Luke 23 “Good Friday & Beauty out Ashes”
Dr. Luke records for us the witnesses at the cross. Only by the Spirit of God could one chapter hold so much that grabs our attention and cause us to fall upon our knees in humble adoration for the Messiah who gave all that we might worship Him alone.
Today of all days, we hear the very pilgrims who shouted Hosanna, but now are shouting Crucify Him, Crucify Him! These were led by the unrepentant religious leaders. They had been given the privilege of treasuring and imparting the sacred scriptures. These leaders had been called, chosen, and anointed and cleansed. Yet it is not the outward cleansing but the cleansing of the heart that God desires. Jesus pinpointed their heart problem: But the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” [Luk 11:39] God desires that we draw near with a sincere heart in the assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience..” [Heb 10:22]
Contrast this scene to the one criminal on the cross who recognized and submitted to the Son of God. Listen to his words; Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” In that one brief interchange, Dr. Luke transcends earth to heaven so that beauty may come from the ashes of sin, and we learn of the plan of salvation. First, one must revere God; secondly, one must recognize that they are a sinner in need of repentance. Like the criminal, we are justly condemned for our sin. We must seek His face and His forgiveness. We then hear his response: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Note the promise: it happens today, not in the future. We will be with Him! We will be in paradise with Him.