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80 Luke 23.26-43

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The Gospel of the Via Dolorosa

Luke 23:26-43

v    Opening Illustration

Ø     The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important thing we possess

§        It is what Jesus came to give us

§        It is what the church is commissioned to proclaim

·        Mk 16:15

¨     Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Ø     “Good News” in GK: euanggelion

§        Where we get the word Gospel

Ø     If you were asked right now to explain the Gospel…

§        What would you say?

§        How would you explain it?

§        What aspects would you talk about?

§        What would you emphasize?

v    Amazingly…

Ø     Jesus on his way to Golgotha

§        On the Via Dolorosa

·        Had the amazing grace to emphasizes the 3 basics parts of the Gospel

Read V. 26


v    Here we see that Jesus is being led to his death through the streets of Jerusalem

Ø     We have to realize…

§        Jesus was very weak at this point…

·        He had been…

¨     Beaten and mocked by the temple guards before sunrise

¨     Scourged by the Roman guards after Pilate’s interrogation

Ø     This was perhaps the worst

§        9 tailed whip with sharp pieces of lead and metal

·        Whipped until the bone, veins and ligaments were exposed

¨     Finally, his kingship was mocked by placing crown of thorns on head

¨     Then the 100 lb cross beam was placed on his shoulders

Ø     And led through the streets toward Golgotha

v    At some point along the way, Jesus just could not go on

Ø     So the Romans soldiers forced a man from Cyrene, Simon, modern day Lybia, to carry the cross beam

v    The procession continued

Ø     And along the way were women who were mourning his impending death

§        READ verse 27

Ø     At some point along the route where Jesus stopped and turned to the women and said…

READ verses 28-31

v    Here Jesus takes this opportunity to declare the first part of the Via Dolorosa Gospel…

Ø     Judgment is coming



v    He says, “Daughters of Israel”

Ø     OT language used to address the entire people of God

§        2 Sam 1:24; Zeph 3:14; Zech 9:9

v    And here he warns them that a time of judgment is coming

Ø     “Blessed is the barren woman, the wombs that never bore, the breast that never nursed…”

§        This is a way of describing how horrible that time will be

·        It will be so terrible that the thought of innocent children having to go through it is unimaginable

Ø     Many think the same way today

§        Many today look at the downward spiral of culture and society

§        The political climate

§        The moral and ethical slide

§        The proliferation of drugs and alcohol

§        The propagation and acceptance of pornography

·        They look around and say…

¨     It is better to not have children

v    Jesus is saying that when judgment comes…

Ø     It is going to be so terrible that the blessing of children will seem like a curse!

v    Jesus is saying that when this judgment comes…

Ø     People will not want to live, but die

§        They will say to the mountains “Fall on us”, and to the hills “Cover us”

·        Here he quotes from Hosea 10:8

¨     Hosea was a prophet to the northern kingdom sent by Yahweh to warn them that the Assyrians are coming…

Ø     Coming as an instrument of his judgment on a sinful nation

§        And when they come…

·        It will be horrific!

v    And that is what Jesus is echoing here

Ø     He is prophesying about the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome 40 years in the future in AD 70

§        Titus’ siege lasted 6 months

·        Josephus tells us that the starvation was so bad that people began eating the dead

§        Romans killed 1 MM Jews

§        100,000 into slavery

§        Jerusalem & Temple completely destroyed

·        Judgment will come if people don’t repent

¨     Judgment is coming!

v    And that is the hardest part of the Gospel to present, isn’t it?

Ø     We tend to present the Gospel in terms of…

§        Jesus forgiving

§        Jesus as friend

§        Mercy, Love, Grace

·        And those things are true!

·        But mercy and Grace have no context outside the judgment of God

¨     They simply do not mean much if there is no judgment coming

Ø     We have a God given responsibility to proclaim the whole Gospel…

§        Which includes that there will come a time in which each person will stand before God and be judged

·        Rom 14:10, 12

¨     For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Ø     But how do you tell someone about a coming judgment without sounding judgmental?

§        God’s words, not mine

·        That is what the Prophets did

¨     “The Lord Says…”

·        They might kill the messenger…

¨     And you are the messenger!

§        Judgment’s purpose is always redemption

·        Judgment causes fear

¨     Fear seen as a negative

Ø     But not necessarily so!

·        Fear is good when it moves you in the right direction

¨     We all know Prov 9:10

Ø     Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

¨     But I like Prov 19:23

Ø     Fear of the Lord leads to life

§        And that is the purpose God intends

·        Knowledge of a coming judgment is the first step in the Gospel

¨     Because it nudges people in the right direction

Ø     And that is good!

§        The reality of a coming judgment

§        The reality of your life being judged

§        The reality of your words and thoughts being judged

·        Should push you to consider what you do, say and think

·        Should push one to consider their lives

¨     Consider how one lives

¨     Consider what is after the judgment…

¨     And that is Good!

v    Let’s continue on in the Gospel of the Via Dolorosa


Read 32-34


v    The second step in the Gospel of the via Dolorosa is…

Forgiveness is Granted

v    Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing

Ø     I like what Kent Hughes says about this scene in his commentary…

§        1) Jesus’ forgiveness was directed at the Roman soldiers

·        They truly did not know what they were doing

·        They had nothing against Jesus

·        There was no specific malice in their hearts against what Jesus stood for and his messianic claim

Ø     Secondly, and this is important…

§        2) Forgiveness was extended to this specific sin

·        This forgiveness is totally different than the forgiveness that Jesus extends to the thief a few verses further

·        Jesus was not forgiving them their sinful condition

¨     But for their ignorance of what they have done

v    But Jesus’ statement of forgiveness is all important in the context of the Gospel…

Ø     Because forgiveness is what the Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about!

§        You can never stop and just telling people about the coming judgment…

·        If you do, the Gospel is incomplete, harsh and judgmental at best

¨     In the past far too many preachers focused too much on the judgment to come

Ø     Hellfire and Brimstone

Ø     We have to follow Jesus’ example and always tell about the free gift of forgiveness

§        Just as he exemplified on the cross to the Roman soldiers

·        Forgiveness granted, not earned

·        Guilt absolved

¨     That is what the Gospel is about

Ø     In today’s culture, people do not know what to do with their guilt

§        Some Drown it

·        14MM people in US alcoholics

·        69MM Americans have tried Marijuana

¨     22 Billion $ market in America

¨     California’s largest cash crop

·        1 out of 4 Americans between the ages of 24-36 have tried Cocaine

¨     2MM cocaine addicts in US

·        Methamphetamine use has gone up over 600% since 1995

·        And we are just getting started statistically on the over the counter drug habit!

¨     The point is…

Ø     People have no where to go with their guilt

§        So some drown it

§        Some Deny it

·        Our postmodern culture has built this beast!

¨     Since the authority of God’s Word has been eroded

Ø     There are no absolutes anymore!

§        There are no real standards for right and wrong

·        Everyone customizes their own standards

¨     What is right for you is not necessarily right for me

¨     What is wrong for you, is not necessarily wrong for me

§        Some Deflect it

·        We have become a society “victims”

¨     It’s my parents fault

¨     It is the doctor’s fault

¨     It is everyone’s fault but mine

¨     We sue over anything and everything

Ø     Just to deflect the guilt we feel

Ø     We drown, deny, and deflect guilt…

§        When all anyone ever needs to do is Dissolve it

·        Illustration of forgiveness

¨     Luther’s famous dream

Ø     Angel writing all his sins on a blackboard

Ø     Depressed at the amount

Ø     Suddenly a pierced hand appeared writing on the top of the blackboard

§        Writing…

·        “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin”

Ø     Blood flowed from the hand and dissolved all the written sin

v    That is what the blood of Christ does to each and every person’s sin that come to him

Ø     They are dissolved in his blood on the cross

v    The final step of the Gospel of the Via Dolorosa

Ø     Is to know that…

v    Heaven is the Destination


READ v. 35-43


v    When you realize that judgment is coming

Ø     And you turn to Christ for forgiveness, then…

§        Heaven is the Destination

·        And this is what the second thief realized

v    But it is interesting…

Ø     Luke portrays him as a sympathetic character

§        But that is not the way he started out!

v    In Matthews Gospel account

Ø     Jesus is crucified and the people are mocking him

§        In Matt 27:44 it says…

·        In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

¨     “Aren’t you the Christ, save yourself and us!”

Ø     So at 9:00 am both the thieves hearts were hard

§        But they had time…

§        6 hours of hanging next to Jesus

Ø     Time to read what was written about Jesus

§        3 languages

·        King of the Jews

Ø     Time to hear what was said about Jesus

§         “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”

§        Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.”

§        “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”

§        “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself”

§        “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.”

Ø     Time to listen to how Jesus reacted

§        In Silence

§        In Forgiveness

§        In Humility

v    And over that period of 6 hours a strange thing happened…

Ø     The second thief came to faith in Jesus

§        And he uttered the simplest of sinners prayers

·         “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”

v    The man did not know about the eschatological fulfillment of Jesus

v    He did not concern himself with differing creation theories

v    He did not worry about whether the Noahic flood actually happened

v    He did not agonize over whether he was baptized or not

Ø     He simply turned to Jesus in faith in his time of need

§        And Jesus granted him eternal forgiveness

v    That is what the cross of Christ is all about

Ø     Merciful Forgiveness

§        Not about a good man dying for his beliefs

§        Not about a great teacher crucified for his claims

§        But the perfect lamb of God who mercifully came to take away the sins of the world

v    Copernicus said…

Ø     “I do not ask for the grace you gave Paul, I dare not ask for the grace you gave Peter, but the mercy which you did show to the dying robber, that mercy, show me”

§        And each one of us can have it

·        If we…

¨     Heed his warnings

¨     Receive his forgiveness

Ø     Our destination is paradise!


v    Reactions to Jesus as seen through the people along the way

v    Simon of Cyrene carrying

v    Mourners weeping

Ø     Professional mourners

§        Weeping for wrong thing!

·        Should be weeping for people under judgment

¨     Talk about judgment here (v.

Ø     How inevitable

Ø     How severe

Ø     How final

v    The vast majority of people…

Ø     People Standing

Ø     Rulers Sneering

Ø     Soldiers Mocking

Ø     Thief Insulting

v    Thief Trusting

v    And that has to be part of our message as well

Ø     Revelation 15:17 tells us the same thing 7 times over

§        Judgment is coming

·        In fact, in even used the same language!

¨     Rev 6:15-17

Ø     Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

§        Forgiveness is Unconditional

·        As with the Roman soldiers…

¨     There is no action on our part

Ø     God grants forgiveness

§        Forgiveness is Universal

·        In that it is extended to all…

¨     Not accepted by all


v    Jesus warns the people of Jerusalem…

Ø     READ V. 31

§        In other words…

·        If you are willing to do this terrible thing to me and I am righteous (green)…

¨     How much worst will the judgment be for Israel, (who is dry)

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