The Cross

Luke 23:32-49 (NRSV)

32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
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.”
39One 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.”
  44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land£ until three in the afternoon,
45while the sun’s light failed;£ and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
46Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last.
47When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.”£
48And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts.
49But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.


ほかにもふたりの犯罪人が、イエスとともに死刑にされるために、引かれて行った。 「どくろ」と呼ばれている所に来ると、そこで彼らは、イエスと犯罪人とを十字架につけた。犯罪人のひとりは右に、ひとりは左に。そのとき、イエスはこう言われた。「父よ。彼らをお赦しください。彼らは、何をしているのか自分でわからないのです。」彼らは、くじを引いて、イエスの着物を分けた。民衆はそばに立ってながめていた。指導者たちもあざ笑って言った。「あれは他人を救った。もし、神のキリストで、選ばれた者なら、自分を救ってみろ。」兵士たちもイエスをあざけり、そばに寄って来て、酸いぶどう酒を差し出し、「ユダヤ人の王なら、自分を救え」と言った。「これはユダヤ人の王」と書いた札もイエスの頭上に掲げてあった。 十字架にかけられていた犯罪人のひとりはイエスに悪口を言い、「あなたはキリストではないか。自分と私たちを救え」と言った。ところが、もうひとりのほうが答えて、彼をたしなめて言った。「おまえは神をも恐れないのか。おまえも同じ刑罰を受けているではないか。われわれは、自分のしたことの報いを受けているのだからあたりまえだ。だがこの方は、悪いことは何もしなかったのだ。」そして言った。「イエスさま。あなたの御国の位にお着きになるときには、私を思い出してください。」イエスは、彼に言われた。「まことに、あなたに告げます。あなたはきょう、わたしとともにパラダイスにいます。」そのときすでに十二時ごろになっていたが、全地が暗くなって、三時まで続いた。太陽は光を失っていた。また、神殿の幕は真っ二つに裂けた。イエスは大声で叫んで、言われた。「父よ。わが霊を御手にゆだねます。」こう言って、息を引き取られた。この出来事を見た百人隊長は、神をほめたたえ、「ほんとうに、この人は正しい方であった」と言った。また、この光景を見に集まっていた群衆もみな、こういういろいろの出来事を見たので、胸をたたいて悲しみながら帰った。しかし、イエスの知人たちと、ガリラヤからイエスについて来ていた女たちとはみな、遠く離れて立ち、これらのことを見ていた。

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested. He is first taken to Pilate, who finds him innocent of crimes, and upon hearing that Jesus is from Galilee, sends Jesus off to Herod, the ruler over Galilee, who happened to be in town for the Passover. Jesus refuses to answer any questions or perform any miracles, so Herod sends Him back to Pilate.

Pilate sees no reason to execute Jesus so tries to reason with the people, but to no avail. There was apparently a custom to free one prisoner at Passover, but instead of Jesus, the crowd insists on having Barabbas released. It is interesting to note that “bar” means “son”, and “abba” means “father”. So the innocent Son of the Father is being exchanged for the guilty “son of a father”. This is precisely the meaning of the cross. The Son of God, who was sinless dies so that our sins might be forgiven.

Luke alludes to OT passages about the Messiah to emphasize that Jesus is the long-promised savior of the world: Offer of vinegar (v. 36 and Psalm 69:21); Casting lots to divide His clothing (v. 34 and Psalm 22:18); and Jesus’ last words from the cross (v. 46 and Psalm 31:5).

Two thieves are being crucified along with Jesus. One of them derides Jesus, but the other understands that they are guilty of crimes and deserve their punishment, but Jesus is innocent and doesn’t deserve to be crucified. Jesus is still saving people at this stage of His ministry.

In Luke 4, the devil tempted Jesus with an easy route to messiahship, one without having to go to the cross, but failed. Luke told us that the devil departed from Jesus until an opportune time. Apparently, this is the time, since there is a continuation of the devils’ temptations here – “If you are the son of God . . .”, through: the leaders (v. 35); the soldiers (v. 37); and the thief (v. 39). The last temptation is to stop the suffering and come off of the cross, to make them realize that He is the Messiah. Jesus had the power to come down off of the cross, but had He given in to this temptation, there would be no real salvation possible, even though a few more people might have believed that Jesus had God’s power. Without the suffering and death, there would be no forgiveness nor salvation for the world.

The death and resurrection of Jesus changed the world:

  • It opened up access to God
  • Simply through faith in Jesus, we can obtain: forgiveness for our sins; citizenship in the Kingdom of God; adoption into God’s family as sons and daughters; eternal life; Kingdom occupation
  • We are not qualified nor authorized to do Kingdom work on our own
    • Kingdom work can only be bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit, who is God, and who lives within us
    • And doing the Kingdom work as directed, when directed, is what we are to be doing as saved people

Through us, Christ’s followers, is how God is going to show His love to this world. Through our obedient workings, people are going to get a chance to turn their hearts to Jesus and be saved. There is no guarantee that just because we do as commanded, people are going to be saved. However, if we refuse to do as commanded, people are not going to hear the good news about Jesus when they are supposed to hear it.

God the Father did His part in sending His only Son to earth. God the Son did His part in withstanding the enemy’s temptations and giving His life on the cross for us. God the Spirit is doing His part by teaching us, giving us the love and power sufficient, and directing us to the when and how to do Kingdom work – When and how to preach the gospel and be witnesses of God’s love.

In return, we need to do our part in carrying our cross daily and following Jesus.

(the above is a written version of the message shared with us by Shun Takano during our ZOOM worship time last Sunday, May 10th)


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