Life-Study of Lukeby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Luke 19:28—22:46 is a section concerned with the Man-Savior’s presentation of Himself to death for redemption. We have seen that the Lord entered into Jerusalem triumphantly (19:28-40), lamented over the city (vv. 41-44), and cleansed the temple and taught in it (vv. 45-48). Then in 20:1—21:4 we see that the Lord passed through the examination of the chief priests, scribes, and elders (vv. 1-19), of the Pharisees and the Herodians (vv. 20-26), and of the Sadducees (vv. 27-38). He muzzled the examiners (vv. 39-44), warned against the scribes (vv. 45-47), and appraised a poor widow (21:1-4).
After the Lord came into Jerusalem and visited the temple, He went out of the city and rested in Bethany. Then in the morning He came again to the temple. Luke 20:1 says that He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the good news. He was still carrying on the ministry of presenting the jubilee to the needy ones.
While the Lord was in the temple teaching and preaching, “the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came upon Him, and spoke, saying to Him, Tell us by what authority you are doing these things, or who is the one who gave you this authority?” (20:1-2). Here we see that leaders from the Jewish community were prepared to test Him. Actually this test was not initiated by them; it was initiated by the Man-Savior. He knew that, according to the prophecy, He had to be killed on the Passover as the Lamb of God. The prophecies in the Old Testament specified both the time and the place He would be put to death.
The Man-Savior had been ministering for over three years in the despised region of Galilee, far from the holy temple and the holy city, the place where it was necessary for Him to die for the accomplishment of God’s eternal plan. As the Lamb of God (John 1:29), He had to be offered to God at Mount Moriah, where Abraham offered Isaac and enjoyed God’s provision of a ram as a substitute for his son (Gen. 22:2, 9-14) and where the temple was built in Jerusalem (2 Chron. 3:1). It had to be there that He would be delivered, according to the counsel determined by the Trinity of the Godhead (Acts 2:23), to the Jewish leaders and there be rejected by them as the builders of God’s building (Acts 4:11). It was also there that He had to be crucified according to the Roman style of punishment (John 18:31-32; 19:6, 14-15) to fulfill the type concerning the kind of death He would die (Num. 21:8-9; John 3:14). Moreover, that was the very year that Messiah (Christ) was to be cut off (killed) according to Daniel’s prophecy (Dan. 9:24-26). Furthermore, as the Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7) He had to be killed in the month of the Passover (Exo. 12:1-11). Hence, He had to go to Jerusalem before the Passover (John 12:1; Mark 14:1) so that He might die there on the day of the Passover (John 18:28) at both the place and the time foreordained by God.
According to the prophecy in the Old Testament, both the place and the time of the Lord’s death were definite. Daniel 9:25 and 26a say, “Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself.” Here we see that the Messiah, the Christ, would be killed at the end of the sixty-ninth week. The year in which the Man-Savior went up to Jerusalem to die was the very year prophesied in the ninth chapter of Daniel. Even more specifically, the Lord was to be put to death on the Passover, that is, on the fourteenth day of the month. The Lord knew that it was necessary for Him to be in Jerusalem in time to die on the Passover. Furthermore, according to the prophecy concerning the Passover lamb, He needed to be examined for four days. Therefore, it was necessary for Him to be in Jerusalem at least four days before His crucifixion.
In the Gospels we see that the Lord Jesus was very careful not to be killed either before or after the appointed time. If He had been killed before the Passover, there would have been no way for the prophecy to be fulfilled. In such a case, He would not have been the real Lamb of the Passover. But since He was the real Passover Lamb, He preserved Himself until the time had come for Him to be offered on the cross.
Just as the Lord was to be put to death at a definite time, so He was to die at a specific place. This place was Mount Zion, which previously was called Mount Moriah.
If we have the proper understanding of the time and the place of the Lord’s crucifixion, we shall know why the Lord was careful in His actions during those crucial days in Jerusalem. He knew that if He had been put to death even one day earlier, He would have missed the mark concerning the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. Therefore, the Lord was very careful in returning to the temple each day. His purpose in going back to the temple was to present Himself to the Jewish people for them to thoroughly examine Him. We have the record of this examination in 20:1—21:4.
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