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"Father forgive them... Today you will be with me in paradise" (Lk. 23:34,43)

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The Crucifixion in Luke 23: "Father forgive them"

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"Father forgive them"

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"You will be with me in paradise"

Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit"





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Luke 23

Jesus before Pilate and Herod
And the whole company of them rose and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying: We found this man perverting our nation and forbidding giving tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ a king. 3 And Pilate asked him, saying: Are you the King of the Jews? And he answered them and said: You say it. 4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds: I find no fault in this man. 5 But they were the more urgent, saying: He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place.
   6 But when Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man were a Galilean. 7 And when he knew that he was of Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem in those days. 8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad. For he had for a long time been desirous to see him, because he had heard about him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 And the chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him, and dressing him in gorgeous apparel, sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day. For before they had been enemies.
   13 And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them: You brought to me this man, as one that perverts the people; and I, having examined him before you, found no fault in this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him 17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast). 18 But they cried out all together, saying, Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas 19 (one who had been cast into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder). 20 And Pilate spoke to them again, desiring to release Jesus. 21 But they shouted, saying: Crucify, crucify him! 22 And he said to them the third time: Why! What evil has this man done? I have found no cause of death in him. I will therefore punish him and release him. 23 But they were insistent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 And Pilate gave sentence that what they asked for should be done. 25 And he released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

The crucifixion
26 And when they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus.
   27 And a great crowd of the people followed him, and women mourned and wailed for him. 28 But Jesus turning to them, said: Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the days are coming in which they shall say: Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed! 30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: Fall on us, and to the hills: Cover us. 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
   32 And two others, both criminals, were led out with him to be executed. 33 And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 And Jesus said: Father, forgive them. For they do not know what they do. And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
   35 And the people stood watching. And the rulers also scoffed at him, saying: He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, His chosen! 36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him offering vinegar, and saying: 37 If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself. 38 And there was also a written notice above him: This is the King of the Jews.
   39 And one of the criminals that hung there hurled insults at him, saying: Are not you the Christ? Save yourself and us. 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said: Do you not even fear God, seeing you have the same judgment? 41 But we indeed justly. For we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. 42 And he said: Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom. 43 And he said to him: Truly, I can say to you today right now, that you will indeed be with me in Paradise.
   44 And it was now about the sixth hour; and a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 the sun's light failing; and the veil of the temple was torn in the middle. 46 And Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. And having said this, he breathed his last. 47 And when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying: Certainly this was a righteous man.
   48 And all the crowds that came together to this sight, when they saw the things that were done, returned, striking their breasts.

The burial of Jesus
49 And all his acquaintances, and the women that had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching these things. 50 And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their decision and deed), a man of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was looking for the kingdom of God, 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet been laid. 54 And it was the day of the preparation; and the Sabbath drew on.
   55 And the women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid. 56 And they returned and prepared spices and ointments. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.



23:4 Do we feel that our conscience is so dysfunctional and our heart so hardened in some places that nothing much can touch us and motivate us like it used to? The cross can touch and transform the hardest and most damaged heart. Apart from many real life examples around of this, consider the Biblical case of Pilate. Jewish and Roman historians paint a very different picture of Pilate than what we see in the Biblical record. Philo describes him as “ruthless, stubborn and of cruel disposition", famed for “frequent executions without trial". Why then does he come over in the Gospels as a man desperately struggling with his conscience, to the extent that the Jewish crowds manipulate him to order the crucifixion of a man whom he genuinely believed to be innocent? Surely because the person of the Lord Jesus and the awfulness of putting the Son of God to death touched a conscience which appeared not to even exist. If the whole drama of the death of Jesus could touch the conscience and personality of even Pilate, it can touch each of us.

23:12 The forces of evil often unite against the righteous.

23:26 Simon is a Greek name, and the names of his sons are Greco-Roman. The way he is described as “coming out of the field" (Gk.) could imply that he was working, doing what was improper on a feast day, because he was a Gentile. It could be that he simply lived and worked near Jerusalem, he wasn’t a religious guy, and like Saul out looking for lost cattle, he was going some place else, just as we were… until the Lord as it were arrested him with the message of the cross.

23:34 In His final sufferings, Jesus often mentions the Fatherhood of God (Lk. 22:42; 23:34,46; Mt. 26:39,42,44). That God is “our Father” is a comfort in our times of trial. The pain and difficulty of speech in the position of crucifixion was such that it is apparent that the Lord meant us to hear and meditate upon the words He uttered from the cross. It would have been far easier for Him to have prayed those words to Himself, within His own thoughts; but instead He made the effort to speak them out loud. It should inspire a similar effort in us to communicate with others when we feel like retreating into ourselves; to comfort them with our forgiveness; to pray for our enemies.

Divided up his clothes
- Such petty materialism in the presence of the cross of Jesus was and is pathetic.

23:42 The command to be baptised into Christ’s death and resurrection was given after Christ’s resurrection (Mk. 16:15,16). The thief couldn’t have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection before those things had occurred. The thief asked Jesus to remember him for good, when Jesus returned “in” his Kingdom (RSV). The thief was therefore not ignorant of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God which Jesus had been preaching (Mt. 4:23). He knew that there would be a judgment day at the establishment of that Kingdom, and therefore he asked Jesus, whom he knew would rise from the dead to eventually be the judge on that day, to remember him for good. The thief was certainly not ignorant; he recognised that salvation in the day of resurrection and judgment would be pronounced from the lips of Christ. Jesus replied that the thief would be with him in “Paradise”. This Greek word always refers to an ideal situation upon earth. It is used concerning the restored Garden of Eden which will be seen in the future Kingdom of God on the earth (Rev. 2:7). Christ and the thief did not go to the Kingdom that day. Jesus went to the grave (Acts 2:32; Mt. 12:40). The thief was asking for Jesus to remember him for good at the day of judgment; he was aware that he was responsible, and would appear there. But Jesus gave him the marvellous reassurance - ‘I can tell you right now! You don’t have to wait until then to find out my verdict upon you - you will be with me in the Kingdom!’.