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September 16, 2023

Suffering Man's Persecution at His Death

Luke 23:32 And two others also, who were criminals, were led with Him to be executed. (33) And when they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. (34) And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. And dividing His garments, they cast lots. (35) And the people stood by, looking on. And the rulers also sneered, saying, He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, the Chosen One! (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) And there was also an inscription over Him: This is the King of the Jews. (39) And one of the criminals who were hanged there blasphemed Him, saying, Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us! (40) But the other, answering, rebuked him and said, Do you not even fear God, since you are in the same judgment? (41) And we justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for what we did, but this Man has done nothing amiss. (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 shall be with Me in Paradise.

As we read the record in this Gospel, we see that the Lord Jesus was put on the cross by man. He was accused by the religious leaders, sentenced to death by Roman rulers, especially Pilate, and then put on the cross by the Roman soldiers. In 23:26-43 we see that on the cross the Man-Savior suffered the persecution of men. He was mocked and ridiculed by both the Jewish leaders and the Roman soldiers (vv. 35-36). The Lord Jesus was put on the cross at nine o'clock in the morning and remained there until three o'clock in the afternoon. This means that He was on the cross for six hours. These six hours may be divided into two groups of three hours each: the first from nine o'clock until noon, and the second from noon until three o'clock in the afternoon. During the first three hours, the Man-Savior suffered the persecution of men. The religious people ridiculed Him, and the Roman soldiers mocked Him. Even "one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" (v. 39). Therefore, during the first three hours on the cross, the Lord was a victim of human persecution, and He suffered this persecution as a martyr. In 23:44-49 we see that, during the second period of the six hours on the cross, the Man-Savior suffered the judgment of God for sinners to accomplish the vicarious death for them. Therefore, in 23:26-49 we see two aspects of the Lord's death: the aspect of man's persecution and the aspect of God's judgment. First the Lord Jesus suffered man's persecution, and He suffered this as a martyr, not as the Redeemer. Then, as the Redeemer, no longer as a martyr suffering persecution, He suffered God's judgment for us, the sinners.

Bible verses are taken from the Recovery Version of the Bible and Words of Ministry from Witness Lee, Life-study of Luke, pp. 451-452. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. Please visit us at www.emanna.com. Send comments to: [email protected].

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