To fear God means to hold him in regard, to respect and revere him. In our passage today, we see many examples of people who did not revere Jesus. It is important to understand who Jesus is and why we should respect and honor him. Jesus is the eternal Son of God, the Messiah, and sovereign Lord. We should never forget those truths. We speak of him as a friend—and he is—but he is also our LORD and master. Jesus is perfectly holy and just, and he is worthy of our praise, respect, and adoration.
- How do you need to readjust your thinking about Jesus to reflect the honor that is due him?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 23:34-43 (ESV)
34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Considering everything that takes place in this passage, what amazes you about verse 34?
- How would you describe the attitude and words of the various bystanders?
- What did the second criminal seem to understand about Jesus?
- On what basis did Jesus accept the second criminal? What does it teach us about salvation?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jesus always got it right. I am pretty confident that if I was hanging on a cross after being brutalized by the Roman crucifiers that I would not be seeking forgiveness for them. I would not be looking to extend salvation to those crucified alongside me. Our passage contains words like scoffing, mocking, and railing. If I were on the receiving end of all this, I would be focused upon the injustice I was a victim of. I would be thinking of revenge, wrath, and vindication. I am so glad Jesus is not like me.
- Take a moment and thank Jesus for the offer of forgiveness he has extended to you.
- Pray for someone by name who has not yet experienced his forgiveness and salvation.
© 2013 Austin Ridge Bible Church, Inc. All rights reserved.