The Purpose of Christ’s Death

Luke Lesson 24

Luke 23:33-46

Lesson Resources:

Download Lesson Here

Subject: Christ’s Death

Central Theme: The Purpose of Christ’s Death

Objective Statement: Luke tells us the story of Christ’s death by the statements of those who were there.  Observe those who were there and their statements to understand the purpose of Christ’s death.

Keyword: Statement

  1. Redeemer- Father forgive them.

  2. Religious- If he is the Christ, prove it by saving Himself.

  3. Roman- If He is the king, prove it by saving Himself.

  4. Rebellious- If you are the Christ, save yourself and us.

  5. Repentant- You are the King. Save me!

  6. Father- Darkness. Veil Torn.

  7. Redeemer- Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.

 

INTRODUCTION:

  • One of the most incredible things about the Gospels is the message in the story.
  • In today’s text it is almost like Luke pans a camera across seven different shots like a movie director, pointing out the different statements made by the people who are there.
  • In quoting Jesus, and others who there who believed, and those who did not, we see the point of Jesus’s death.
  • He is using even those who did not believe to get His point across.
  • This whole scene- this whole circumstance- is all about salvation.
  • It is rooted in the identity of Jesus.

LUKE TELLS US THE STORY OF CHRIST’S DEATH BY THE STATEMENTS OF THOSE WHO WERE THERE.   OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.  (34)  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luke 23:33-34

EXPLANATION:

  • Before we get to today’s text let us remember what Christ had endured leading up to this point.
    • Jesus spent the last few minutes of “freedom” that He had praying in agony to His Father.
    • He was then betrayed by Judas and arrested.
    • He was unjustly tried all night long by the religious leaders, and then brought to Pilot and Herod.
    • He was convicted and scourged.
    • They placed a crown of thorns on His head and made Him carry His cross.

 

  • When we come to today’s text, we see the place.
    • Jesus was brought to this place called Calvary.
    • It went by another name called “Golgotha”. Calvary is just the latin name for the same place.  It means “the place of the skull”. It was a place for execution.

 

  • We also see the purpose.
    • They brought him here for a reason for this setting.
    • It says, “there they crucified him”.
      • Crucifixion was a cruel and punishing form of execution. It was perfected by the Romans to execute a person in a way that took a long period of time.  Sometimes crucifixion would take days to kill a man.
      • People who were cruicified not only had the pain of being nailed to a cross, but ultimately died because of the suffocation they experienced being unable to breath.

“When the wrists were nailed to the crossbar, the elbows were intentionally left in a bent position so that the crucified man would hang with his arms above his head, the weight being taken on the nails in the wrists. Obviously this was unbearably painful, but it had another effect: It is very difficult to exhale in this position. In order to breathe out, and then take in fresh air, it was necessary to push the body up on the nailed feet. When the pain from the feet became unbearable, the victim would again slump down to hang by the arms. A terrible cycle of pain began: hanging by the arms, unable to breathe, pushing up on the feet to inhale quickly before again slumping down, and on and on.”

“A (more accurate) Medical Account of the Crucifixion” – Douglas Jacoby

https://www.douglasjacoby.com/a-more-accurate-medical-account-of-the-crucifixion/

 

  • In this passage we also see the people. Many people were there.  First, these verses describe two others that were crucified as  “the malefactors, one on His right, and the other on the left”.
  • Other people were there, too. We have the Roman soldiers themselves that did the actual crucifixion.  They nailed Jesus to the cross, and then they gambled for His clothes.
  • I believe it was about the soldiers and the rest of those that were present for which Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they know not what they do.” What an incredible statement!
  • The inclination of the attitude of those described is at best indifference, and at the worst malice and mocking.
  • Jesus’ attitude toward them was one of forgiveness. He was bearing their sin while they actively crucified him and supported His suffering and pain.

 

Application:

  • There is something fundamental we must understand about forgiveness here. Forgiveness is not based on the deservedness of the people that need forgiveness.  Jesus desired forgiveness for these people when they did not deserve it.
  • Jesus was dying on the cross so that these very people could be forgiven. He died so that we can be forgiven.
  • God loves people.

Romans 5:8

(8)  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Response:

Is there anyone in your life that you need to forgive?

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

 

(35)  And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

 

EXPLANATION:

  • In this setting we see the response of this declaration of forgiveness and the person of Jesus by more people.
  • The rulers who had been instrumental in arresting him, falsely accusing him, illegally trying him, and getting the people to put pressure on Pilate to convict and crucify Him, are now standing at Calvary mocking Him. Look at what they said:  “He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.”
  • While He was doing what He could do to save them, they were saying “save yourself”.

 

APPLICATION:

  • Religious people have always been concerned with salvation.
  • Some religions are focused on how to be at peace and prosper in this life, but most all have some kind of a plan for being ok when you die.
  • Everyone faces death. 1 out of 1 people die.
  • These religious rulers and the people understood Jesus claim that He was here to save sinners. They understood that his identity was central to this claim.
  • They were taking part in crucifying Him because they refused to believe His identity as God. This is still the issue today.  Is Jesus who He claimed to be?  Does He have the power to save?

 

 

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

 

(36)  And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,  (37)  And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.  (38)  And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Luke 23:35-38

 

EXPLANATION:

  • The soldiers said it, too.
  • They saw the fact that He would not come down as proof that He was not the Christ.
  • They thought that because He was suffering and dying that it meant He was not the King of the Jews. The Romans were a political people who were attracted to power.  In their minds Kings should be on thrones, and not on crosses.  This meant that He was not the promised Messiah.  He was not the King.
  • If he was the Messiah that would institute a kingdom to which He would rule and reign, how could He be killed on a cross?
  • What they were taking as proof that He was not the Messiah was actually the ultimate proof that He was. He was dying for them.
  • Isaiah had made this prediction about the Messiah.

 

Isaiah 53:3-6

(3)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

(4)  Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

(5)  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

(6)  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

  • This scene was predicted by King David in Psalm 22.

 

Psalms 22:6-8

(6)  But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

(7)  All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

(8)  He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

 

Psalms 22:18

(18)  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

 

Psalms 22:27-31

(27)  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

(28)  For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.

(29)  All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.

(30)  A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.

(31)  They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

 

  • Their mocking of Jesus proved who He was while they doubted that exact fact.
  • Their declaration that He saved others was exactly what He was doing in that moment. He did not save Himself precisely because He was dying to save others.

 

Romans 8:32

(32)  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

 

APPLICATION:

  • There is a chorus that says this truth:

 

“I’m forgiven, because You were foraken.

I’m accepted.  You were condemned.

I’m alive and well.  Your Spirt lives within me

because You died and rose again.

Amazing love!  How can it be that You my king, would die for me?

Amazing love! I know it’s true.  It’s my joy to honor You in all I do.  I honor You!”

 

  • Jesus died to forgive us and save us. The least we can do is live for Him and tell others about Him.

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

4. REBELLIOUS- IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, SAVE YOURSELF AND US.

 

 

(39)  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  (

Explanation:

In today’s text we see two different theives.  They are referred to here as “malefactors”.  They both responded to Jesus, but each on differently.

It is interesting that this thief responds so similarly to those in the crowd.  Each person in the crowd, as we will see, is saying something about saving.  He isn’t talking about the forever kind of saving.  He wants to be saved from His circumstance.  He is not necessarily repentant of his sins.  He just wants out of the consequences of his sins.  He doesn’t see Jesus as sinless.  He sees Jesus getting the same punishment as himself.  He chooses to mirror the cynisism of the crowd, and mock Jesus along with them.  Is there any sincerity in his request?  Any though that there may be is taken away by Luke’s description of his statements.  “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him”.  This is a description of the man’s tone and motive.

Application:

This is how some people approach Jesus.  They pray when they are in trouble.  They ask God to save them from their circumstances and not necessarily as sins.  Many doubt his identity.  They do not see him as sinless or capable of saving them.

Illustration: Marianna- “I got saved”

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

4. REBELLIOUS- IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, SAVE YOURSELF AND US.

5. REPENTANT- YOU ARE THE KING. SAVE ME!

  • There is a second thief, and his response is much different. He demonstrated what He believed by what He said and did.
  • First, he proclaimed Christ’s innocence.

“(40)  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  (41)  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.”

  • Next, he proclaimed Christ’s deity. Think about his request of Jesus.

 

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

(Luke 23:42)

 

  • What were the implications of his request?
    • You are Lord. You are in charge.  Even though you are nailed to a cross you can do something about getting me into your kingdom.
    • You are a king with a kingdom, and you can save me.
    • What was Jesus’ response?

(43)  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

 

APPLICATION:

  • It is obvious that this whole circumstance was about Salvation. The religious, the romans, and the rebellious thief all show us that this circumstance was about salvation.  They showed that forgiveness was offered to them, but it was not accepted by them because they did not recognize Jesus for who He is.  The repentant thief shows us just how simple saving faith is.  We recognize our own sinfulness, Jesus’s innocence, and deity, and in simple faith ask Him for salvation.  When that happens Jesus says, “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise.”

 

Romans 10:9-13

(9)  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

(10)  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

(11)  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

(12)  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

(13)  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

4. REBELLIOUS- IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, SAVE YOURSELF AND US.

5. REPENTANT- YOU ARE THE KING. SAVE ME!

6. FATHER- DARKNESS.  VEIL TORN.

 

(44)  And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.  (45)  And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luke 24:44-45

 

Explanation:

  • In these verses see another person making a statement, but not verbally.
  • We see two separate occurrences. The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent.
  • Who caused these things to happen? It was God the Father.
    • We know that He was active because Jesus speaks to Him at the end of this passage. We also know that He was active because of another statement Jesus made.

Mark 15:34

(34)  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

 

GOD THE FATHER CAUSED IT TO BE DARK.

  • It was dark for the space of three hours. Darkness was often symbolic of judgment in the Old Testament.  This was evident when God brought plagues to Egypt.

Exodus 10:21-22

(21)  And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.

(22)  And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:

 

  • God also proclaimed future judgement in the Old Testament characterized by darkness.

Amos 8:9-10

(9)  And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:

(10)  And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

 

Isaiah 13:9-11

(9)  Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

(10)  For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

(11)  And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

 

  • Jesus foretells coming judgement in the future and in so doing predicts darkness.

Mark 13:24-25

(24)  But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,

(25)  And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken.

 

  • So, when there was darkness here we see God’s statement on what was happening.
  • Paul speaks to what happened on the cross between God the Father and God the Son in 2 Corinthians 5:21 where he said this:

2 Corinthians 5:21

(21)  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

GOD THE FATHER ALSO CAUSED THE VEIL IN THE TEMPLE BE TORN.

Matthew 27:51

(51)  And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

 

What was the veil?

  • Well, we know that it was in the temple. Hebrews gives us some insight into this veil.

 

Hebrews 9:3  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;

 

  • There was a veil that separated the Holy Place (which only priests could enter) from the Holy of Holies. Hebrews tells us about this holy of holies.

 

Hebrews 9:7  But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:

 

  • This holiest of holy place was entered into once a year by the high priest who would sprinkle the blood of a spotless lamb on the mercy seat. The priest would often where ar rope around his ankle as he went in so that if He died at the presence of God He could be dragged out of that holy place without anyone else having to go in.

 

  • The author goes on to say this about Christ.

 

Hebrews 9:11-12  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;  (12)  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

  • Jesus offered Himself as a once for all sacrifice for sin. The darkness signified God’s judgement of Christ on the cross.  He became sin for us who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him.
  • Now that the price had been paid, and the wrath of God had been satisfied, the veil seperating God and men was torn. It was torn from top to bottom so that there was no question as to who did it.
  • Because the veil was torn from top to bottom we know that it was not a man made thing. God did it.  Because of Jesus Christ, we no longer need human priests to go to God for us.  He became our High Priest, mediating between us and God.
  • In that way we are our own priest, able to go to God ourselves through Jesus Christ. This is what we call the “priesthood of the believer”.  Peter referred to this in 1 Peter 2.

 

1 Peter 2:5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

 

1 Peter 2:9-10  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  (10)  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

 

  • So, what did God say? What statements did He make?

THE DARKNESS SIGNIFIED WHAT HE THOUGHT OF OUR SIN, AND THE WRATH FOR SIN THAT WAS BEING PLACED ON HIS SON.

 

THE VEIL BEING TORN SIGNIFIED THAT THE PAYMENT FOR SIN WAS SATISFACTORY, AND THAT NOW BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST WE CAN BE MADE A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, ABLE TO COME TO GOD BY JESUS CHRIST.

 

APPLICATION:

  • Two ways this must be applied:
  • We must see our sin how God sees it.  Jesus bore the wrath of God for our sin.  If we do not trust in Christ we must endure His wrath forever in a lake that burns with fire and brimstone.  We will be cast into “outer darkness” the Bible says.  There will be weeping and gnashing of teth.
  • We who are saved can go to God by the blood of Jesus.  We can worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  Access to God is not limited to a location.  We can go to God whenever and wherever we want because of Jesus Christ.

RESPONSE:

  • Are you saved?
  • Have you considered the privilege you have as a believer to go to God by the blood of Jesus?

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

 

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

4. REBELLIOUS- IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, SAVE YOURSELF AND US.

5. REPENTANT- YOU ARE THE KING. SAVE ME!

6. FATHER- DARKNESS.  VEIL TORN.

7. REDEEMER- FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.

 

(46)  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Luke 23:46

 

EXPLANATION:

  • We see two exclamations here.
  • First, Jesus cries with a loud voice. This could have just been a cry.  It may be what He said that is recorded in Mark.

Mark 15:34  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

 

  • Luke does not make it clear what the cry was, but we know that He was dealing with so much more than just the physical pain of crucifixion.

 

  • Second, we see these last words. “Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit”.
    • His work and His sacrifice was done. As He is recorded saying in another passage, “It is finished”.
    • What was finished? The work of salvation. The sacrifice for sin.  It was done.  Jesus could die and be with God.  He then “gave up the ghost”.
    • His Spirit left His body. In so doing He fulfilled ultimately the first part of His prediction found in John 10:17-18

 

(17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  (18)  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

 

  • And He did take it up again! On the third day He rose from the dead, defeating sin, hell, death and the grave!

 

CONCLUSION:

OBSERVE THOSE WHO WERE THERE AND THEIR STATEMENTS TO UNDERSTAND THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S DEATH.

 

1. REDEEMER- FATHER FORGIVE THEM.

2. RELIGIOUS- IF HE IS THE CHRIST, PROVE IT BY SAVING HIMSELF.

3. ROMAN- IF HE IS THE KING, PROVE IT BY SAVING YOURSELF.

4. REBELLIOUS- IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST, SAVE YOURSELF AND US.

5. REPENTANT- YOU ARE THE KING. SAVE ME!

6. FATHER- DARKNESS.  VEIL TORN.

7. REDEEMER- IT IS FINISHED.  FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT.

 

  • This whole passage is about salvation, and the implications are well stated by Peter in Acts 4.

 

Acts 4:10-12  Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.  (11)  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.  (12)  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

RESPONSE:

Do you believe?

Are you telling others?

This is our only shot at salvation!