The title of my blog article and the video that Rudy Ross and I have produced is from a book by Jürgen Moltmann.
It is astounding to think that God so loved the world that he would allow his own Son to die on the cross. As people who believe in the Trinity, Moltmann was right to entitle his book as he did.
A Study of People
Luke’s account of the crucifixion is more interested in the responses of various groups of people than actual cross-event.
He focused on . . .
— The people, whose responses seem to change during their experience with Jesus.
— The religious authorities, who with a few exceptions are opposed to Jesus and desiring his death.
— The soldiers, who seem to relish in Jesus’ pain and suffering. However, we will see their leader declaring Jesus’ righteousness in the verses we will study tomorrow.
— Two criminals, one who had exceptional insight into Jesus’ person and the other who joined the taunts from those before the cross.
Governmental and Religious Abuse
Jesus was on the cross from nine in the morning until three in the afternoon.
One Good Friday, I paid attention to my activities during the six-hour period when Jesus was being crucified. At nine, I had breakfast in a restaurant. At noon, I ate again. I’m sure I had a couple of appointments during the six-hour time of the crucifixion.
All the while I had a normal day, Jesus was hanging suspended between heaven and earth with absolutely no possible way to relieve the intense pain of crucifixion.
In addition, he was abused by those around him.
— Luke 23.34-38 – And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying,
“He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!”
The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying,
“If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
Each act of those around the cross was intended to intensify the pain of crucifixion by adding mental abuse to the physical pain.
Isaiah prophesied this activity, but no one imagined a suffering Messiah, much less a crucified God.
He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account. (Isaiah 53.3)
The response of the criminals shows the different reactions of people around the cross. Not everyone on Golgotha that day was intent on abusing the Son of God.
— Luke 23.39-43 – One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
“And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The criminal who declared Jesus’ innocence is a picture of what we have learned throughout the Gospel of Luke. Outsiders, marginalized people, tax collectors, and sinners responded positively to both John the Baptist and Jesus.
This criminal recognized the fact that Jesus had a kingdom, and he desired to be part of it. God revealed to him the nature of Jesus, and he put his faith in the Savior.
People have all sorts of opinions about what it means to be in Paradise. Here’s what I think. Anywhere you are with Jesus is Paradise. It is the best outcome of a life that is entrusted to the Lord.
Rudy Ross and I will resume our discussion of the crucifixion with tomorrow’s video. We ended today’s video with verse 44.
— Luke 23.44 – It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
T.W. Hunt has written an excellent book, “The Mind of Christ.” In his book, he expresses his belief that God darkened the earth so no one could see what was happening to his Son during a three-hour period.
During this time, the sins of all the world – from the beginning to the end – were placed on Jesus.
Isaiah wrote about this time.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53.5-6)
The fact of our crucified God is worthy of a response of worship, gratitude, and obedience. Let’s meditate on God’s great love for us and give him his due.
Rudy Ross and I have talked about the Bible for over twenty years over food and coffee. We have a YouTube video of our conversation on this passage on the Bob Spradling channel.
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