Sermon Follow Up Generic



Amid all the rejection of people, Jesus stands ready to save all who hope in him. Pilate delivers Jesus over to the will of the people, but unknowningly fulfills the will of God the Father and Jesus will, for the joy set before him, head straight to the cross and will die for the sins of all who would by faith trust in Him. This is his heart. This is his purpose. This is the will of the Father and the will of the Son…that Jesus will stand accused, condemned in our place – to take on the punishment that should have been ours so we would by faith be set free from our bondage to sin, death, and Satan and to live unto Him finding the hope and satisfaction we are so earnestly seeking for.


“Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.” When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why, What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.” (Luke 23:1–25 ESV)

Amid the dark rejection of mankind, Jesus stands ready to save all who hope in Him.


1. Jesus Stands Ready to Save as the Innocent One

Luke shows us that not only is Jesus falsely charged, he is patently innocent. And this is important because when Jesus is on the cross, a punishment for the worst of criminals, he hangs there as an innocent man. He’s not being punished because he deserves it. He sees no need to defend his innocence on account of the reality that he has come to seek and to save the lost and he is committed to do so even in the face of false accusation and disdain.

Three times, Pilate tells the angry people before him that Jesus is innocent. His innocence is obvious. But not only was he innocent of the crimes that Pilate would have cared about, he was innocent of any sin. Peter would say in his first letter...

“He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:22–23 ESV)

And this is a vital aspect of the gospel for if Jesus had have been guilty of the slightest sin, the slightest manipulation or civil disobedience he would have simply been hanging on the cross for his own sin. But Jesus wasn’t going to be hanging on the cross due to any sin of his own, he was going to be condemned to death as the innocent, sinless, unblemished Lamb of God to pay the penalty for the sins of all who would ever believe on and find their hope in Him. Jesus Stands Ready to Save You as the Innocent One.

Reflection Questions

  • Why is Jesus' innocence such a vital aspect of the good news?
  • How does Jesus' intent to go to the cross in the face of such false accusation encourage you?

2. Jesus Stands Ready to Save as the Rejected One

All of this rejection (Pilate, Herod, the religious leaders, the people of Jerusalem) comes amid the backdrop of passages like Isaiah 53 that describes the suffering servant in vivid detail. Literally six hundred years before the events of this text we’re in, Isaiah says…

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:3–7 ESV)

Isaiah emphasizes with prophetic precision the rejection of the Suffering Servant by the very people who needed the forgiveness that He came to provide. People like you and I. Our families, our very kind neighbors, our co-workers, and literally everyone around this world. Listen, amid all the rejection of that day Jesus stood ready, able and willing to save all those who hope in him. And he does so still today. Amid all the current rejection of Jesus in your heart, or in the heart of your child, or spouse, or parent, or friend, or neighbor, or co-worker, stands Jesus ready to save all who hope in him.

Reflection Questions

  • Where do you recognize rejection of Jesus in your own heart?
  • How does Jesus' intent to go to the cross in the face of such rejection (and considering your own rejection) encourage you?

3. Jesus Stands Ready to Save as Your Substitute

In verse 18, the mob, the chief priests and the religious leaders and the crowd that was with Him, cry out and say, “Away with Jesus! Release to us Barabbas!” And right there we are shown the very clear picture of the innocent man Jesus, having been falsely accused of insurrection, being called to die on a cross while Barabbas, who has been justly accused, convicted, and sentenced for insurrection, being set free. And in that specific picture…that feels oh so very wrong…we have a snapshot of the nature of Jesus becoming a substitute for another – innocent Jesus being sentenced for the very thing that guilty Barabbas had done, while Barabbas was set free and given a kind of new life. This substitution of the innocent for the guilty in the exchange of Jesus for Barabbas is a foretaste of the purposeful grace found at the cross of Jesus as he is condemned in the place of sinful man.

"There is a deep meaning underneath these circumstances before us and we must not fail to observe it. The whole transaction is a lively emblem of that wondrous exchange that takes place between Christ and the sinner. When a sinner is justified in the sight of God, Christ has been made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Christ, the innocent, has been reckoned guilty before God that we, the guilty, might be reckoned innocent and be set free from condemnation. If we are true Christians, let us daily lean our souls on the comfortable thought that Christ has really been our substitute and has been punished in our stead. Let us freely confess that like Barabbas, we deserve death, judgment, and hell. But let us cling firmly to the glorious truth that a sinless Savior has suffered in our stead and that believing in Him the guilty may go free" (JC Ryle).

Through Jesus we have received a benefit “surpassing all expectation”—just as Barabbas did. Imagine what it must have been like for that prisoner when he heard the good news of his exchange. He was not going to die after all; he was going home free, because Jesus would die instead! For Barabbas this was pure grace. He was still in prison when he heard the happy news. There was nothing he could do to gain his own pardon or grant his own release. He had no way to escape the chains of his bondage. His life was spared only because Jesus died in his place (Philip G. Ryken).

Jesus wasn’t substituted for Barabbas and delivered over to the people and ultimately the cross where he would die on account of the people’s will…on account of them being in charge. He was substituted for Barabbas and was delivered over to the people and ultimately the cross because God was in charge, because of God's design for our salvation. It was by God’s predetermined plan and foreknowledge that Jesus was delivered up and provided as a substitute to die for our sins, a substitute who lived a life that we cannot live and to die a death that we deserve to die so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

Reflection Questions

  • When you've read about the crowd crying for Jesus' crucifixion and Barabbas' freedom how have you thought about it? Disgust of the people's rejection of Jesus or wonder of the beautiful picture of Jesus being the substitute?
  • Have you ever considered yourself like Barabbas? Why or why not? How would it be right to do so, and how does it make you feel.
  • How does Jesus' intent to go to the cross to be your substitute encourage you?


  • Meditate on ALL of Luke 23 this week and ask the Spirit to help you see with fresh eyes the wonderful plan of God to redeem a people for himself to dwell with. Take a few moments each day to write out old or new things the Spirit directs your eyes to see about Jesus in this very familiar passage.

  • Watch the following video and grow in thankfulness


Further Study:

  • Luke 23
  • 1 Peter 2:19-25
Songs to Encourage