Your session will end in  seconds due to inactivity. Click here to continue using this web page.

Approaching the Cross with Determined Anticipation, Part 1

Luke 18:31-34 February 25, 2007 42-235

We find ourselves in the eighteenth chapter of the gospel of Luke, looking again at our wondrous Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.  And in that eighteenth chapter, I want to draw your attention to verses 31 through 34.  As you well know, we have been about eight years or so studying the gospel of Luke with no foreseeable end in sight, although...although there will be one some time.  But we now come to a distinctive turning point in our study.

You remember back in chapter 9 and verse 51, "Jesus set His face toward Jerusalem."  The inevitability of the cross moved Him in that direction.  It is the cross for which He came.  He came not, he said, to be ministered unto but to minister and to give His life a ransom for many.  The shadow of the cross was over the cradle.  From the very beginning He was Jesus who would save His people from their sins by offering the full and final and perfect sacrifice for sin that would satisfy God.  It has always been about the cross, His life, but it's been a long journey to get us to the point where we are now approaching the cross.  But when we come to chapter 18 verses 31 and 34, the words of Jesus look ahead to Calvary and to the resurrection.  Listen to what He said...Luke 18:31.

"He took the Twelve aside and said to them, 'Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished, for He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon.  And after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him and the third day He will rise again."


We are now moving toward Jerusalem.  In fact, in chapter 19 and verse 11 it says, "He was near Jerusalem."  Chapter 19 verse 28, "He was going on ahead, ascending to Jerusalem."  Verse 41, "When He approached, He saw the city and wept over it."  And finally in verse 45, "He entered the temple."  This, of course, begins the end of His earthly life and ministry.  But it is this to which everything has pointed, not only in His life but throughout all of biblical history.

It perhaps should be said, "I'm a great lover of the honor and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is my all-consuming passion."  I understand the feeling of the psalmist, at least to some degree, that the approaches that fall on Him, fall on me.  Zeal for His house has eaten me up.  I am severely wounded when Jesus Christ is dishonored.  Of all the things that this world does that outraged me, dishonoring Jesus Christ leads the list.  That is not to say that I'm not offended by other sins and other iniquities and transgressions and affronts to God and blasphemies, I am, even by those sins which are a reality in my own life.  But what leads the parade for me is that overt, outright dishonor that is heaped upon our blessed Lord, Jesus Christ.  And it is relentless, as you well know.

One of the ways in which our Lord is continuously attacked by pseudo-scholars, skeptics and critics is that they deny that His sufferings were planned...that His sufferings were purposeful.  They rather love to suggest, and have done so in innumerable books, that His suffering and death were accidental.  It was a sad misfortune.  It was a bad ending.  It was a miscalculation on His part, a good try at bringing goodness into the world that ended in an unplanned disaster.  Many books have been written to suggest that Jesus was everything from a naive, well-intentioned good man wanting to elevate people religiously by His ideas, but lacking the sense to know when He had gone too far, to a misguided nationalist whose efforts at a revelation were inept and hopeless, to a very ambitious self-styled conqueror with delusions of grandeur, to a religious nut and a whole lot more.

In any case, it's a very popular critical approach to say that things in Jesus' life did not go the way He intended them to go.  And the whole ending was a nightmare at the end of what He hoped would be a dream for a better world. 

Nothing could be further from the truth than that.  Any such suggestions are utterly and severely wrong and out of complete touch with reality.  Jesus knew exactly how His life would end, down to the minutest detail.  He knew exactly what Scripture said and prophesied and predicted and therefore it would be fulfilled by people who knew nothing about Scripture, as well as some who knew a little about it.  He knew details about His death and His suffering that would be carried out by people completely at their own discretion, and yet He knew exactly what they would do.  He's not shocked by the way things went when He says, "We are going up to Jerusalem," He is walking right into His death and resurrection.  And He had been saying it all along.  Back in chapter 5 and verse 35, actually in verse 34 He says, "You can't make the attendance of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them, can you?"  Nobody is going to fast when the bridegroom is there at a wedding.  "But the days will come and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days."  Here's the first illusion in the gospel of Luke to the fact that He, the bridegroom, is going to be taken away.


If you follow along to chapter 12 and verse 50, you find again another statement with the same reality in view.  He says in verse 50, "I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until it is accomplished." There is something that I have to be immersed in, something that I have to endure that profoundly distresses Me until it is fulfilled.  In chapter 13 and verse 32 He says, "Go tell that fox...meaning Herod...Behold, I cast out demons, perform cures today and tomorrow and the third day I reach My goal.  Nevertheless I must journey on today and tomorrow and the next day for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.  I will perish but I will not perish outside Jerusalem, I will perish inside Jerusalem." And He not only knows that will happen but He knows Jerusalem will pay for that as well, and so in verse 34, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem," He says.  In verse 35, "Your house is left to you desolate."  He knows He is going to be taken.  He knows He is going to give up His life.  He knows it is going to happen in Jerusalem.  In chapter 17 and verse 25 He says, "Before the Son of Man comes in glory, He first must suffer many things and be rejected by this people, or generation, or nation." 

Those are all references to His anticipated death.  But beyond those references which to one degree or another are subtle, He made three specific predictions of His own death.  Go back to chapter 9 and verse 21.  And by the way, Matthew records these three and Mark records these three, and Luke records these three because they have such immense apologetic value, because they answer the question...Was the death of Jesus a bad ending to a good plan?  The answer is no.  He knew exactly why He had come and exactly how it would all end.  In Luke 9:21, He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, that is that He is the Christ of God, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed and be raised up on the third day." That is many months prior, that is just before He launches in verse 51 in the direction of Jerusalem...many months earlier.  But also, go a little further into chapter 9 and He says it again in verse 44.  "Let these words sing into your ears, the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men."  And He is essentially reminding them of what He said on the occasion of verse 22, delivered meaning into the hands of the elders, the chief priests, the scribes and even the Gentiles where He will be killed, where He'll rise again.  So the first time He is explicit, chapter 9 verse 21.  The second time, chapter 9 verse 44, 45.  The third time here in Luke chapter 18.  And these have parallels in Matthew and Mark. 

And each of these add a little more information and a little more detail, this being the most complete.  He has already said He is going to be handed over.  He's going to be delivered to the leaders.  He's going to be suffering.  And He's going to be killed and He's going to rise.  But here we get addition details about being delivered to the Gentiles, not just the chief priests and so forth.  And being mocked, and being mistreated, and being spit upon, and being scourged, and finally, being murdered.  The heart of the Christian faith is the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and everything in the history of redemption throughout the Old Testament moves toward the cross, everything happening since moves from the cross.  The cross is the center of absolutely everything and Jesus was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.  He is a Lamb, fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament.  He is the perfect Lamb, offering the perfect sacrifices...sacrifice.  It is abundantly and completely clear to Him exactly where He's headed and what is going to happen, down to the minutest details, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy and even things that are not included in the Old Testament as well.


Now to understand this passage and it's a very important passage, we need to break it down a little bit and I'll give you a couple of things to think about this morning, and then we'll wrap it up next week and expand it a little bit with a footnote passage from the Apostle Paul.  First of all, let's talk about the plan of suffering...the plan for suffering in verse 31.  "He took the Twelve aside and said to them, 'Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem.'" 

The journey through Judea for these many months, the last ministry that Jesus had after the Galilean ministry, He has gone in and around Judea for many, many months now.  Just prior to this He has gone up to Galilee for a short visit, over in to Peraea for a short visit.  Now back down to Judea in the south.  He has crossed the Jordan River.  As you notice in chapter 19 verse 1, He is about to go through Jericho.  Peraea is on the other side of the Jordan River.  He went to Galilee, came down through Peraea, across the Jordan River, heads through Jericho and up to Jerusalem.  So they are now on the road to Jericho and then on up the ascent to Jerusalem.

And so, everybody knows that what happens up there is not going to be an accident, or unexpected.  "Behold...He says resolutely...we are going up to Jerusalem." And He says it to them privately.  He takes them aside.  He takes the Twelve aside.  They need to understand this.  They need to know that this is on schedule, that what happens in Jerusalem when they get there is not going to shock or surprise Him.  Just as a footnote, they are going up.  That area, as you know, is the lowest point on the earth, the Dead Sea area, just a little way from Jericho, Jerusalem is straight up, virtually, about fifteen miles or so, a steep ascent to Jerusalem.  And they always refer to going up to Jerusalem.  I think it also had some spiritual significance, as well, since Jerusalem was that place where you communed with God.  He says we're going up and He says it knowing exactly what's going to happen because all things need to be fulfilled and He goes on to refer to both what is said through the prophets and other things that will be occurring as well, so there will be no mistaking that He knew every detail.


Now the disciples knew they were on the way to Jerusalem because it was Passover season.  And every Passover everybody went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.  So that is not unusual.  What they didn't know what that He would be the Passover Lamb, that He would be offering the only sacrifice that would ever satisfy God and that by that sacrifice He would bring to an end the whole sacrificial system.  And they need to understand this because they are His first line of preachers and they need to know that these things are planned.  And one of the reasons they need to know it is because it was so hard for them to comprehend a Messiah who died, it wasn't in their plan.  By the way, the Jews of the first generation had a very, very well developed Messianic idea, they had a very finally tuned eschatological system.  Messiah comes at the end of the age and sets up His Kingdom.  They were all premillennialists.  The Messiah comes and He sets up His Kingdom.  And there's a wonderful book by Emile Shurer(?)  that studies, written in 1885, published T.  T.  and Clark in Edinburgh, a scholarly work that shows the basic theology of Messiah that existed among the Jews at that time.  And there's nothing in that for a dead Messiah, a crucified Messiah, or even a risen Messiah.  This doesn't fit into their expectation.  They didn't get the picture.  And there was this lingering sense that this was sort of necessary to go to Jerusalem for the Passover, but the timing couldn't be worse.  The disciples weren't stupid, they were very aware that during these many months of ministering in Judea, the leadership of Israel was more and more and more hateful and hostile toward Christ.   And so, Mark says in his parallel account, you can read it in Mark 10 verse 32, and Matthew's account is in Matthew 20 verses 17 to 19, those are the parallels to this one that give us the full picture, Mark says they were amazed and afraid.  Yes they knew it was Passover.  Yes they knew this was the normal thing which you did as a Jew, you went to the Passover.  But they also knew they were walking right into the eye of the hurricane, if you will, or the tornado.  They were walking right into the realm and domain of the hostile enemies of Jesus.  Jesus knows their fears.  He knows their misconceptions.  He knows they haven't been able to grasp this whole concept of the cross.  They just don't get it.  In fact, in verse 45 of Luke 9, they did not understand this statement, it was concealed from them so they might not perceive it.  They were afraid to ask Him about this statement.  They didn't get it.  It was really concealed because of their own theology and they didn't even want to press the issue, it was so bizarre...a dead crucified Messiah?  As we learn from Paul, and we'll look at this next week a little more in detail.  A crucified Messiah was a stumbling block to the Jews.

So Jesus understands that they are, amazed and afraid.  And by the way, the word "amazed" is a word that comes from a verb thambeo, which is used only by Luke in the gospels, he uses it about four times.  It's used once by Luke in Acts 9 describing Paul on the road to Damascus.  And it can be best understood as baffled, or confused, as definitely Paul was in that experience.  Each time its used, it prompts questions in the mind and on the lips of someone who is very confused until they get something resolved.  It was a very confusing thing for these disciples to hear Jesus say, "Let's go to Jerusalem." And as a result, it produced the fear that Mark records, phobos, from which we get phobia or phobic.  They were in a state of fear because they were confused, because they understood Jesus would be walking right in to the arms of His enemies.  Mark also says that Jesus went before them.  That's an interesting little note to indicate that He is a leader who places Himself in the face of danger first, while His troops follow behind them.  He leads the way He has to lead, He moves out and they follow.  And so the confused, baffled, fearful Twelve follow Jesus as they begin the path to Jerusalem.  A few pictures, really in the gospel are more striking than this of Jesus going forth to His death while the Twelve linger behind, following in wonder and fear, mingled combination of dread and hope thinking maybe this is it, maybe He will bring the Kingdom, maybe He will take over and become the true leader of Israel and replace the High Priest and the other leaders of Israel, maybe He will overthrow the Romans, but on the other hand, He has no support from the leaders.  And they hate Him and they despise Him and they have the power.  And we are not a formidable army and we couldn't overthrow anybody.  And so they're caught in the trap of wanting Him to set up His Kingdom, but feeling that there's no reasonable way to view that happening.  They might have had the attitude that is displayed by Thomas in John 11:16 when Jesus said, "I'm going to go to Jerusalem."  Thomas reluctantly said, "Well, let's all go with Him and die."  Thomas the pessimist.  Hope was very low.  They were very confused and very perplexed, baffled and fearful.


So, Jesus pulls them aside and says, "Behold," it's a shock, that's behold, "but we're going up to Jerusalem."  This is God's plan.  That's why I call it the plan for suffering.  Startling yes, absolutely essential, yes.  This is God's plan, Jesus knew it, He is resolute in fulfilling it, never trying to avoid it, never surprised by it.  He knew exactly what it meant including death on the cross and that is why He went.  And He says to them, verse 31, "Here's why we're going, so that all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished."  We're going to fulfill prophecy.  We're going so that all things which are written through the means of the prophets, authored by God who alone knows the future, but the means of their being written down is the prophets, all things which are written through the prophets about, or concerning the Son of Man, which is a Messianic title referring to His humility and His humanity, but also to His deity and exaltation because it's taken from Daniel 7:13 where it is the term used to refer to the Messiah when He receives His eternal Kingdom from the Father.  So it's not just a term of humility and humanity, it's a term of exaltation and deity as well.  He says we're going so that the Son of Man can take His Kingdom and all the things recorded by the prophets from the omniscient God who knows what will happen and who makes it happen will be accomplished.  This is the plan for His suffering.  This is the culmination of the divine redemptive purpose of God.  He says, "Let's go and finish what God has begun long, long ago."

This event, the cross, is the high point of Scripture.  It is the primary event in biblical history and therefore it is the primary event in all of history.  And the Old Testament predicted it and predicted details about it that no one could know that were carried out by pagans who knew nothing about the Scripture.  If you go back, for example, you begin to see the symphony of the cross begun to be written in Genesis chapter 3 when the first strains of that symphony can be heard.  You remember what happened.  Adam and Eve disobeyed God.  They sinned.  They fell.  They were guilty.  They knew it.  Their conscience assaulted them.  They knew their wretchedness and their sinfulness.  They felt embarrassed.  They were naked.  They tried to cover themselves with leaves which in God's eyes was an inadequate human attempt to do something about guilt.  And in Genesis chapter 3 God stepped in and God killed an animal.  That is the first time there has been death ever in history.  That's why we reject evolution.  Evolution, the survival of the fittest, moving from species to species, presupposes death.  There is no death until God kills the first animal.  Six 24-hour days of creation constitute the universe as we know it now.  Death doesn't come till Genesis 3 and God is the first one to produce death.  He kills an animal and takes the skin of that animal and covers Adam and Eve.  And what are we learning there?  That sin and guilt is only covered by sacrifice, by the death of a sacrifice, an innocent sacrifice.  Death, the death of an innocent covers the guilt and shame of the sinner and God made the sacrifice profound.  So you listen and you hear the first soft strains of the symphony of redemption that ends up at the cross.

Then you come to chapter 4 of Genesis and what happens?  Cain and Abel bring offerings to God.  Abel brings a sacrifice because that's what God had prescribed.  That's what God Himself had done.  And God accepted Abel's sacrifice.  Cain brought produce of the ground and God did not accept it because the only way there can be access to God, relationship to God, reconciliation to God, true worship of God is through a blood sacrifice. 


So what do we learn?  That only a blood sacrifice is acceptable to God.  And that a blood sacrifice covers shame when provided by an innocent substitute.  You come in to the twenty-second chapter of Genesis and again the drama of the cross unfolds even more because there the marvelous account of Abraham and Isaac is recorded for us and God commands Isaac to be offered by Abraham, Isaac, his only son and heir and the hope of the Abrahamic Covenant, God tells Abraham to go, take him up to Mount Moriah and to kill him and to offer him as a sacrifice.  Abraham believes that God has his best interest.  Abraham believes that Isaac is going to be the source of seed that will number as the sand of the sea and the stars of the heavens, Abraham believes that God will keep His covenant promise.  Abraham fully believes God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.  He believes God and so he believes, according to Hebrews 11, that if he slays his son, God will raise him from the dead.  That's what it says in Hebrews 11, that Abraham believed that God would raise him from the dead.  That's how strongly he believed God, even though he had never seen a resurrection.  In fact, I think he may have been very excited about the possibility.

He went up to the hill of sacrifice, put Isaac on the altar.  Prepared to drive a knife into his beloved son.  God stopped him.  And God provided a substitute, a ram caught in the thicket.  And Abraham learned a profound lesson.  Not only is sin and shame covered by a sacrifice.  Not only is a sacrifice the only way that we can ever be accepted by God, but God Himself will provide the substitute.  God will provide it.  God had provided it in Genesis 3 but here dramatically does God provide it in the ram.  In fact, so much is this the lesson that according to Genesis 22:14 Abraham called that place "The Lord will provide."  In the Mount of the Lord, says that verse, it will be provided.  God will provide the sacrifice.  That opens the way to reconciliation with Him that covers shame.  It must be an innocent substitute.

More of the sacrifice is revealed in the record of the Passover in Exodus chapter 12.  You come in to Exodus chapter 12, the children of Israel are in Egypt.  They are told the angel of death is going to come and kill all the first born as the tenth plague descends upon that land.  And the first born of every household will die unless an unblemished lamb is slain and the blood of that unblemished lamb placed upon the doorpost and the crosspiece.  And again we are old that the only way to escape divine judgment is through sacrifice, the sacrifice of a substitute and a sinless or a spotless, or a blameless substitute. 

Not long after that, after that Passover out of Egypt, the children of Israel ended up at the foot of Mount Sinai, God gave them the Law, a complex, elaborate system of sacrifice.  Every national feast, every act of worship, every approach to God every single day of every single year was possible only through sacrifice.  That's why there was sacrifices every day of every year, 24 courses of priests down in the temple doing their duty during their period of time to be there.  The rest of the time they were back scattered throughout the land so that sacrifices were being offered every single day, the morning sacrifice, the evening sacrifices, always going on.  Then there were special sacrifices.  There was the Day of Atonement sacrifice, the priests were basically butchers and it was a bloody mess going on every day...which was saying the final, satisfying, perfect sacrifice hasn't yet come.


So as you think about the cross in the Scripture, you have to go back and think about the sacrifice.  And the meaning of Scripture...the meaning, I should say, of sacrifice has been progressively revealed through the Old Testament.  From Adam and Eve we learned that sacrifice covers the guilt of sin.  From Abel we learn that it's not merely one way to God, it's the only way to God.  From Abraham we learned that the proper sacrifice will be provided by God.  From the Passover we learn that it's a sacrifice that has to be without blemish and that it saves from death and produces life.  And finally, from the centrality of sacrifice in the national life of Israel, we grasp the critical importance of sacrifice and the reality that there never is a satisfying sacrifice.  And all this prepares us for the one sacrifice which ends all sacrifices because it is the perfect sacrifice which saves us from eternal death, gives us eternal life, offered by God's chosen substitute, a lamb without blemish and without spot, who provides for us the only way to God and the only covering for the guilt of sin. 

Jesus knows this.  He knows all the Old Testament.  In fact, as we shall see later in the twenty-fourth chapter of Luke, He even says to the disciples, "How is it that you don't know what the Old Testament says?  That I must suffer."

There were some very explicit Old Testament prophecies in this regard.  I'm not going to go through all of them, but look for a moment at Psalm 22.  Psalm 22 is a very remarkable Psalm depicting elements of the cross.  It begins this way, verse 1, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" The very words that Jesus spoke on the cross.  But go down to verse...well we'll go down to verse 14, "I am poured out like water," describes crucifixion, "I'm poured out like water.  All my bones are out of joint," which is just exactly what happens in that kind of suspension that crucifixion produces.  "My heart is like wax.  It is melted within Me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd and My tongue cleaves to My jaws."  You remember the Lord asking for something because He was thirsty.  "Thou hast slain Me in the dust of death.  Dogs have surrounded Me.  A band of evil doers has encompassed Me.  They pierced My hands and My feet.  I can count all My bones.  They look, they stare at Me.  They divide My garments among them and for My clothing they cast lots."  What amazing details about the cross, carried out by ignorant Romans who knew nothing about Scripture whatsoever.  In Isaiah 53, that marvelous Messianic text, we read t his, verse 5, "He was pierced through for our transgressions."  Verse 5, "By His scourging we are healed."  We read this in verse 7, "He didn't open His mouth like a lamb that is led to slaughter, like a sheep silent before its shearers, so He didn't open His mouth."  You remember that in His trial He did not speak.  Verse 9, "His grave was assigned with wicked men." They were going to throw His body in the same heap, in the same burning dump where they threw all the rest of the criminals.  That's where He should have gone, like the two thieves on either side of Him, but He was with a rich man in His death.  The prophecy is that He would be buried with a rich man.  We remember that.  It was Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man who owned a tomb who took His body and placed it there.

Not only that, He would not remain dead.  He would be a guilt offering, verse 10 says, but He would see His offspring, that is God would, the one who was pleased to crush Him, He will prolong His days.  And as a result, verse 11, "Of the anguish of His soul will see it and be satisfied.  And by His knowledge, the Righteous One, My servant, will justify the many."  He will provide the sacrifice that produces justification and He will see the other side of death and be satisfied.  He will receive a portion with the great because He poured out Himself to death and bore the sin of many.


Zechariah 12:10 says, "Some day the Jews will look on Him whom they have pierced." The Jews didn't crucify people, they stoned them.  All this piercing referred to in the Old Testament is looking directly at a kind of execution they knew nothing about.  The death of Christ then is absolutely no accident, it is no miscalculation.  It is the fulfillment of the very plan and purpose of God.  Not only in direct prophecy but in typical prophecy.  Jesus said, "As the serpent in the wilderness was lifted up, so shall the Son of Man be lifted up," John 12.  He was lifted up in a death...that was very different than the Jewish execution in which you were thrown off something and you were stoned to death, to be lifted up on a cross as that serpent in the wilderness was lifted up that He might be seen by all for healing.

So the death of Christ, again, is no miscalculation.  It's not an accident.  It's not a good plan gone bad.  It is the fulfillment of all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man.  They are all to be absolutely and perfectly accomplished.  He knew He was right on plan.  In John 10 and verse 11, "I am the Good Shepherd," He said, "the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep."  And in verse 17 He added, "For this reason the Father loves Me because I lay down My life that I may take it again."  There it is, death and resurrection.  I lay it down, I take it again.  No one has taken it from Me, I lay it down on My own initiative.  I have authority to lay it down, I have authority to take it up again.

And then the one I referred to in chapter 12 verse 23, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified."  Then verse 24, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone, if it dies it bears much fruit." And then He adds in verse 32, "If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.  And He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die." He knew He would die.  He knew the kind of death He would die.  He would be lifted up.  He would be pierced.  He would be wounded in His hands and His feet and His side.  He knew every detail because it was all, as Acts 2:22 says, "Laid out a determinant plan and foreknowledge of God." First Peter 1:11 says, "The prophets wrote about the sufferings and glory that should follow."  Two categories the prophets wrote about...suffering and glory.  You can go through the Old Testament and find much about the glory, the Kingdom.  It's there, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah and many other places speak of the glory of Messiah.  But also the sufferings are there.  And the Jews had a hard time with that part of it.  They seem to grab on to the glory part and leave out the suffering part.  There are some foolish people who think that Jesus came to offer a Kingdom to Israel and if Israel had accepted Him as Messiah, there wouldn't have been a need for a cross, if they had embraced Him, and accepted Him, and not crucified Him that they would have received the Kingdom on the spot.  That is absolutely ridiculous.  You would be a fool to say that because that's what Jesus says, "O fools, and slow of heart to believe what the prophets said, that the Son of Man must suffer."  He came to offer a Kingdom through the cross.  His entry into Jerusalem is described in Zechariah 9, even down to the colt that He would ride on.  The rage of His enemies is described in Psalm 2.  His desertion by His friends is in Zechariah 13:7.  "When the Shepherd is smitten, the sheep are scattered," talking about how the disciples all fled.  His betrayal for 30 pieces of silver is stated in Zechariah 11:12.  And as I read, His piercing in Psalm 22.  Exodus 12:46 and Psalm 34:20 says, "Not a bone of His body would be broken," and we know that was fulfilled.  They didn't break His legs which they usually did to speed up death, but He was already dead.  Psalm 22:18 said they would cast lots for His garments.  Psalm 69:21 says they would give Him vinegar to drink.  Psalm 22:1, as I read you, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me," indicates His cry of distress.


All these things are laid out in the Old Testament.  And that He would rise from the dead, Psalm 16:10, "Thou would not allow Thy Holy One to see corruption, but will show Him the path of life."  Even Psalm 110:1 describes the ascension.  The Lord knew exactly what He was doing, exactly every single detail.  It was John the Baptist who announced Jesus with these words, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." That's chapter 1 of John, that's at the beginning of Jesus' ministry, right at the time of His baptism.  It was clear to John, it was clear to Jesus that He was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.  He had to be about His Father's business and this was His Father's business.  And not until He had died was it finished.

So that's the plan of suffering.  Let me just mention, at least, the predictions of suffering...the predictions of suffering.  And I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this but look at verses 32 and 33 and look at the specifics.  "He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon.  After they have scourged Him, they will kill Him and the third day He will rise again."  Now if you were to compare Matthew 20 verses 17 to 19, Mark 10 verses 32 to 34 who record the same incident, you find the complete statement of what our Lord said, and there are a few other details.  Mark and Matthew use the word "delivered," but it's probably better translated as "betrayed...betrayed," and most of you will have that in your margin in Mark 10:32 and Matthew 20. 

So let me give you some more components.  Betrayed, then handed over to chief priests and scribes, that's also in Matthew and Mark.  Then condemned to death by the chief priests and the scribes, that's also in Matthew and Mark.  So there's a sequence.  He will be betrayed, so Matthew and Mark tell us.  Then handed over to chief priests and scribes, they tell us.  And then condemned to death.  And then Luke steps in to add that He will be delivered by the Jews, who have put Him through the mockery trial, to the Gentiles because they don't have the power to execute anybody so they need the Romans to kill Him, so the Jews will hand Him over to Pilate for execution.  So He will be handed over to the Gentiles, that's the meaning of verse 32.  Then mocked, spit on, scourged, killed, Matthew says crucified.  By the way, Matthew and Mark have all the rest of these, they have more than Luke does.  And finally, He will rise again.


So what is the sequence?  Betrayed, handed over to the chief priests and scribes, condemned to death in a mock trial, then handed over to the Gentiles to be executed.  Mocked, spit on, scourged, killed and risen from the dead.  Amazing detail...every element perfectly fulfilled.  So here you see the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He predicts the detail of His suffering, which isn't hard for Him, He knows everything, He is omniscient.  Back in John 2:25 it was said that nobody needed to tell Him what was in the heart of a man because He knew what was in the heart of a man, He was omniscient.  There's some marvelous illustrations of this, by the way.  In His life and ministry He knew exactly where a certain fish would be swimming at a split second of time so that it could be pulled out of the water and it had a coin in its mouth to pay His taxes.  Amazing knowledge.  He knew about a strange woman He had never met and how many times she had been married, John 4.  He said, "You're right, you've had five husbands and the man you're living with now is not your husband."  He knew where a colt would be when He needed it to rid into Jerusalem.  And He knew what its owners would say when His disciples showed up to take it.  He knew what the conversation was before it was ever held, Luke 19, we'll look at that in the future.  He knew what kind of a pitcher bearer two disciples would run in to as they entered Jerusalem in Luke 22.  He forecast in detail the fall of the city of Jerusalem, such a forecast would be considered ludicrous in the eyes of the Jews.  "Are you kidding me?  Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that belongs to God, Jerusalem, the apple of God's eye being destroyed?  No fool would predict that." But Jesus did, Luke 21:20, "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, recognize her desolation is at hand and flee to the mountains because you're going to fall by the edge of the sword.  Led captive into all nations, Jerusalem trampled under foot by the Gentiles."  He knew every detail about everything.

So when He says it's time for the Son of Man to go to Jerusalem so everything can be fulfilled, He is right on schedule.  He will be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes, that is betrayed by Judas.  He can look at Judas as He stands with the group of Twelve to whom Jesus is talking and know exactly what Judas will do.  He knew that He would then be handed over by Judas for 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and scribes.  He would fall into the hands of the religious elite.  The Jewish priesthood was ranked as follows: the High Priest was the highest of the priests, under him was the captain of the temple, he was like second in command, he assisted the High Priest, high priests were elected from that office of captain of the temple, he was deputy on the Day of Atonement, it was the captain of the temple in Acts 5 that arrested the Apostles for preaching, also included among the chief priests would be the director of the weekly course, that is the priests were all over the land, they would come in for a couple of weeks to do their two weeks in the temple of butcher work and they would go back to their area.  Somebody had to be there to manage all these coming and going priests, that was the director of the weekly course.  There was a director of the daily course who oversaw all the daily sacrifices that went on every day, officiating over all of them, there was a temple overseer, a permanent part of the temple.  There were a number of these, maybe as many as seven who were administrators of the temple operation.  There was the treasurer.  We were told there were at least three of them, they controlled financial transactions.  They were the doorkeepers in charge of all the keys, all the goods, salt, store supplies, you name it, they constituted the elite core of priests who were in charge of everything and the rest of the priests came in under them, and under the priests came the Levites.  They were supposed to be an independently selected group, competent to lead in the affairs of the temple and the priesthood, they were the executive body, I guess you could say, of temple operations, but they were the devils for sure.  Jesus said, "You are of your father, the devil."  And they were against Jesus and they hated Him with a vengeance.

The scribes also were a part of it.  Mark says the scribes were a part of that group that he was handed over to.  They were the law of experts, kind of a new upper class, came alongside the priestly aristocracy to inform them about the law.  They were the lawyers, well versed in biblical learning, the years of study, I think it's Josephus who says by the age of 14 they had mastered the interpretation of the law in an effort to find a career in this particular field.  They were competent to make decisions on justice, legislation, and so forth.  They were the non-ordained who came alongside the clergy to inform them.  And so it is to this aristocratic elite group that Jesus was handed over.  And from there, everything else followed.  They had a mocked trial which we'll go through later in Luke.  Condemned Him to death, they couldn't kill Him so they had to, as it says in verse 32, deliver Him to the Gentiles who had the right to execute Him.  And once the Gentiles followed through, He was mocked, mistreated, spit on, scourged and finally killed.  And third day He arose again.  Just exactly the way it happened.


Yes, it's a conspiracy of Jews and Gentiles.  Yes, they're doing it out of hatred.  Surprising Jesus?  Not at all.  Surprising God?  Not at all...not at all, right on schedule.  And the fulfillment of all these things is going to begin, and we're going to see it in all its vivid drama as we move through the rest of Luke's gospel.

Now I want to say more about these elements of suffering, but I'm going to keep that till next time, okay?  So we looked at the plan of suffering and the prediction of suffering, next time the proportion of suffering, what did He really suffer?

Father, we thank You for the Word, who are desirous, Lord, of doing all we can in our small way to protect the honor of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We hate the fact that so many discredit our Lord and say all manner of things that are not true about Him.  Father, we pray that we might be the great defenders of the glory and the honor of Christ as we take the Word of God and bring it to bear upon the error that is so rampant around us.  May we know that Jesus came to fulfill what He had planned to fulfill from before time began, when in the councils of the divine Trinity, it was determined that there would be a creation and a humanity and a Fall and a redemption and a sacrifice.  We rejoice, O God, in the fact that there's no surprise to our Lord Jesus, He moves to fulfill exactly what He knows will happen in minutest detail.  We celebrate that.  He is no victim.  He is Your offering for our sins as planned from the beginning and before.  We rejoice in that.  We celebrate that.  We pray, O God, that there might not be anyone here who falls outside of that provision of Christ.  O God, may You save sinners, bring sinners to Christ.  May You as the publican prayed, make this atonement apply to them, make this atonement apply to them, even today we pray in Christ's name.  Amen.