Each Day in the Word, Monday, March 20, 2023

Luke 23:26-56 (NKJV)

26 Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. 27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’ 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” 38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:


39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” 48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. 49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. 55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

The cross of Christ predominates today’s lesson. Roman soldiers enlist Simon of Cyrene to take up Jesus’ cross and follow after Him. When they came to the place called Calvary the soldiers crucified Him upon the cross. From the cross Jesus intercedes for those who crucify Him. He absolves the penitent criminal, opening paradise to him that very day. He dies, and is taken down from the cross, wrapped in linen, and buried.

The cross of Christ predominates to the Christian Faith. By suffering and dying upon the cross, Christ made full satisfaction for the sins of the world and acquired forgiveness of sins for all mankind. Since the forgiveness He acquired must be applied to individuals, He intercedes for those who crucify Him, praying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” They acted in ignorance, “For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor 2:8). By praying, “Father, forgive them,” Jesus asks that the Father would bring those responsible for His death to repentance, so that they might receive the forgiveness He earned for them and they, too, might be with Him in paradise. The Father answers this prayer on Pentecost when Peter preaches to the Jews who crucified Jesus. Many ask what they should do, and Peter responds, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:37-28). The Father continues to answer Jesus’ prayer as often as we repent and believe the gospel, since we, too, were responsible for Jesus’ death. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Is 53:5).

The cross of Christ predominates the life of the Christian as well. Receiving the forgiveness of sins by faith and the promise of being received into paradise when we die, we take up our cross and follow after Jesus. We put to death the sinful flesh in us each day, reject temptations, and live as Christ lived,—in self-sacrificing love for others.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, grant us repentance each day so that we enjoy the blessings Jesus earned on the cross for us and willingly take up our cross and follow after Him. Amen.

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