Luke 23:27-31 (NIV)
27 A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.
28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’
30 Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”‘
31 For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
On verses 27-31: I am amazed by the compassion of Jesus. Even as Jesus is going through the most painful humiliation and torture that anyone would ever have to go through, Jesus still goes out of his way to speak his heart for the women of Jerusalem and their children. You can tell what is truly in a person’s heart when they are under pressure. In Jesus’ case, when under the most pressure anyone would ever face, Jesus looked past his own immediate suffering and focused on the suffering that others were slated to face years later. I believe Jesus did this not because he was in denial about his own suffering or because he was trying to look spiritual in front of others, but simply because Jesus is love and compassion personified.
Luke 23:32-33 (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.
On verses 32-33: In the most public way, Jesus is identifying with sinners. He’s right in the middle of them, being punished just like they are, being punished in our place for all to see.
Luke 23:34 (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Verse 34: The soldiers cast lots to see who would get Jesus’ clothes while Jesus hung naked on the cross. According to John 19:24, this was to fulfill a prophecy in Psalm 22:18 where it says, “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” The soldiers cast lots so that only one of them could get Jesus’ robe, seemingly by random luck. Little did they know that, in dying on the cross, Jesus was making His robe of righteousness available to all of us not on the basis of luck, but on the basis of realizing our need for Him and our willingness to receive Him.
Luke 23:35-38 (NIV)
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.
On verses 35-38: I bet Jesus could sense Satan behind the taunts of the rulers who sneered at him and the soldiers who mocked him. Just as Satan in the desert kept telling Jesus to prove that he is the Son of God by using his power for selfish purposes (Luke 4), so the rulers and soldiers here are telling Jesus to prove his worth by coming down from the cross. With a sign above his head that read, “This is the King of the Jews”, I’m sure that out of Jesus’ love for Israel and out of his own dignity as a man, Jesus would have loved to humiliate his humiliators and come down from the cross at that moment. Yet in faithfulness to the mission He came to fulfill, Jesus restrains himself and submits to his Father’s will, humbling himself and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). It was not nails that kept Jesus on the cross. It was his love for you and me.
Luke 23:39-41 (NIV)
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.”
On verses 39-41: Like the two criminals hanging on either side of Jesus, we are all under the same death sentence because of our sin. You and I have a choice: either we can treat Jesus with a prideful, blaming, entitled attitude like the first criminal, making demands of Jesus as if he somehow owes us, or we can approach Jesus with humility like the second criminal and realize that we deserve nothing from Jesus but can only ask for His mercy.
Luke 23:42-43 (NIV)
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.”
On verses 42-43: All it took for the second criminal to be saved was asking Jesus to have mercy on him. The same goes for you and me today. We’ve already been sentenced to death because of our sin. No amount of good we try to do could ever reverse that sentence. All we can do is look to Jesus for mercy. Jesus’ interaction with this criminal shows that Jesus is willing to grant forgiveness and salvation to anyone, regardless of what they have done, as long as they have a heart willing to receive Him.
Lord Jesus, thank You that it was not nails that kept You on the cross. It was Your love for me. I open up my heart to receive You into my life. Please forgive me of my sins and fill me with Your love today. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!