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Luke 23:39-43

Context

23:39 One of the criminals who was hanging there railed at him, saying, “Aren’t 1  you the Christ? 2  Save yourself and us!” 23:40 But the other rebuked him, saying, 3  “Don’t 4  you fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 5  23:41 And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did, but this man has done nothing 6  wrong.” 23:42 Then 7  he said, “Jesus, remember me 8  when you come in 9  your kingdom.” 23:43 And Jesus 10  said to him, “I tell you the truth, 11  today 12  you will be with me in paradise.” 13 

1 tc Most mss (A C3 W Θ Ψ Ë1,13 33 Ï lat) read εἰ σὺ εἶ (ei su ei, “If you are”) here, while οὐχὶ σὺ εἶ (ouci su ei, “Are you not”) is found in overall better and earlier witnesses (Ì75 א B C* L 070 1241 pc it). The “if” clause reading creates a parallel with the earlier taunts (vv. 35, 37), and thus is most likely a motivated reading.

sn The question in Greek expects a positive reply and is also phrased with irony.

2 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:11.

3 tn Grk “But answering, the other rebuking him, said.” This is somewhat redundant and has been simplified in the translation.

4 tn The particle used here (οὐδέ, oude), which expects a positive reply, makes this a rebuke – “You should fear God and not speak!”

5 tn The words “of condemnation” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.

6 sn This man has done nothing wrong is yet another declaration that Jesus was innocent of any crime.

7 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.

8 sn Jesus, remember me is a statement of faith from the cross, as Jesus saves another even while he himself is dying. This man’s faith had shown itself when he rebuked the other thief. He hoped to be with Jesus sometime in the future in the kingdom.

9 tc ‡ The alternate readings of some mss make the reference to Jesus’ coming clearer. “Into your kingdom” – with εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν (ei" thn basileian), read by Ì75 B L – is a reference to his entering into God’s presence at the right hand. “In your kingdom” – with ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ (en th basileia), read by א A C*,2 W Θ Ψ 070 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat sy – looks at his return. It could be argued that the reading with εἰς is more in keeping with Luke’s theology elsewhere, but the contrast with Jesus’ reply, “Today,” slightly favors the reading “in your kingdom.” Codex Bezae (D), in place of this short interchange between the criminal and Jesus, reads “Then he turned to the Lord and said to him, ‘Remember me in the day of your coming.’ Then the Lord said in reply to [him], ‘Take courage; today you will be with me in paradise.’” This reading emphasizes the future aspect of the coming of Christ; it has virtually no support in any other mss.

10 tn Grk “he.”

11 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”

12 sn Jesus gives more than the criminal asked for, because the blessing will come today, not in the future. He will be among the righteous. See the note on today in 2:11.

13 sn In the NT, paradise is mentioned three times. Here it refers to the abode of the righteous dead. In Rev 2:7 it refers to the restoration of Edenic paradise predicted in Isa 51:3 and Ezek 36:35. In 2 Cor 12:4 it probably refers to the “third heaven” (2 Cor 12:2) as the place where God dwells.



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