THE CRIMINAL WHO JESUS WILL REMEMBER
And two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on His
right hand and one on His left hand. One looked over at Jesus,
and with disdain sarcasm in his voice said, "Are you not the
Christ? Save yourself and us also!" The other criminal on hearing
this, immediately replied to him, "Do you not fear God, since you
are under the same sentence of condemnation and death? And we
indeed justly are condemned, for we are receiving our due reward
for our actions; but this man Jesus has done nothing wrong."
Then looking and speaking directly to Jesus, he said, "Please
remember me when you come into the power of your Kingdom." Jesus
replied, "Yes, for truly I say to you today, you will be with me
in Paradise" (Luke 23: 39-43).
Jesus could see that the heart of this man was in a humble
state of repentance, a heart that was in the right godly
attitude. He had never been called by God in this physical life
as far as we know. He will one day be resurrected in the great
White Throne Judgment resurrection spoken about in the last
verses of Revelation chapter 20. This resurrection takes place
after the 1,000 year reign of Christ and His Kingdom on earth.
Millions who never had a chance for salvation, who were never
called by God in their physical life (like babies who die, young
children that die, people in remote areas of the world who never
hear the Gospel, and people just plain blinded to the truths of
God's Kingdom and salvation) will be raised again and the book of
LIFE will be opened to them. They will live and they will be
judged by the word of God, just as we today who are called
and chosen are being judged. If they, like us, will confess their
sins, repent of being a sinner, call on God for mercy, accept
Jesus as our personal savior, be willing to serve and obey God in
a humble attitude, and remain faithful to their calling to the
end of their physical lives, then they, like us, will inherit
eternal life and be with God in His paradise for ever more.
Jesus could see this man's attitude was in the right
condition. When he is raised again in that general resurrection,
his attitude that he died with on the cross, will be the same. It
will be the right attitude to receive salvation. Jesus was
confident that he would serve God and so would indeed inherit
eternal life, so He was able to say to him that very day, as they
hung on their crosses together, that he would be with Him, Jesus,
The paradise of God is shown to us in the book of
Revelation, it is the throne of God in the eternal holy city of
God, the new Jerusalem that will one day come down from heaven
and be placed on the earth that is made new (see Rev. 2: 7 with
22: 2, 14; read the context of all of Rev.20, 21, 22).
God has a wonderful plan of salvation for ALL people that
have ever lived. That plan of salvation will not be finished
until the GREAT general resurrection, spoken about in Revelation
20, has taken place. Everyone will have their day when salvation
will be plainly offered them. No more deception, no more
blindness of mind. They will have revealed to them the truths of
God. They will then have to decide which way they will go,
the way and life that is of God, or the way and life that is of
Satan the Devil. They will have to choose, the way of life or the
way of death, but all in their time will be clearly offered that
choice, with no blindness of heart or mind standing in the way.
God will be there to ask them to choose LIFE!(see Deut. 30: 19).
Praise the Lord for His wonderful ways and work and great
JESUS TAKES CARE OF HIS MOTHER
There were many standing around the cross of Jesus. Many
were weeping and crying for Him. Many bewildered and confused, in
anguish of mind, just not understanding why all this was
happening. There was standing close by, Jesus' mother, and also
Mary the wife of Clopas, and there was Mary Magdalene. Jesus
turned His eyes towards His mother and towards the disciple He
had a close bond with. Many believe this was the apostle John,
the John who wrote the Gospel that bears his name. Jesus said to
them both, "Mother, behold your son!" And to the disciple,
"Behold your mother!"
From that very hour the disciple took her to his own home
and looked after her. We are left to presume that Joseph, the
husband of Mary, Jesus' mother, was no longer living, hence Jesus
wanted His mother to be taken care of by this particular
DARKNESS COVERS THE LAND
It was about the sixth hour, for us today that would be
anywhere from 11 a.m. to noon or 12 p.m.
"Look...look, see what's happening to the sun," someone
shouted. Dozens of pairs of eyes immediately looked up, and what
they saw was shocking and terrifying, they could hardly believe
their eyes we would say. The bright shinning of the sun was
dimming. The sunshine of the day was beginning to fade away as if
it was evening time. It was growing darker much faster than it
did at the natural sunset time of the day. It was a cold
foreboding darkness that was fast coming, even an unnerving
darkness. Many were looking white like snow as their blood
drained from their faces at the sight of the sun being darkened.
It was only a few minutes of time, and all the land was
covered with darkness as if it was night. It would last for about
three hours, and most by then knew it was something that only the
power of God had brought about.
The Roman soldiers in charge of the three crucifixion
crosses, on which hung Jesus and the two criminals, tried to be
bold and strong, not wanting anyone to see that in their minds
they were also getting worried and a little scared at what had
taken place in the heavens above.
Three hours of this intimidating, harrowing, and shivering
darkness passed. It was now about the ninth hour, which for us
would be between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Jesus had been silent. All the
people that were still gathered there were mostly silent. Because
of the extraordinary and peculiarly bizarre darkness over the
land, some were looking for Jesus to work a great miracle, maybe,
they thought, He would heal Himself of all His wounds and pull
out the nails that fastened Him to the cross, and climb down.
Many of Jesus' disciples were still expecting Him to come down
from the cross. All that they were witnessing must be a dream,
and was not really happening, many of them were thinking.
They were excepting Jesus to perform a miracle for Himself, just
as He had performed many miracles for so many others during His
But nothing was happening, one hour had gone by, then two
hours, and now it was the third hour of this darkness over the
Suddenly, the dark silence was shattered by Jesus crying out
with as loud a voice as they had ever heard from a human being,
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" Which being translated was, "My
God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
The time had come for the Father to step aside, to step back
into the darkness that was all around. Jesus would have to bear
the sins of the whole world on Himself now, without any help or
any kind of softening pillow to cushion the sacrifice of His life
in death, for the sins of mankind.
Some of the bystanders hearing Jesus cry out, said, "This
man is calling for Elijah." And one of them ran and filled a
sponge full of vinegar, put it on a long reed and raised it up to
Jesus' mouth for Him to drink. As the person was doing this they
said, "Wait, let us see if he is going to work a miracle, and
bring Elijah to save him and help him come down from his cross."
(Mat. 27: 45-49).
JESUS IS KILLED AS A LAMB LED TO THE SLAUGHTER
There was again only silence from Jesus. No miracle was
happening, no Elijah the prophet of old was appearing to save
Now it was all just too much for one soldier standing there,
who was thinking that kind of talk from people about Elijah, and
people crying for this Jesus man, people thinking that Jesus
would yet work a mighty miracle, was just too much. It was now,
for this hardened soldier, all way too much. He would show
everyone that this man was just a man, and nothing more, that he
could not work any miracles. He would show everyone that he as a
soldier of the mighty Roman army, had the power to kill this
Jesus that hung helpless before him. He would show those Jews
that were Jesus' disciples, that this man they thought of as the
Son of God, the Messiah, was just merely a human man and nothing
more. This soldier also knew that Jews who were crucified were to
have their life ended on the same day as they were nailed and
hung up on their cross.
He, this tough powerful soldier....well he would now show
everyone that he was greater than this Jesus, he would now
finally KILL this man called Jesus Christ, and so declare to all
standing there that Jesus was not the Son of God.
The soldier grabbed hold of his long war spear and with one
thrust plunged it into the side of Jesus' body, the spear head
breaking through Jesus' bladder. As the soldier pulled it out of
Jesus' body out came the water from His bladder together with a
gushing flow of His blood.
Jesus cried out, "It is finished! Father, into your hands I
commit my spirit!" and having said those words, He bowed His head
and breathed His last breath.
Jesus, God in the flesh, the Messiah, the Son of God, and
the Son of man, was now hanging DEAD on the cross. The soldier
walked away a few steps with a large confident grin on his face.
The scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and elders of the people
that were present and who had longed for this event, the death of
Jesus, were smiling also. The moment they had planned for and
wanted to see, had finally come, this Jesus was finished and done
with. They thought they were rid of Him forever, and that the
people would soon forget about Him and they would once more have
full power and control over their "religious little empire." They
were, in a very short while, to see how wrong they were for
thinking such thoughts.
As Jesus hung there dead, so very dead, His disciples were
now in complete and utter shock and disbelief. They had up to
this point still clung to the thought that He just could not die,
that He would somehow live and come down from His cross. The
eleven disciples were specially broken to pieces, like dropping a
china dish from the top of a twenty-story building on to the
concrete pavement below. They were shattered in heart and mind.
All the women disciples were weeping and crying even more than
they would have imagined possible. All the hopes and dreams and
expectations of all of Jesus' followers that were present there,
had flown away, disappeared it would seem into the blackness all
around them, with that one action of that one soldier who had
thrust his spear into the side of Jesus, and put an end to His
Yes, Jesus did not die of a broken heart, or of not being
able to breath. He did not die of suffocation. He died as the
prophet Isaiah had been inspired to write about. He died as a
sheep led to the slaughter. He was slain with an instrument
designed to slay and kill people. He had His blood SHED, for the
sins of mankind. That through the shedding of His blood, people
who will accept Jesus as their personal Savior, can have
forgiveness of their sins, and can have the grace and mercy of
God the Father bestowed upon them, so they need not die, but live
in the Father's Kingdom for all eternity (see Isaiah 52: 13-15;
with chapter 53; and Ephesians 2: 8; with Romans 3: 23-26).
We know that Jesus died with a spear thrust into His side
from the original Greek manuscripts of Matthew 27. There is a
verse missing in most translations, but it is in the original
Greek. All of verse 50 of Matthew 27, should read this way, "But
another taking a spear pierced His side, when blood and water
came out. Jesus, however, having again cried out with a loud
voice, resigned His spirit" (Fenton translation).
We shall see shortly that John in his Gospel account
verifies that Jesus died by being slain, so indeed like a lamb is
led to the slaughter.
THE FATHER MAKES CLEAR JESUS WAS HIS SON
No sooner had the soldier walked away from slaying Jesus
with his spear, and the ground started to shake and rumble and
roll. There was an earthquake over the whole Jerusalem area.
People were screaming in fear. Many were running this way and
that way. Many large rocks were broken into pieces, and many of
the tombs of the dead were opened, the stones sealing the
entrances flung to one side. And it is recorded for us that
AFTER Jesus had been resurrected, many of these physical people
in the tombs were resurrected back to physical life and walked
back into Jerusalem, and showed themselves to their friends and
relatives and others.
Among all this shaking of the earth, the mighty curtain of
the Temple that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place
(see a pictorial Bible Dictionary of the Temple structure) was,
with one tremendous and mighty crack, split into two from top to
bottom. The Most Holy Place of the Temple (that no one ever
entered except the High Priest, and only on one day of the year -
the Day or Feast of Atonement, on the 10th day of the 7th month
in the Hebrew calendar) was open for all to view (whoever
stepped into the Holy Place of the Temple).
This happening to the monstrous curtain of the Temple, would
have put into panic and complete disarray all that may have been
taking place in the Temple at the time, which would also have
been put into some disarray from the three hours of darkness
covering the land. Some of the activity that was going on within
the Temple was the evening sacrifice and the slaying of Passover
lambs, as the Pharisees and their followers were traditionally
doing, in preparation for observing the Passover on the evening
of the 15th day of Nisan, that was only hours away. Remember
Jesus had observed the Passover with His disciples already, at
the beginning of the 14th, and on into the night of the 14th,
when He was betrayed by Judas, as we have already seen. The
correct Passover, and time to observe it, was when Jesus observed
it, but the Pharisees had built their own traditions over the
centuries and were observing the Passover at the beginning of the
15th, which is really the first day of the Feast of Unleavened
Bread, a totally different festival of the Lord, than the
Passover. Such false traditions of the Pharisees, was why Jesus
said what He said, as recorded in Mark 7: 5-13.
Well, whatever was going on in the Temple when Jesus was
slain and the earthquake it the area, and the curtain of the
Temple torn into two, you can pretty well guess correctly that
everything would have come to a grinding, and chaotic STOP! There
was nothing but confusion, perplexity, disorder, and pandemonium,
going on inside and outside the Temple, and in and around
Then on top of all that, after all that had taken place, the
darkness suddenly, and as quickly as it came on the land, it was
gone! Light, and the sun was blazing brightly once more in the
So amazing was it all that the centurion, and all who were
with him watching over Jesus, were filled with great awe and said
to each other, "Truly, indeed, this man was innocent, and THIS
WAS the SON of God!"
The earth stopped shaking, the darkness was lifted, the sun
was casting forth its mighty light again. There was no more
physical signs of anything, all returned to being as the physical
day had begun. The soldiers and the crowd of people around the
crucifixion area, also returned to a somewhat normal disposition
of mind. They were no longer thinking the end of the world had
come upon them. Many of the women that had served in different
ways Jesus and His men, when they were in the Galilee area, were
present, looking on, but keeping themselves at a distance. Among
those women were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and
Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee, and many other
women who had come up with Jesus to Jerusalem. Other of Jesus'
followers did not stay around for very long after He had been
killed. They departed to their homes, downcast and very
distraught, still in confusion of mind about all that had taken
place (Mat.27: 51-56; Mark 15: 38-41; Luke 23: 45-49).
THE APOSTLE JOHN'S FURTHER ACCOUNT
It was now about the tenth hour or between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
as we reckon time. Much of the crowd had dispersed and were
making their way to their homes or back into Jerusalem. Jesus'
disciples were so upset and confused, none of them thought about
Jesus' dead body on the cross, and what they should do with it.
Not one of them at that time had their mind on such a detail.
Jesus was left there, dead on the cross, and none talked about
But there was still two criminals alive. And as we have
seen, Jewish law (actually a law given to them from God) said
that persons hung on a stake should be taken down and buried the
same day as when put on the stake, or tree (Deut. 21: 22-23).
It was also what many Jews (especially those of the Pharisee
sect) called "the preparation" day. It was the 14th of Nisan and
not a Sabbath day, and the Jews who followed the Pharisees were
getting ready to observe their Passover supper, starting at
evening time, which was the beginning of the 15th of Nisan, and
which was also an annual Sabbath day, the first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread. They were also cleaning out their homes of
leaven bread and getting ready to eat unleavened bread for
the next seven days. So the 14th day of Nisan, for many Jews,
became known as "preparation day." They were preparing for the
The Sabbath day that was coming at evening time, was not the
weekly Sabbath, but the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
and such a Sabbath became known as "a high day" or "a high
Sabbath day." That high Sabbath day was a Thursday. Jesus
had observed the Passover with His disciples on a Tuesday
evening, the beginning of the 14th of Nisan. He was put on the
cross Wednesday morning, and died as we have seen, in the early
afternoon of Wednesday.
The evening and the beginning of the high Sabbath day of the
15th of Nisan, a Wednesday evening, was fast arriving. Many of
the Jews knew that no Jew should be left for the night hanging on
a tree or cross. The Romans allowed the Jews to obey that law
given to them by God through Moses. The Jews went to Pilate and
asked if they might break the legs of those on the crosses, to
speed up their death and so be taken down from the crosses and
buried, before the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
Pilate was in Jerusalem, and he granted them their wish, but
did not send a message to the soldiers already keeping watch over
Jesus and the other two criminals, but sent a few other soldiers
that were at his palace in Jerusalem, to go and do the job
of breaking the legs of those on the three crosses.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first
criminal, and then of the other criminal. But coming to Jesus
they saw He was ALREADY DEAD. No one had told them, well....there
was by this time just about no one standing around to tell them
anything. It would seem even the original soldiers that had been
keeping guard from the beginning of the crucifying, were no
longer there to say anything to them.
They saw that Jesus was already dead and so did not break
His legs, no need to, as He was dead. Then John says this in his
Gospel, "But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear,
and at once there came out blood and water."
Now, in the Greek that John wrote, the word "pierced" is in
the "aorist" or past tense (an single action done and completed
in the past), and so what John actually wrote was this, "But one
of the soldiers HAD ALREADY pierced His side with a spear...."
John is telling us the reason as to WHY the soldiers coming
to break Jesus' legs, found Him already dead, it was BECAUSE
another soldier HAD BEFORE those soldiers came, ALREADY plunged a
spear into Jesus' side and killed Him, hence He was already
dead when the new soldiers arrived to start breaking the legs of
all three men on the crosses. They then had no need to break
Jesus' legs to speed up His death, as He was already dead. And
exactly how that took place we have seen just a short while back.
It was indeed by a soldier taking his spear and thrusting it into
The apostle John finishes this part of his Gospel by saying,
"He who saw it (referring to himself) has borne witness - his
testimony is true, and he knows that he has told the truth - that
you also may believe. For these things took place that the
Scripture might be fulfilled, 'Not a bone of Him shall be broken'
(Psalm 34: 20). And again another Scripture says, 'They shall
look on Him whom they had pierced' " (Psalm 22: 16, 17).
This part of God the Father's plan of salvation was indeed
as Jesus cried out just before He died, FINISHED! (John 19: 31-
The power of Satan and sin, had been forever broken and
defeated. Through the shed blood and death of Jesus on the cross,
all who want and desire to be saved from eternal death, can find
the way to eternal life through Jesus as their personal Savior.
"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have
everlasting life" (John 3: 16).
Written January 2003