God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

Have you ever dealt with a really obstinate person – a person whose mind is made up and no amount of reasoning or arguing will ever change it? How do you feel when faced with that kind of exchange…what do you do?

In our study of the Gospel of Luke this week we’ll be reading chapter 22:63-71. It’s the account of Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin, the highest Jewish authority of the time.

Much is revealed about the nature of who Jesus is in this account, yet surprisingly Jesus says very few words.  He’s beaten by soldiers and interrogated by religious leaders – both groups doing their best to provoke a desired reaction from him, both failing.  What IS revealed is that there are actually two courtroom scenes in this section, one seen and one invisible to the naked eye. In a masterful literary setup, Luke presents the irony of one group assuming a position of power over One who is actually judge of all.  Jesus makes the statement in v69 that identifies him as one holding equal power and right to rule with God, and that seals his fate in their minds.  Its a strange scene where God is in the hands of angry sinners (with apologies to Jonathan Edwards).

Hebrews 12:3 says ” Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”  – in other words, look at Jesus’ example of how he behaved when faced with closed minded, intolerant people, and learn how you can handle people like that.  As you look at Jesus’ behavior during this unjust trial, what do you observe about him and how he did or didn’t react?  Who’s opinion of him does he point to as having ultimate importance? – that is, who’s opinion of him matters most?  What can we learn from that when people don’t like us or misunderstand us or have a low view of our worth?

It should prove an interesting discussion for the home groups this week. A leader’s guide for this week can be found here: leaders guide 22-63-71

Stuff to think about.  Hope to see you Sunday!