1. The son of man before Pilate and Herod. (Luke 23:1-12)
2. Pilate Yields to the People’s Will; Barabbas Freed and the Son of man Condemned. (Luke 23:13-26)
3. The Crucifixion of the Son Of Man. (Luke 23:27-38)
4. The Penitent Thief. (Luke 23:39-43)
5. The Death of the Son of Man. (Luke 23:44-46)
6. The Testimony of the Centurion. (Luke 23:47-49)
7. The Burial. (Luke 23:50-56.)
Before Pilate the Son of Man is accused as a perverter of the nation and as an enemy of the Roman government. They had attempted to ensnare Him with the question of the tribute money and failed so miserably in it. Their motive stands now uncovered. Pilate asks Him concerning His Kingship, which the Lord answered affirmatively. Thus He witnessed to two facts, His Sonship and His Kingship. Luke tells us what Matthew and Mark omit, that Pilate sent Him to Herod. The silence of the Son of Man standing before that wicked king is very solemn. Then He is mocked by Herod and his soldiers. Herod and Pilate became united in rejecting Christ. See how this fact is used in the first prayer meeting after the church had been formed. Acts 4:23-30.
The weakling Pilate is helpless. Their voices prevail. “Away with this man!”; “Release unto us Barabbas!”--”Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” These are the cries now heard. Pilate then gave the awful sentence, that it should be done to Him as they required. The lamenting women and the Lord’s answer is peculiar to Luke. “Weep not for me!” Blessed words of His great love. He looked for no sympathy from man. Frail women were moved to pity. He is the green tree; they were the dry wood. The people’s wrath fanned by Satan’s power was spending itself upon Him, the green and fruitful tree. How awful it would be when the dry wood, the unsaved masses, would be exposed to the fires of wrath and persecution. Forty years later the “dry wood” burned fiercely in the siege of Jerusalem. When they reach the place called “Calvary” (the skull: Luke only gives the name “Calvary” because it is the Gentile Gospel), the Latin, Gentile name for Golgotha,* they crucified Him. Luke omits much which is more fully given in the other Synoptics; we read nothing of the cry of the forsaken One. But Luke tells us of the blessed prayer which Matthew and Mark omit, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” And His last word, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My Spirit,” is also given exclusively by Luke. All this is in blessed keeping with the character of this Gospel.
The story of the dying thief and his salvation is also characteristic to Luke. The great lesson of the three crosses is so familiar that it needs no lengthy annotations. The two classes, the saved and the unsaved, are represented by the two thieves. He, the Lamb of God paying the penalty of sinners, is in the midst. The way the penitent was saved is the only way in which man can be saved. He could do no good works; he could not get baptized or perform anything else. All he could do was to cast himself in faith as a lost sinner upon the Lord. Nor was his salvation a life-long, progressive work (as some teach on salvation); it was instantaneous. Nor was there any “purgatory” for him. He expected to be remembered in the Kingdom to come. Instead of that he hears, “Verily I say unto thee, today thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The attempt by soul-sleepers, restorationists and others to put the comma after “today” is a deceptive invention to bring the Word of God into line with their evil doctrines.
“This short prayer contained a very large and long creed, the articles whereof are these.
1. He believed that the soul died not with the body of man;--
2. That there is a world to come for rewarding the pious and penitent, and for punishing the impious and impenitent;--
3. That Christ, though now under crucifying and killing tortures, yet had right to a kingdom;--
4. That this kingdom was in a better world than the present evil world;--
5. That Christ would not keep this kingdom all to himself;--
6. That He would bestow a part and portion hereof on those that are truly penitent;--
7. That the key of this kingdom did hang at Christ’s girdle, though He now hung dying on the cross;--
8. That he does roll his whole soul for eternal salvation upon a dying Saviour” (Ness).
Then the Son of Man cried with a loud voice ere He dismissed His spirit and the Centurion, in keeping with this Gospel, bears witness, that He was a righteous Man.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Luke 23". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter