Luke 23-24
(Forgive Them Father)
October 31st

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”

- Luke 23:34-35 (MSG)

Summary of Chapters

These two chapters conclude Luke’s Gospel book. In chapter 23, Jesus is brought to trial before Pilate, who does not want to condemn him, but the people insist that Jesus be condemned and Barabbas set free.

While on the cross between two common criminals Jesus chose an attitude of forgiveness rather than retribution:

    Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull (Golgotha), they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

    - Luke 23:30-34 (NIV)

Chapter 24 describes the resurrection, first discovered by several women who had come to prepare the body with burial spices. When Peter heard about the missing body he ran to the tomb and saw that it was empty, but did not yet fully understand.

Jesus appeared to two of the disciples as they walked on a road to Emmaus, however they did not recognize him at this time. While still incognito, Jesus explained the whole sequence to them, detailing how it fulfilled scripture. The disciples invited him to dinner, and recognized Jesus when he broke the bread.

Subsequently, Jesus appeared to all the disciples. Luke reports that he opened their minds so that they would understand. He then told them to continue the mission he had started – but they must first wait “ ‘... until they have been clothed from on high’ (24:49 - NIV).”

Reflection and Application

If Jesus could hang from the cross in pain and forgive those who tortured him, then surely he can forgive us for whatever we have done. Maybe we can plead that we didn’t know what we were doing. Or maybe we admit that we did know what we were doing, but could not stop ourselves. In either case, our honest confession will earn forgiveness. The heartfelt request from the criminal to his side illustrates this point. He recognized Jesus and only asked to be remembered.

It took a number of years of ministry and teaching, but by the time of the Ascension the disciples finally understood. They were now ready to carry on – but they had to wait! Imagine how eager they must have been to get going, but they waited, as commanded. The book of Acts, which is Luke’s sequel, describes the scene in which they were “clothed from above,” and were free to carry on the mission.

Imagine the emotions of the two disciples who were joined by Jesus on the road to Emmaus. You can see an interpretation of their emotions in a famous painting by Rembrandt called “Supper at Emmaus.” Rembrandt sought to make this depiction as accurate as possible, and even painted Jesus holding a loaf of challah bread that was popular with the Jews in his native Amsterdam(1). You can see an image of the Rembrandt painting on the artbible website: “Supper at Emmaus.”

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What are some of your favorite paintings?
    2. What would you say to Jesus if you were next to him on a cross?
    3. How would you summarize the Gospel of Luke to someone you meet today?

    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, forgive us our debts as we forgive others.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    Firemen and other First Responders


    (1) “The Look of Salvation,” Wall Street Journal,” August 12th, 2011, p. D6

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading:Overview of the Book of John and Study of John 1-2 (The Word)

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