Loved To The End! – III

June 27, 2016

Luke 23:32, 39-43

(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)

Here again is our featured Scripture, Luke 23:32 and 39 through 43:

      There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death….
      And one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If
      You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”  But the other, answering, re-
      buked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the
      same condemnation?  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward
      of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said to
      Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”  And
      Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in

As promised in the last blog, we will look at the characteristics of the faith of the criminal who was saved as he died on a cross next to Jesus.

•      He began his crucifixion by blaspheming and railing against Jesus who was nailed to the central cross.  Mark 15:32 tells us that “…those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.” (See also Matthew 27:44).

•      Somewhere during his time on the cross, this criminal changed his mind – from blaspheming and railing to faith in the Savior! (See Luke 23:40-42 above).

•      He didn’t have much to go on for the basis of his faith!

      ✞      He had probably heard of this Galilean Rabbi who drew the common people to Him and was a thorn in the side of the Jewish leadership.  Jesus performed many miracles – including multiple healings and even raising the dead – and the reports of such marvels spread quickly across Palestine.  In Luke 5:15 (KJV) it is recorded:  “…so much the more went there a fame abroad of Him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities.” (See also 4:24; 9:26, 31; 14:1; Mark 1:28; Luke 4:14, 37).

      ✞      There was a placard of Jesus’ ‘crimes’ nailed on the cross above His head.  According to Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, and John 19:19, the full inscription read, “THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.

      ✞      Jesus certainly did not look the part of THE KING OF THE JEWS!  He had been without food and sleep ever since the Passover meal celebrated with His disciples in the Upper Room – about 20 hours.  He had been bound and roughly handled (see John 18:12) as they led Him first to the high priest’s palace (see Matthew 26:57, 58); then to Pilate, the Roman governor (see Matthew 27:2); then to Herod’s palace (see Luke 23:7); then back to Pilate (Luke 23:11).  He had been mocked and beaten (see Matthew 26:67, 68; 27:27-31; Mark 14:65; 15:16-20; Luke 22:63, 64; 23:11: John 18:22, 23); flogged by the Romans (see John 19:1); and crowned with thorns (see John 19:2).  Finally, He was forced to carry the cross-beam of His cross until He could carry it no more! (Compare Matthew 27:31, 32 with John 19:17).  So beaten was He that Isaiah 52:14 (Contemporary English Version) reports:  “Many were horrified at what happened to Him.  But everyone who saw Him was even more horrified because He suffered until He no longer looked human.

      ✞      Jesus would be physically dead in a matter of a few hours – less than six!  According to Mark 15:25 (Easy-to-Read Version):  “It was nine o’clock in the morning when they nailed Jesus to the cross.”  Luke 23:44 and 46 (International Standard Version) says:

      It was already about noon, and the whole land became dark until
      three in the afternoon….Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice and
      said, “Father, into your hands I entrust My spirit.”  After He said
      this, He breathed his last.

•      But as it is written in Hebrews 11:1:  “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Apparently, this dying criminal had enough evidence for his faith to reach for Jesus!  He cried out to the Lord, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42).

•      He was definitely saved!  For Jesus answered him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).

We have so much more evidence that, indeed, Jesus was and is God’s Messiah (Christ) sent forth to pay for our sins on the cross, that we might be forgiven and experience eternal life!

Have you responded as did this thief, murderer, criminal, reviler, blasphemer?  If God could forgive him, why not you?  For he was Loved To The End!

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