Luke 23

Luke 23:2 We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar

Spencer W. Kimball

"When false witnesses were paid to lie about him, he condemned them not. They twisted his words and misinterpreted his meanings, yet he was calm and unflustered. Had he not taught, 'Pray for them which despitefully use you'? (Matt. 5:44.)

"He who created the world and all that is in it, he who made the silver from which the pieces were stamped which bought him, he who could command defenders on both sides of the veil-stood and suffered.

"What dignity! What mastery! What control! Even when he, the perfect, the sinless, the good, the Prince of Life, the Just, was weighed on one side of the scales against the murderer, the seditionist, the insurrectionist, Barrabas-and Barrabas won, thus winning his liberty at the price of Christ's crucifixion-yet the Savior said not a word of condemnation to the magistrate who made the unjust decision.

"Neither did he say anything to the people who called, 'Release unto us Barrabas.' (Luke 23:18.) Even when they cried for his blood, saying, 'Crucify him, crucify him' (Luke 23:21)-yet he showed no bitterness nor condemnation. Only tranquility. This is divine dignity, power, control, restraint. Barrabas for Christ! The unjust for the just; the Holy One crucified, the malefactor released. Yet no revenge, no name-calling, no condemnation came from him whom they condemned. No lightning struck them, though it could have done. No earthquake came to save him, though a severe one could have come. No angels sped to him with protective weapons, though legions were ready. No escape was asked for, though he could have been translated. He stood and suffered in mind and body. 'Bless them that curse you,' he had taught. (Matt. 5:44.)

"Yet still further tests came. Though pronounced innocent, he was scourged. Unworthy men lashed him, the pure and the Holy One, the Son of God. One word from his lips and all his enemies would have fallen to the earth, helpless. All would have perished, all could have been as dust and ashes. Yet, in calmness, he suffered." ("Jesus of Nazareth," Ensign, Dec. 1984, 6)

Luke 23:9 he questioned him with many words; but he answered him nothing

James E. Talmage

"As far as we know, Herod is...distinguished as the only being who saw Christ face to face and spoke to Him, yet never heard His voice. For penitent sinners, weeping women, prattling children, for the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the rabbis, for the perjured high priest and his obsequious and insolent underling, and for Pilate the pagan, Christ had words-of comfort or instruction, of warning or rebuke, of protest or denunciation-yet for Herod the fox He had but disdainful and kingly silence." (Jesus the Christ, 635-636)

Neal A. Maxwell

"Jesus, under heavy questioning from Herod, 'answered him nothing.' (Luke 23:9; see also Mosiah 14:7.) Jesus' integrity and intellect were not for sale." ("The Inexhaustible Gospel," Ensign, Apr. 1993, 73)

Luke 23:24 Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required

Spencer J. Condie

"Pilate's capitulation to the chief priests of the Jews is a classic example of caving in to the curse of respectability, notwithstanding his wife's warning and his own personal discernment that Jesus was a just man without fault. The washing of his hands after delivering the Savior to the mob is an example of what President Marion G. Romney describes as 'serving the Lord in such a way as not to offend the devil.'" (Your Agency, Handle with Care [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 42.)

Luke 23:28-30 Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children

"Truly this prediction was fulfilled in the devastation of Jerusalem in the year A.D. 70, described by the Savior in his Olivet discourse as the 'abomination of desolation' (JS-M 1:12). On that occasion, also during the last week of his mortal ministry, he had warned his disciples that in the coming days there would be 'great tribulation on the Jews, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, such as was not before sent upon Israel' (JS-M 1:18).

"Why did all the prophecies, scriptural predictions, forestalled chastisements, and careful warnings of past ages converge in force during the years from A.D. 66 to 70 in Jerusalem? Why was all the robbery, murder, and work of secret combinations unleashed with such fury so quickly?

"The reason Jerusalem and her inhabitants were destroyed is that they had rejected their true king. The ultimate act of Israel's disloyalty was manifest in the dismissal of Jesus' claims to be the long-foretold Messiah, the Lord of Life, the great Jehovah of the Old Testament, who came to earth in fulfillment of millennia-old prophecies, only to be crucified ignominiously between two thieves." (David B. Galbraith, D. Kelly Ogden, and Andrew C. Skinner, Jerusalem: The Eternal City [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 219.)

Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us

Bruce R. McConkie

"It is not a pleasant thing to think of that which lies ahead for worldly people, for those in all nations who walk in carnal paths, for those in the Church who do not keep the commandments. 'The time is soon at hand that I shall come in a cloud with power and great glory,' saith the Lord. 'And it shall be a great day at the time of my coming, for all nations shall tremble.' (D&C 34:7-8.) 'For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble. And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might.' (D&C 45:74-75.)

"Is it any wonder that men in that day, as Jesus promised, shall say 'to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us'? (Luke 23:30.) Yea, in that day shall be fulfilled that which is written: 'And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?' (Rev. 6:15-17.)" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 500.)

Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

To paraphrase, "if bad things happen to God's chosen people, what will happen to the Gentiles?"  Certainly, the burning heat will be hotter among the dry trees than among the green. Terrible judgment awaits the Jews (speaking primarily of the Romans sacking Jerusalem in 70-71 AD), but more terrible judgments await the Gentiles before the Second Coming of the Lord.

Neal A. Maxwell

"The Lord has clearly indicated that His purifying and sifting judgment will begin 'at the house of God' (see 1 Peter 4:17; D&C 112:25). Just what this sifting will consist of is not now clear. In a worsening world, special pressures will combine with the ongoing and demanding daily rigors of 'taking up the cross daily' (see Luke 9:23). The tempter's triad of tools are temptation, persecution, and tribulation (see Matthew 13:18-22). These tools will be relentlessly used upon God's flock (see Matthew 13:21; Luke 8:13). And if the heat from the summer sun of such circumstances will scorch even a green tree, that heat upon the whole world will be intense." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 126.)

Luke 23:33 when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him

James E. Talmage

"Death by crucifixion was at once the most lingering and most painful of all forms of execution. The victim lived in ever increasing torture, generally for many hours, sometimes for days. The spikes so cruelly driven through hands and feet penetrated and crushed sensitive nerves and quivering tendons, yet inflicted no mortal wound. The welcome relief of death came through the exhaustion caused by intense and unremitting pain, through localized inflammation and congestion of organs incident to the strained and unnatural posture of the body." (Jesus the Christ, 607)

Gordon B. Hinckley

" member of this Church must ever forget the terrible price paid by our Redeemer, who gave His life that all men might live-the agony of Gethsemane, the bitter mockery of His trial, the vicious crown of thorns tearing at His flesh, the blood cry of the mob before Pilate, the lonely burden of His heavy walk along the way to Calvary, the terrifying pain as great nails pierced His hands and feet, the fevered torture of His body as He hung that tragic day, the Son of God, crying out, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34).

"This was the cross, the instrument of His torture, the terrible device designed to destroy the Man of Peace, the evil recompense for His miraculous work of healing the sick, of causing the blind to see, of raising the dead. This was the cross on which He hung and died on Golgotha's lonely summit.

"We cannot forget that. We must never forget it." ("Our One Bright Hope," Ensign, Apr. 1994, 3-4)

Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do

Spencer J. Condie

"Perhaps there is no greater example of meekness than that exemplified by the Savior on the cross. The Savior had the power to call down legions of angels in retribution for the humiliation He had suffered at the hands of unjust judgmental councils and the pain inflicted upon Him by the Roman soldiers who had carried out the mandate of a frenzied crowd and a timid magistrate. But instead of calling down revenge from heaven, He prayed for the Roman soldiers: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34)." (In Perfect Balance [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993], 158.)

Joseph F. Smith

"I say that no man could utter such words as these at such a time; it required the power and spirit, the love, mercy, charity and forgiveness of God himself. I bear my testimony to you that a being who could ask God to forgive men from whom He had received such unmerited cruelty is nothing less than God. If there was no other proof than this of the divine mission of Jesus Christ, this alone would convince me that Jesus was the Redeemer of the world. He taught and exemplified in His life the very principles that will redeem the world, and the only principles that can be found written in any book that will redeem the world." (Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 380)

Jeffrey R. Holland

"Surely the most majestic moment of that fateful Friday, when nature convulsed and the veil of the temple was rent, was that unspeakably merciful moment when Christ said, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' As our advocate with the Father, He is still making that same plea today-in your behalf and in mine.

"Here, as in all things, Jesus set the standard for us to follow. Life is too short to be spent nursing animosities or keeping a box score of offenses against us-you know, no runs, no hits, all errors. We don't want God to remember our sins, so there is something fundamentally wrong in our relentlessly trying to remember those of others." ("The Peaceable Things of the Kingdom," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 83)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"A spirit of forgiveness and an attitude of love and compassion toward those who may have wronged us is of the very essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Each of us has need of this spirit. The whole world has need of it. The Lord taught it. He exemplified it as none other has exemplified it.

"In the time of his agony on the cross of Calvary, with vile and hateful accusers before him, those who had brought him to this terrible crucifixion, he cried out, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.' (Luke 23:34.)

"None of us is called on to forgive so generously, but each of us is under a divinely spoken obligation to reach out with pardon and mercy. The Lord has declared in words of revelation:

'My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this evil they were afflicted and sorely chastened.
Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.

And ye ought to say in your hearts-let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.' (D&C 64:8-11.)

"How much we need application of this God-given principle and its companion principle, repentance! We see the need for it in the homes of the people, where tiny molehills of misunderstanding are fanned into mountains of argument. We see it among neighbors, where insignificant differences lead to undying bitterness. We see it in business associates who quarrel and refuse to compromise and forgive when, in most instances, if there were a willingness to sit down together and speak quietly one to another, the matter could be resolved to the blessing of all. Rather, they spend their days nurturing grudges and planning retribution." ("Of You It Is Required to Forgive," Ensign, June 1991, 2)

Eldred G. Smith

"Often we think of forgiveness as a form of charity. We forget that the benefits extend both ways. It is as beneficial to forgive as to be forgiven. This is not a formula but a spirit which can bring out the best in people and illuminate every moment of living. It is one of the happy paradoxes of human behavior that the readier we are to forgive the less we are called on to forgive. Forgiveness does not undo what has already been done. It enables us to accept what has been done and go on from there." (Conference Report, April 1961, Afternoon Meeting 69.)

JST Luke 23:35 they know not what they do (Meaning the soldiers who crucified him,)

Spencer W. Kimball

"When the Lord, in his dying moments, turned to the Father and requested, 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34), he was referring to the soldiers who crucified him. They acted under the mandate of a sovereign nation. It was the Jews who were guilty of the Lord's death. Again how could he forgive them, or how could his Father forgive them, when they were not repentant. These vicious people who cried, '. . . His blood be on us, and on our children' (Matt. 27:25) had not repented. Those who 'reviled him' on Calvary (Matt. 27:39) had not repented." (The Miracle of Forgiveness, chap. 12)

Luke 23:34 they parted his raiment, and cast lots

Dallin H. Oaks

"The Roman soldiers of Pilate provided an unforgettable illustration of the different perspectives of the carnal mind and the spiritual mind. During a tragic afternoon on Calvary, a handful of soldiers waited at the foot of a cross. The most important event in all eternity was taking place on the cross above their heads. Oblivious to that fact, they occupied themselves casting lots to divide the earthly property of the dying Son of God. (See Matt. 27:35; Luke 23:34; John 19:24.) Their example reminds each of us that we should not be casting our lots for the things of the world while the things of eternity, including our families and the work of the Lord, suffer for our attention." ("Spirituality," Ensign, Nov. 1985, 61-62)

Luke 23:35 the people stood beholding

Neal A. Maxwell

"Jesus was often misunderstood and rejected. But He felt most forsaken and alone on Calvary-just as the final act of the Atonement was enveloping mankind in His eternal love. Ironically, during the moments when in agony He was benefiting billions upon billions of mortals, He was attended by only a faithful few." ("Answer Me," Ensign, Nov. 1988, 33)

John H. Groberg

"I love the Savior. I feel that as he hung upon the cross and looked out over the dark scene, he saw more than mocking soldiers and cruel taunters. He saw more than crying women and fearful friends. He remembered and saw even more than women at wells or crowds on hills or throngs by seashores. He saw more, much more. He, who knows all and has all power, saw through the stream of time. His huge, magnanimous, loving soul encompassed all eternity and took in all people and all times and all sins and all forgiveness and all everything. Yes, he saw down to you and to me and provided us an all-encompassing opportunity to escape the terrible consequences of death and sin." ("The Beauty and Importance of the Sacrament," Ensign, May 1989, 39-40)

Luke 23:35-39 if thou be Christ, save thyself and us

Jesus entire ministry was punctuated with personal temptation. From the temptation in the wilderness to the railing on the cross, Satan persistently challenged Jesus' divinity. "Prove yourself!" is Lucifer's cry. 'If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread.' 'If thou thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence' (Luke 4:3,9)

Nothing would have made Satan happier than for Jesus to use his divine power to save himself. The atonement could not be completed until Jesus' death and resurrection-and Satan knew it. Hence, his taunting temptation to Jesus at the last was the same as at the first. From the Jewish rulers, 'let him save himself, if he be Christ.' From the Roman soldiers, 'If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.' From the thief on the cross, 'If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.' Hence we see, "how literally did those railers and mockers quote the very words of their father the devil." (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 129) Indeed, Satan's doctrine is as follows, "What I the devil have spoken, I have spoken...whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (see DC 1:38).

Luke 23:40 Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

"Jesus was not crucified alone. There were three crosses on Calvary. Three had been crucified, Jesus between two....The first man had no interest in God's kingdom. His request reveals no concern for God, for repentance, for forgiveness, for righteousness. His pain resulted from where he was, not what he was-and he cursed life as a fraud. Such a man would rather continue in his bitter appraisal of life than repent, be forgiven, and experience God's transforming power. Confronted with his cross, he chose to respond by increasing his bitterness and rebellion.

"The second man, on the other hand, became somewhat aware of who Jesus really was. Consequently, he had an insight into the things that mattered most in life. He knew he had committed wrongs and that he had only himself to blame. Because he recognized his own evil, he was able to see the righteousness and mercy of God. His pain was not only in where he was, but in what he was. That painful experience led to his remorse, which prompted the promise of Jesus, 'To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

"Two suffering men on crosses made decisions. The decision of one could lead to further bitterness and sorrow; the decision of the other could bring him forgiveness and the hope of a better life in the world to come." (Curtis E. Ledbetter, "The Shepherd's Flock," Ensign, Apr. 1973, 12)

Luke 23:43 To day shalt thou be with me in paradise

Amazing it is that while dying on the cross, Jesus has enough empathy to minister to this thief.  When most of us get sick, church work is laid aside.  Christ is dying and he is still ministering!  His work wasn’t done until the very last believing individual was blessed by his teaching.

The promise, “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” has caused quite a stir in Christianity.  LDS theology states there is a spirit world where the righteous and the wicked await the resurrection, and that there are 3 degrees of glory and perdition after the resurrection.  The rest of Christianity believes that spirit paradise and spirit prison constitute the final state of man—essentially, they are heaven and hell.  So by traditional Christianity, Christ is promising this thief an eternity of paradise.  He made it.  He is saved.

What does that mean for the rest of us?  Here is where the problem develops doctrinally.  Can a man live a wicked life, then confess the name of Jesus before death, and thereby qualify for an eternity of paradise?  Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught:

“…the great doctrinal problem growing out of this episode is concerned with death-bed repentance.  Can men, after a life of wickedness, as they stand at death’s door, confess the Lord Jesus with their lips and thereby gain salvation in his kingdom?  Many who do not have the light that has come with the restored gospel suppose this to be the case.”  (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:824)

The most famous case of death-bed repentance was the Emperor Constantine, who befriended the Christians and made Christianity the state religion for the Roman Empire.  Constantine was not baptized until 337 AD just before his death, presumably so that all his sins could be washed away and he could die a clean man.  He intentionally delayed baptism until he was dying. 

But we know that baptism is for those ready to be reborn, not for those ready to die.  The whole idea of death-bed baptism or death-bed confession of faith seems counter to everything we know about God’s plan.

LDS theology, starting with the Prophet Joseph Smith, has traditionally rejected such an idea.  The Prophet taught: “There has been much said by modern divines about the words of Jesus (when on the cross) to the thief, saying, ‘This day shalt thou be with me in paradise.’ King James’ translators make it out to say paradise. But what is paradise? It is a modern word: it does not answer at all to the original word that Jesus made use of.  Find the original of the word paradise. You may as easily find a needle in a haymow.  Here is a chance for battle, ye learned men.  There is nothing in the original word in Greek from which this was taken that signifies paradise; but it was—This day thou shalt be with me in the world of spirits: then I will teach you all about it and answer your inquiries. And Peter says he went and preached to the world of spirits (spirits in prison, I Peter, 3rd chap., 19th verse), so that they who would receive it could have it answered by proxy by those who live on the earth.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 309)

The Apostle Peter and Joseph Smith both taught that Christ ministered to the wicked in spirit prison between the time of His death and resurrection.  The doctrine before the turn of the century was that the thief was with Jesus in spirit prison not spirit paradise.  Such a view certainly argues against death-bed repentance and the gospel of grace without works.  But the story isn't quite over.

Then comes the revelation by the Prophet’s nephew, Joseph F. Smith.  While previous prophets had taught that Christ ministered to souls in spirit prison, his vision suggested that Jesus only ministered to the righteous souls in spirit paradise, “unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant who had defiled themselves while in the flesh, his voice was not raised; Neither did the rebellious…behold his presence, nor look upon his face.” (D&C 138:20-21). 

Now how are we to interpret the Master’s comment to the thief?  The only way the thief could be with Jesus in the spirit world is if he went with Him to spirit paradise!  If the thief had gone to spirit prison, he would not have been with Jesus—not really—the wicked didn’t see his face nor hear his voice.  May we still reject the idea of death-bed conversions and death-bed baptism, and imagine the thief going to spirit paradise?  Isn’t dying on the cross sufficient punishment for being a thief?  Was there a greater price the thief could pay?  Should he be punished more in spirit prison?  Are God’s judgments so harsh?  Couldn’t Jesus see into his heart?  Wasn’t his a special case?  These are the questions we must ask before we become too convinced that the thief went to spirit prison.

Orson F. Whitney

"[Some] uninspired minds have drawn the conclusion that the penitent thief was promised immediate heavenly exaltation, for repenting at the last moment and professing faith in the Redeemer...Jesus never taught such a doctrine, nor did any authorized servant of the Lord. It is a man-made theory, based upon faulty inference and misinterpretation. The Scriptures plainly teach that men will be judged according to their works, and receive rewards as varied as their deeds. It was best for the thief, of course, to repent even at the eleventh hour; but he could not be exalted until prepared for it, if it took a thousand years." (Saturday Night Thoughts [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921], 290 - 291.)

Elder Bernard P. Brockbank

"Today there is much controversy and contention among the doctrines and philosophies of men relative to the requirements for entrance into the kingdom of God. Many have been deceived by the teachings of men that works and obedience to God's commandments are not essential, and some base their contention on scriptures. For example, Paul said, 'For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.' (Eph. 2:8-9.)

"The resurrection and immortality are gifts from God, through Jesus Christ, and not from the works and efforts of mortal men.

"Many try to justify their claims with the statement of Jesus to the thief on the cross, when the thief said to Jesus, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom,' and Jesus said unto him, 'Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.' (Luke 23:42-43.) Jesus and the thief went to paradise. There are those who teach that paradise and heaven are one and the same place, but this is not according to the teachings of the holy scriptures.

"After mortal death the spirit goes to paradise and remains there until the appointed time for its resurrection into immortality and eternal life.

"Heaven, which is the kingdom of God, is where those who have been obedient to God's plan of life and salvation go after judgment and the resurrection.

"The spirit of Jesus, after his death, went to paradise and not to the kingdom of heaven. It was not until after his resurrection that he mentioned returning to the kingdom of heaven. You will recall his words to Mary as she stood by the sepulcher weeping: 'Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.' (John 20:17.) His spirit had been to paradise, but he had not yet ascended to his Father in heaven." ("Entrance into the Kingdom of God," Ensign, Jan. 1973, 44)

Luke 23:45 the veil of the temple was rent in the midst

To all of Israel, the holy of holies represented the very presence of God among men. The barrier which kept the high priest from entering this place was the veil of the temple. For a human hand to remove the veil and reveal the holy of holies would have been considered a sacrilegious desecration punishable by death. But the temple was not rent by a mortal hand:

"...the veil is said to have been sixty feet long, thirty feet wide, 'of the thickness of the palm of the hand, and wrought in 72 squares, which were joined together.' It was so heavy that it took hundreds of priests to manipulate it. 'If the Veil was at all such as is described in the Talmud, it could not have been rent in twain by a mere earthquake or the fall of the lintel, although its composition in squares fastened together might explain, how the rent might be as described in the Gospel...the rent of the Temple-Veil was...really made by the Hand of God. As we compute, it may just have been the time when, at the Evening-Sacrifice, the officiating Priesthood entered the Holy Place, either to burn the incense or to do other sacred service there... they all must have understood, that it meant that God's Own Hand had rent the Veil, and for ever deserted and thrown open that Most Holy Place where He had so long dwelt in the mysterious gloom, only lit up once a year by the glow of the censer of him, who made atonement for the sins of the people.' (Edersheim 2:611-12.)" (Bruce R. McConkie, The Mortal Messiah, 4: 229)

What is the symbolic meaning of the veil being rent? Undoubtedly, it marked the end to a system of temples designed to commemorate the bloody sacrifice of the firstborn Son of God. The Great Sacrifice had been offered; the temples of the Aaronic Priesthood would no longer be necessary. Furthermore, to the wicked chief priests, the torn veil represented God's displeasure with their apostate disbelief. They had daily offered lamb after lamb on the altars of the temple, and yet rejected the Lamb of God. He was, therefore, rejecting them.

To the righteous, the rent veil meant the final barrier had been broken. While before, only the high priest could approach the veil; now, the way into the very presence of God had been prepared by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Bruce R. McConkie

"The Holy of Holies is now open to all, and all, through the atoning blood of the Lamb, can now enter into the highest and holiest of all places, that kingdom where eternal life is found. Paul, in expressive language (Heb. 9 and 10), shows how the ordinances performed through the veil of the ancient temple were in similitude of what Christ was to do, which he now having done, all men become eligible to pass through the veil into the presence of the Lord to inherit full exaltation." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 830.)

Luke 23:46 Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit

James E. Talmage

"Jesus the Christ was dead. His life had not been taken from Him except as He had willed to permit. Sweet and welcome as would have been the relief of death in any of the earlier stages of His suffering from Gethsemane to the cross, He lived until all things were accomplished as had been appointed. In the latter days the voice of the Lord Jesus... 'For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.' (DC 18:11)" (Jesus the Christ, 613)

John Taylor

"As the Son of Man, He endured all that it was possible for flesh and blood to endure; as the Son of God He triumphed over all, and forever ascended to the right hand of God, to further carry out the designs of Jehovah pertaining to the world and to the human family." (Mediation and Atonement [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1882], 150 - 151.)

John H. Groberg

"Think of His life: 'It is finished.' 'Into thy hands I commend my spirit.' The greatest of all lives, the most perfectly practiced and executed-never stopping, never failing, till every jot and tittle, every nuance, every prophecy, every expectation, every law, every compassion, all light and life and love were completely fulfilled. The beauty of that life resonates through all eternity. The Perfect Symphony. The Perfect Life." (The Fire of Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 292 - 293.)

Luke 23:47 Certainly this was a righteous man

Ironically, the Roman centurion, who lacked any religious training, could tell that Jesus was righteous. The religious elite, on the other hand, could not see that which should have been plain to them. Of this phenomenon, Jesus said, 'ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?' (Matt. 16:3). But while others mocked, this centurion knew that something momentous had just happened. He saw more in 'the face of the sky' than the usual storm cloud, for the sun itself was darkened for three symbolic hours (v. 44-45). He had witnessed the majesty of a dying man, crying out in his last moments with a great voice, submitting himself to his Father. He knew that the timing of this earthquake was no mere coincidence. The natural conclusion was that the God of nature was suffering-the signs of it were all around him.

Luke 23:50-53 Joseph of Arimathea

See commentary on Matthew 27:57-58 and John 19:38.