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Doing the Right Thing Is Never Wrong (Luke 23:13-25)

Luke 23:13–25 - 13 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 “Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17 Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner. 18 But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, Pilate said that both he and Herod found Jesus innocent of the charges against Him and wanted to release Him (vv. 13-17). But the crowd demanded the He be crucified (vv. 18-21). When Pilate asked what crime Jesus committed, they shouted for His death (vv. 22-23). So, Pilate released Barabbas, a prisoner who was in fact guilty of insurrection and murder as the crowd demanded and sentenced Jesus to death on a cross (vv. 24-25). How can I apply Luke 23:13-25 to my life? The trial and condemnation of Jesus exposes the stark contrast between the values of this world and those of Christ’s Kingdom. Though Pilate found Jesus innocent of the Jewish leaders’ charges, he cowardly capitulated to the crowd’s demands for crucifixion rather than acting justly. While Jesus embodied perfect righteousness and peace, the frenzied crowds clamored for Barabbas, a criminal guilty of insurrection and murder. Jesus endured false accusations and an unjust death sentence with humility and trust in the Father. As Christ-followers, we continually face the choice between conforming to the world’s patterns or pursuing deeper intimacy with God through faith and obedience. In a culture often indifferent or hostile to biblical truths, we must stand firmly for righteousness rather than retreating to quiet compromise. And when we suffer attacks, we must entrust our defense to the One who judges justly. Here are some basic principles from this passage we should apply to our lives:

  1. Seek to Do the Right Thing Even When It Is Not Popular (vv. 13-17): Though Pilate found no fault in Jesus and had the authority to release Him, he chose to appease the crowd demanding crucifixion rather than acting justly. Even when following Christ goes against public opinion or personal comfort, God calls us to honor Him with righteous words and actions. Do not shy away from defending truth or showing His love to those rejected by society for fear of ridicule or rejection. Stand on His affirmations of your worth in Him. Move forward in obedience to His commands and guidance with courage and wisdom, leaving outcomes to Him. It can feel daunting to go against the grain when unbelievers mock your convictions or fellow Christians question your witness. But fix your eyes on Jesus, who endured the hostility of skeptics and the deaf ears of powerful people for the sake of obeying the Father’s will. He is worth any temporary discomfort you face. Trust Him to help you speak truth with both boldness and gentleness while also avoiding unnecessary controversy. Stay grounded in the power of the Holy Spirit within you, who emboldens and guides those eager to honor Christ. As you walk faithfully, you set an example for others to also deeply root their identity in Him alone rather than human approval (Joshua 1:9, Matthew 10:26-28, Acts 5:29, Ephesians 6:10-11).

Food for thought: When have you felt tempted recently to silence your witness about Christ to avoid controversy? What truths from Scripture might help inspire courage in those moments?

  1. Do Not Conform to the World by Choosing Sin Rather Than Choosing the Forgiveness of Sin (vv. 18-22): Both Pilate and Herod easily could have chosen to free Jesus, an innocent man. But they valued their selfish interests more than upholding justice. It is tempting to embrace sinful worldly patterns out of a quest for popularity, pleasure, or gain. But pursuing Christ wholeheartedly means trading the world's empty values for His righteousness, peace, and enduring joy. It means daring to stand out as set apart for Him. What sinful attitudes or habits have subtly distorted your devotion to Him? Apathy, greed, pride, immorality? Boldly acknowledge and cast those off with His grace. Do not settle for anything less than the wholeness Jesus died to give you through His limitless grace and mercy. Ask Him also for awareness of undercurrents in culture that undermine godly convictions. As you grow attentive to those, intentionally submit even your mindset and assumptions to Christ’s redeeming transformation. Discern worldly tactics aimed at slowly dulling your spiritual instincts. But have confidence that walking with Jesus leads always to abundant life. However rocky the road or lonely the path may feel at times, fix your focus on eternity with Him (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, Galatians 1:4, Titus 2:11-14).

Food for thought: What worldly patterns or hidden assumptions most hinder your walk with Jesus? What tangible actions can reinforce choosing His truths instead this week?

  1. Evil Prevails When the Righteous Do Not Stand Firm (vv. 23-25): Jesus stood innocent before frenzied crowds attacking His character. He endured their injustice and lies when with one word He could have stopped their hatred and deception. Sometimes holding your tongue and trusting divine justice frees God’s power far more than self-defense. But often, evil advances through the silence of those who know truth yet refuse to stand firm lovingly. God may call you to speak out against popular corruption and lies — whether ethical compromises at work, false teaching spreading in your church, or unhealthy patterns in a relationship. Of course, timing and approach matter greatly, as does acting only on God’s promptings. With prayer, uphold truth with Scripture’s hope and clarity, not your own opinions. Where you discern an issue best left to divine justice, pray protection over those unjustly accused while avoiding inflammatory reactions. Ask Him for discernment to know when to intercede boldly versus when to entrust justice to Him. And when condemned unfairly yourself, trust your testimony and character to Him who judges rightly (Psalm 37:1-6, Matthew 5:11-12, Micah 6:8, James 1:19-20).

Food for thought: When have you remained silent in the face of clear wrongdoing or false accusations against another? What might godly yet gentle intervention look like for you this week? In a culture that is often indifferent or hostile to Christ's values, we must choose to honor God with our actions and speech regardless of the reactions of others. Rather than compromise, yield more areas of your life to the transforming power of His Spirit. Long for deeper understanding of His truth and principles found in Scripture alone rather than just cultural traditions labeled "Christianity." And while we must stand firm against deception and injustice, take care to do so with Christlike compassion. As you walk through trials or confrontations for your faith, look to Jesus who endured the hostility of sinners that we might be set free. Ask Him for boldness paired with grace and an eternal perspective. Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would give me courage and discernment to uphold Your truths with integrity even when it costs popularity or comfort. Search my heart for patterns of compromise or avoidance of controversy at the expense of righteous living. Flood me again with the powerful grace poured out through Christ's sacrifice that frees me from sinful control and worldly approval. Increase my thirst for holiness over temporary pleasures and my gratitude for spiritual freedom in place of anger over unfair accusations. Use me to share Your gospel wherever possible and stand against deception. But grow patience, kindness, and faith in me so my life and message emulate Christ's, drawing others to You. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 23:25 - And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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