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
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 ninth hour.
did on a previous
page, 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 Gentiles.
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 saved others."
ministry 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 still denied He was God and crucified Him.
knew that Jesus ruled over death... that He was truly God. Only God rules over
death. And even as they crucified Him they gave testimony that He was God... stating,
"He saved others [from death]."
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,
real, and undeniable
In 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, Jesus shows them love.
We 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.
It is Jesus who saves.
Jesus forgave that robber right on the cross. That robber was on a cross, and
NO ONE ever came off a Roman cross alive. Jesus... using the words of His tormentors...
could not save Himself from God's punishment, yet He saved others, including the
thief, by NOT saving Himself.
The 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.
Both 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.