Passion Week: While On The Cross
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Passion Week: While on the Cross
Passion Week - Part 6
Read Luke 23:32-49
Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. 49 And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.
Good Friday is the day that we remember Christ’s crucifixion and the significance of why He had to die. I want to look at two things that Luke records for us in his Gospel account that lend to the significance of Jesus’ sacrifice: the thief on the cross and the torn veil.
Crucifixion was a common way that Rome dealt with supposed criminals, and they did it in the most publicly humiliating way possible in order to send the message to not mess with Rome. However, little did they know that the cross would become the symbol of the Christian faith.
As we see from Scripture, Jesus was not crucified alone. There were two “actual” criminals being crucified at the same time as Him. One of them, full of pride and hate, hurled insults at Him. The other, who was broken and at the end of his rope, rebuked the first and with reverential fear for God, asked Jesus to remember him as He enters His kingdom. Jesus, having the authority to forgive sin, tells this underserving criminal, “…today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
This short event in Scripture tells us volumes about how God’s amazing grace works. In fact, it brings out the most significant reason Jesus suffered and died: to save the broken hearted! Psalm 51:17 says: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” God’s desire to save those who realize that they’re spiritually sick is what drove Him to sacrifice His only Son in this way. The one criminal lacked this essential component, as was made abundantly clear in his mocking remarks to Jesus. For that, he and all who choose the path of this man will sadly be left to the just punishment for their own sin.
The second significant point that I want to bring out is the tearing of the temple veil (verse 45). The veil was a very large curtain in the temple that hung about 60 feet tall and was thought to be about 4 inches thick, and only the high priest could enter once a year on the Day of Atonement. The purpose of the veil was to be a separation between sinful man and the holy of holies, where the ark of the covenant and the altar of incense were. In other words, it symbolized how we are separated from God because of our sin. However, Jesus, by being the perfect God Man, performing the perfect sacrifice on our behalf, and thus fulfilling the Old Testament Law, rendered the need of the temple veil useless be replacing it with Himself. Hebrews 10:19-21 tells us that by the blood of Jesus, we are able to enter the holy place, that is God’s presence, through Jesus rather than the temple veil. That is, by faith in Christ alone we can be made holy in the presence of God.
As we reflect on the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf, let us not forget to look forward to what happened next—a “RISEN” Savior, Whom we know and love and serve!
- Pastor Kyle