November 23, 2013

Christ the King - C

Luke 23: 35 – 43

Jesus – God Saves

The verb “to save” appears four times in this passage.  Ironically, it is used all four times by those who oppose Jesus: the rulers, the soldiers, and the first of the two criminals crucified with him. 

The rulers acknowledge that Jesus “saved others.”  Probably unintentionally, they testified that Jesus had been true to his identity – the name Jesus means “God saves” [1].   However, they do not pronounce that name “Jesus.”

The soldiers and the criminal express the common expectation people have on a king – a king ought to save himself. 

Interestingly, only the one criminal addresses Jesus by his name [2].  He recognizes who Jesus truly is.

Jesus the King saves.  But he saves others.  

He has done so throughout his ministry.  He identifies his mission as “[coming] to seek and to save what was lost” [3].  And he continues to do that even to the end. 

[1] In Matthew 1:21, “the angel of the Lord” announces the name” Jesus” and its meaning in instructing Joseph, “You are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina series.  Collegeville, MN, Liturgical Press, 1991; p. 378. 

[3] Luke 19: 10

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