Luke looks at Christ’s sacrifice from a great number of angles. He looks at Pilate’s desperation as he longs to free Jesus, but, at the end of the day, caves to the pressure and hands the Messiah over for crucifixion. Next, Luke looks at the crowd. The people that cheered only week before were hurling demands for their Hero’s death as if He had personally injured their families. He showed the soldier’s disdain as they gathered a stranger to assist the Savior as his body had been beaten and bruised to the point of death.
Then Luke looks at the crowd, mourners for whom Jesus has pity. The thieves on either side of the cross. The Jewish leaders and guards that mocked him with taunts and signs and finally Jesus’ followers that stayed back and watched with horror as their beloved teacher was being killed. Finally, we even see the grief of God as He makes the land dark and rips the temple vail.
In all of that, we also see Jesus. He is pleading for forgiveness of those that are mocking and killing Him. He is mourning for His mourners. He is granting life to the thief that recognized his innocence. He is making one last effort in His role of human to be humane.
Interestingly, Christ’s death would be the victory over the very ones that demanded it. It would signify the end of sacrificial atonement of animals. It would destroy the theocracy then enjoyed by Jewish leaders of the day. It would finally end Satan’s hold on the hearts of people. We who are yet sinners would now have the opportunity to have a personal relationship with God.
In life and in death, Jesus rose above the holds of humanity and demonstrated God’s unique love and unique character. Then at the perfect hour, Jesus said it Himself–IT IS FINISHED! just as the modern Christian song says, that was the end of the beginning.
God Bless You
Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 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 childless 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!”’[b]
31 For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
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, they crucified him there, 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.”[c] 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 God’s Messiah, 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 Messiah? 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.[d]”
43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”[e] When he had said this, he breathed his last.
47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. 49 But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.