Grace to You

Luke 23 is our text...Luke 23. We're going to return to the scene at Calvary on that Passover Friday in the spring of A.D. 30 when Jesus was crucified. I want to give you the full setting as Luke records it, so I want to begin reading in verse 32 and read down through verse 43. "And two others also who were criminals were being led away to be put to death with Him. And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, 'Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.' And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by looking on and even the rulers were sneering at Him saying, 'He saved others, let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.' And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him offering Him sour wine and saying, 'If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.' Now there was also an inscription above Him, 'This is the King of the Jews.' And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, 'Aren't You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us.' But the other answered, and rebuking him said, 'Do you not even fear God since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly for we're receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he was saying, 'Jesus, remember me when You come in Your Kingdom.' And He said to him, 'Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.'"

The story of the penitent thief is not in Matthew, Mark or John. It is only in Luke. This is all we have. And in a sense, as we look at verses 39 to 43 and consider this miraculous conversion of a thief hanging on a cross next to Jesus, we might conclude that this is a rather cryptic account. Perhaps we would wish that Matthew had given us another look at it, or Mark, or both, or John. But this is all we have. We have considered the comedy at Calvary, the burlesque, the vaudeville, the sarcasm, the mockery, the extended joke as the notion that Jesus was a King was laughable. They heaped scorn on Him. "If You're a King, save Yourself and us."...

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Grace to You

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John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry...

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