Someone pointed out that the readings in Luke 22-23, contain a balance of threes.
Peter’s three denials in the chief Priest’s court yard are well known. A female servant stared at Peter and said, “This man was with Jesus.” Peter denied it, “I don’t know him, woman.” Later someone else said, “You are one of THEM.” Peter said, “Not me!” An hour later another person insisted, “This man was with him.” Peter denied it emphatically, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” Even as he spoke the rooster crowed, Jesus looked directly at Peter, Peter remembered, and he went outside and wept.
Peter had declared that he would go to prison, even die rather than deny Jesus. Peter ought to give us pause when we declare with absolute certainty, “I’m a Christian.”
But what is surprising is that Pilate declared Jesus innocent three times. Pilate asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Yes I am.” Pilate sent him to Herod who asked several questions, but Jesus refused to answer him. Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, who asserted, “This man hasn’t done anything deserving of death. So, I’m going to have him whipped and set free.” When the people objected yelling “Crucify him! Crucify Him!” “Why? What wrong has he done? I haven’t found this man deserving of the death penalty.” But Pilate ultimately caved to the pressure of the mob and handed him over.
In Luke, Jesus speaks from the cross three times. “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” “Today you will be with me in paradise.” and “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” No one knew they were killing God, but Jesus forgave us all. No one deserved paradise, but Jesus gave it anyway. No one trusted the caring hands of the heavenly father, so Jesus did it in our stead, because one day we will all have to give up our spirit.