A Living Parable

33 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. Luke 23:33 (Read Luke 23:33-49, on the occasion of Good Friday 2023)

The fateful time had come. At a fitting place called The Skull, Luke simply says, “there they crucified him.”

This act would be one last object lesson–a living parable–that Jesus would teach between heaving gasps and unbridled pain. His audience was comprised again of “the people,” the passersby and the bystanders, the chief priests, scribes, rulers and elders, the soldiers with their centurion, and the thieves hanging on crosses to his left and right.

To illustrate how Jesus might have told it (totally uninspired facsimile), the parable would go something like this.

There was a man, who called himself the Son of Man. He performed great miracles, fed the masses twice, walked on water, turned water into wine, brought a man back from the dead, and healed the sick, the blind, the lame, and the lepers. Amazing words came forth from his mouth, as if they were uttered by God himself. Consoling, comforting, compelling, convicting words. He promised abundant, eternal life in exchange for simple faith in him. He came to his own nation, but his own people rejected him, even though he was exactly who they’d been praying for. He was scorned, ridiculed, ultimately beaten, and nailed to a cross, and there he died. His disciples then asked him, “Why did they reject him, seeing and hearing all these things? And why didn’t he just save himself?”

We know the answers to these questions. His mission was not yet complete, as we read below.

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.” Luke 18:31-33

But he would not release himself into the Almighty’s hands (Luke 23:46) until he granted one more earthly request. Whereas one of the thieves by his side joined in the vitriolic chorus below (“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” verse 39) the other stood up for Jesus, and amazingly, did not mock the Lord to “save himself,” but to save him, and Jesus granted him admittance to paradise that very day. The very first death bed conversion.

Sometimes you must face death squarely in the face to clearly see how desperate you need a Savior. Sometimes you can’t see the forest until you’re hanging from a tree.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
This entry was posted in Bible study, Devotionals, Luke and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s