Lesson 69

The Crucifixion

"And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall
be with Me in Paradise.’"
Luke 23:43 (New American Standard Bible)

Pilate felt Jesus was innocent but gave orders to have him executed according to the wishes of the people. Crucifixion is a very cruel form of death,

The soldiers had taken Jesus’ robe from him; they put a crown of thorns upon his head. They spat on him and mocked him unmercifully. His closest friends did not know what to do. Three times Peter denied that he even knew Jesus for he had lost his courage. Suddenly he heard a rooster crow and remembered that Jesus had told him that he (Peter) would do this. He was so ashamed that he ran out and wept bitterly (Luke 22:54-62).

Two thieves were crucified at the same time as Jesus, one on either side of him. Over the head of Jesus was a sign: "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." It was written in three languages and told of his "crime."

Jesus’ enemies had heard of his miracles so they taunted him to come down off the cross. But Jesus trusted God completely and he knew his time to die had come in God’s plan. Jesus willingly endured the cross even though he knew he could save his own life. Of course he knew that if he did not die he would never become the Savior of all mankind, and that was the purpose of his coming to earth!

One of the thieves scorned Jesus and said to him "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" The other thief scolded the first and said, "We are receiving what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." He then asked the Lord to remember him when he came into his kingdom.

Jesus answered him kindly, "Truly I say to you today, you shall be with me in Paradise." Notice that the comma in our theme text comes before "today" but here we have written it after "today." (See footnote on this verse in Lamsa Translation). Just one little comma, but what a big difference it can make!

The writers of the Bible used no punctuation; it was not invented until about four hundred years ago. We know it is not correct in this instance to put the comma before instead of after "today" because Jesus did not go to paradise the day he died, and neither did the thief. Paradise means "garden." The garden of Eden was but an illustration of when the earth would become perfect and beautiful in the Millennial Age!

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