People respond to the gospel message in various ways. Some scoff. Others are hostile or ambivalent. A few believe. As we read Luke’s record of Jesus’ crucifixion, we see people react in different ways.
First we meet Simon from Cyrene. Simon, likely a Jew, had traveled from northern Africa to celebrate the Passover with his two sons (Mark 15:21). When the weakened Jesus was unable to carry the cross, Simon was forced to help. What an intimate connection Simon had to Jesus, feeling His blood and sharing His pain!
In the crowd were some who had called for Jesus’ crucifixion. Also present were women from Galilee. Jesus told them not to weep for Him, but for those who reject Him. Their judgment would be so great that they would cry for creation to bury them (Hosea 10:8).
The crucifixion is recorded very briefly (v. 33). Jesus and two criminals were nailed to crossbeams, raised and attached to upright poles. Even in his agony, Jesus prayed to forgive those who crucified Him. He showed love to His enemies, just as He had taught (6:29, 35).
The soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothes (Psalm 22:18). The people watched, the rulers sneered, and the soldiers mocked (vv. 35, 36). One of the crucified criminals joined their taunting (v. 35). The second criminal rebuked the first, arguing their guilt and Jesus’ innocence. He believed Jesus and asked to be remembered in His kingdom. Jesus promised him an immediate place in paradise (v. 43).
At midday, the sky darkened in solemn testimony. The Temple curtain tore in two, revealing new access to God. Jesus spoke final words from Psalm 31:5, reflecting His trust in the Father. In response, the centurion praised God. He saw the truth and had the final word.
>> Jesus endured a horrific death so we could experience the forgiveness of sins. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel today. Pray that God would go before you to open eyes and hearts.
When we contemplate what You endured to save us, we are speechless. As we strive to emulate You, prepare us to sacrifice our time, our dignity, our freedom—whatever it takes to help others know You.