Summary: The crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 23:26-43 shows us three significant statements of Jesus.
The Jews called for Jesus to be crucified. Both Herod and Pontius Pilate found that Jesus was not guilty of anything deserving death. Nevertheless, the Jews were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. Pilate relented and decided that their demand should be granted. So, he sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion.
Let’s read about the crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 23:26-43:
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:26-43)
What do people say when they know they are going to die soon? Many times people are not well, and may not even be conscious in the hours or days before their death. Sometimes people die suddenly, as in accidents or cardiac arrest. But sometimes people know that they are coming to the end of their earthly journey, and what do they say then? I am sure one would want to get important messages or statements out to those around one in those last few hours. Messages of love and concern and forgiveness and hope and so on.
The last few hours before his death, Jesus spoke a number of significant statements. There is a lot that we could examine in Luke 23:26-43, but today I would like to examine the passage from the perspective of three significant statements made by Jesus on his way to be crucified and while hanging on the cross.
The crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 23:26-43 shows us three significant statements of Jesus.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Jesus’ Statement to the Daughters of Jerusalem (23:26-31)
2. Jesus’ Statement to the Executioners (23:32-38)
3. Jesus’ Statement to the Thief on the Cross (23:39-43)
I. Jesus’ Statement to the Daughters of Jerusalem (23:26-31)
First, let’s look at Jesus’ statement to the daughters of Jerusalem.
Pilate finally – and reluctantly – granted the Jews their request to have Jesus sentenced to death by crucifixion. Jesus was a carpenter by profession, in his early thirties, and a strong man. But by this time he had been scourged. Scourging was done with whip known as a flagellum. It consisted of thongs that had bones and lead tied in at the ends of the thongs. The ancient historian, Eusebius, says that people who were whipped “were torn by scourges down to deep-seated veins and arteries, so that the hidden contents of the recesses of their bodies, their entrails and organs, were exposed to sight” (Ecclesiastical History, IV, XV, 3–5). Jesus was now a bloody mess, with bone and cartilage showing. In addition, he was exhausted, not having slept for more than 24 hours. Isaiah’s prophecy of Jesus was certainly true: “his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind” (Isaiah 52:14).