|Luke 23 |
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1 Then the whole assembly of them arose and led him to Pilate.
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting the nation and forbidding the payment taxes to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King."
3 So Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?' And he answered him and said, "It is as you say."
4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the people, "I find no guilt in this man."
5 But they were all the more fierce, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee even to this place."
6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean.
7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was in Jerusalem at that time.
8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time because he had heard many things about him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by him.
9 So he questioned him with many words, but he answered him nothing.
10 Then the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
11 And Herod, with his soldiers, ridiculed and mocked him and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him back to Pilate.
12 That same day Pilate and Herod became friends, for before they were enemies.
13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
14 Said to them, "You have brought this man to me, as one who perverts the people; and I, having examined him before you, have found no guilt in this man in regard to those things of which you accuse him.
15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent him back to us; and behold he has done nothing worthy of death.
16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.
17 (For it was necessary for him to release one person to them at the feast.)
18 But they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this man, and release Barabbas to us."
19 (He was a man who had been cast into prison for sedition made in the city and for murder.)
20 Pilate therefore, wishing to release Jesus, spoke to them again.
21 But they cried, saying, "Crucify him, crucify him."
22 And he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found no cause for death in him. I will therefore chastise him and let him go."
23 And they were instant with loud voices, insisting that he should be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
24 So Pilate pronounced sentence that it should be as they insisted.
25 And he released to them the man whom they had asked for, who had been cast into prison for sedition and murder; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon of Cyrene, who had come out of the country, and they laid the cross on him, that he might bear it behind Jesus.
27 And there followed Jesus a great company of people, including women, who 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 behold, the days are coming, in the which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'
30 Then they will say to the mountains, 'Fall around us!' and to the hills, 'Hide us!'
31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will be done when it is dry?"
32 And there were also two others, criminals, led with him to be put to death.
33 And when they came to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided up his garments by casting lots.
35 And the people stood looking on. And the rulers also derided him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ, the chosen of God!"
36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar,
37 And saying, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38 For there was an inscription written over him in letters of Greek and Latin and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 And one of the criminals who was hung there railed at him, saying, "If you are Christ, save yourself and us."
40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same condemnation?
41 We indeed suffer justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds. But this man has done nothing wrong."
42 And he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, Today you will be with me in paradise."1
44 Now it was about the sixth hour [noon], 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 torn in the two.
46 And Jesus cried with a loud voice and said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this, he gave up the ghost. [From the Word of the Lord within: "Jesus did not die so you can continue to sin. I would just as soon have avoided that horrible death. I did it to show you the extent of obedience required for your own salvation. You must have a devotion to the law that is on every man's heart; you must listen; and you must obey."]
47 Now when the centurion saw what was taking place, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous man."
48 And all the people who had come together to that spectacle, when they saw these things that had happened, smote their breasts and returned home.
49 And all his acquaintance, and the women who followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, seeing these things.
50 And behold, there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, and he was a good and righteous man,
51 (Who had not consented to the decision and the deed of the Council.) He was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews, and he himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down and wrapped it in linen and laid it in a tomb that was cut in the rock, in which no man had been laid before.
54 That day was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was drawing near.
55 And the women who came with him from Galilee followed him and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned and prepared spices and ointments; and then rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.
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1 To the Thief on the Cross, Jesus said: "Truly I say to you, Today you will be with me in paradise." Many people justify all instant salvations on the basis of the Thief on the Cross, next to Jesus as he was crucified, taking comfort in Jesus saying to him, "Today you will be with me in paradise." Of course the thief's circumstances were exceptional. Consider these:
1) he was watching another convicted criminal (Jesus) next to him being crucified.
2) this man, [Jesus] who claimed a special relationship with God, did nothing to prevent his crucifixion.
3) the criminal himself was in unimaginable agony from the pain of his own crucifixion.
and, still his faith was strong enough to rebuke another criminal, who was also being crucified and hurled insults at Jesus: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" This [other] criminal replied: "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
I would submit this man's faith was so strong, still active in excruciating pain, still active watching the man who claimed to be the Son of God being horribly executed; that such faith, being beyond what I can claim to be able to show similarly, he could have been rewarded for it being extraordinary and exceptional; the Lord can make any exceptions he wants.
Part of judgment is to learn the truth. Part of learning the truth is to see paradise. Like all who are not purified in this life, after judgment in paradise, the thief would probably have to leave paradise for a time in Hell; before he could come back to paradise to live in the outer court, without measure, the court of the uncircumcised-in-heart, spiritual gentiles. (See Is There Hope for All for details.) The following scriptures also show how men will be judged in paradise and then banished or gathered out:
And when the king came in to see the guests, [Note! At the marriage feast, in paradise] he saw a man who did not have on a wedding garment.
And he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here and not have a wedding garment?' And he was speechless.
Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and take him away and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 22: 11-13. [Note! The wedding garment is a robe, washed white in the blood of the lamb, Rev 7:14. Walking in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin, 1 John 1:7. The guest had not been cleansed or purified, and so he was unfit to be in heaven or paradise.]
Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them,‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Mat 7:21-23
The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Mat 13:41-42. (Note! Not gather out of the earth, but gather out of the kingdom, which is paradise.)
For anyone to claim this criminal's superhuman example as the basis for their entering the Kingdom of God, escaping Hell, because they "believe in Jesus," fails to consider the magnitude of the criminal's faith, which almost all would be hard pressed to duplicate; or that once he was judged in paradise, he was banished for a time.
As I was told by the Word of the Lord within: "If you had been with me on the night I was arrested, you would not have believed I was the Holy One of Israel."
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