Dead Sea. It forms the eastern limit of the city of Jerusalem. Within the valley, is a seasonal brook that is dry in the summer & can be a fast-flowing river in the winter. Kidron can mean “dusky or gloomy.”

Aside: It’d be tough to be a real-estate agent trying to sell land in the Kidron Valley. Not only would the brochure have to describe it as dark & grim, but, even worse--intermittent streaming service.

The Kidron Valley has a fascinating history. In the Old Testament we read of 3 separate occasions when the valley became a trashcan for the cleansings of the Temple/Jerusalem: In 911 B.C. King Asa destroyed idols & burned them in the valley, in 716 B.C. King Hezekiah had idols & unclean elements carried to the Kidron Brook, & in 622 B.C. Hilkiah reduced the idols to dust in the Kidron Valley.

Aside: Archeologists were disappointed to discover an ancient landfill devoted to disposed hourglasses & sundials. Turns out it was just a waste of time.

The Kidron Valley also had a history for betrayal & treachery, as detailed in the story of King David from 2 Samuel 15:2-31: Absalom was one of King David's many sons (2 Samuel 13:1). However, he conspired against David to make David look bad. Absalom then stole the hearts of the people by pretending to care for them. He then asks permission to go to Hebron to fulfill a vow to God, but really it’s to start a revolt against King David. King David is forced to flee Jerusalem through the Kidron Valley & weeps as he reaches the Mount of Olives & learns that his trusted adviser, Ahithophel, has joined the conspiracy.

Now, fast forward to Holy Week. The Kidron Valley’s gloomy appearance, noted earlier, was probably worsened by the traditions of Passover. John places the walk from the Upper Room to the Garden of Gethsemane on Thursday in the midst of Passover. Recall that hundreds of Priests would have been sacrificing thousands of lambs on the altar of the Temple & all of this blood would drain from the altar area into the Kidron Valley. So, the very ravine that Jesus passes through after His arrest was stained with the blood of the sacrificial lambs. (Metaphor Alert!)

So what might this all mean for us today?

  • The Kidron Valley was a place for trashing the man-made idols to focus on the one true God. I wonder if Jesus spotted the remnants of the broken statues & lamented how easily humankind is distracted & deceived by the lies & false promises of fraudulent gods? Maybe this is the perfect weekend to set aside our foolish fixations & begin to concentrate on our spiritual journey with God.
  • King David was rejected by his own people & betrayed by his own son. Maybe Jesus considered this history as He walked through the valley, knowing He would be rejected by the Jewish people & soon to be betrayed by one of His own Disciples. Perhaps we, too, have denied Him in our own way, by not making Him a priority or by living a life that forgets to honor Him. What an ideal day to begin making amends.
  • Finally, as Jesus departed from the light & fellowship of the Upper Room to cross the blood stained Kidron Valley, He knew full well the events that were about to come. He exhibited incredible strength & courage to just keep on going. There may be a time when we, too, will have to cross our own proverbial Kidron Valley, be it a medical diagnosis, a relationship setback, or financial struggles. Maybe recalling Jesus’ faithful walk that night could provide inspiration & encouragement to us this day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, Doris & I are outlining a study for her women’s group for next fall reviewing the Biblical history & legends of Godly relics like the Holy Grail, Veronica’s Veil, & the Shroud of Turin to discuss what they might mean for us today. The working title is “Coming to a Church Near You: Virginia Jones & the Raiders of the Lost Archive.”

Looking for GPS Guide? Scroll to the top of this page and click the GPS Guide tab!

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