1. Bedfellows (23:1-25). I have a sour view of politics; I look at our political leaders with much chagrin. I am of the persuasion that some within the political climate are trying to do what is right, but the general look of it is quite disappointing. Herod and Pilate would fit in nicely into our political arena. They had one interest and that was themselves and their respective hold on the people. Jesus stood in the midst of this despicable arena; He not only stood there, He stood there strong! Pilate knew an innocent man was in front of him, but the voices of the people prevailed. Compare the moral compass of two prominent men in this scene: a) Jesus, who stood strong, b) Pilate who knew what was right, but gave in.
2. On the way to Golgotha (23:26-38). Jesus stood strong before Rome, now He walked strongly (with purpose) to His death. In this physically demanding and exhausting occasion, He warns mourning women that He is ok, but Jerusalem will not be. Imagine the strength He had to say this to them. Ponder, moreover, the love He had when He said to the Father, “Forgive them.” In my weakness, I would have failed!
3. Two individual crosses along side Jesus (23:39-43). In Matthew and Mark, both criminals spoke against the Lord; in Luke, however, there must have been a change of heart. Jesus was on the cross six hours. Those on their personal crosses nearby heard all the mocking. Perhaps, on reflection (experience?), one thought differently than he did before, thus he rebukes the other. On that great occasion, he appeals to the Lord, and the Lord remembers him.
4. The burial (23:44-56). While Jesus died for all men, there were some who were quite sympathetic to His mission and effort. Joseph of Arimethea; a religious leader who did not support the effort to get rid of Jesus (John 19:38), but a man who struggled within his community to do what good he could. His name lives on in history for his good deed. A well-educated Jew, spiritually minded, looking for God’s kingdom. He saw in Jesus what so many others failed to see; I wonder if the Lord appeared to him after His resurrection.