Holy Saturday, April 20
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.
In Luke’s account of the death of Jesus, he emphasizes the fact that Jesus was innocent. One of the two criminals crucified with Jesus states it: “This man has done nothing wrong.” The centurion proclaims it, praising God, “Certainly this man was innocent!” Pontius Pilate and Herod both agreed that Jesus was not guilty of any of the charges against Him; “nothing deserving death has been done by him” (Luke 23:14-15). Jesus was innocent, but He died on the cross for our sin, for our guilt, for our shame.
God demanded that the blood of a lamb without stain or blemish be sacrificed on an annual basis for the sin of the people. Jesus fulfilled that requirement of the Law. He stretched out His arms upon the cross and offered Himself for us. He became the perfect sacrifice for the sin of the world. Jesus was without stain or blemish, for He was innocent. He died, once, for all. He is the Lamb of God.
And in His righteousness, Jesus saved the world. He reconciled us to God. So that on judgment day we will be declared innocent because we will bear His name, covered in His blood; our sin will be remembered no more. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).
Holy and gracious Father, in Your infinite love You made us for Yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, You, in Your mercy, gave Your Only Son, Jesus, to atone for our sin and die for us, a perfect sacrifice. A perfect sacrifice. Certainly, this man was innocent, yet by His wounds we are healed!