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Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves (The Three Crosses), 1653

Forgive Them For They Know Not What They Do — From The Garden To The Cross

In this discussion, we're reflecting on the moments when Jesus was nailed to the cross between two rebel criminals, his first several spoken words as he hung, the mocking he received while being publicly humiliated, and the selfless care he showed towards his mother in the face of darkness.

For those just now following along, this event takes place after Jesus' agonizing prayer in the gardenhis middle of the night arrest, the betrayal by Judasa night of scheming to find a way to sentence Jesus to death by the religious leaders, the three denials by Peterthe death of JudasPilot asking Jesus about TruthHerod directing Jesus to entertain him and his guests, Pilate washing his hands of responsibility on the matter, and Simon carrying the cross Jesus could no longer bear.

In this conversation, we read and discuss my harmonization of the story from the different accounts of Jesus' life, and then we'll explore the story through the following questions: What we can learn about Jesus, humanity, and ourselves from this monumental moment in time? And, how does this event apply to our lives today?

Discussion Highlights

Some topics of the discussion included:

  • The power and incomprehensiveness of Jesus' comments about people not understanding what they were doing and his call for forgiveness. How this demonstrates the heart of God.
  • How even as Jesus faced death, suffering from the cross, he continued to act selflessly as he assigned responsibility for the caring of his mother. And, the uniqueness of this assignment to someone not of blood relation.
  • The dominance and profound resonance of the prophetic visions from hundreds of years ago now coming alive in Jesus' passion account.
  • The problem with our pursuit and how efforts of "being good" can actually lead to the opposite outcome.
  • How in the end, the truth comes to the light, even as our own attempts to reveal it can fail to gain traction.
  • Toby shares her personal unique experiences of when her mom and sister died and her mixed emotional response.
  • Len shares how his heart hardened after six years of unanswered prayer and what he came to recognize about himself after God revealed it.
  • How American Christians have embraced false doctrines which have given us false expectations of who God is and what he should do or not do with us who follow Him.
  • We worship while we wait.
  • How our desires can grow into a dark manifestation fueled by lies and driving us to become deserving of that desire.
  • The practical application and insufficiency of behavioral modification with parenting children. The importance of getting to the heart of the matter.
  • Words matter and why Pilate would not change the sign per the religious leader's request.
  • How we don't know what we're doing and how easily we become the monster we fight against.

Fellow Conversation Participants

In this episode, I'm joined by Jason, Allison, & Benji.

I'm grateful for their participation in this episode and for helping to make the book better.

Listen to the Discussion

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You can also find this discussion on Stitcher, Itunes, and wherever you listen to podcasts under the name, Share Life: Systems and Stories to Live Better & Work Smarter or Jason Scott Montoya.

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My Harmonized Account of Jesus Being Crucified and Mocked For Reference & Study — An Excerpt From The Book

Mark 15:23-32 | Matthew 27:34-44 | Luke 23:32-43 | John 19:18-27

Upon arrival at Golgotha, they nailed Jesus to the cross. The two criminals were also crucified on a cross to the left and right of Jesus.

Now nailed to the cross, Jesus spoke.

“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

After completing their work, the Roman soldiers vied for Jesus’ clothes by throwing dice to determine the recipient. They also took his woven and seamless robe and cast lots.

This event fulfilled the scriptures from Psalm 22:18 (written one thousand years before). They divided my garments among themselves and threw dice for my clothing.

At nine in the morning, Jesus was crucified with a sign above him, per Pilate’s direction, announcing his crime. 

“Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews”

Since the place of crucifixion was near the city, the words on the sign were written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek so all could read it.

The religious leaders objected to the wording on this sign and appealed to Pilate for a change.

“Change it from ‘The King of the Jews’ to ‘He said, I am King of the Jews.’”

Unswayed by their request, Pilate responded.

“No, what I have written, I have written.”

With Jesus in the center, the other two revolutionaries hung beside him. The Roman soldiers sat around, keeping guard as Jesus hung on the cross.

As people passed by the tragic scene, they shouted and mocked the suffering Jesus.

“Ha! Look at you now! You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The religious leaders also scoffed and mocked Jesus.

“He saved others, but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

The Roman soldiers joined in on verbally abusing Jesus as they offered him a drink of sour wine.

“If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

One of the two revolutionaries beside Jesus joined in on the insults towards Jesus.

“So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

The other hanging criminal defended Jesus. 

“Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Turning to Jesus, the criminal spoke directly to him.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

Jesus replied.

“I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Before her son, now hanging from the cross, was Jesus’ mother, Mary. Alongside her were Mary (the wife of Clopas) and Mary Magdalene.

Seeing his mother standing beside his beloved disciple (John), he spoke the following.

“Dear woman, here is your son.”

And to his disciple, he spoke.

“Here is your mother.”

John took his directive from Jesus, caring for Mary as his own mother from that day forward.

Christ Crucified between the Two Thieves (The Three Crosses), 1653, by Rembrandt van Rijn courtesy of the National Gallery of Art

From The Garden To The Cross, Podcast - From The Garden To The Cross

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