Luke 23:32-37: They Crucified Him
September 17, 2021
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Isaiah 44-45, Proverbs 26:17-28, Luke 23:32-37, Hebrews 10:1-18
The two other criminals who were crucified with him will play a famed role of significance in this drama, as we will find out tomorrow from verse 38 and onwards. This section, verses 32-37, is particularly filled with deliberate irony.
But first, there are the most astonishing words uttered by a crucified man ever: Forgive them (23:34). They do not know that they are crucifying the Son of God. They do not know the extent of their crime. Christ’s thoughts, even at this hour of crucifixion, are not for himself, but for those others around him. And his thoughts are thoughts of love, peace, and in particular forgiveness.
Note: we who follow in the Master’s footsteps are not to harbor grudges against one another, or labor to avenge perceived wrongs, but instead to forgive as we have been forgiven—even when unjustly accused and condemned as was Christ. Let us pray for the help of Christ that we too might forgive our enemies.
Then the rulers scoff at him. They mock his saving others and being unable to save himself. Unknown to them, ironically, at that very hour he is saving all his people from their sins. Then the soldiers mock him saying that if he were the King of the Jews, then he would be able to save himself, ironically, unaware that as the King of the Jews, and the whole world, he will rise again from the dead, and save not just himself but the whole of his people from all nations.
It is worth spending time this morning reflecting on the cross. Not on the gore and the horror of the physical suffering—which gets so much attention from Hollywood versions of the crucifixion. But where the Bible text focuses, on the saving nature of Jesus’ work on the cross. His forgiveness. That he here is saving his people. To think on our sins, and then to think on him who hung dead for you. And worship.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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