This is the heart, the holy ground, of the gospel. Some people will only ready these passages on their knees.

Luke is a historian. His account shows research. He’s careful to name sources, like Joseph of Arimethea, who not only carried and placed the very dead body of Jesus in his tomb but was also on the council and witnessed Christ’ mock trials and interrogations.

I hope you had the sense that you were reading facts. Terrible facts. We live in such a broken world. We are such broken people. We are a world and people that would release a murderer and torture and execute the only truly good person to have lived.

The lesson I take away is this: arm yourself for suffering. As Jesus said, “If they do these things when the tree is green what will they do when it is dry?” Don’t expect much different from this world.

The encouragement I take away is this: no matter how painful, demeaning, incessant and infuriating the train of trials, taunts and temptations that seem to have me in their grip, I don’t have to play ball or follow their lead. I can say, “Father forgive them.” I, a seemingly hopeless case, can be other-focused and say to another hopeless case, “See you soon in Paradise.” And I can trust God and place the real me, the me that this world can never get hold of, into his hands.

Because Jesus suffered and did all that for me, who, had I been there, would have been yelling, “Crucify him!”