BEFORE PILATE- See also (Matthew 27:1-2, 11-14; Mark 15:1-5; John 18:28-38)
23:2-4: THE RELIGIOUS ACCUSATIONS AGAINST JESUS- (LUKE 22:66-71): would not be enough to justify a death sentence under Roman occupation: The Chief Priests invent false (LUKE 20:20-26), Politically charged accusations in order to persuade Pilate to put Jesus to death: Pilate's question (v. 3) is more a mockery of the accusation itself than of Jesus, as he clearly does not take the political charges seriously (v. 4): of the accusation: Christ's answer, "IT IS AS YOU SAY", can also be translated with more ambiguous, "You say so"!!!
23:8-9: HEROD SEES JESUS AS A NOVELTY: Christ's silence is an act of compassion, for revealing divine mysteries in the face of such blasphemy would have brought Herod even greater condemnation: St. Ambrose sees Herod as a figure representing all unrighteous people who, if they do not recognize Jesus as the Christ, will never understand His words nor recognize His miracles!!!
JESUS OR BARABBAS??? See also (Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; John 18:38-19:16)
23:13-25: THREE TIMES PILATE ATTEMPTS TO RELEASE JESUS: (vv. 16, 20, 22), and three times the CHIEF PRIEST AND THE RULERS incite the people to demand He put to death: In the end, they demand the release of a rebel like themselves: BARABBAS means son of the father and indicates the father these rulers belong to- Satan- (see- John 8:44)
THE PROCESSION TO GOLGOTHA- See also (Matthew 27:31-33; Mark 15:20-22; John 19:17)
23:26: SIMON: means "obedience"- this faithful man stands for all who desire to follow Christ and carry THE CROSS He places on them- (see- Luke 9:23- Luke 14:27)
23:28: WEEPING: is not appropriate for the One who redeems the world through the Cross, but is suited for one's own sin and for the suffering of others!!!
23:29: THE BLESSING ON THE BARREN WOMEN: is an acknowledgement of overwhelming pain a mother endures seeing her children suffer (see- the woe in Matthew 24:19):
23:31: THE GREEN WOOD: is Christ, He is full of virtue and truth: THE DRY stands for the Jews, barren of all life and of all righteousness: if the Romans destroy the righteous, what horrifying things await the unrighteous???
THE COMPASSIONATE CHRIST- See also (Matthew 27:33-43; Mark 15:22-32; John 19:17-29)
23:33: CALVARY: The skull: Being crucified between the two CRIMINALS shows Christ's complete identity with fallen humanity and also fulfilling the prophecy of (Isaiah 53:9-12)
23:34: THIS INTERCESSION: is not only for those who sentenced and crucified Jesus, but for all of humanity-a people who have no insight into the profound mystery of God's salvation: Jesus speaks these words not as a mere request, but with divine authority: Their great sin would have forgiven them if they had repented: Indeed, one of the soldiers did repent (v. 47) and is considered a saint of the Church:
23:35-37: SAVE YOURSELF: the continuing temptation of Satan to keep Jesus from completing His mission (see- Luke 4:9-13)
23:38: AN INSCRIPTION: what was intended as an accusation and a mockery instead was a triumphant symbol that all nations would come under the reign of JESUS THE KING!!!
TWO THIEVES, TWO WAYS- See also (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32)
23:39-43: THE FIRST OF THE CRIMINALS: wanted to use Jesus to avoid responsibility for his actions, while THE OTHER accepts his sentence and asks simply to be remembered: This latter way is the path to PARADISE: TODAY: to be reconciled to Christ is to be in paradise immediately: the souls of the departed are in the presence of God and experience a foretaste of His glory before the final resurrection:
23:39-43: This passage is read at Vespers of Great and Holy Friday, the Friday before Pascha (Easter)
DARKNESS AND DEATH- See also (Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; John 19:28-30)
23:45: THE VEIL OF THE TEMPLE WAS TORN IN TWO: See my Matthew 27:51-Notes:
23:46: JESUS DOES NOT HAVE HIS LIFE TAKEN FROM HIM: but by His free will voluntarily COMMIT it to the FATHER: His was the first human soul not to be taken to Hades; instead it was freely given into the hands of God: Christ is freeing all of humanity from death's grip: His death reconciles mankind to God, not by satisfying the Father's need for blood-justice as some might teach: but by causing every aspect of our corrupt human nature to be transformed- for whatever divinity touches is healed: Christ accepts human nature in order to sanctify human nature; He accepts our weakness in order to make us strong; He takes on our sin in order to free us from sin; He suffers in order to transfigure suffering; and He enters death in order to destroy it: (1 Corinthians 15:20-28; see my notes on Matthew 27:50)
23:47: THE CENTURION: Reflecting on the conversion: St. Cyril of Alexandria notes: "Observe that no sooner had Christ endured the Passion on the Cross for our sakes than He began to win many unto knowledge of the truth..."
BURIAL- See also (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; John 19:38-42)
23:50-53: IF THE APOSTLES HAD BURIED CHRIST: doubters could claim His body was simply hidden away...JOSEPH BEING BOTH A COUNCIL MEMBER AND A GOOD AND JUST MAN: refutes any possibility that the Lord's body was deceptively hidden by the apostles: The spiritual significance of a tomb WHERE NO ONE HAD EVER LAIN BEFORE: is that Christ died a death unlike any person had ever died: a death without corruption, a death leading to victory over the grave itself:
23:55-56: HIS REST IN THE TOMB: fulfills the image of His birth in a cave (see- Luke 2:7) and reveals the ultimate purpose of His coming: The faith of THE WOMEN, while stronger than that of the hiding disciples, was still imperfect in that they PREPARED for the corruption of Christ's body: SABBATH: As God rested from His action on the Sabbath: He gives the Sabbath its ultimate meaning and fulfills the Law even in death: The Orthodox Church on Holy Saturday we sing , "This is the most blessed Sabbath on which Christ sleeps in order to rise on the third day..."
"Today I'm struggling with all sick and suffering in the world, but this is what I needed to pick me up for the day...It seems I need to lead with the same compassion today that our Lord and Savior did that day on the Cross by His grace to save us all from eternal torment!!!
JPCE SPIRITUAL TALK
NEVER HOLD BACK
THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD