Reading Luke’s account of the last days of Jesus, I am reminded of two areas that Jesus experienced in ways that I could never experience.
Loneliness and injustice from evil men.
I cannot comprehend what the God-Man went through regarding loneliness and being falsely judged by evil men, but I am thankful that he, as my High Priest, understands my weaknesses in these same two areas.
As Jesus gets closer to the Cross, we can see the increase of loneliness and isolation (which he voluntarily experience so that we could have fellowship with the Father).
His last week, his arrest, his trial, his suffering, and his public execution…he went alone because he was the only one who could be placed upon that cross.
After that last meal in the upper room, he goes to pray in the garden. Peter, James, and John went with him, but in the end, Jesus is isolated from even them, along with the Father.
Those hours that followed, he moves again to isolation, intensifying at the cross.
From the cross the isolation reaches its pinnacle as he cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus’ isolation is unmatched, yet so is his sympathy towards us in our loneliness as our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15).
Reading through Luke 23, it is quite amazing to see how many times in the text Jesus is found innocent and yet is charged as guilty.
Luke weaves into his gospel a series of statements in which Jesus is declared to be innocent. Over and over, as charges are thrown at Jesus, we see acknowledgment that Jesus is not guilty. Yet, we know how it ended, and of course, we know that this is exactly what pleased the Father (Isaiah 53).
The acquittals seem to be quite extensive and comprehensive…
- Luke 23:4 (NIV): Pilate—“I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
- Luke 23:14: Pilate—“Having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him.”
- Luke 23:15: Pilate—“Nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.”
- Luke 23:22: Pilate—“I have found no reason for death in Him.”
- Luke 23:41 (NIV): One of the criminals crucified with Jesus—“We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
- Luke 23:47: The Roman centurion in charge of the execution—“Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
Jesus was not falsely judged “Guilty!” on the basis of a misreading of the evidence. He was executed, even though the verdict passed on Him was “Innocent!”
Jesus went alone. The innocent one was charge as guilty.
He did this for us. It was the only way. It met the Father’s approval. It met all the demands.
Weary pilgrim — your High Priest knows your suffering. He knows your loneliness.
Jesus knows what it is like to be judged, to be charged, to be blamed, to be rejected. He knows betrayal. He knows the pain that comes from rejection. He knows the emotions that come from living in a world where injustice runs rampant.
The God-man knows. My High Priest knows.
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)