36. THE GATES OF PARADISE ARE OPENED (Luke 23:32-43)

BACKGROUND: At the time of Jesus, people were crucified only for the gravest of crimes. We can therefore suppose that these two robbers had killed people for money or committed other grave crimes.
  1. What might have made these two men start stealing and fighting etc? Think of various reasons.
    • These two men had mothers and probably wives as well. Imagine the everyday life of these women.
    • Why didn't the robbers stop before coming to this point?
    • Why don't we always stop the behavior we know is harmful to ourselves and to others?
       
  2. The two robbers saw the crucifixion of Jesus closer than anybody else. What in Jesus' words and actions made an impression on one of them (vs. 34-38)?
    • These two had been living in the world of hatred and revenge. What did they think of Jesus' prayer in vs.34?
       
  3. What made one of the robbers conscious of his sins?
    • What is it that makes us admit our sins instead of defending them?
       
  4. What made one of the robbers believe that Jesus was a king (vs. 37,38,42)?
    • What kind of a king was Jesus at that moment, compared to other kings?
       
  5. Why did the other robber believe that Jesus was neither Christ nor a king?
    • Why does consciousness of sin always precede true faith?
       
  6. In vs.42 we find a short prayer: "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Why didn't this robber ask Jesus to let him into that kingdom?
    • Why is it a consolation to know that someone dear to us remembers us when we are suffering?
    • Why does the robber want Jesus to remember him, a murderer, when he will be suffering his punishment in hell?
    • In what situation could you imagine yourself praying this prayer?
       
  7. When was the robber saved?
    • What happened to the sins of this man?
       
  8. Life as a Christian was very short for this robber, just about six hours. Do you think he was happy or unhappy during his last hours?
    • Do you think this man hated somebody at the moment of his death?
    • Humanly speaking the robber had ruined his life. And yet, how has his life proved significant?
GLAD TIDINGS: The gates of Paradise had been closed to sinners since the day of Adam and Eve. Now the gate was opened to a murderer. At the same time it was closed to Jesus, who had to step inside the gates of hell.

2012 Glad Tidings Bible Studies - www.gladtidings-bs.com