Who Cursed Jesus and Who Defended
Did both criminals at Jesus' crucifixion curse Him?
QUESTION: As for the crucifixion, Matthew 27:44 tells us Jesus was taunted
by both criminals who were being crucified with him. But Luke 23:39-43 relates
that only one of the criminals taunted Jesus, the other criminal rebuked the one
who was doing the taunting, and Jesus told the criminal who was defending him,
Today shalt thou be with me in paradise."
have the answer to this one? It's another easy one. It started with both
criminals taunting Jesus. Then one was saved by God, and with his immediate change
of heart he began defending Jesus while the other thief continued to curse Him.
that make sense? You'd think that a humanist would be able to figure this out.
It's not that hard.
Let's take a look at scripture and find out why Matthew
recorded one part of the story and Luke recorded a different part of the same
In the same way the
chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying,
He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him
now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let
God rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, I am the Son of
God. The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting
Him with the same words. The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also
insulting Him with the same words. Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon
all the land until the ninth hour.
Luke 23:33-35 & 39-44
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the
criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, Father,
forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. And they cast lots,
dividing up His garments among themselves. And the people stood by, looking on.
And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, He saved others; let Him
save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, Are
You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us! But the other answered, and rebuking
him said, Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence
of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what
we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he was
saying, Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom! And He said
to him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.
It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the
Again we need to keep in mind that Matthew and Luke are
writing to two very different types of readers... Matthew was writing to Jews
and Luke to Gentiles. As a result Matthew and Luke had two different objectives.
Matthew is showing Jesus is King, and Luke is presenting proofs that Jesus can
and will save them.
In Matthew I started with verse 41
so you can see the context. What were the scribes and elders (the Jewish leaders)
saying to mock Him? "He saved others but cannot save Himself." And the
robbers insulted Him with the same words. Do you see what they are saying? They
are admitting that Jesus performed miracles! -- "He
Jesus' miracles testified to who He was. Jesus
did things that only God could do. Just before passion week Jesus raised Lazarus
from the dead. Lazarus had been in the grave four days and had begun to stink
from decay. He was dead... there was no doubt. Yet Jesus saved Him, raising Lazarus
from the dead. A large crowd, including some Jewish leaders, were there and saw
it. They knew Jesus could raise people from the dead, yet they denied He was God
and crucified Him. And even as they crucified Him they gave testimony that He
was God... He saved others.
Matthew's point is that Jesus is God... Jesus
is the Messiah... Jesus is the King and even those who hated Him and caused Him
to be crucified, admitted that the evidence was true and real.
Luke I also included the context. Notice as He was being crucified Jesus
says, "Father forgive them, for they do not know what
they are doing." He asks the Father to forgive the Gentiles who are
crucifying Him. Instead of seeking vengeance on His enemies, He shows them love.
see the same thing with the thief. Both thieves are insulting Him the same way
the Jewish leaders are... and then He saves one of them. It happened instantly,
and in a situation in which the robber could not do anything to save himself.
One moment he was insulting Jesus, the next moment he was defending Jesus.
is Jesus who saves. Jesus forgave that robber right on the cross. He could not
save Himself, yet He saved others, including the thief, by NOT saving Himself.
reason why He could not save Himself was because, if He did, He could not save
others. Jesus, on the cross, answered the accusation that He couldn't not save
Himself by demonstrating why He refused to save Himself... by saving the thief.
He gave the ultimate love to a thief who hated Him. What a powerful testimony
that Jesus is our Savior. And that is the point Luke is making.
thieves were insulting Jesus on the cross. Jesus saved one of them and he instantly
stopped insulting Jesus and began to defend Jesus.
What did we find
out here? There is no contradiction.
the last words of Jesus while on the cross, Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 quote
Jesus as crying with a loud voice, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me? Luke 23:46 gives his final words as, Father, into thy hands I
commend my spirit. John 19:30 alleges the last words were, It is finished.
oh, could this next one be the stumper? What were
Jesus' actual last words? ... click here.