There were also two criminals led out with Jesus to be killed.
Jesus and the two criminals were taken to a place called the Skull. There the soldiers nailed Jesus to his cross. They also nailed the criminals to their crosses, one beside Jesus on the right and the other beside Jesus on the left.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”The soldiers threw lots to decide who would get his clothes.
The people stood there watching. The leaders made fun of Jesus. They said, “If he is God’s Chosen One, the Christ, then let him save himself. He saved other people, didn’t he?”
Even the soldiers made fun of him. They came to Jesus and offered him some vinegar.
They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
(At the top of the cross these words were written: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”)
One of the criminals began to shout insults at Jesus: “Aren’t you the Christ? Then save yourself! And save us too!”
But the other criminal stopped him. He said, “You should fear God! You are getting the same punishment as he is.
We are punished justly; we should die. But this man has done nothing wrong!”
Then this criminal said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!”
Then Jesus said to him, “Listen! What I say is true: Today you will be with me in paradise!”
Teaching Guide and Explanation
JESUS CRUCIFIED WITH TWO CRIMINALS
TEXT: Luke 23:32-43
MEMORY VERSE: We love him because he loved us first. [I John 4:19]
There is a little strip of land on the map, loved more than anywhere on earth, and by more people, for it is the land where Jesus was born, A place He grew up, a place He died on the cross, and where He also rose from the grave again.
When Jesus was a child, His mother took Him in her arms to the Temple in Jerusalem. When he was twelve, his parents took him there, and we know he went there many times after he grew up. He had loved Jerusalem, but he had not loved the sin which he had seen there. He once said he wanted to protect people like a hen protects the chicken by collecting them under her wings, but the people wouldn’t believe and follow him, and he wouldn’t be able to protect them from the sad things that came to them.
“The King be blessed.”
As they brought offerings to God and worshipped Him, hundreds of people went to Jerusalem for great feasts. He told some of the disciples to bring him a colt that they would find in another village one day as Jesus was approaching Jerusalem. When the owner saw them taking the colt, he wanted to know why they were taking it. They said it was wanted by Jesus. Jesus must have been loved by the owner, for he seemed willing to let them take the colt to Jesus. Those who love Jesus are happy to give Him whatever He asks of them or to do whatever He asks of them.
People had heard of the great things that Jesus had done-healing the sick, making the blind see, and raising the dead-and, they were happy to see Him. They threw their clothes on the ground when he came riding along to ride him over. This was to show him that he was honored as a king by them. When people saw him, they screamed with joy. Those who did not love Him tried to stop them, but Jesus said that the stones would scream out if the people did not shout for joy.
Not long after that wonderful day, the wicked people who hated Jesus told the rulers that they liked him. Before Pilate, Jesus was taken — the King — but Pilate said that with Jesus, he could find nothing wrong. Pilate wanted Jesus to leave, but the people who did not love Him wanted to bring Him to death on the cross. They screamed, “Let him be crucified.” Eventually, Pilate took a basin of water and washed his face, claiming he was innocent, but he was not innocent! He was more afraid of the people than of Heaven, and he made Jesus hang on the cross for them.
Then the soldiers came and took Jesus away, and they took off his clothing, and put on him a scarlet garment, and they produced a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, and bowed their knees to him and laughed at him. They spit and hit him in his face. Then they took the robe off Him again, put on Him with their clothing, and led Him away on the cross to die.
Without a word of whisper or protest, Jesus suffered all this. He endured all these things so that you and I could be spared from our sins. Why don’t we have to respect Him! Why should we not, with all our hearts, obey Him, and serve Him!
JESUS WAS MOCKED
The audience ridiculed him, hearing Jesus ask the Father to forgive his oppressors. They hurled insults at him, the people, the troops, and even the leaders. To them, as he hung on the cross, Jesus appeared helpless. Those who claimed him to be the Messiah at one time shook their heads in disappointment now. Those who passed by mocked him, wagging their heads and saying, “But you promise to destroy the temple and build it back in three days, save yourself!” Matthew tells us. Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God.’ So the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, ridiculed him, saying,’ He saved others; he is unable to deliver himself. He is Israel’s King; let him come down from the cross, that we can believe in him” (Matthew 27:39-42).”
People wanted to see if Jesus was able to save himself. They saw him when he didn’t, as a defeated man. They saw him who, like any average man, had made great claims that God was now suffering and bleeding. Even the sign above Jesus, intended to ridicule his claims, attested to his true position: the King of the Jews was Jesus. What they didn’t know was that Jesus was a total God and a complete man, too.
JESUS HUNG BETWEEN TWO CRIMINALS
Jesus was crucified With the two notorious criminals, one on his left and the other on his right. Isaiah declared about this when he wrote that “numbered with the transgressors” would be the suffering worker (Isaiah 53:12). One criminal joined the crowd in mocking Jesus, but the other criminal rebuked him for his mocking. The latter knew that nothing wrong had been done by Jesus. He then put his faith in Christ, saying, “‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'” Jesus responded in a remarkable demonstration of grace, “‘Today you will be with me in Paradise'” (Luke 23:42-43). In a remarkable demonstration of grace. The arm of the Lord is not shortened to save the one who repents at the very last moment. We see newfound confidence in the midst of so much unbelief. And with a promise from Christ and life in Heaven, the convict who believed was rewarded.
Laid in a sepulcher
Pilate, the governor, was asked by a kind friend named Joseph if he could have the body of Jesus. The body was offered to Joseph by Pilate, who wrapped it lovingly in a beautiful linen cloth. And Joseph laid Jesus in a new tomb hewn out of the rock and rolled a stone in front of the entrance.
A Loving Mother
Mama,” a little child said to her mother at night when she was put to bed, “Mama, what makes your hand so scarred and twisted, and not like the hands of other people? “Well,” said the mother, “my child, when you were younger than you are now, years ago, I heard a cry upstairs one night after I had put you to bed.” I went up, and I realized that there was a fire in the bed, and you were on fire. I took hold of you, and I ripped off the burning clothes, and I burned my hand as I was pulling them off, trying to get you free, and it has been scarred and twisted ever since, and it hardly looks like a hand. I got it, my child when I tried to save you.
There were five wounds on Jesus’ body: on his hands, on his feet, and his side. He had those wounds that were dying to save us. How much we should love and thank Jesus for what he did for us!
Through Jesus, Grace
This mother had rescued the baby from death. But it is much more important to save our souls than to save our lives. Many people have done brave deeds in their life, and some have lost their lives in trying to spare the life of a friend. But it is only by the sacrifice of Jesus and the sacred blood He has shed that people will be spared from their sins.