The True Peacemaker and Benefactor of the People
David Gooding, Ipswich
Chapters 22 and 23 of Luke are filled with ideas of peace and provision. The priests pose as peacemakers by accusing Christ of disturbing and exciting the people, and demand His execution. Pilate secures temporary peace by yielding to the insistent clamour of the people, but at the cost of setting loose among them an insurrectionist andmurderer. Earlier, Judas had betrayed Christ under cover of a kiss of ' peace '; and in the court-room, where Christ was being insulted, Peter had kept the peace with his newfound companions by denying Him.
In chapter 22 the priests make preparation for the nation for the Passover. The preparation is to rob the people of the teaching of Christ, which they are obviously enjoying (sec 21. 38), and is accomplished by the help of Satan; and in Christ's place they choose for the people a murderer and an insurrectionist.
The True Peacemaker
Against this dark background Luke skilfully portrays Christ as the Perfect Peacemaker. His intercession obtains forgiveness for the soldiers who crucified Him, at a moment when they must have been outraging the feelings of God and provoking His wrath. Unlike Pilate, who set at large an untamed murderer Barabbas, Christ, finding another such on the cross beside Him, brings him to repentance and makes him a fit subject for Paradise. Even His trial serves as the occasion for Pilate being reconciled to Herod.
Moreover, according to Luke, the atmosphere of the upper room was charged with elements which would have destroyed the peace had it not been for the skilful ministry of Christ. The strife among the disciples as to who should be the greatest (recorded in this context by Luke alone) is calmed by His teaching and example. The attempt of Satan to disrupt the band of disciples is forestalled by His intercession for Peter; the company is made aware of the insidious designs of the traitor by His solemn denunciation. In the Garden, the ravages of the mis-used sword are healed by His touch. And on the repentant thief He bestows immediate pardon and peace.
The True Benefactor
But Christ not only brings peace, He makes provision for His own and for the nation. He directs the preparation for the Passover, institutes the supper of remembrance for the present, and for the future appoints Hisdisciples a kingdom and promises them fellowship with Hun then. His followers, disciplined by sharing His rejection, are being prepared to govern Israel in the day of Israel's glory—an incalculable blessing for Israel, Satan's attack on Peter is turned and made to serve the eventual strengthening of all the disciples; and before He sends them out into the nation, which formerly had entertained them on their preaching-tours, Christ wisely counsels them what attitude they must adopt in a world in which He Himself is regarded as an outlaw.
Unlike Barabbas, the only blood Christ shed was His own; unlike the priests, in league with Satan to rob the people, He was sustained in His exercises for them in the Garden by a heavenly ministrant; unlike His disciples, He was content to serve and not to be served; and unlike and excelling all, He was and is the perfect Peacemaker and Benefactor of the people.