And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Luke 23:39-42
Jesus was crucified between two criminals, this was another fulfillment of prophecy as it stated the Messiah would be “Numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12) Jesus the sinless Lamb of God was killed as a common criminal, yet Christ is God in the flesh, how can our minds comprehend this? Yet while dying on that cross, the two criminals had conversations with him, one mocked and blasphemed Christ , while the other asked for forgiveness. The question is , which one are you? Have you asked Jesus for mercy for your sins? Or are you still cursing God and headed to Hell?
Notice what the remorseful sinner said “We are punished justly” (v41) The thief on the cross , recognized his sin, secondly he called Jesus Lord (v42) The thief recognized that Jesus Christ is Lord. What must you do to be saved? The same as the thief on the cross, repent of your sins and have faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke 23:43
The repentant thief on the cross became saved! Now when you talk about this it makes some Christians angry , here is a sinner who never went to Church, was never baptized, never read the Bible, yet Jesus said “Today you will be with me in paradise” This is the amazing grace of God through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Notice also Jesus said “Today You will be with me in Paradise” Jesus didn’t say at the resurrection you will be with me or someday, he said today. I think this is clear evidence of the soul, as Paul said “To depart from the body is to be with The Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8) When we die we will immediately be with Jesus, what a glorious thought and promise to hold on to
The story of the thief on the cross is a great reminder of the amazing grace God has given us through the Lord Jesus Christ! Turn away from your sins, and put your faith in Jesus for eternal life, Amen!
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? Luke 23:26-31
As Jesus was heading to the cross, the darkest day of humanity became the redemption day for humanity.As Jesus struggled to carry his wooden cross up the mile trek to Calvary, a bystander named Simon was instructed by the Romans to help Jesus carry his cross. Not much else was mentioned about Simon of Cyrene, but can you imagine having to help The Lord carry his cross to his death, and then just walking away? We don’t read of Simon of having any conversion, so we can assume he must have just walked away. Just like many today and throughout the ages, have heard about the death of Christ, and then just walked away, no care or desire for The Lord
Secondly as Jesus is making the dreadful trip up to Golgotha, he is warning his woman followers of the judgment that is going to be coming upon Israel. Of course we know this was fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem and The Temple were destroyed. Why was Jesus only addressing his female disciples? Because all the male disciples took off and ran for their life, except the Apostle John.
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. Luke 22:32-37
Jesus was crucified in between two criminals, which criminal on the cross are you? One mocked Jesus , while the other asked Jesus for forgiveness, what was Jesus response “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Wow! Imagine this, after Christ is beaten and nailed to a cross for no reason, He still forgives them and wants to save them! What a merciful and loving God we serve!
As Jesus was left hanging on the cross, paying the penalty for our sins, they mocked him “He saved others, let him save himself” But this is the very heart of the gospel message, Jesus died to save us! He could have left us all go to Hell and save himself, but He choose to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He choose to save your soul, because He loves you even before you knew who Jesus was!
The Cross of Christ, was a brutal and horrific event, however it was an event that Christ fulfilled to save your soul. If you want mercy , if you want salvation, you must come to the Cross of Christ first, and Jesus will make you Born Again! Amen!
And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him I will therefore chastise him, and release him. (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) Luke 23:13-19
Again as Pilate and Herod found no wrongdoing of Jesus, the religious leaders kept pushing for Rome to execute The Lord. There was a loophole found, the Romans had a custom of releasing a prisoner at the feast. The religious leaders used this clause as a way to have Jesus take the place of a convict murder named Barrabas. Now notice Pilate originally said I will chastise and release him. This was not getting off easy either, this meant the Roman soldiers would brutally beat Jesus almost to death, but not crucify him
However Israel wanted to exercise the clause in this mockery of a trial and have Barabbas released and Jesus crucified. Think about this, Jesus, the sinless Lamb of God is going to take the place of a horrible sinner and die on the cross for his sins. Jesus took your place also, even though we were still sinners God demonstrated his love towards us and Christ died for our sins (Romans 5:8) You are Barrabas! We are all Barrabas!
Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. Luke 23:20-25
Pilate knowing that Jesus is innocent , tried one last time to release him, however the crowd kept shouting “Crucify Him”, “Crucify Him”, and notice it says “He delivered Jesus to their will” The will of man was to kill the Son of God, but the will of God was to save all humanity through his Son! As the Apostle Paul said “Christ became the curse for us, so we can be released from the curse of The Law” (Galatians 3:13)
Jesus took your place, literally and symbolically, We are all sinners and deserve to die on that cross, however because of Gods love for us, He took our place! He who knew no sin became our sin so we can become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. Luke 23:1-5
The religious leaders wanted to kill off Jesus, because they knew it was immoral, they decided to get Pilate to do their dirty work for them. While Pilate is interrogating Jesus, he asks him “Are You The King of The Jews”? Instead of Jesus directly telling Pilate who He is, Christ wants to know what’s in our hearts. Jesus’ reply was “You have said so” in other words “Pilate are you recognizing me as the King of Kings”?
Some people always ask “Why didn’t Jesus just say He is God” or “Why doesn’t Jesus just tell everyone He is the Messiah” Well because if you’re truly seeking God or searching for the Messiah, you would have recognized Jesus Is He. However most don’t really care about God or their salvation, they look to just create more division and turmoil
When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves Luke 23:6-12
Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, so he decided to try and get Herod to do the dirty work of convicting Christ. Now Herod heard a lot about Jesus and his miracles so he was excited to see Jesus in person. However Christ had no interest in putting on a show for Herod, so he remained silent to see what they would falsely accuse him of. Eventually Herod got angry because Jesus wouldn’t perform a miracle for him, so began mocking him, putting a robe of a King on Jesus.
Notice these wicked and evil men, still unknowingly recognized and acknowledged Jesus as the King. Even though nobody could find any fault with Jesus, the wickedness of the religious leaders kept pursuing the death of Christ. If only these men’s hearts were not hardened, and they were actually seeking Christ, then they would have recognized Jesus right in front of them.
However God used all this evil for our good, Jesus died at the hands of sinful men to be the Lamb of God, who will take the punishment for the sins of the world, Amen!