Jesus the Innocent Victim
Please read Luke 23:32-49 (or segment)
|Troyes (part) altarpiece|
- The passage is drenched in irony. Those who mock Jesus reject him as the messiah and the points of mockery are exactly why he is the messiah.
- Even to the end Jesus is faithful to his mission in obedience to his Father. He has preached non-retaliation and forgiveness, invited the sinner to experience God’s acceptance through healing and fellowship, and now he prays that the Father will forgive his executioners and those who mock him. (23:34)
- The mockery reiterates the charge of blasphemy against Jesus and deflates the expectations that his healing ministry encouraged.
- The innocence/righteousness of Jesus is recognised by two unlikely characters, one of the criminals executed with him and the centurion (Lk 23:47 cf Mk 15:39) presumably in charge of his crucifixion. (See also 23;4, 14-16) The faithful death of Jesus evokes a change of heart amongst some of the onlookers (23:48 cf 18:13) and strengthens the resolve of even a member of the council. (23:50) The unanimity that bound together all those who condemned Jesus is beginning to unravel.
Have you ever discovered you were part of a unanimity of condemnation that was later proved a misjudgment? (That is, the person was innocent of the charges.)
Can you remember how you were persuaded to join in?
And how was it that you discovered that the charges against the accused were false?
What happened next?
Where was God in all this?
And can you remember a time you were wrongly accused? Where was God in this experience?
- The resurrection is the vindication of Jesus and the sign that those who judged Jesus, and the judgements made about him, were wrong.
- Beware joining the unanimous crowd of condemnation! Beware the tight arguments we form in our own heads that justify our condemnation of someone we are in dispute with.
- The resurrected Christ, still faithful to the Father, preaches repentance and forgiveness of sins, not retaliation. The disciples are wtinesses to this Jesus.