The account of the two robbers in Luke 23:39-43 differs from that of Matthew 27:38,44 and Mark 15:27,32. In fact, Matthew and Mark's gospels say both of the robbers reviled him/heaped insults upon him. Luke's gospel records the conversation that took place between the two robbers and Jesus as one robber reviling Jesus while the other admits his sins and asks Jesus for mercy. How can these passages be reconciled? What is the proper interpretation of these passages?
Luke 23:39 - 43
NIV - 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us! 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?
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Luke interviewed eyewitnesses of Jesus' life, compiled the stories and wrote them down. Matthew writes his own account of the life of Jesus. It is not surprising some events are caught in either more or less detail when the two gospels are compared to each other. Perhaps when Matthew saw Jesus on the cross he was so overcome with sadness he left shortly after the crucifixion started or maybe he was so scared of being taken by the soldiers he fled before the one thief on the cross repented and asked for forgiveness. No doubt Dr. Luke was very thorough in his interviews speaking with individuals such as Mary the mother of Jesus who stood by the cross the whole time until he uttered "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit" then died. The differing accounts do not conflict with each other, just told through different eyes.
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