Luke 23:33-49 (Crucifixion)

Connects to: JESUS

            When they came to the place called “The Skull,” they crucified Jesus there, and the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. Jesus said, “Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.”

            They divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice. The people stood there watching while the Jewish leaders made fun of him: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah whom God has chosen!”

            The soldiers also made fun of him: they came up to him and offered him cheap wine, and said, “Save yourself if you are the king of the Jews!”

            Above him were written these words: “This is the King of the Jews.”

            One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

            The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You received the same sentence he did. Ours, however, is only right, because we are getting what we deserve for what we did; but he has done no wrong.” And he said to Jesus, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King!”

            Jesus said to him, “I promise you that today you will be in Paradise with me.”

            It was about twelve o’clock when the sun stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country until three o’clock; and the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father! In your hands I place my spirit!” He said this and died.

            The army officer saw what had happened, and he praised God, saying, “Certainly he was a good man!”

            When the people who had gathered there to watch the spectacle saw what happened, they all went back home, beating their breasts in sorrow. All those who knew Jesus personally, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance to watch.

Luke 23:33-49 (Good News Translation)


Christians sometimes talk about the seven things Jesus said from the cross, culling them from the four Gospel accounts. Here we find three of them.

“Father, forgive them . . .” is a powerful thing to say, but not very surprising, coming from Jesus. He had taught radically about forgiving others (Matthew 6:12-15; Matthew 18:21-35).

The mockery from the crowd is one of several details fulfilling the prophecies of Psalm 22 (see verses 6-8).

The testimony of the Roman army officer, that Jesus was a “good man,” foreshadows the future of the Jesus movement, which would spread through the Roman Empire in the next generation.

Of the many characters in this scene—gamblers, thieves, soldiers, mourners—which of them do you resemble most? What does Jesus have to say to you?


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