This is an exposition of Luke 23:50-56. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, February 11, 2018.


None of the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus begin with the words, “Once upon a time.” They do not begin with those words because it is no fairytale.

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Our faith does not rest on a fictional tale in some other world but on historical facts played out in this world. Our hope is anchored in the fact that God so loved this world that He gave his one and only Son to save us from our sin. It is the fact that God became flesh and dwelt among us. That God, in human flesh, pitched his tent in our neighborhood. That Christ walked this earth and was like us in every way except that He was without sin. Our peace is in knowing that the sinless One laid down His life for ours. The apostle Paul writing to the believers at Corinth said, Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Paul said, “I delivered to you as of first importance,” that is, this is the primary thing:
That Christ died for our sins
That He was buried
That He rose on the third day
And all of this was according to Scripture.

At the heart of the Christian gospel is the fact that Christ died and was buried. We tend to rush past that. We spend a good deal of time on the crucifixion, rightfully so and we focus on the resurrection, which is proper but we also need to stop and give thought to His dying. It is true, we do not worship a dead Savior on a cross - that was not the end of the story but it is essential to the story. Praise God the tomb is empty but He was in that tomb. Christ died, and that is no small thing. Our text this morning is found in the 23rd chapter of Luke’s Gospel.

Text: Luke 23:50-56

There were some glorious moments on the way to and included in those six agonizing hours on the cross. Simon of Cyrene was graciously drawn into the story and into the kingdom; the Saviors plea for the Father to be merciful to those who carried out the wicked deed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” That moment when a repentant thief was promised paradise, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. Today, you will be with Me in paradise.” The declaration of redemption accomplished, “It is finished!” That precious moment when our Lord cried out, “Papa, into your hands I commit my spirit.” But now, as His lifeless body slumped, unconscious on that blood soaked cross there was only darkness for those who loved Him. None of His followers had even the slightest glimmer of hope.

Luke picks up the story…verse 50 [Read Text]

This passage reads like “filler.” It is there to get us from the crucifixion to the resurrection. We tend to think of it as the transition statement or stage direction moving from one scene to another. But I want us to understand that…

Thesis: The death and burial of our Savior is far more than “filler” bridging the gap between the crucifixion and the resurrection, it is loaded with gospel truth and radiates with gospel challenge.

There are three things I want to note…

  1. The death and burial of Jesus is a gospel fact that must not be ignored. (23:46, 52, 53)
    The death of Jesus is a gospel fact with doctrinal implication.

    First, the death of Jesus is proof of His incarnation.
    Second, the death of Jesus is the payment for our redemption.
    Finally, the death of Jesus is the prerequisite for the resurrection.

  2. The noble courage of Joseph of Arimathea challenges us to consider the cost of following Jesus. (23:50-53)
  3. The gentle compassion of the women from Galilee calls us to live lives of simple, loving obedience. (23:54-56)