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33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. [[ 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”]] And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”


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Lu 23:32-38, 44-46. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus.

(See on Joh 19:17-30).

Lu 23:39-43. The Two Thieves.

39. railed on him—catching up the universal derision, but with a turn of his own. Jesus, "reviled, reviles not again"; but another voice from the cross shall nobly wipe out this dishonor and turn it to the unspeakable glory of the dying Redeemer.

40. Dost not thou—"thou" is emphatic: "Let others jeer, but dost thou?"

fear God—Hast thou no fear of meeting Him so soon as thy righteous Judge? Thou art within an hour or two of eternity, and dost thou spend it in reckless disregard of coming judgment?

in the same condemnation—He has been condemned to die, but is it better with thee? Doth even a common lot kindle no sympathy in thy breast?

41. we … justly, &c.—He owns the worst of his crimes and deserts, and would fain shame his fellow into the same.

nothing amiss—literally, "out of place"; hence "unnatural"; a striking term here. Our Lord was not charged with ordinary crime, but only with laying claim to office and honors which amounted to blasphemy. The charge of treason had not even a show of truth, as Pilate told His enemies. In this defense then there seems more than meets the eye. "He made Himself the promised Messiah, the Son of God; but in this He 'did nothing amiss'; He ate with publicans and sinners, and bade all the weary and heavy laden come and rest under His wing; but in this He 'did nothing amiss': He claimed to be Lord of the Kingdom of God, to shut it at will, but also to open it at pleasure even to such as we are; but in this He 'did nothing amiss!'" Does His next speech imply less than this? Observe: (1) His frank confession and genuine self-condemnation. (2) His astonishment and horror at the very different state of his fellow's mind. (3) His anxiety to bring him to a better mind while yet there was hope. (4) His noble testimony, not only to the innocence of Jesus, but to all that this implied of the rightfulness of His claims.

42. said unto Jesus, &c.—Observe here (1) The "kingdom" referred to was one beyond the grave; for it is inconceivable that he should have expected Him to come down from the cross to erect any temporal kingdom. (2) This he calls Christ's own (Thy) kingdom. (3) As such, he sees in Christ the absolute right to dispose of that kingdom to whom He pleased. (4) He does not presume to ask a place in that kingdom, though that is what he means, but with a humility quite affecting, just says, "Lord, remember me when," &c. Yet was there mighty faith in that word. If Christ will but "think upon him" (Ne 5:19), at that august moment when He "cometh into His kingdom," it will do. "Only assure me that then Thou wilt not forget such a wretch as I, that once hung by Thy side, and I am content." Now contrast with this bright act of faith the darkness even of the apostles' minds, who could hardly be got to believe that their Master would die at all, who now were almost despairing of Him, and who when dead had almost buried their hopes in His grave. Consider, too, the man's previous disadvantages and bad life. And then mark how his faith comes out—not in protestations, "Lord, I cannot doubt, I am firmly persuaded that Thou art Lord of a kingdom, that death cannot disannul Thy title nor impede the assumption of it in due time," &c.—but as having no shadow of doubt, and rising above it as a question altogether, he just says, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest," &c. Was ever faith like this exhibited upon earth? It looks as if the brightest crown had been reserved for the Saviour's head at His darkest moment!

43. Jesus said, &c.—The dying Redeemer speaks as if He Himself viewed it in this light. It was a "song in the night." It ministered cheer to His spirit in the midnight gloom that now enwrapt it.

Verily I say unto thee—"Since thou speakest as to the king, with kingly authority speak I to thee."

To-day—"Thou art prepared for a long delay before I come into My kingdom, but not a day's delay shall there be for thee; thou shalt not be parted from Me even for a moment, but together we shall go, and with Me, ere this day expire, shalt thou be in Paradise" (future bliss, 2Co 12:4; Re 2:7). Learn (1) How "One is taken and another left"; (2) How easily divine teaching can raise the rudest and worst above the best instructed and most devoted servants of Christ; (3) How presumption and despair on a death hour are equally discountenanced here, the one in the impenitent thief, the other in his penitent fellow.




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