Jesus saves. Today we highlighted how the crucifixion is part of the way that Jesus saves, as strange as that may initially seem. At least it should seem strange. It certainly was to Luke’s early readers familiar with the practice of crucifixion.

We noted the paradox of salvation through Jesus’ crucifixion in three ways. Why would the “Chosen One” (Isaiah 42:1-4) of God be hung upon a tree of God’s cursing (Deuteronomy 21:23)? How could one in such a weak and helpless state be the “King of the Jews”? Why would the Messiah, in the line of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), be the sacrifice and not the one making sacrifice?

The substitutionary-nature of the crucifixion is the key to understanding the paradox, to making sense of God’s plan. Jesus, the Chosen One, became the Rejected One, so that we might become chosen ones (Isaiah 52:13-53). Jesus the King became as the Tyrant so that we might become submissive citizens in his kingdom. Jesus the Messiah-Priest became the Sacrifice so that we might have Paradise (see how author of Hebrews references Psalm 40:6-8 in Hebrews 10:1-18).

Since Jesus has made us chosen ones, why do we still refer to ourselves as rejects? Why do we put ourselves down so much? Does the “tape” playing in your soul more often put you down or edify you according to your new identity in Christ? Are you more prone to refer to yourself as “loser” or “idiot” or “useful” and “desirable”?

Since Jesus has made us citizens of his kingdom why do we regard freedom as the absence of submission? We have been freed from the imprisonment of sin and freed back into the society of Jesus. That doesn’t

mean we go back out and break the law again. Rather we enjoy our freedom to live in submission to our King and his wise government. Freedom is not being master-less but in having the right master, as Dr. Michael Williams has written.

Finally, Jesus had to be crucified to re-open the gates of Eden. The only way into the garden is through those doors built by the wood of his cross. Let us respect the work of Jesus by giving hope to our friends and neighbors through the crucifixion of Christ.

Luke 23:32-45

Questions to Consider

For further consideration read Psalm 22 in conjunction with the crucifixion. Jesus embodies the moans of the righteous sufferer in this Psalm. There are many times Psalm 22 is used in Luke 23:32-43.
Does the crucifixion help to clarify the love of God for you? How so? If not, why?
What adjectives most come to mind when you think of the crucifixion? Why? What times in your life could be qualified by those adjectives? How does that shape the way you think about Jesus’ self-sacrifice?