Saving Humanity: Luke 23:32-43

Focus Passage: Luke 23:32-43 (NIV)

 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”

 38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

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

 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

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

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

Read Luke 23:32-43 in context and/or in other translations on!

During the last hours before Jesus’ death, Luke’s gospel shares with us an amazing, powerful, and profound idea. Every time I read Luke’s account, I am amazed at where Jesus placed His focus during His last dying breaths. After being mocked by everyone, one of the thieves being crucified “stands up” for Jesus. This thief then asks Jesus to remember Him when His kingdom comes.

This thief understands something that the chief priests, the Pharisees, and even the disciples all miss: Jesus has a future beyond the cross.

This thief realizes Jesus is different and he resolves to place his faith and trust in Jesus with his dying breaths. This by itself is pretty amazing, but it gets even better.

In Jesus’ response and in His promise, we see where Jesus has placed His focus: On saving others — both you and me, who are represented by this thief.

The biggest reason Jesus did not come off the cross and call off the entire crucifixion was for you and me — to give us the freedom to choose salvation.

In Jesus’ last moments, His mind was on saving humanity.

This is evident because one of the few select words Jesus speaks from the cross is a promise to a thief who has placed his trust in Him. Another of Jesus’ few select words is asking the only disciple who came to the foot of the cross to look after His mother (John 19:26-27).

In Jesus’ final hours before His death, His mind was not on saving Himself, but on saving you and me from our sin.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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