The King Is Dying – Gospel in Life

The King Is Dying

Tim Keller |  March 16, 1997

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  • Sin
  • Atonement
  • Redemption
Luke 23:26-43
RS 74-3


We’re looking at the life of Jesus, and we’ve seen he’s come. He’s been betrayed. He’s been sentenced, and now he’s walking to be executed. And Jesus meets three sets of people on the way: the daughters of Jerusalem, the crowd at the cross, and these two thieves who were crucified with him.

There is a controlling thought throughout all three, and it’s seen in the prayer Jesus prays to his Father. “Father, forgive them. They don’t get it.” You see, here are all these people around Jesus. They’re watching it, and they don’t get it. They don’t know what’s going on.

They’re all spiritually asleep, but one is spiritually awake. Everybody looks around and cannot understand, but he prays a prayer, and the prayer is answered on that day with one person. We have a whole slew of people who are spiritually unconscious and one person who is spiritually conscious. Which are you?

Understanding Luke 23:26–43

This section of Luke tells us about the conversations Jesus had with different people on his way to the cross. These included Simon from Cyrene, the women of Jerusalem, the crowd watching him, and the two criminals crucified with him. The story shows how these people didn’t fully understand Jesus’ purpose, but Jesus, fully aware of his mission, prayed for their forgiveness. It highlights how important it is for us to wake up spiritually.

1. The women of Jerusalem

Luke makes it clear that women were always there for Jesus, even when men turned against him. Jesus warns them about a disaster coming to Jerusalem, which is like a metaphor for judgment day. This story reminds us that we need to admit our mistakes and understand our need for God’s forgiveness to truly experience His love.

2. The crowd watching Jesus

Even when people were making fun of Jesus, he didn’t respond out of anger or pride. Instead, he showed his immense love and dedication to his mission. He was ready to endure pain and humiliation to rescue others. This shows us that Jesus’ main goal was not to save himself but to save us.

3. The criminals

The story compares how the two criminals responded to Jesus. This comparison shows the difference between not understanding Jesus (spiritual blindness) and recognizing who he is (spiritual enlightenment). It reminds us to admit our wrongdoings, embrace the hope that Jesus offers, and trust in God’s judgment rather than our own. The story ends by emphasizing how Jesus embodies forgiveness and redemption and encourages us to seek spiritual understanding.



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