2/6/12 V. 39, One of the criminals being executed beside Jesus took up the mocking of the rulers. Why? What did he have to gain by it? I suppose just anger from all that was happening to him caused him to vent at anyone he could.
V. 40-41, The other criminal, however, had been watching Jesus and knew that He was innocent. The Holy Spirit softened his heart to the point that he believed who Jesus claimed to be. It’s entirely possible that this man could have been touched by Jesus even before this day somehow.
This criminal stood up for Jesus even while hanging there. “Hasn’t all of this gotten your attention? You’re about to meet your God? Wouldn’t this be a time for repentance? We’re only getting what we deserve, but this man is innocent.”
V. 42, Then showing how much he understood of who Jesus claimed to be he asked Jesus to remember him when He comes in His kingdom. Scholars debate whether this should be translated “in” or “into” because it makes a difference on where the comma goes in the next verse. The strongest and best mss say “in.” In other words, the thief was looking forward to Jesus’ return one day in His kingdom, rather than Jesus coming today into His kingdom.
V. 43, And Jesus replied that he would in fact be with Him in paradise. The NT refers to paradise three times and some scholars say that it refers to different things each time. The first time, here, it refers to the heavenly realm of the dead, the next time, in 2 Cor. 12:2, it refers to God’s dwelling place, and the third time in Rev. 2:7 it refers to the restored Eden predicted in the OT. Scholars are making things unnecessarily complicated, though. It’s easy to understand paradise to refer all to the same thing: Eden restored. That is God’s dwelling place and it is the realm of the righteous at the resurrection.
V. 44, From noon until 3 PM darkness fell over the whole land.
V. 45, The reason for the darkness was that the sun’s light had failed. Critical scholars have a big problem with this, because the sun’s light failing doesn’t really carry the connotation of an eclipse, though some claim it can. And they feel it has to be an eclipse. However, the feast happened on a full moon, which can’t be at the same time as an eclipse. I’m not sure why the big struggle. God has complete power to darken the sun whenever He wants to, just as He could rip the thick, heavy curtain in the temple from top to bottom.
V. 46, Finally, all was finished. All scripture had been fulfilled by Jesus and in Jesus. So He called out, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” It was a final claim to Messiahship by His referencing Ps. 31. Then Jesus died.