The Crucifixion of Jesus

Lenten Devotions

A Walk Through the Book of Luke

Luke 23:26-49

April 7, 2023

“The Crucifixion of Jesus.”

For the last six weeks, I have shared devotions about the life of Jesus. My emphasis for these devotions was His parables. But we also read about Jesus’ birth, baptism, miracles, and ministry, which only lasted about three years.

Today we come to the darkest day in the history of the world. Today is the day that we, as Christians, recognize as the day Jesus was crucified.

“The Jewish historian Josephus spoke of crucifixion as “the most pitiable of deaths.” The Roman politician and author Cicero described it as “the worst extreme of torture inflicted on slaves.” Jesus endured the pain of having nails driven through His hands and feet and then being hoisted into the air to die.”

“The People’s Bible Commentary, Luke, Victor H. Prange, Pp. 250.)

Here is Luke’s description of this horrible event that changed the history of the world.

“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. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 

Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 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!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’

 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 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. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

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.”

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

There was a written notice above him, which read: 

This Is Jesus, King of the Jews.

One of the criminals who hung their hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, 

“Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit.”  When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”                

Luke 23:26-49.

There’s not a lot left to say, is there?

Let me briefly share a few points.

They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

These were the words of the rulers and people watching this horrific event.

They did not understand what was happening. Jesus’ death on the cross was necessary. For as you and I know, He died for our sins.

I recall telling my students, whenever I shared this story this:

Close your eyes and imagine this horrible scene that is happening. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and beaten. The pain He was enduring is unimaginable.

Then, at the moment, while He is on the cross and near death, Jesus takes upon Himself all of the sins of the world. These are the sins from the past, present, and future. If you were to take a Sharpie pen and put one small dot on Jesus for every sin of the past, present, and future, you wouldn’t be able to see Him anymore. Now, look to the heavens, and there is God. He sees all of this sin that Jesus had taken upon Himself. Watch closely as God folds His arms and slowly turns away from His Son. God is Holy and pure. At the sight of all that sin, He is disgusted and turns away. At that moment, Jesus is truly alone in the world.

But wait! There’s more!

As broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, “And now the rest of the story.”

You see, I have more to share tomorrow and Sunday because the story doesn’t end here.

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