If you already have everyone’s identity straight – – then consider watching the Tim Keller sermon given below!
Jesus Vindicated – Tim Keller (TGC13) from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
*Refers to those people everyone including small children should know on some level.
*The LORD Jesus Christ is the second person of the triune God, the eternally begotten son of the Father. As God, he has always had a divine nature. When he submitted to the Father’s will and was born of the virgin Mary, he took on a human nature for eternity. His divine and human natures are both complete.
In becoming an ordinary human, Jesus Christ humbled himself. He further humbled himself by being a servant throughout his life on earth. He accomplished the ultimate act of humility by dying a terrible death on the cross. This was particularly humiliating for him because a death on the cross was viewed with great contempt. Although he humbled himself, he was exalted and raised from the dead by the Father and has ascended into heaven where he is now seated at the Father’s right hand. God has exalted him and given him a name that is above all others. One day his exaltation will be complete when he comes again in all his glory.
It is the work of Jesus Christ that makes it possible for people to enter into a redemptive relationship with God. Because of Adam’s sin, all men are guilty of sin. A vast gulf therefore exists between God and all humanity. Jesus Christ is the only one who could span this gulf. He became man, lived a perfect life, suffered all of hell on the cross and died, and was resurrected. In doing so he took God’s wrath on himself, made amends for our sin, defeated Satan, and reconciled his people.
It is significant to note that Jews would have been the last people to believe that God would become incarnate. They would not even say the name of God aloud or write it, much less believe that God became incarnate.
Annas – Former high priest and Caiaphas’s father-in-law. He questioned Jesus during his trial.
Barrabas – A notorious criminal (Matthew 27:16) who was released instead of Jesus.
Caiaphas – A high priest who played a central role in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. Per the Holman Bible Dictionary, “High priest at the time of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 26:3). He was the son-in-law of Annas and a leader in the plot to arrest and execute Jesus. Relatively little is known of his life. He was apparently appointed high priest about a.d. 18 and served until a.d. 36 or 37. His remains have been found in an ossuary box in a burial cave in Jerusalem, which also contains the remains of many of his family members.”
Cleopas – Jesus appeared to Cleopas and an unnamed friend on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection (Luke 24).
Herod Antipas – One of the co-conspirators who brought about the death of Jesus. Approximately thirty years earlier his father, Herod the Great, tried to murder Jesus when he was a baby.
*James the brother of John – One of Jesus’s twelve disciples and in Jesus’s inner circle along with Peter and his brother John. James and John were sometimes called the “sons of thunder” because they asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Christ (Luke 9:54).
*John – The youngest of Jesus’ twelve disciples, John was the author of the Gospel of John and refers to himself within that gospel as “the disciple Jesus loved.” Together, James and John were sometimes called the “sons of thunder” because they asked Jesus if he wanted them to call down fire on a Samaritan village that rejected Christ (Luke 9:54).
Joseph of Arimethea – A wealthy Jewish leader who believed in Jesus but feared what others would think if they found out. He was granted permission to bury Jesus and was assisted by Nicodemus.
*Judas Iscariot – Jesus’s disciple who betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. He was motivated by greed. He committed suicide
*Mary – The mother of Jesus.
*Mary, Martha, and Lazarus – Close friends of Jesus where he sometimes visited. Jesus comforted Martha and Mary and raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11). Jesus also admonished Martha over being too task oriented (Luke 10:38-42).
*Mary Magdalene – One of the women who followed and supported Jesus (Mark 15:41). She was from Magdala in Galilee. She experienced dramatic healing when seven demons came out of her (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). She was a key witness to Jesus’ death (Matt. 27:56, Mark 15:40), burial (Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47), the empty tomb (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1–10), and was the first to encounter the risen Christ (John 20:1–18). Her name being listed first may indicate a leadership role among the women.
It is significant that the first eyewitnesses were women. Women were not considered credible witnesses in that culture. The only motivation Luke had to put women in as eye witnesses was because they were really there.
Nicodemus – A member of the Sanhedrin famous for coming to Jesus at night (John 3). He helped Joseph of Arimathea with the burial of Jesus (John 19:39). He also interceded with Jewish leaders on behalf of Jesus (John 7:50).
*Peter / Simon Peter – Peter was in the “inner circle” of the disciples along with the brothers James and John. Peter denied Jesus three times during Holy Week but on Pentecost, by God’s grace, he preached one of the greatest sermons in history only seven weeks later (Acts 2).
Pharisees – A Jewish sect known for zeal in keeping the Law.
*Pontius Pilate – The Roman official who presided over Jesus’s trial. He objected that Jesus did not deserve death but acquiesced to the crowd’s cries to crucify Christ.
Pontius Pilate’s Wife – She sent word to Pilate to have nothing to with “that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream (Matthew 27:19).”
Roman Soldiers – Soldiers carried out the orders to crucify Christ. We know little about them, though a centurion says, “Truly this man was the Son of God (Matthew 47:43, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47).
Samaritans – “The Samaritans were the descendants of the foreigners who settled in Israel after the Assyrian invasion in 722 BC and with whom the Jews had often unlawfully intermarried.” In Luke’s gospel, immediately after Jesus set his face on Jerusalem, he was rejected by Samaritans because of his commitment to Jerusalem. James and John enquired as to whether or not they should call down fire, demonstrating that they did not understand the nature of Christ’s Kingdom. Jesus rebuked them and went to the cross to take the fire on himself so that the gospel might go out to Samaria and all the world.
Sanhedrin – The supreme Jewish religious court council in ancient Israel. Jesus appeared before the Sanhedrin. Note than Joseph of Arimathea, who buried Jesus, was one of the Sanhedrin – – so it wasn’t as though all the Sanhedrin were in perfect agreement about Jesus.
*Thieves on the Cross – Two thieves were crucified on either side of Christ. One repented and believed and Jesus promised that he would be with him that day in Paradise (Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32b, Luke 23:39-43).
*Thomas – One of Jesus’s disciples who was reluctant to believe that Jesus rose from the dead (John 20:24-29). Thomas previously asked Jesus how they would be able to find him when Christ said that he was going to prepare a place (John 14:1-6).
 Kostenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 3372.
 John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ, Kindle 20th Anniversary Edition (Downers Grove: IVP, 2012), 55–58.
 Palmer, C. (2003). Mary. In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen & T. C. Butler, Ed.) (1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Keller, “Jesus Vindicated.”
 Kostenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, 520.
 Blomberg, Jesus and the Gospels: An Introduction and Survey, 628. See also Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, ed. Gordon D. Fee, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), 405.