On the Cross
The hour of death of Jesus was the ninth hour, which Luke elsewhere tells us is a time of prayer. Scholars, such as Bock, Marshall and Plymate, understand the cry of Jesus on the cross as a prayer of trust. Furthermore, the prayer is related to the kingdom of God. Verses 39-43 is unique Lucan material in which assurances of the rule of Jesus in his kingdom is affirmed by a criminal. The reply of Jesus, “Today, you will be with me in paradise,” assures the criminal immediate entry into paradise. The solemn affirmation of Jesus to the request of entry into the kingdom clearly indicates that the death of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom are events in immediate succession.
While the criminal expects life at the parousia, Jesus grants entry “today.” What Jesus promised is clear. The kingdom is either present or immediately follows the death of Jesus. This final prayer on the cross is a firm declaration that the kingdom of God has been established by the completion of the ministry of Jesus.