Title: Gospel of John [19:25-27]. Christ's Crucifixion, part 4.
Luke includes the rebuke of the one criminal upon the other who was verbally abusing Christ.
LUK 23:39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"
He desires to be saved from the cross but not saved unto eternal life.
LUK 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
LUK 23:41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
LUK 23:42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"
He is being crucified right next to the Lord of glory, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world and he sees in Him during this hour his very King. Passing into the light he found the courage to ask the Lord that he be remembered. "Remember me when You come into Your kingdom." Faith and then courage, onward and upward.
Whatever this man knew of Moses and prophets may have crystallized in his mind during these moments and through His faith Moses and prophet's depiction of the Christ might have gained him a knowledge of Christ that surpassed even the disciples. This is conjecture of course.
LUK 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
This man went to Paradise in Hades with Christ that very day.
It is not probable that the dying thief expected that his prayer would be so soon answered. It is rather to be supposed that he looked to some "future" period when the Messiah would rise or would return; but Jesus told him that his prayer would be answered that very day, implying, evidently, that it would be "immediately" at death. This is the more remarkable, as those who were crucified commonly lingered for several days on the cross before they died; but Jesus foresaw that measures would be taken to "hasten" their death, and assured him that "that" day he should receive an answer to his prayer and be with him in his kingdom.
We know that at some point Christ, between death and resurrection or ascension, went to Hades and made a proclamation to the fallen angels imprisoned there (1PE 3:19-20) and He released the OT saints from a place called Abraham's Bosom (EPH 4:9-10). The phrase Abraham's Bosom is a figure of speech which refers to a guest of a feast. The phrase means that those believers who died before the cross were kept in such a place in Hades which is under the earth and this place was a feast of Abraham in which all were guests and it was a beautiful Paradise.
The phrase Paradise, which is a Persian word which refers to a royal garden or royal park. It was a walled in area filled with trees, shrubs, fountains, streams, and flowers. It is mentioned three times in the Bible.
I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man — whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows — was caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.
This is obviously the abode of God in the third heaven, which is now classified as Paradise.
'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.'
This passage speaks of the future when Paradise will be in the New Jerusalem.
This is a term describing the abode of the righteous ones, no matter where that abode may be at any point in time.
Before the ascension of Christ Paradise was in the earth called Abraham's Bosom; after the ascension Paradise is in the third heaven; for eternity Paradise will be in the NJ.
In eternity there is no need for first, second, and third heavens which are distinct in terms of the holiness and unholiness of creatures but rather all will be heaven and fully holy.
Hence Paradise is a term for the abode of the righteous in the other world. After the ascension of Christ every believer goes directly to the third heaven when they die. This man then went to Hades with Christ on that very day. We can rejoice in this fact even though all the details of Christ's proclamation or release of the OT saints to heaven are not given.
Traditionally, of the seven things spoken by Christ on the cross, this is classified as the second one; the first being "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing."
LUK 23:33 And 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.
LUK 23:34 But Jesus was saying, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."
"forgive" - present tense = for things being done to Him presently, not eternal forgiveness, but forbearance of physical wrath upon the people and city of Jerusalem.
The verb "forgive" is in the present tense, not aorist (past) or future meaning that He is referring to them, Jew and Gentile, who are doing all things against Him; the taking of His clothes, the insults, the scourging, the unfair trials, the brutal beatings, and the crucifixion itself.
This could in no way apply as eternal forgiveness since that is being accomplished by His spiritual death and each one will have the opportunity to believe in Him. This is likely referring to the wrath of God that would come directly upon them. Jerusalem and those present would be given a reprieve of about 40 years through this prayer and in that time they would be given the gift of the apostles, the church, the word and all by means of God the Holy Spirit. They would each have about a generation to change their minds concerning Him and believe upon Him.
So this leads us to even loftier thoughts concerning this statement.
They would all be forgiven through His work, and so the form of what they did was erased as the real contest between the Kingdom God and that of Satan was resolved.
What they did would not take them to the Lake of Fire but their rejection of Christ as their Savior would. Those who crucified Christ were forgiven through the work of Christ just as much as every member of the human race. The issue is what they think of Christ and not what they have done.
Christ threw off the pressure of the KOD, which desired Him to place His mind solely on His suffering at their hands, in order to deliver all mankind.
By having the power to keep His eyes off Himself and off His abusers He was able to strip off and away from Himself the pressure that the KOD put upon Him.
When He had disarmed [stripped off and away from Himself] the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
In such power He was able to think of them and their salvation as well as their future.
It is not as if the Son is more gracious than the Father, but that the Son and the Father have the same mind and that mind is here revealed in the Lord's first prayer from the cross - forbearance.
He is in complete self-forgetfulness which characterized the incarnation during which He taught "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."
LUK 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
LUK 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
LUK 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
LUK 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
Due to this prayer Israel would not be brought under the destructive path of Vespasian and Titus until 67 AD which would be complete by 70 AD.
It is likely that when John discovered that Jesus was to be crucified that he went in search of the faithful women in the city and then with them headed off to Calvary.
John is the one disciple that is not afraid to be at the cross though there are many from the Sanhedrin as well as Roman soldiers. He even thinks of the heartbroken woman and leads them there.
JOH 19:25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
Four women: Mary His mother, His mother's sister (Salome, mother of James and John), Mary the wife of Clopas (mother of James the Less and Joses/Joseph), and Mary Magdelene.
And many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, among whom was Mary Magdalene, along with Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
And there were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.
Matthew and Mark mention three women, His mother omitted, and standing far off. After Jesus told John to take care of His mother, John took her away from the horrible scene and the other women withdrew to a distance.
They probably joined other disciples of Jesus at some distance to the cross.
JOH 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"
JOH 19:27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her into his own household.
Jesus and James and John are first cousins and Mary is the aunt of John. There is even an extra-biblical account of Clopas being the brother of Joseph, Mary's husband, which would make James the Less an in-law. Mary was likely being comforted by her sister Salome, her sister-in-law Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, and when John went to the Lord's mother they all went with him to the cross and upon arriving Jesus, when He saw her, resolved to care for her.
Now, John is to look upon Mary as his own mother and care for her as such, which in their culture was taken very seriously.
John is to care for Mary as he would his own mother. With one command He secured for her a faithful and spiritual adopted son, a comforter, and a home.
This is a model for all children. In the midst of His unbearable suffering He cares for His mother and gives John a wonderful compliment of faithfulness and privilege of taking care of His mother.
John took his responsibility immediately. With this command he took her to his home and away from the terrible scene.
John didn't procrastinate. He immediately took care of her. He reveals here that it is not just physical care but protection of her soul to the extent possible.
By accepting this command both of them are honoring each other as they would Christ.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."
Sadly Jesus' brothers are not commissioned with this task. We can confidently assume that they are not believers at this time (James would become a believer after the resurrection) and so they were not trustworthy with her care and likely they were not in Jerusalem at all.
Mary lost Jesus but gained John and in a few days she will be in union with Jesus forever and He will indwell her.
Some writers suggest that the presence of Mary at the cross represents Jewish Christianity that overcomes the offense of the cross. However, the symbolism is not drawn upon by John and so cannot be convincing.
Jesus entrusted His mother to one of the greatest believers of all time and as such went beyond her physical care, which her sister or sister in law would have gladly done. We can imagine John ministering to her spiritually as well as providing the logistics for life.
Might not the relationship commanded by Jesus to John and His mother be the first of the coming relationships in the entire body of Christ.
She is to treat John as her son, as she would Jesus. John is to treat her as his mother. They are to serve one another and love one another as Christ commanded to love one another as He had loved them. As such Mary and John become a type of the coming church in which the royal family of God would love and serve one another as they did Christ.
"Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.