How Could the Cross Be Good News?
Luke 22, 23
April 2, 2023
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
A. Let’s go back… To Passover Week (Luke 22:1,2,7)
1. Luke 22:1,2 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him [jESUS]; for they feared the people.
2. Luke 22:7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
3. The Passover is a celebration by the Jews every Spring at this time of year, remembering God freeing the entire nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses.
4. God freed His people the Jews from Pharaoh’s grip by bringing death throughout Egypt – the final plague – an angel of death moved throughout the entire nation of Egypt
5. But so that no one died in the Jewish homes, God instructed every believer to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a sacrificial lamb and, so that when God saw this over the main doorway, He passed over that home, and let them live - hence the name of the celebration is… PASS-OVER – it was a substitute!
6. It is interesting to see that at the very time of the celebration of the Passover, the chief priests (like modern bishops) were scheming to murder Jesus, but needed a way to do it without upsetting the people!
B. The Messiah Prays (Luke 22:39-46)
1. Jesus led His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane… late Tuesday night… not to strategize, or gather an army, but… to pray (Luke 22:39-43)
a. Luke 22:39 And he [JESUS] came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
b. Luke 22:40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
c. Luke 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
d. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
e. Luke 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
f. Jesus was experiencing intense stress, and struggle in that dark night
g. Evidently this was hard to pray, and to endure the stress
2. The crucifixion actually began in the Garden of Gethsemane! (Luke 22:44-46)
a. Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow, And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
3. Just before the biggest battle of all time…
a. Against every temptation to quit
b. Against all of hell and demonic powers and Satan himself
c. Against the wrath of God
4. THAT was when Jesus made time to pray as He always did!
5. Unfortunately, none of His followers helped Him pray! All passed out!
6. Jesus was going to fight this war, even if alone
C. Betrayal (Luke 22:47,48)
1. Luke 22:47,47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him. But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?
2. Judas brings a mob and surrounds Jesus – Judas was one of Jesus’ own disciples, an apostle
3. Captures Jesus in the darkness, with a kiss – false sign of affection
4. Judas had betrayed Jesus for only 30 silver coins (remind me how much Jesus is worth? About a couple hundred euro is all to most people)
a. Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
b. Luke 22:4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.
c. Luke 22:5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.
d. Luke 22:6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.
5. The Pharisees now had Jesus in custody
6. How would it feel being so betrayed? Turned over to a mob of men set on killing you?
D. Not a Time for Fighting (Luke 22:49-53)
1. Oh how WE would have defended ourselves, and our rights like Peter tried
a. Luke 22:49,50 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword? And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
2. But Jesus shows us a better way than fighting, arguing, demanding
a. Luke 22:51-53 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
3. The better way is to know the will of God, and yield to it (1Peter 2:19-23)
a. Peter found it hard to yield to the will of God
b. And Peter was there!
c. Jesus showed Peter this truth… 1Peter 2:19-23 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
4. Jesus shows us the powerful Christian does not usually fight! He/She suffers doing the right thing!
E. Abandoned by His Friends (Luke 22:54-62)
1. All the apostles and disciples ran away (Matthew 26:55,56) In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
2. Except for Peter and John
3. Now, John never says a word, never spake up in Jesus’ defence
4. But Peter does worse… he denies even knowing who Jesus is, and curses Jesus’ name
a. Luke 22:54-60 Then took they him [JESUS], and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off. And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. [WITH JESUS]
b. And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not.
c. And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not.
d. And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew.
e. Can you imagine?
1) First Judas
2) Then almost all the apostles
3) Now Peter!
f. Luke 22:61,62 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
5. There is no joy neglecting, abandoning, and denying the Lord Jesus
F. Abused, Mocked, and Tortured (Luke 22:63-65)
1. Luke 22:63-65 And the men that held Jesus mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him.
2. It is early Wednesday morning, before dawn
3. Jesus is being passed between two top religious leaders (Caiaphas, and Annas)
4. Each time, Jesus is mocked by these religious leaders, and beaten up
a. Hours and hours of interrogation, followed by beatings!
b. Trying to wear Him down and get Him to just confess to some crime!
a. Jesus has no one defending Him
b. No one standing beside Him
c. All His disciples have fled
d. And Peter was heard by everyone in that court denying that he even knew who Jesus was!
e. And Jesus is forced to stand there in front of Pilate, bloodied and bruised
G. Condemned to Death (Luke 22:66-71) – For WHAT Crime? Healing lepers, blind people, feeding 5,000 hungry people, walking on water, forgiving an adultress?
1. Accusation after Accusation (Luke 22:66-68)
a. Luke 22:66-68 And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Art thou the Christ? Tell us.
b. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go.
2. Then Jesus admits who He is… (Luke 22:69-71) Messiah!
a. Luke 22:69-71 Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. [JUST AS PROPHESIED IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL]
b. Jesus admits He IS the Messiah
c. I am the Messiah – the son of Man described in Daniel and Ezekiel
d. I will soon be sitting at God’s right hand, on my throne in heaven!
e. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God?
f. And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. [YOU DECIDE!}
g. And they said, What need we any further witness? For we ourselves have heard of his own mouth.
3. Examined by Pilate and found Innocent
a. The Jewish leaders could not execute Jesus themselves – they were under Rome’s authority
b. So the Sanhedrin brought this Man to the governor named Pilate, to get HIM to crucify Jesus for them!
c. They accused Jesus of claiming to be a KING! (Luke 23:1,2) And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
d. But Pilate was not threatened and wanted to release Him (Luke 23:3,4) And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
e. But they pushed and accused Jesus of stirring up the people against Rome (Luke 23:5) And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
f. Oh THAT got his attention, but finds no fault in Jesus and tries to free Him
1) Luke 23:13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
2) Luke 23:14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
3) Luke 23:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
4) Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
5) Luke 23:17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
6) So impossible! If the government wanted to find something wrong with your life they could. But no one could find anything wrong in Jesus’ life!
4. The People Chose Barabbas, a Murderer (Luke 23:18,19)
a. Luke 23:18,19 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
5. The Mob Wins (Luke 23:20-25)
a. Luke 23:20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.
b. Luke 23:21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
c. Luke 23:22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
d. Luke 23:23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
e. Luke 23:24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
f. Luke 23:25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
H. Crucified (Luke 23:32,33)
1. Luke 23:32,33 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
2. Those four words are almost indescribable
a. The soldiers Whipped Jesus as if he was the worst criminal ever – a murderer – tearing flesh off with every stroke
b. Spit upon Him like He was a dead dog
c. Ripped his beard off of His face
d. Slammed a crown of thorns on His head
e. Paraded Jesus around like a pinada, to be beaten and punched and kicked by every soldier in the fortress
f. And then forced to carry His own cross, about 500 meters out through the south gate of Jerusalem, up a hill called Golgotha
g. And then laid upon that cross, with His hands held down, and then nailed to the wood of that cross
h. And then His two feet placed one over the other, and nailed right through into the wood
i. And then the entire frame of the cross with Jesus attached to it with spikes of nails, was raised up and slamed into a 2 foot hole in the ground
j. Every bone in His body went out of joint
k. Ever muscle was screaming in agony
l. And there they left Him to die
3. But Jesus wasn’t finished yet – no one was going to take His life from Him!
4. He has some very important, life changing things to say!
I. Four Final Words (Luke 23:34-46)
1. He actually says seven phrases, but we will look at just four
2. “Forgive” Them! (Luke 23:34)
a. Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
b. THEN! In the midst of all the pain and injustice
c. Jesus asks God to forgive the worst of people – the very people who had lied about Him, and hated Him, and spit upon Him, and beat Him, and whipped Him, and crucified Him
d. He said, Forgive them!
3. Next, He said, You Are “Forgiven!” (Luke 23:39-43)
a. Remember there are two other men being punished for their crimes that day
b. They begin a shouting match about Jesus between them
1) Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
2) Luke 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
3) Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
4) Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
1) One demands to be freed
2) And the other begs to be allowed into Christ’s kingdom!
d. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
e. “You are coming with me!” “Even you are now forgiven!”
f. “Simply because you believe I am not dying, but am going into a kingdom!”
g. That is great faith!
4. Then, Jesus cries out “Forsaken!” (Luke 23:44; Matthew 27:46)
a. Luke 23:44,45 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
b. Mat 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
d. Such grace… forgiving those who brutalised Him, and then being abandoned by God
e. All because Jesus was now carrying the criminal and sinful record of all mankind!
5. Cries, It is “Finished!” (John 19:28-30)
a. John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
b. Even after almost 16 hours of impossible agony, abandonment, torture, and hell itself raging against His soul, Jesus remained alive on that cross…
c. Just long enough to accomplish every last little thing He had to do
d. And then loudly proclaims VICTORY! “It is finished!”
6. He was taking YOUR place! Jesus’ life ended THAT WAY, so that YOUR life doesn’t have to end that way…
a. Righteously Judged by God at death
b. And punished by God in a devil’s hell, for ever and ever and ever
c. Romans 5:8 But God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!
7. Everyone wants God to do something FOR them… well, He did!
J. Last Point… Burial (Luke 23:50-53)
1. Luke 23:50-53 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
2. Death is such a final event - Especially burial
3. They placed Jesus in a hole in the side of a hill, called a sepulchre – a tomb
4. And then sealed it shut, and then placed 4 Roman soldiers in front of it to guard it
5. And then everyone walked away and went home!
a. No none believed in Jesus any more!
b. Why should they?
c. He is dead now. Totally defeated. Totally rejected. Nobody wanted Him.
A. How could this be good news?
1. Wasn’t Jesus Rejected? yes, by almost everybody
2. Despised? definitely
3. Crucified? yep!
4. Dead? Very dead!
5. Buried, and sealed in a tomb?
6. HOW CAN THAT BE GOOD?
B. Well, maybe you haven’t read the end of the story!
1. When Jesus died, a timer was set… God’s stop-watch was started
2. Three days, and three nights were going to pass
3. And the whole world would never be the same!
C. If you want eternal life, it is free for the asking!
1. There is nothing more for anyone to do – everything is finished
a. Can’t keep the law? That’s fine. Jesus kept it for you, perfectly
b. Not baptized? That’s fine. Jesus was baptized for you!
c. Can’t pray out of a paper bag? That’s okay! Jesus prays for you, even right now!
2. Jesus completely paid for your forgiveness
3. And He offers YOU the same forgiveness that He offered to the very people who crucified Him
4. Because that is the kind of people He came to save – sinful people!
D. Will you believe this is enough? Believe that Jesus can save a wretch, a sinner like you?
E. That is all He is waiting for!
III. The Lord’s Remembrance Supper
A. A Remembrance of the Passover (Luke 22:8,13)
1. Luke 22:8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
2. Luke 22:13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
B. Five things were on the table to remember their slavery in Egypt
1. Bitter herbs - horseradish and romaine lettuce - symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery the Hebrews endured in Egypt.
2. Dish of vinegar sauce – to remind them of the harshness of slavery
3. Unleavened bread – plain, flat bread
4. Unleavened wine – plain fruit juice straight from grapes
a. Leaven is yeast, and at the Passover, and for the following week, no yeast was to be used in any cooking or baking because yeast was a symbol of sin – it only takes a little to affect someone’s entire life!
b. So the wine was non alcoholic, and the bread was quite flat and simple!
5. And Roasted Lamb meat – a substitute for the first born son in the house
6. This was not a big fancy dinner like we have at Christmas
7. No! It was to remind them of their slavery in Egypt, and God saving them out of it
C. A New Memorial – Better than the Passover
1. This Passover Was going to be Different.
2. This would be Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples, and He wanted it to be as memorable as the Passover was to the Jews
a. Luke 22:14-16 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
b. It was going to be His last supper with them until they enjoyed it again in His kingdom that was still coming!
3. So He picked up two items from the Passover meal
a. Didn’t need a bell, or vestments, or an altar
b. Just, Unleavened bread
c. And Unleavened wine
4. And then He taught how those two things should remind us of His death as our Messiah
a. He was going to die once, for all mankind, and for all time
b. We don’t need to crucify Him over and over again and again
c. We just need to remember Him and what he did for us
5. He Passed Around a Cup
a. Luke 22:17,18 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.
b. The cup was filled with non-alcoholic wine – fruit juice
c. Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
d. It was a symbol of His own blood that was about to be spilled out like a sacrificial lamb
e. It would start an entirely new covenant – New Testament relationship with mankind
f. Based completely on His Blood being split instead of lambs and rams and bulls, and goats, and turtledoves, and flour and and oils, etc
g. Just Jesus’ blood!
6. And then Passed Around the Bread
a. Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.
b. The bread was flat bread
c. It symbolised HIS body that was about to be torn and shreaded and broken
7. And He thanked God for what was about to happen to Him – could YOU? This was His purpose! This was His reason for coming!
8. And then Warned Them (Luke 22:21-23)
a. Not everybody at the table is saved – not everyone is a believer
1) Luke 22:21-23 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
3) Repentance to God
4) Confession to the people we have wronged
5) Make sure we are believers, and not just fakers!
b. Satan is pulling the strongest of you away – don’t let him win
1) Luke 22:31,32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
2) I have watched a thousand strong, faithful men and women walk away from the Bible, from church, from their families
3) How does that happen? The devil, and people who are not prepared!
c. We all need something better than the best of intentions
1) Peter was NOT string enough! Luke 22:33,34 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
2) We need conversion! A change in our heart and soul, where Jesus comes in and lives through our lives as we yield!
9. Let’s examine OURSELVES right now
a. Are you truly saved? If not sure, just pass
b. Are you right with God, and with your family, and with everyone in this church? If not, get right first!
c. It takes only a few moments to repent – do it!
10. Let’s remember the Lord’s death right now
a. THE price of our salvation, and forgiveness and redemption
b. Luke 22:19 … this do in remembrance of me.
c. Thank you Lord Jesus for this opportunity to remember you, and what happened to you on the cross
d. Thank you for giving up your life for mine
e. Your blood was shed as a perfect payment for all my sin
f. We remember this with tw simple things
g. Simple, plain, unleavened bread
h. And simple, plain, unleavened wine
11. Final prayer