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Biblical Encounter

Dr. Emerson B. Powery (Ph.D., Duke University)
Professor of Biblical Studies
Messiah College

“This prisoner’s announcement of Jesus’ innocence is unique to Luke’s Gospel. Here, in a more prominent way, Luke wishes to stress the crucifixion of innocent Jesus. Pilate “found in him no ground for the sentence of death” (Luke 23:22). Herod would agree with Pilate’s assessment (23:15). And, in our passage, the second criminal offers his own intuition on the situation: “this man has done nothing wrong” (23:41). When Jesus dies, the centurion’s confession sums up all the others in the chapter: “Certainly this man was innocent (23:47).”


Reflection Activity
  • Light a candle and pray for innocent lives that have been violently taken this year. 



  • Why is it important that Luke’s gospel mentions the conversation between Jesus and the criminal?
  • What emotion do you think the criminal is feeling?
  • How are you able to bring others closer to God?
  • Who brings you closer to God?
Prayer 67 from the Book of Common Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, who in a wonderful Sacrament hast left unto us a memorial of thy passion: Grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever perceive within ourselves the fruit of thy redemption; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.


    The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd
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