Luke 23:39-43-One of the criminals crucified next to Jesus began to demand that He save them if He was the Messiah. How many times do people demand things of God…demand that God do what they want? “If I am going to believe in You, this is what You have to do.” To them, God is merely a pawn to satisfy their demands. God doesn’t play that game. This man's entire focus was on this world. The other thief recognized that he deserved what he was getting and that Jesus did not. He asked Jesus to "remember" him when He came into His kingdom. Jesus told him that on that very day he would be with Him in Paradise. In a very real way, these two thieves represent the whole of humanity. There are those who question the existence of God, or His righteousness, or His sovereignty, or His wisdom, or His love. For them, if God exists at all…He is only a tool to be manipulated for their own desires and by their own design. Then there are those who recognize God for Who He is…God…and themselves for who they are…sinner…and submit themselves to Him. It is only to those in the latter group that Jesus promises Paradise.
During the time that Jesus was on the cross He spoke seven times…
#1-Luke 23:34-The Word of Forgiveness
"Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
#2-Luke 23:43-The Word of Promise
"Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
#3- John 19:26-27-The Word of Compassion
"He said to His mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’”
There was darkness over the land from the sixth hour, 12:00 noon...until the ninth hour, 3:00 pm (Mark 15:33: Luke 23:44). It was during these last hours that the sins of the world were poured into Jesus and He bore their punishment. During these three hours Jesus spoke four more times.
#4-Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34-The Word of Separation
"My God, My God, why has hast Thou forsaken Me?"
#5-John 19:28-The Word of Humanity
"I am thirsty."
#6-John 19:30-The Word of Victory
"It is finished."
#7-Luke 23:46 (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37)-The Word of Faith
"Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit."
Luke 23:44-45-It is the 6th hour, noon…and it became dark for 3 hours. The veil of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. This signified that the days of the Old Covenant were over and the New Covenant, the new and living way, through Jesus had begun (Hebrews 10:20; Ephesians 2:11-22)…and that God had brought it about.
For an explanation of the Temple veil and the significance and timing of it being torn in two see:
Luke 23:46-Jesus cries out and commits Himself to the Father. Then He died.
Luke 23:47-The centurion standing guard at the cross recognized the innocence of Jesus.
Luke 23:48-49-All of those who were there recognized that Jesus had died. Later, some would claim that He had only “swooned”…meaning that He had passed out, but not died. However, those who witnessed the event recognized that He actually died.
Luke 23:50-55-Joseph of Arimathea gains permission from Pilate to take the body of Jesus for burial. It is interesting that Luke states that he had not been favorable towards the decision of the Council. Surely this dissent would later stigmatize him among its members. He had stood up for what was right, for Christ, even at his own peril. The Sabbath was about to begin...so he had the body of Jesus wrapped in cloth and put into an empty tomb. Some of the women who were followers of Jesus went with him and saw where His body had been placed.
Luke 23:56-They rested on the Sabbath (Saturday).
Prayer: Lord, sometimes it is difficult to determine between when I am calling on You in a correct manner and when I am trying to get You to do what I want. Please give me discernment to know the difference. I know that You have told me to pray and seek You in all matters of life. But help me to truly seek Your will in my prayers...and not just try to convince You to do what I want.