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Luke 23

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

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Verses 1-25

Witness of His Trial In Luke 22:55 to Luke 23:25 the author records three witnesses of Jesus’ trial.

Outline Here is a propose outline:

1. Jesus’ Prophecy to Peter Fulfilled Luke 22:55-62

2. Jesus’ Prophecy to Jewish Leaders Luke 22:63-71

3. Jesus’ Prophecy to Pontus Pilate Luke 23:1-25

Verses 1-56

Witnesses of Jesus’ Glorification: His Passion and Resurrection - Luke 22:1 to Luke 24:53 organizes narrative material that testifies to Jesus’ rejection by the Jews, His death and His resurrection. This collection of material is organized in a way that gives three witnesses to each of these four events surrounding His Passion; His betrayal and arrest, His trial, His crucifixion and His resurrection. This section begins with His rejection by the Jewish leaders and culminates with His resurrection and commission to His disciples to preach the Gospel to all the world. While Acts 1:1 reflects the two-fold emphasis of Jesus’ ministry of doing and teaching, Acts 1:2-5 makes a clear reference to the rest of Luke’s Gospel beginning from His Passion until His ascension (Luke 22:1 to Luke 24:53).

Acts 1:2-5, “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Outline - Note the proposed outline:

A. Witnesses of His Betrayal & Arrest Luke 22:1-54

1. Prophecy of His Betrayal Luke 22:1-23

2. Prophecy of the Disciples’ Denial Luke 22:24-38

3. Prophecy of His Arrest Luke 22:39-54

B. Witnesses of His Trial Luke 22:55 to Luke 23:25

1. Jesus’ Prophecy to Peter Fulfilled Luke 22:55-62

2. Jesus’ Prophecy to Jewish Leaders Luke 22:63-71

3. Jesus’ Prophecy to Pontus Pilate Luke 23:1-25

C. Witnesses of His Crucifixion Luke 23:26-56

1. Prophecy to the Multitude Luke 23:26-38

2. Prophecy to Criminal on the Cross Luke 23:39-43

3. Witness of the Centurion (a Roman) Luke 23:44-49

4. Witness of Joseph of Arimathea (a Palestinian Jew) Luke 23:50-56

D. Witnesses of His Resurrection Luke 24:1-53

1. Witness of His Resurrection by Women Luke 24:1-12

2. Witness of His Resurrection on Road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-35

3. Witness of His Resurrection by the Disciples Luke 24:36-49

E. Witness of His Ascension Luke 24:50-53

Witnesses of His Passion and Resurrection (The Trials of Jesus and His Apostles) - Luke 22:1 to Luke 24:53 records the lengthiest account within the four Gospels of Jesus’ arrest and trials leading up to His crucifixion. The trials recorded in Luke-Acts are numerous: of Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:66-71), before Pontus Pilate (Luke 23:1-5; Luke 23:13-25), before King Herod (Luke 23:6-12), and Peter’s two trials before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:1-22; Acts 5:17-42), and Stephen’s unjust trial and stoning (Acts 6:8 to Acts 7:60), and Peter’s imprisonment by King Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:1-19), and Paul’s arrest in the Temple and address to the Jewish mob (Acts 21:26 to Acts 22:29), his hearings before the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:30 to Luke 23:10), the chief captain sending Paul to Felix the governor with a letter (Acts 23:11-35), his defense before Felix (Acts 24:1-27), his defense before Festus (Acts 25:1-12), his defense before King Herod Agrippa II (Acts 25:13 to Acts 26:32), and his voyage to Rome to await his trial before Nero (Acts 27:1 to Acts 28:31). All of these trials and events surrounding them serve as testimonies to prove the innocence of Jesus and His apostles.

Verses 26-56

Witnesses of Jesus’ Crucifixion (Matthew 27:32-44 , Mark 15:21-32 , John 19:17-27 ) Luke 23:26-56 contains four witnesses of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Outline Here is a proposed outline:

1. Prophecy to the Multitude Luke 23:26-38

2. Prophecy to Criminal on the Cross Luke 23:39-43

3. Witness of the Centurion (a Roman) Luke 23:44-49

4. Witness of Joseph of Arimathea (a Palestinian Jew) Luke 23:50-56

Crucifixion in the Ancient World - References to impalement and crucifixion in ancient history are too numerous to mention them all. These most cruel forms of punishment were used for perhaps a thousand years, from the sixth century B.C. by the Persians until fourth century A.D. when Constantine abolished its practice throughout the Roman Empire. Perhaps the earliest references to crucifixion and impalement as a form of capital punishments are recorded by the Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.), who says the Persians practiced it against their enemies and other condemned of crimes. Although the Persians may have not have been the first to use this cruel form of punishment, they certainly appear to be the first to use it extensively. Herodotus makes numerous references to the Persian practice of impalement and crucifixion, with most gruesome event taking place when King Darius of Persian subdued the Babylonians a second time in 519 B.C. by crucifying three thousand chief men among them on one occasion (3.159). [277]

[277] “Crucifixion,” in Encyclopædia Britannica [on-line]; accessed December 21, 2011; available at; Internet.

“…and with that he took the Magians who interpreted dreams and had persuaded him to let Cyrus go free, and impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] them.” ( Herodotus 1.128) [278]

[278] Herodotus I, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1920, 1975), 167.

“Having killed him (in some way not worth the telling) Oroetes then crucified [ ἀνασταυρόω ] him.” ( Herodotus 3.125) [279]

[279] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1928), 155.

“When the Egyptian chirurgeons who had till now attended on the king were about to be impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] for being less skilful than a Greek, Democedes begged their lives of the king and saved them.” ( Herodotus 3.132) [280]

[280] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1928), 163.

“For he had raped the virgin daughter of Zopyrus son of Megabyzus; and when on this charge he was to be impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] by King Xerxes…But Xerxes did not believe that Sataspes spoke truth, and as the task appointed Mas unfulfilled he impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] him, punishing him on the charge first brought against him.” ( Herodotus 4.43) [281]

[281] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1928), 241-243.

“Artaphrenes, viceroy of Sardis and Harpagus who had taken Histiaeus, impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] his body on the spot, and sent his head embalmed to king Darius at Susa.” ( Herodotus 6.30) [282]

[282] Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1938), 175-177.

“Their captain was the viceroy from Cyme in Aeolia, Sandoces son of Thamasius; he had once before this, being then one of the king's judges, been taken and crucified [ ἀνασταυρόω ] by Darius because he had given unjust judgment for a bribe.” ( Herodotus 7.194) [283]

[283] Herodotus III, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1938), 511.

“Thus was Babylon the second time taken. Having mastered the Babylonians, Darius destroyed their walls and reft away all their gates, neither of which things Cvrus had done at the first taking of Babylon; moreover he impaled [ ἀνασκολοπίζω ] about three thousand men that were chief among them.” ( Herodotus 3.159) [284]

[284] Herodotus II, trans. A. D. Godley, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1928), 193-195.

The Greek historian Thucydides (460-396 B.C.) records the use of impalement during the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) by the Persians, which suggests the introduction of this form of punishment to the Greek by the Persians.

“…for the Persians were unable to capture him, both on account of the extent of the marsh and because the marsh people are the best fighters among the Egyptians. Inaros, however, the king of the Libyans, who had been the originator of the whole movement in Egypt, was taken by treachery and impaled.” ( Thucydides 1.110) [285]

[285] Thucydides, vol. 1, trans. Charles Forster Smith, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1956), 185.

The Greek general Alexander the Great adopted crucifixion as a form of punishment against his enemies in his conquests. The Roman historian Curtius Rufus (flourished A.D. 41-54) says Alexander the Great crucified two thousand citizens of Tyre along the shore of the Mediterranean Sea after having conquered them.

“Then a sorrowful spectacle to the victors caused by the wrath of the king, two thousand suffering (his) madness which were killed, fixed to a cross [crux] along the enormous distance of the seashore. He spared the ambassadors of the Carthaginians…” (author’s translation) (Quintus Curtius Rufus , Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great 4.4.18) [286]

[286] Quintus Curtius Rufus, Life and Exploits of Alexander the Great, trans. William Henry Crosby (New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1969), 45.

The Romans adopted crucifixion into their judicial system. The Roman statesman Cicero (106-43 B.C.) describes crucifixion as the worst form of capital punishment that should be reserved for all but Roman citizens, and he condemns those Roman officials who performed it upon their own citizens.

“The Roman people will give credit to those Roman knights who, when they were produced as witnesses before you originally, said that a Roman citizen, one who was offering honourable men as his bail, was crucified by him in their sight.” (Cicero, Against Verrem 1.5) [287]

[287] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol. 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 137.

“The punishments of Roman citizens are driving him mad, some of whom he has delivered to the executioner, others he has put to death in prison, others he has crucified while demanding their rights as freemen and as Roman citizens.” (Cicero, Against Verrem 2.1.3) [288]

[288] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol. 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 154.

“I will produce, also, citizens of Cosa, his fellow-citizens and relations, who shall teach you, though it is too late, and who shall also teach the judges, (for it is not too late for them to know them,) that that Publius Gavius whom you crucified was a Roman citizen, and a citizen of the municipality of Cosa, not a spy of runaway slaves.” (Cicero, Against Verrem 2.5.63) [289]

[289] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol. 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 535.

“Then you might remit some part of the extreme punishment. Did he not know him? Then, if you thought fit, you might establish this law for all people, that whoever was not known to you, and could not produce a rich man to vouch for him, even though he were a Roman citizen, was still to be crucified.” (Cicero, Against Verrem 2.5.65) [290]

[290] C. D. Yonge, The Works of Philo Judaeus, the Contemporary of Josephus, vol. 1 (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1854), 537.

The Romans appear to have taken crucifixion to its fullest extent of torment. The Greek historian Dionysius of Halicarnasus (60-7 B.C.) tells us that the Romans combined scourging and various forms of torture as a prerequisite to crucifixion.

“And straightway all those whom the informers declared to have been concerned in the conspiracy were either seized in their houses or brought in from the country, and after being scourged and tortured they were all crucified.” (Dionysius of Halicarnasus, Roman Antiquities 5.51.3) [291]

[291] Dionysius of Halicarnasus, The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnasus, vol. 3, trans. Earnest Cary, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1940), 153.

“When the plot was revealed, the ringleaders were arrested and after being scourged were led away to be crucified.” (Dionysius of Halicarnasus, Roman Antiquities 12.6.7) [292]

[292] Dionysius of Halicarnasus, The Roman Antiquities of Dionysius of Halicarnasus, vol. 7, trans. Earnest Cary, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, c1950), 221.

The Roman philosopher Seneca (4 B.C. to A.D. 65) tells us that the Romans experimented with a variety of methods for crucifying men in an effort to inflict maximum suffering.

“I see before me crosses not all alike, but differently made by different peoples: some hang a man head downwards, some force a stick upwards through his groin, some stretch out his arms on a forked gibbet.” ( Dialogues 6, To Marcia, On Consolations) [293]

[293] Aubrey Stewart, L. Anneaus Seneca: Minor Dialogues (London: George Bell and Sons, 1889), 192.

The Roman historian Appian (A. D. 95-165) tells us that the Roman general Crassus crucified six thousand men in 71 B.C. after crushing a slave rebellion led by Spartacus. He stretched these crosses along the main road leading to Rome so that everyone may see and fear the Romans. [294]

[294] William Bodham Donne, “Spartacus,” in Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. 3, ed. William Smith (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1849), 892.

“They divided themselves in four parts, and continued to fight until they all perished except 6000, who were captured and crucified along the whole road from Capua to Rome.” ( The Civil Wars 1.120) [295]

[295] Appian’s Roman History, vol. 3, trans. Horace White, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1964), 223-225.

The Assyrian satirist Lucian (A.D. 125-180) reflects the Roman’s passion for the most extreme forms of punishment in his work The Fisherman.

“But how are we to punish him, to be sure? Let us invent a complex death for him, such as to satisfy us all; in fact he deserves to die seven times over for each of us. PHILOSOPHER I suggest he be crucified. ANOTHER Yes, by Heaven; but flogged beforehand. ANOTHER Let him have his eyes put out long beforehand.. ANOTHER Let him have that tongue of his cut off, even longer beforehand.” (Lucian, The Fisherman 2) [296]

[296] Lucian, vol. 3, trans. A. M. Harmon, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1960), 5.

The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-100) makes many references to the Roman practice of crucifixion against the Jewish people. His description of the thousands of crucifixions that the Romans performed upon the Jews during the siege of Jerusalem is perhaps the most horrific of his many references.

“…after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more…So the soldiers out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest; when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies.” (Josephus, Wars 5.11.1)

“Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to disregard him, now he was going to suffer a most miserable death, and exhorted them to save themselves, by yielding to the Roman power and good fortune, since all other people were now conquered by them.” (Josephus, Wars 7.6.4)

The Roman philosopher Seneca (4 B.C. to A.D. 65) gives one of the most vivid descriptions of what a person suffers during a crucifixion in ancient literature:

“But what sort of life is a lingering death? Can anyone be found who would prefer wasting away in pain dying limb by limb, or letting out his life drop by drop, rather than expiring once for all? Can any man by found willing to be fastened to the accursed tree, long sickly, already deformed, swelling with ugly tumors on chest and shoulders, and drawing the breath of life amid long drawn-out agony? I think he would have many excuses for dying even before mounting the cross!” ( Epistle 101.14). [297]

[297] Seneca, vol. 4 , Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, vol. 3, trans. Richard M. Gumere, in The Loeb Classical Library, eds. T. E. Page, E. Capps, and W. H. D. Rouse (London: William Heinemann, 1971), 167.

The Roman jurist Julius Paulus (2 nd to 3 rd c. A.D.) considered crucifixion as the most extreme of all punishments.

“Every one should abstain not only from divination but also from the books teaching that science. If slaves consult a soothsayer with reference to the life of their master, they shall be subjected to extreme punishment, that is to say, to crucifixion; and if those who are consulted give any answer, they shall either be sentenced to the mines, or deported to an island.” ( The Civil Law 5.21.4) [298]

[298] S. P. Scott, The Civil Law (Cincinnati, Ohio: The Central Trust Company 1932) [on-line]; accessed 17 January 2011; available at; Internet.

The legal reforms of Constantine led to the abolishment of crucifixion and replaced it more humane forms of capital punishment (Eusebius, Life of Constantine 4.26) ( PG 20, cols. 1173-1178). [299]

[299] Albert de Broglie, “The First Christian Emperors,” (130-190). in The Christian Remembrancer (vol. 50 July-Decemeber) (London: J. and C. Mozley, 1860), 169; Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, vol. 3 (New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 108.

Luke 23:26-38 Jesus’ Prophecy to the Multitudes In Luke 23:26-38 Luke records the prophetic words of Jesus to the multitudes as He is led to Calvary. Luke the author may have records these words from the eye-witness testimony of Simon the Cyrenian who carried the cross for Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:26 Comments - Jesus apparently was quickly taken to the cross after the trial.

Luke 23:31 Comments - Trees can represent men in the Scriptures. A green tree is a man who has life in him. (Jesus is the green tree in this context, yet all saints throughout the Bible who suffered wrongly are green trees)

A dry tree is a tree with no life, and a lost or wicked person.

So, Jesus is saying, “If this is how the world treats the righteous man and Jesus Himself, the true light, how much sorer punishment will God bring upon the evil man. This fits the context of verses 28-31. Jesus tells the people (women) not to weep over His suffering, but rather weep for their own when God’s vengeance comes upon them. Note Proverbs 11:31.

Proverbs 11:31, “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”

Luke 23:33 “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary” Word Study on “Calvary” Strong says the Greek word κρανίον (G2898) means, “a skull.” This is the only verse where the word “Calvary” occurs in the New Testament. T he English word “Calvary” is derived from the Latin word “calvariae” using in the Vulgate, which means, “skull, or place of skulls.”

This word is used only four times in the New Testament. Note the other three uses.

Matthew 27:33, “And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull ,”

Mark 15:22, “And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull .”

John 19:17, “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull , which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:”

Comments - There are t w o commonly held views as to how this place received its name. First, Robertson says that Calvary was a place outside of the city, probably what is now called Gordon’s Calvary, a hill north of the city wall, which from the Mount of Olives looks like a skull because of the rock-hewn tombs which resemble eyes.

Others believe that Calvary received its name because there were many skulls of those who had suffered crucifixion and other capital punishments scattered up and down in this place.

Luke 23:34 “Then said Jesus,” - Comments The Greek verb λε ́ γω is used in the imperfect tense in Luke 23:34, which tense describes continuous action in the past. Thus, we may translate the phrase as, “Jesus was saying…,” or “Jesus kept on saying…” In other words, Jesus could have asked the Father to forgive them a number of times.

Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” Comments - Jesus predicted His role as Advocate and our Great High Priest when He asked the Father to forgive those who had crucified Him.

Luke 23:34 “And they parted his raiment, and cast lots” - Comments The ancient practice of casting lots was not restricted to the Jewish culture under the Mosaic Law. The books Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, and Nahum provide us with references in the Old Testament Scriptures to the custom of casting of lots by someone other than the people of Israel, being practiced among the Babylonians (Obadiah 1:11), the Ninevites (Nahum 3:10), and among the sailors (Jonah 1:7), which Adam Clarke suggests to be Phoenicians based on Ezekiel 27:12. [300]

[300] Adam Clarke, The Book of the Prophet Jonah, in Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), notes on Jonah 1:3.

Joel 3:3, “And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink.”

Obadiah 1:11, “In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.”

Nahum 3:10, “Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.”

Jonah 1:7, “And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.”

Ezekiel 27:12, “Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kind of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs.”

The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus Christ cast lots at the foot of the Cross (Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34, John 19:24). The Roman statesman Cicero (106-43 B.C.) makes numerous references to the widespread practice of casting lots among the ancient cultures in his work de divination. [301] The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-100) mentions the practice of casting lots among the Roman soldiers who had encompassed the city of Jerusalem under Titus. [302] The Roman historian Suetonius (A.D. 70-130) mentions this ancient practice among Roman leaders by appointing men to tasks by casting lots, as well as casting lots as a form of divination. [303]

[301] For example, Cicero writes, “But what nation is there, or what state, which is not influenced by the omens derived from the entrails of victims, or by the predictions of those who interpret prodigies, or strange lights, or of augurs, or astrologers, or by those who expound lots (for these are about what come under the head of art); or, again, by the prophecies derived from dreams, or soothsayers (for these two are considered natural kinds of divination)?” ( de divination 1.6) Cicero also writes, “What, now, is a lot? Much the same as the game of mora, or dice, l and other games of chance, in which luck and fortune are all in all, and reason and skill avail nothing. These games are full of trick and deceit, invented for the object of gain, superstition, or error.” ( de divination 2.41) See Cicero, The Treatises of M. T. Cicero on the Nature of the Gods; on Divination; on Fate; on the Republic; on the Laws; and on Standing for the Consulship, trans. C. D. Yonge (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1853), 146-147, 235.

[302] Josephus writes, “They also cast lots among themselves who should be upon the watch in the nighttime, and who should go all night long round the spaces that were interposed between the garrisons.” ( Wars 5.12.2)

[303] For example, Suetonius writes, “When later, on his way to Illyricum, he [Tiberius] visited the oracle of Geryon near Patavium, and drew a lot which advised him to seek an answer to his inquiries by throwing golden dice into the fount of Aponus, it came to pass that the dice which he threw showed the highest possible number and even to-day those very dice may be seen under the water.” ( Lives of the Twelve Caesars: Tiberius) Suetonius, The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by Suetonius, trans. Joseph Gavorse (New York: Modern Library, 1931), 130-131.

Luke 23:35 “And the people stood beholding” Comments - How well A. B. Simpson describes the variety of emotions and reactions that people experienced that day as they beheld the Son of God on the Cross. The rulers and soldiers mocked Him. Some soldiers greedily struggled for the spoils of the Master’s belongings. Those women who had followed Him and ministered to Him in love stood afar off weeping in unbelief. Peter must have felt such guilt for having denied Him at the end. Jesus’ mother stood with a broken heart at the death of her son, remembering the words of Simeon, “Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” (Luke 2:35) The two thieves responded as differently as the crowd, one mocking and the other repenting. The centurion was confessing that this was certainly a righteous man. Finally Joseph of Arimathaea, realizing that he could do one last deed for this good man dying on the cross, offered his empty tomb. [304]

[304] A. B. Simpson, The Cross of Christ [on-line]; accessed on 25 October 2010; available at; Internet, chapter 1.

Today, the response to Christ is the same. When we preach the Gospel and set Jesus before the people, crucified among them, they too mock and jeer. Others will weep in conviction and give their lives to Him. While others remain unmoved, paying very little attention, busy about the cares of this life. Some only see opportunities for greedy gain as those who cast lots for His garment at the foot of the Cross. Yet, these are the very ones that Jesus spoke about when He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:39-43 Prophecy to Criminal on the Cross Luke 23:39-43 records Jesus’ prophecy to one of the thieves on the cross, telling him that he would be in paradise with him.

Luke 23:42 Comments - Both thieves had joined in mocked Jesus while on the Cross (Matthew 27:44); however, with faith stirred in his heart from his observations of Jesus, one of them recognized that He was genuinely who He claimed to be. Because of his feelings of guilt and condemnation, this thief did not believe he deserved forgiveness of his sins, so he humbly asked for a remembrance. Little did he know the magnitude of grace that was about to be bestowed upon him as Jesus took what little faith this man expressed and guaranteed a place for him in Heaven.

Matthew 27:44, “The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.”

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Luke 23:43 Word Study on “paradise” Word Study on “paradise” Strong says the Greek word παρα ́ δεισος (G3857) (“paradise”) is of Oriental origin. BDAG says it is derived from the Old Persian language and meant, “enclosure.” The Greek historian Xenophon (430-354 B.C.) uses the word παρα ́ δεισος to describe beautiful Persian gardens and enclosures ( Anabasis 1.2.7, 9; 1.4.10; 2.4.14). [305] The Jewish historian Josephus (A.D. 37-100) uses it in the same context to describe the gardens of King David. [306] In the New Testament, it appears to be a synonym for Heaven. This Greek word is only used three times in the New Testament (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, Revelation 2:7). All three uses describe a literal place, which we also call Heaven.

[305] William Barrack, Lexicon to Xenophone’s Anabasis for the Use of Schools (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1872), 105.

[306] Josephus writes, “Now Adonijah had prepared a supper out of the city, near the fountain that was in the king’s paradise…” ( Antiquities 7.14.4)

Luke 23:43, “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise .”

2 Corinthians 12:4, “How that he was caught up into paradise , and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

Revelation 2:7, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

Comments Perhaps Jesus used the word “Paradise” instead of Heaven in order to contrast their future peace and ecstasy compared to their present suffering on the cross, sparking an image in the mind of the repentant thief of what Heaven is like compare to the sufferings on earth.

Luke 23:44-49 The Witness of the Roman Centurion Regarding the Death of Jesus (Matthew 27:45-56 , Mark 15:33-41 , John 19:28-30 ) In Luke 23:44-49 we have the account of the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross through the eye-witness account of the Roman centurion.

Luke 23:44 Comments - What was significant about the ninth hour. We do know that the ninth hour was the hour of prayer for the Jews, which was 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon. It was the time when people began to go to the Temple and pray. Note:

Acts 3:1, “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”

Luke 23:46 Comments Jesus Christ fulfilled His purpose and destiny upon earth. He now enters into His rest and glorification.

Luke 23:50-56 Witness of Joseph of Arimathea Concerning the Burial of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-61 , Mark 15:42-47 , John 19:38-42 ) In Luke 23:50-56 we have the account of the burial of Jesus Christ through the eye-witness account of Joseph of Arimathea, a Palestinian Jew.

Luke 23:53 Comments - Jesus was wrapped and buried in a virgin tomb. Jesus was born of a virgin womb and wrapped in swaddling clothes.

Luke 2:7, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”

Luke 23:56 Comments The irony of human depravity is seen in Luke 23:56. The Jews broke Law by crucifying Jesus Christ on the Cross, an innocent man, their promised Messiah, the Son of God, then they returned to their homes determined to obey the Sabbath rest. The original purpose and intent of the Law was to teach men how to love God with all their heart, mind, and strength; yet, the Jews were obeying their own depraved nature while pretending to be devout Jews.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Luke 23". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.