7742 - Today With Me


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Our study in the book of Luke has brought us to Luke 23:33-43. These words tell of events just prior to the death of Jesus.


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.

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 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."

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."

There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"

But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus was often criticized by the Jews for associating with people they considered unclean — the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. Even in death those were the type of people around him. Two convicted criminals were led out with Jesus to be executed by crucifixion. The cross of Jesus was placed between those of the two criminals.

They could hear Jesus more clearly than the others when he spoke. They likely heard Jesus ask Father God to forgive the evil, religious, brutal people who had been the parties behind bringing him to this moment of fulfillment of his purpose and destiny as a son of man. This was the moment for which he had left heaven to take on human flesh. He would soon become the sacrifice given to atone for the sins of every person throughout history.

His request for forgiveness for those who were mistreating him was true to his Godly character, and they truly did not comprehend the heavenly purpose for this earthly execution, or surely they would have fallen on their knees in confession and repentance so they too could be saved from eternal death and suffering.

As those around him sneered and mocked, these two criminals on each side had their own personal battles.

One of the criminals hurls insults upon Jesus. The proposition was that if Jesus was really the king of the Jews, with the authority about which Jesus had preached, then use your power and authority to save yourself; and save us at the same time too. He was seeking to ‘save his own skin’ as the idiom goes.

The other criminal had a different attitude. It seems he was respectful to Jesus, even evidencing faith in his conviction that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, the Savior of mankind.

First he reprimanded the first criminal for his lack of fear of God. He acknowledged that the two of them were receiving their just punishment. Then he testified to the first criminal that Jesus had done nothing wrong. The implication is that Jesus does not deserve this punishment. He is suffering unjustly. He had the correct view of Jesus — sinless and free from any stain of evil.

Then he addresses Jesus in faith and asks for Jesus to mercifully remember him when you come into your kingdom. A simple request, which brought great blessing upon him which extends throughout eternity.

Notice this short conversation evidences faith in the Savior Jesus. Notice also the answer of Jesus: “today you will be with me in paradise.” This gives recognition of man’s saving faith, even at the point of death.

What a contrast to the many who were mocking Jesus.