Luke

23:32-49

The culmination of Messiah's mission, 19:45-24:53

3. The Glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53

ii] The crucifixion

Synopsis

In a very matter-of-fact way Luke describes the crucifixion of Jesus: of the three "criminals" led to the place of execution, the place called "The Scull"; their being nailed to the transverse beam of the cross; Jesus' words of forgiveness, "Father, forgive them"; the curiosity of the gathered crowd; the scoffing of the religious authorities; the mockery of the soldiers as they divide the spoils between them; the attaching of Pilate's notice, "This is the king of the Jews"; the argument between the two insurgents ("criminals"), with the statement of faith by one and Jesus' promise to him of eternal reward, "today you will be with me in Paradise"; the oppressive darkness that shrouded the land between noon and 3pm.; the final words of Jesus, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; the statement by the soldier, "certainly this man was innocent"; and finally, the silent witness of Jesus' friends.

 
Teaching

The crucifixion denotes the accomplishment of Jesus' redemptive work and thus the realization "today" of the promised kingdom, the long promised messianic community in Christ.

 
Issues

i] Context: See 23:26-31. The Crucifixion, detailing the events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus, is the second episode of a series of six dealing with The Glorification of the Messiah, 23:26-24:53.

 

ii] Structure: This passage, The Crucifixion of Jesus, presents as follows:

Setting, v32-33:

Jesus and two others are led to Calvary.

Jesus forgives while they divide his cloths, v34;

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Jesus is mocked, v35-37;

The notice, v38:

"THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."

The response of the two criminals, v39-43:

"truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

Cosmic signs, v44-45;

Jesus' final words, v46:

"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

Response, v47-49:

"surely this was a righteous man";

"the people ..... beat their breasts ..."

"all those who knew him ..... stood at a distance ...."

 

iii] Interpretation:

For Luke, the theological center of the crucifixion lies in Jesus' words to the repentant kakourgoV, "criminal / wrongdoer". The religious elite, the soldiers and possibly the crowd, reject any possibility that this suffering fool could be the "Chosen One" (the Messiah). Out of this mass of humanity there is but one person, a criminal, who recognizes that Jesus could be the long-awaited saviour of God's people. So, he asks Jesus to "remember" him when he gains his crown in paradise. Jesus agrees, but changes the "not yet" of the coming kingdom to "now". Jesus' glorification and rule are associated with the immediacy of his resurrection. In his resurrection, the "body" of Christ (the new Israel, the messianic community, the church, believers) will also rise to glory - exalted to rule. So, in Jesus' death we see the end of the old age, and in his resurrection, the beginning of the new. Those who trust Jesus, although outcasts, sinners, share in the glory of the age to come, and "in Christ", they do so immediately.

 

iv] Synoptics:

All the elements of Jesus' crucifixion are found in the other synoptic gospels, but of particular note are the similarities with John's gospel. Of course, the more interesting study is found in the differences, many of which would be from Luke's own sources, so Grundmann. We are best to ignore commentators like Bultmann who suggest that the crucifixion account has attracted its fair share of legends.

 

v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

 
Text - 23:32

The crucifixion of Jesus, v32-49: i] The three are crucified, v32-33. Jesus and two criminals (Mark has bandits, although the word has political overtones) are led to "calvary" ie. the place of The Skull, presumably named after a skull-like rock formation that existed just outside the city wall. Here they are crucified, with Jesus between the two criminals.

kakourgoi (oV) "criminals" - It is generally agreed that they are more than just criminals, most likely Zealots, insurgents / terrorists (depending on your point of view!!!).

sun + dat. "with [him]" - Expressing association.

anaireqhnai (anairew) aor. pas. inf. "to be executed" - The infinitive forms a purpose clause; "in order to be put to death."

 
v33

oJte "when [they came]" - Serving to introduce a temporal clause.

epi + acc. "to [the place]" - Spacial, with movement to, although interestingly often with the sense of movement down upon, although we usually think of the crucifixion site as up high.

ton kaloumenon (kalew) pres. pas. part. "called" - being called. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "place"; "the place which is called the scull."

Kranion "skull" - The site was probably named after it's skull like shape. In Aramaic the Greek rendering is "Golgotha", but Luke drops this name. Archeologists are unsure of the site.

estaurwsan (staurow) aor. "they crucified" - None of the gospel writers describe Jesus' actual crucifixion.

touV kakourgouV (oV) "the criminals" - Mark has "bandits", the sense possibly being "terrorists", or if you were a Jew, "freedom-fighters" (or "insurgents" if you want to sit on the fence!). Luke may not have used Mark's word because of its political flavour.

o{n rel. pro. "one" - one who. Demonstrative use of the pronoun.

men ..... de "-" - Adversative comparative construction; "on the one hand ...... but on the other ...."

ek + gen. "on [his right]" - from [right] - Idiomatic use of a preposition which technically expresses separation, "away from" = "on the right."

 
v34

ii] They divide Jesus' cloths, v34. As the soldiers gambled over Jesus' limited possessions, Jesus exclaims "Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Jesus' ministry serves to justify sinners, it gains for sinners a declaration of right-standing before God. Such involves "forgiveness", a forgiveness which Jesus prays for and which his sacrificial death now achieves.

afeV (afihmi) aor. imp. "forgive" - This prayer is not found in all manuscripts.

autoiV dat. pro. "them" - Dative of direct object / interest, advantage. Who, the priests, Romans, people, or all?

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason, introducing a causal clause explaining why God should forgive them.

oidasin (oida) perf. "they [do not] know" - understand. The phrase, "for they do not know what they are doing", is not found in some manuscripts.

diamerizomenoi (diamerizw) pres. part. "they divided" - dividing. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, so Nolland; "then they distributed his cloths among themselves", Moffatt.

ebalon (ballw) aor. "casting" - they cast, threw. Matthew and Mark use the participle, "casting lots". Having separated his clothing, the soldiers cast lots to determine their share.

 
v35

iii] Jesus is mocked, v35-37: Luke seems to make a point of separating the response of the "rulers" from that of the people. The religious officials sneer at, abuse Jesus, while the people look on quietly. This is a nice descriptive touch, probably driven more by Luke's theology than just sentiment. The soldiers also get into the act, mocking Jesus by offering this kingly claimant some cheap wine. The soldiers think that Jesus' claim to kingship is all a bit of a joke. From Luke's perspective, the joke is on them, since Jesus is a king.

qewrwn (qewrew) pres. part. "watching" - staring. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their standing, as NIV.

de kai "and ..... even" - Indicating the rulers as another group, rather than including the people with the rulers' abuse.

exemukthrizon (ekmukthrizw) imperf. "sneered at" - were mocking, scoffed. Durative action, "continued sneering." Luke does seem to separate the officials from the people when it comes to abusing Jesus. The picture is of the people looking on quietly while the "rulers" get into a prolonged abuse of Jesus.

legonteV (legw) pres. part. "they said" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "they were mocking"; "they continued mocking him and said."

swsatw (swzw) imp. "let him save" - Let him rescue himself from death.

ei + ind. "if [he is]" - Introducing the protasis of a 1st. class conditional clause where the condition is assumed to be true; "if, as is the case, this one is the Christ ..... then he saved others, let him save himself."

tou qeou (oV) gen. "God's [Messiah]" - [the Christ] of God. The genitive may be adjectival, possessive, as NIV, or ablative, source/origin; "sent from God."

oJ eklektoV "the chosen one" - Messianic title, the one God has chosen.

 
v36

de "also" - but, and. Usually taken as adjunctive here, as NIV.

prosercomenoi (prosercomai) pres. part. "came up" - approaching. The participle, as with prosferonteV, "offering", and legonteV, "saying", v37, is adverbial, probably instrumental, expressing means; "the soldiers made fun of him too by coming up and handing him vinegar, saying .....", Moffatt.

enepaixan (empaizw) aor. "mocked" - ridiculed, made fun of. Some argue that the offering of the sour wine was how they mocked him - a king would not be offered poor wine, cf. Ps.69:21.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - Dative of direct object after the verb "mocked".

autw/ dat. pro. "[they offered] him" - [they offered vinegar] to him. Dative of indirect object.

oxoV "wine vinegar" - A rough low cost dry red wine,

 
v37

ei + ind. "if" - Introducing a first-class condition, hypothetical, where the stated condition is assumed to be true for argument sake; "if, as is the case for argument sake, .... then ......" "OK, assuming you are the King of the Jews, let's see you save yourself." The soldiers recognize that a genuine kingship is being claimed here, they just don't think Jesus is the genuine article.

twn Ioudaiwn gen. adj. "[king] of the Jews" - The adjective serves as a substantive, while the genitive is adjectival, of subordination; "king over the Jews."

 
v38

iv] The notice, v38: The charge against Jesus is nailed above him, executed for claiming to be the king of the Jews. In this verse Luke underlines the messianic kingship of Christ.

de kai "-" - Often transitional introducing a new literary unit / paragraph, or coordinative, as here, but with emphasis on what follows, so Plummer; "there as also an inscription over him."

epigrafh (h) "notice" - placard. A formal notice detailing the criminal's name and the charge for which he was being executed.

ep (epi) + dat. "above [him]" - Spacial; over his head, at the top of the cross.

ouJtoV "this" - this one. Not used in Mark. Slightly derogatory. It is interesting that the charge doesn't have "claimed", although the exact wording of the inscription varies in the gospels - "king of the Jews" is common.

 
v39

v] The response of the two insurgents crucified with Jesus - one of abuse, one of faith, v39-43. The first criminal sarcastically suggests that since Jesus is the Christ he might like to do something about their situation. The second criminal has recognized Jesus' messianic credentials and so reminds his friend that it is dangerous for a justly condemned criminal to deride God's righteous one. The faith of the thief is firm, and so he asks Jesus for his eternal care. The phrase "remember me" is actually a common prayer found on gravestones of this period. If God is willing to remember us, then we are bound to survive the grave. Jesus proclaims the blessing that belongs to those who rest on God's mercy in Christ. This blessing, "paradise", is available "today" for those with faith.

twn kremasqentwn (kremannumi) gen. aor. pas. part. "who hung there" - one of the having been hung there. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting ei|V, "one", while the genitive is adjectival, partitive.. "Who was being crucified there with Jesus."

eblasfhmei (blasfhmew) imperf. "hurled insults" - reviled, insulted. Again the imperfect expresses a durative aspect - the insults flowed; "spoke with sarcastic disrespect."

legwn (lew) gen. pres. part. "-" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "abused"; "abused him and said."

ouci - "[Are]n't [you the Christ]" - [are you] not [the Christ]. The negative here indicates that the question expects a positive answer, although it is clear that he doesn't believe Jesus is the Christ. "You think you're the Christ, don't you? So, how about saving yourself and us as well."

 
v40

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative.

apokriqeiV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "-" - having answered. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the main verb "said"; "but the other one (the other insurgent) answered and said to him."

epitimwn (epitimaw) pres. part. "rebuked" - rebuking. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing manner, modifying the main verb "said", so "rebuckingly"; "the other [criminal] answered and sternly / strongly / forcefully said to him", so "checked him, pulled him up." This is purely a Luken account and is so startling that it has caused great debate as to its authenticity. It is often suggested that this criminal initially derided Jesus, but then responded positively, but such is conjecture.

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - to him. Dative of indirect object.

oude fobh/ (fobew) pres. pas. "don't you fear [God]" - do you not respect [God]. This negation may be taken with su; "do you also not fear God", Zerwick. The second criminal recognizes Jesus' messianic credentials and expresses the danger of affronting God by abusing his messiah, especially when, unlike both of the criminals, Jesus has done no wrong.

oJti "since" - Expressing cause/ reason, introducing a causal clause explaining why he should fear God.

en + dat. "under [the same sentence]" - in [the same judgment]. Expressing space/sphere; in a general state/sphere; "You have been sentenced to the same punishment as he has been, v41, and we with justice, for we are getting what we deserve for our misdeeds, but he has committed no crime", Barclay.

 
v41

men .... de "...... But ....." - An adversative comparative construction, "on the one hand, we are justly being punished ....., but on the other hand, this man has done nothing wrong."

dikaiwV adv. "[we are punished] justly" - [and we] justly. "We were justly condemned/punished."

gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why the two insurgents are rightly condemned.

apolambanomen (apolambanw) pres. "we are getting" - we are receiving. "We are getting what we deserve for what we did", TEV.

w|n gen. pro. "what [our deeds deserve]" - [worthy] of which [we did, accomplished]. The adjective axia, "worthy, fitting, proper", takes a genitive complement, here assumed, with which complement the pronoun agrees; see Culy.

de "but" - but, and. Here adversative, as NIV.

atopon adj. "wrong" - improper, wicked. Jesus has done nothing deserving of crucifixion. Luke is underlining the innocence of Jesus, although he is not suggesting that this criminal is applying a knowledge of the law, rather that he senses the innocence of the man crucified next to him.

 
v42

mnhsqhti (mimnhskomai) aor. pas. imp. "remember" - remind, recall. "Remember me kindly / show me your kindness." Found on gravestone inscriptions of the time, obviously seeking divine recall of the person after death. A request that God place the deceased with the righteous on the day of judgment.

mou gen. pro. "me" - Genitive of direct object after the verb mimnhskomai, "remember".

o{tan + subj. "when [you come]" - The syntax forms a future indefinite temporal clause. When you come into your kingdom = "become king / begin to reign." For Luke, the sense is of Jesus' future exaltation at the right hand of God.

eiV "into" - Textual support is divided for either, the preposition "into" followed by the accusative of "kingdom", or the preposition en, "in", followed by the dative of "kingdom". If "into", the meaning is that Jesus is being asked to remember the criminal when he comes into the presence of the Father to be glorified. If "in", the meaning is that Jesus is being asked to remember the criminal when he gathers the righteous and comes in glory to reign. The sense of both is very similar, all the criminal is asking for is to be with Jesus in eternity.

sou gen. pro. "your [kingdom]" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive.

 
v43

autw/ dat. pro. "[Jesus answered] him" - [he said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

soi dat. pro. "[I tell] you" - [I say] to you. Dative of indirect object.

shmeron adv. "today" - coming day. "Today" is a common technical phrase used of the messianic kingdom, and does not mean "this day", but rather "the coming day." Some manuscripts place the "today" with v42 - "remember me ...... today." There are those who argue that the soul of the criminal left him "today", but this is against the teaching of the New Testament where we read of the dead rising on the coming day of resurrection. The "coming day" (today) is most likely Jesus' resurrection in which the "body of Christ" (believers) rise, ascend, and sit in glory with Christ. This blessing is inaugurated in Christ, but realized on the day of his return. The blessing itself is "paradise". Paradise means "garden" and of course, the imagery is that of the garden of Eden where God was in complete fellowship with his creation. Nolland suggests that the "today" refers to the continuing effectiveness of Christ's offer of salvation, even at this last hour. "This criminal has no need to wait for Jesus to come into his kingdom; though not yet come to his kingdom, Jesus is already granting royal clemency." Bock suggests that Jesus is responding to the criminal's understanding of paradise as a holding place for the righteous prior to the final establishment of the kingdom. This does not mean that Jesus actually believes in such a place. The position of Ellis and others, who see it as a genuine promise referring to the immediate present, is to be preferred. We should also note that the immediate present can be, in our time terms, aeons away. The kingdom is a now / not yet reality. The criminal was actually with Christ in the gathering of the saints before the throne in glory at the end of that day, but in time terms, he, like all the saints, still awaits the resurrection of the dead. God, and his heavenly domain, is not constricted by earthly time, for time is part of the created order.

met (meta) + gen. "with [me]" - Expressing association / accompaniment.

en + dat. "in" - Expressing space/sphere.

tw paradeisw/ (oV) "paradise" - Originally the word was used of an enclosed garden, later of a holding place after death where the righteous wait for the coming of the kingdom. This distinction is probably too fine and so it is more likely that Jesus simply means "heaven", in the sense of the new garden of Eden.

 

Luke Introduction

Exposition

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