Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Luke 23:22-25 they kept demanding that he be crucified

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, June 11, 2019

22 He spoke to them a third time, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no grounds for sentencing him to death. So I will flog him and release him.” 23 But with loud voices they kept demanding that he be crucified, and their shouts and those of the high priests began to prevail.  24 So Pilate passed sentence according to what they demanded. 25 He released the one they had asked for, who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over to their will.

By this time it was almost mid-morning, sometime around 8:00 am. Pilate’s judgment was carried away completely by the crowd, and thinking that he had to give in just to keep the peace he let Jesus be handed over for crucifixion. The chief priests and members of the Sanhedrin who were there had succeeded in putting their own evil intentions ahead of even the most basic civil laws of justice. They had broken virtually every commandment along the way. Every transgression against the Law of God also breaks the First Commandment. How is this so? It’s because whenever we put ourselves ahead of God’s word, we are also putting ourselves ahead of God. In fact, someone who trusts in themselves above all things has made himself into a god. Consider the wise words of Martin Luther: “To have a God properly means to have something in which the heart trusts completely” (Large Catechism, par. 10).

Such were the people who condemned him for his holy and perfect righteousness. Stephen preached to some of these very men, “Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him—you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it” (Acts 7:52-54).

Yet Jesus accepted the verdict and the will of his killers. He submitted to them without a word, and he gave up his life even for them. As Peter said, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). And Philip explained the words of Isaiah for the Ethiopian eunuch: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth” (Acts 8:32-33). Jesus let himself be deprived of justice in order to accomplish our salvation, which transcended justice. He went so far beyond the rules of justice that he himself paid the price of our sinfulness, removing the need for any other payment forever. By his punishment, we are set free from all punishment. By his suffering, we are spared from eternal suffering. He was silent, but we will shout his praises forevermore.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

Browse Devotion Archive