What did I learn about Jesus?
- Jesus died with criminals (verse 32).
- Even at his crucifixion, Jesus cried out to God for forgiveness for the people (verse 34).
What did I learn about disciple-making?
- Forgiveness is available to us in Jesus, even in a final, desperate cry (verses 42-43).
Extended thoughts and observations from Pastor Mark:
I have titled this, the description of the trial, persecution and death of Jesus, as “The Saddest Chapter.” This title is not just for this chapter of Luke’s gospel but in the history of the world. How could a man (even if they didn’t realize him to be the God-Man) who had done so many good and spectacular things, be treated so horribly? I realize that the death of Jesus was necessary for our salvation, but one cannot read this chapter without re-experiencing the pathos and pain of this darkest moment in human history.
A few thoughts:
- In verse 23, the religious leaders accuse Jesus before Pilate of “subverting our nation” and then go on to lie about his teaching regarding taxes. The hypocrisy of this is breathtaking since they themselves deeply resented Roman oppression. So desperate were they to rid themselves of this embarrassing truth-teller, that they would align themselves with Rome. Further, there is some sense, I think, that Jesus WAS subverting the nation. Not in a militaristic way. But if you really follow the teachings of Jesus, as we have discovered, the results are revolutionary. And frankly, today, our culture’s self-indulgent, self-absorbed approach to life NEEDS to be subverted… and Jesus still does so when he is truly allowed reign in the lives of his people.
- The three words from the cross in Luke are unique. Matthew and Mark have only one (“Why have you forsaken me?”); John has three other unique ones: (“Behold, your mother; I thirst; It is finished.”); Luke captures three other very precious gasps from our Lord’s lips:
- “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” What grace! Jesus taught that we should forgive our enemies, and then he models that very thing as his enemies kill him. And in fact, his very presence on the cross was a declaration that God desired to forgive in the first place; that’s why Jesus came. Amazing.
- “… Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” Two thoughts: first, the thief on the cross is proof that it is never too late to repent (although why would you waste so much life without Christ?) and that baptism is not a necessity for salvation. Also, it suggests that, upon death, we are immediately with the Father versus those who pose the idea of “soul-sleep,” a long delay of spiritual unconsciousness before resurrection.
- “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” In John 19, Jesus taught that no one took away his life, but rather, that he offered it up of his own will. Here Jesus, knowing his work is done, offers up his spirit for us… and God dies.For us.
BOW before the wonder and power and awesomeness of this verse!