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Luke 22:52-23:25 – The Judge of all the earth on trial

Following Jesus’ arrest, Peter denies Jesus three times – so much for human fidelity.

Jesus is brought before the assembly of the elders of the people and the chief priests. In the Old Testament this assembly would have been called together to anoint the king of Israel – but here they gather to condemn him to death. They ask him if he is the Son of God – Jesus already knows that they know he is. Jesus answers that he will shortly be seated at the right hand of the power of God. He is the son of man – the one represented in Daniel 7 who approaches the Ancient of Days and is given all glory and power to reign over all nations at the right hand of God. This confession is enough for them to hand him over to the nations (the Romans) to be put to death.

The Judge of all the earth is out on trial before profane men – a Roman governor of Judea and a puppet king of Galilee. Three times during Jesus’ trial, Pilate states that he finds no guilt in Jesus and that he has done nothing deserving of death. Despite this Pilate condemns this righteous man to death.

J.C. Ryle says, “That sight must have been wonderful to the angels of God. He who will one day judge the world allowed himself to be judged and condemned, He from whose lips Pilate and Caiaphas will one day receive their eternal sentence, suffered silently an unjust sentence to be passed upon him.”

The Jerusalem crowd called for Barabbas, a murderer, to be released and for Jesus, the author of life to be killed. In this act they choose death over life – and that is what they will reap. Barabbas, the guilty man, goes free – Jesus, the righteous man, is judged. This exchange of Jesus for Barabbas is an illustration of double imputation. In double imputation our guilt is counted as Christ’s (hence he dies in our place) – and Christ’s righteousness is counted as ours (we are not only forgiven but made as people counted as having been obedient). This is not a legal fiction but rather God has set things up that Jesus can represent a large multitude of people. There is a union between Jesus and his people that one effects the other – our guilt removed, and his righteousness given.