AT THE CROSS
Father, may I be filled with gratitude for the sacrifice of Your Son.
Read Luke 23:26–46
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then
“‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[a]
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[b] And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[c]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[d] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
a Luke 23:30 Hosea 10:8
b Luke 23:34 Some early manuscripts do not have this sentence.
c Luke 23:42 Some manuscripts come with your kingly power
d Luke 23:46 Psalm 31:5
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHoly Week is a time for quiet reflection. But there was no quiet reflection on the first Good Friday.
Luke paints a vivid picture: Simon carrying the cross, a group of wailing women, sneering leaders, mocking soldiers, two criminals in agonizing pain, and the watching crowds. It was all so noisy, so violent, so public.
And Jesus lifted up. “… they crucified him there” (33). Four simple words that mark the pivot of human history. And from the parched lips of Jesus, two “words”: the first a prayer, the second a promise. Jesus prays that those who are rejecting him may be forgiven. This time as you read the crucifixion story, come again to the cross and know that you are forgiven, whatever you may have done, or not done! And don’t forget the promise to the dying thief from the King himself: immediate entrance into the kingdom.
Today come again to the cross and know that you are granted eternal life, which begins now and never ends.
As Jesus dies, the sun stops shining (45). But then the Temple curtain is torn in two, and the darkness of the world is flooded with divine light (John 1:5). Oh, the power and wonder of the cross.
Have you truly accepted what Christ has done for you on the cross? Have you realized your utter helplessness to save yourself and thrown yourself on the mercy of Jesus? Do so today.
“Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like thee his praise should sing. Praise him! Praise him! Praise the everlasting King.” (”Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,” H.F. Lyte, 1834)
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