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LUKE - Christ, the Savior of the World
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to Luke


11. Jesus' Crucifixion and Death (Luke 23:26-49)

LUKE 23:26-31
26 Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. 27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which 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 in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

The Roman army had European, African, and Asian troops. Roman soldiers whipped the Son of God’s back with their leather whips which had pieces of iron imbedded in its throngs so that the body might be torn in a most barbarous way. They also forced him to carry his heavy cross in spite of his exhaustion. As such Jesus himself exemplified the emblem he put before our eyes: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Jesus took up his cross though he was innocent, and not deserving the cross, but we are guilty, and deserving God’s wrath. The exhausted Jesus was unable to bear the cross alone, though he was prepared to do so. Well! This must comfort us when we think of our inability to bear the problems put upon us.

There was a man, Simon from Cyrenia who was coming from the country. The soldiers compelled him to bear Christ’s cross. They gave no attention to the rites that regarded as unclean those who touched the cross of a criminal. However, all the house of Simon was filled with blessing and salvation because of Simons’ bearing of Christ’s cross. Both the sons of Simon of Cyrene are mentioned twice as believers and witnesses to Christ (Mark 15:21; Romans 16:13). This comforts us, for he who bears the cross for Christ’s sake experiences that Christ participates with him in bearing his burdens.

Following Jesus and the two thieves who were with him, there were women lamenting and wailing over the King of Love. Hence we see that not only the whole Jewish people were determined to destroy Jesus, but also the religious leaders who envied him, roused incensed a part of the multitude against him, and made a plot through the outcries of the mobs to have him sentenced to death.

Jesus felt the women’s pity for him, and responded to the voice of their love immediately. He did not think of his own suffering, but of God’s wrath on his people. Therefore he commanded those who wept not to weep for him, but for themselves and their children. He saw his own way leading to glory, but suffered much for the Jewish people in the furnace of misery and despair throughout the ages, for they said: “His blood be on us and on our children.” In the midst of his severe pain, Jesus foresaw millions of decayed bones of the Jews dispersed over the whole world. Many of those who were destroyed in Hitler’s prisons wished that the mountains could fall on them and the hills cover them, but they were unable to flee from their suffering. Mothers instead of being glad, suffered because of their hungry children who became fuel for the fire, while the barren blessed themselves that they never bore children.

Jesus likened himself to a green tree, which is not adapted to burn in the fire of God’s wrath, and likened the unrepentant, and the proud of the wicked, hypocritical professors to a dry tree, which is easily kindled and burns rapidly as fuel for hellfire. Do not forget that the prophecy indicates to us the forthcoming event: the wrath of God is rushing as a consuming fire to make our earth a furnace, because of the injustice of men which climaxed in the condemnation and crucifixion of the Son of Man. If the innocent Jesus must suffer so terribly, what will be the fate of the guilty city?

LUKE 23:32-34
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

Men placed the Holy One of God at the lowest human level, he was despised and rejected by men, they regarded him as a criminal among criminals. The soldiers disrobed him, threw him to the ground, and nailed his stretched hands and feet with nails. Do you understand this statement? If you were there, what would you do? Would you cry out: “Stop! Crucify me instead of him, and let the Just One free. I am guilty, and he is the Holy One.” Or would you stand beside the scene cold-heartedly, watching indifferently as they lifted up the loving Holy One upon the infamous cross, his hands and legs about to be torn under the weight of his body.

Did Jesus curse those who put him to death? Did he condemn those who tormented him? No! But he prayed, crying out for them. He knew himself as tied to the altar of the world, and recited, as the unique worthy High Priest, his intercessory prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Dear brother, meditate and worship, for Christ had overcome our sins in his suffering body. He did not think of himself, he thought of us, and suffered God’s wrath for us. The Lamb of God lived and died for us, not for himself, mediating between us sinners and the Holy God.

He who was crucified called the great God his Father, knowing that he died according to his Father’s will, in harmony with his redemptive plan. He wanted nothing but the redemption of the world and the forgiveness of our sins. Undoubtedly, God heard his Son’s unique prayer, and forgave men all their sins at all times and in all places finally and forever. It is not necessary for Christ to die once again, for salvation had been made once and forever.

Then Jesus thought of you too, for you may be one of those who did not know what they did. Each one of your sins, lies, and impurities is transgression against the holy God who, in his eternal love, preferred not to destroy you, but to die himself instead of you. Open your eyes, and know your cross. The tree on which Christ was nailed is your accursed cross, you are guilty and sinful. Christ died for you that you might be delivered from God’s punishment, justified by his grace, and sanctified by faith in his blood. Do you understand the meaning of the cross? Then worship your Lord, and thank him for forgiving your sins throughout your life.

PRAYER: O holy Redeemer, we commit our lives and souls unconditionally to you, and thank you forever for your infinite love. You have saved us with your sufferings, and purified us with your precious blood. Fill us with your holiness, and anoint us with your love that we may not hate others, but forgive everyone his faults to us, calling all men to be reconciled with God by your cross.

QUESTION 139: How did Jesus show his love at the hour of crucifixion?


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