The Gospel According to Luke: Part 66 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

An Exposition

Luke 22:54-71: “Injustice on Display, Part 1”

“Then they seized Him and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, ‘This man also was with Him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’ And a little later someone else saw him and said, ‘You are also one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was with Him, for he too is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’

“And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. The LORD turned and looked at Peter, and Peter remembered the saying of the LORD, how He had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.”

“Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him as they beat Him. They also blindfolded Him and kept asking Him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ And they said many other things against Him, blaspheming Him. When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered, both chief priests and scribes. And they led Him away to their council and they said, ‘If You are the Christ, tell us.’ But He said to them, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ So, they said, ‘Are you the Son of God, then?’ And He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it from His own lips” (Luke 22:54-71, ESV).

Every attorney who has objectively studied the procedure of the “trial,” sentencing, and execution of the Lord Jesus Christ has declared it to be totally illegal and a travesty of justice. The only “evidence” that the priests and officials could gather was not material, circumstantial, or reliable due to any type of eyewitness account from two or more people according to the Law of Moses (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20, 19:15), but a case built on contempt and blind hatred for Jesus and His claim of Divinity. These men were spiritually blind (Matthew 23:24; John 9:40-41), both deliberately and willingly. Because of this, they condemned themselves to eternal damnation. Even the closest friend of the Lord Jesus would come close to the edge of spiritual danger.

Verses 54-62 present what could be defined as an injustice towards our LORD through the act of denial that Peter demonstrated as he warmed himself by a fire near the home of the High Priest Caiaphas. It was here that Peter’s boast and declaration of allegiance to the LORD, so boldly proclaimed just a few hours earlier, would crumble to pieces — not due to threats by the temple guards or Roman officials — but through the inquiry and accusations of an anonymous young servant girl and others around the fire who pointed him out as one of Jesus’ followers. Peter started with a profession of ignorance concerning Jesus and ended up cursing and swearing that he did not know Him. Then Jesus looked at him, and Peter ran off, crying bitter tears over what he had done.

Before you tend to criticize Peter for what he did, think for a moment and ask yourself if you have ever “clammed up” or denied being a follower of Jesus in front of someone or with a group of people such as friends or co-workers.

You went along with the smutty joke or lewd comment someone made or stayed quiet while someone used the Lord’s name as a curse word or in a manner that was clearly blasphemous. You were afraid to speak up and proclaim your faith because you were afraid of getting laughed at, or left out of a group, or of being fired, or a host of lame excuses. So do not read this with a sense of spiritual superiority, as if you would be immune to situations where confessing your faith in Jesus Christ may end up costing you your life. That time has come upon the world, and thousands of believers have paid the price of being a Christian by giving their lives for Him and His glory.

Is there enough evidence for a court to sentence you to death if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ? If you have to stop and ponder this and honestly say “no” or “I don’t know,” you are demonstrating the same injustice towards the Lord Jesus as did Peter when he denied knowing Him. Make sure TODAY that you are a real, genuine disciple, and go before Him in prayer and repentance and settle that issue.

There are other displays of rank injustice going on this night, as our LORD undergoes mocking and physical abuse by the guards and officials who are holding Him in custody, as we read in verses 63-65. Jesus is allowing this to happen to Him. He is blindfolded, enduring beatings and mocking, as well as the insults hurled at him by these men who see Him as nothing more than a troublemaker and source of sadistic amusement.

We know that, as God Incarnate, He has the authority and power to say the word and send these miscreants to hell in an instant, and to destroy the universe in His righteous wrath for this display of reprobate and wicked behavior. He would be perfectly right and proper to do such an act, yet He is enduring this abuse out of love for His fallen creation in order to redeem them once and for all from every form of sin, and to render a death blow to the work of Satan and his fallen angels (Isaiah 53:3, 6).

For anyone who looks at the state of our nation and conditions around the world with its obvious and blatant displays of barbarity, hatred, rage, crimes, wars, and both natural and manmade disasters and sees no hope, it would seem that evil has won.

The Christian should see this as an opportunity to tell those who are worried, frightened, and anxious about the mission of Jesus and His return to make all things new. We do not need to get entangled in issues such as “social justice” (whatever that means), or “race theory,” or feigned guilt over our skin color, or so-called “rights” of people whose lifestyle clearly opposes the standards of God’s Word (Romans 1:18-32, 3:10-18; 1 Corinthians 6:8-11). That will all end up in flames, as will everything else in this corrupt world (2 Peter 3:8-10).

Hell is filled with people who died for “causes” yet never showed concern for their souls or got right with God. We are to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, first and foremost (Matthew 28:28-30; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Nothing else matters.

I know that some of you who read these expositions and the other articles on this site have been “burned” by “church people”; or have turned away from what you were told or exposed to as being “Christian”; or saw too many godly pastors be fired or run out of the ministry by individuals who controlled the church; or saw the antics of TV “preachers” selling everything from trinkets to “miracle water”; or were begging for “seed for your blessings” (money); or witnessed downright stupid, childish, and outlandish actions done by people who claimed to be “anointed” by God.

I understand where you are coming from, and I get it. It infuriates and embarrasses me as a minister of the Gospel. It slanders and mocks a holy God who will not stand to be treated in such a manner much longer. Please stop and take the time to read further and see that it was religious people, full of hate and vindictiveness, who put the Lord Jesus on trial and ramrodded accusations, interrogations, a hasty verdict and sentencing in a blatant, rigged manner, devoid of any sense of the word “justice” (vv.66-71).

The Sanhedrin had mocked Him in their hasty questioning. He responded with all power and authority that He is Who He claimed to be. The Pharisees and Sadducees react with outrage and condemn Him there on the spot. This so-called “trial” broke countless laws and protocols, and the Son of God stands there, without any advocate for His defense, yet is triumphant in what will look like rank and gross injustice to the people around Him. The truth is that He has already won the war for the souls of His people once and for all, and He has fired the warning shot to the devil and his crew. The wounds of that war are about to come upon Him as the day progresses.

Drop all your excuses and arguments right now, and be honest with yourself and God. The story of Jesus Christ is a testimony of the love and compassion He has for you by going through this hell of torment, pain, ridicule, mocking, and the horrendous pain of crucifixion on your behalf so that you might be reconciled to God and be with Him for eternity in heaven. You cannot in any way, shape, or form make things right with God in your own strength even if you wished (Ephesians 2:8-9). Jesus Christ, both God and Man, was the perfect, sinless, blameless sacrifice for the sins and wickedness you possess and carry out, whether minute or great.

He sees everything you do and say, and when death comes for you, you will face Him and give an accounting of your life (Hebrews 9:27), like it or not, believe it or not. If you have rejected the free offer of salvation and real peace given to you by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the ONLY way to the Father (John 14:6), I do NOT want to be in your place when you are found guilty and sentenced to eternal torment (Luke 16:19-31). Once there, you do not receive a second chance or weekend pass.

Laugh at this at your own peril, but once you are six feet under and providing fertilizer for the flowers above, you had better be right in the decision you made concerning the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A lifetime of anger or bitterness against God in this life, or whatever the case, is not worth an eternity of being in a place devoid of love or mercy, grace, empathy, care, concern, help, pity, laughter, or fellowship. I do not want that for you or anyone taking the time to read this plea.

I am concerned for your soul and that of your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone who is without the assurance of eternal life and true peace found only in Jesus Christ. The Scriptures tell us that He is about to return to take His true church home (John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 3:10) and begin the final series of judgments against this wicked and rebellious world and its people. He will come back after a period of seven years (Daniel 9:27; Revelation 19:11-21) to rule and reign as the eternal King, making all things new, and will judge the wicked of all time, including the devil and his angels, and sentence them to eternity in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).

His mercy and grace are available to you NOW (Matthew 11:28-30; John 3:16, 11:25; Acts 4:12, 16:31; Romans 10:9-10). Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, turn away from them, and surrender your life to Christ NOW (2 Corinthians 6:2). You have no guarantee of tomorrow, and I want you in heaven with me and the rest of the brethren when He comes to get us.