Luke 23:32-39 says, “Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’”
This was a very tense moment in the life of Jesus and Satan knew the time was opportune. Satan had watched from the corners of the upper room and waited in the shadows of Gethsemane. He witnessed the betrayals, the trials, the mockings, and the beatings. He knew the soul of Christ had never been more ripe or more within in his reach. Satan comes one more time and causes the ones that Christ came to save to question His ability and His authority. As Jesus hung on the cross in agony He understood His mission and purpose, which was to glorify the Father and to become the Lamb of God, which takes away the sins of the world.
Christ was beaten and abused as He carried our cross to Golgotha. As he stretched out His body across the crossbeams others continued shouting cruel words and sneered at Him. Watching the soldiers drive those long spikes in His hands and feet and dropping the cross into that deep hole in the ground, Christ says, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. Of all the cruel words these soldier’s calloused ears must have heard they have never heard anything like this before (forgiveness for them). Not only does Jesus ask His Father to forgive them, He offers a kind word in their behalf, explaining their behavior.
Satan uses many onlookers as his mouthpiece to question Christ’s love and authority. The religious leaders, feeling victory, shout out, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen one.” Not a whisper was said that Christ did not hear. Even the soldiers challenged Christ as they made their rounds, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Since Satan could not appeal to Christ through the religious leaders or the Roman soldiers, he tries to work on Christ through the robbers. They asked, “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Jesus does not save Himself and He doesn’t even save His dignity. Christ offered no defense to His accusers and He made no reply. The cold reality is that despite how much pain He was in and in spite of how tired and weak He was, He chose to save us and not Himself. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)