Luke 23:26-49– July 24, 2022
Luke 23:26. He was only carrying the cross bar, but it weighted 75-125 lbs. This was a result of His being scourged. Simon was from Cyrene about 800 miles away and likely knew little or nothing of Jesus. Mark 15:21 tells us he had two sons and we are given to believe from Romans 16:13 that at least one of his sons became a leader in the early church.
Luke 23:27-31. A large number followed Him – Consider our old westerns and how people would gather for a hanging and even today when someone receives the death penalty, there are usually crowds outside prison for and against the execution.
Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children – here, as on the cross, the total selflessness of the dying Master comes out. His thoughts in his darkest hour were never of himself. Here, apparently, for the first time since his last interrogation before Pilate does our Lord speak. “Weep,” said our Lord here It is noticeable that it is the only time in his public teaching that he is reported to have told his listeners to weep.
Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed! Or blessed are the barren ….
Why would Jesus say such a thing?
Luke 23:32-33. Who were these two other men, one on each side so Jesus would look like one of them and perhaps their leader? Many commentators suppose that these, were companions of that Barabbas the murderer and insurrectionist whose place Jesus took. Thus, they were not ordinary thieves, but belonged to some gang or group of thieves and worse.
–Luke 23:34-38. Knowing what we know now about crucifixion*, look at what does Jesus says while on the cross? Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. I do not know how to comprehend such love and how such love could be expressed while dying from being crucified.
Luke 35-38. Jesus was neither honored nor encouraged in any way as He hung on the cross in horrible incredible pain. Their mocking showed their ignorance as His being on the cross was literally saving others, millions of others, and He chose to save them rather than Himself. In John 19:20-22 we find the Pharisees hated the sign hung above *Jesus and that it was in Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. The Pharisees wanted the sign changed to This man claimed … but Pilate would not change it, famously saying, What I have written, I have written.
Luke 23:39-43. In Matthew and Mark both criminals railed at Jesus initially. Some bibles call them criminals, others malefactors, and some thieves, but the root Greek word was also applied to Jewish soldiers who had committed a crime in opposition to Roman authority. One had a greater understanding of the the Messiah’s kingdom than even the disciples themselves: for they expected nothing but a secular empire, he acknowledged Christ’s spiritual dominion, and not only believed him to be a king, but such a king that, after he was dead, could do something for the dead; thus, at the very time that Jesus was dying on the cross, he begged to be remembered by him when he came into his kingdom.
Luke 23:44-46. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom as we learn in Matthew 27:51 – this curtain was 5 inches thick and two stories in height.
At the same time Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. He was not killed, no one took His life from Him, He gave it up when His work was finished.
Luke 23:47-49. A centurion would be a battle-hardened roman soldier who would have seen plenty of death and likely many crucifixions. Here he saw something different, so different he was moved to say Surely this was a righteous man. Most who knew Jesus went home after beating the breasts, they had forgotten He had said He would rise on the third day.
Next week His burial and Resurrection!
Bottom Line: There can be no doubt of Jesus incredible suffering on the cross in payment for our sins. We should keep in mind His great suffering as we look at our lives and choose how we will live out each day.
The Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering.
The combination of scourging and crucifixion made death on the cross especially terrible. The victim’s back was first torn open by the scourging. The victim was thrown on the ground to fix his hands to the crossbeam, and the wounds on the back were again torn open and contaminated with dirt. Then, as the victim hung on the cross each breath caused the painful wounds on the back to scrape against the rough wood of the upright beam.
When the nails were driven through the wrists, it severed the large median nerve. This stimulated nerve produced excruciating bolts of fiery pain in both arms, and often gave the victim a claw-like grip in the hands.
The major effect of crucifixion was to restrict normal breathing. The weight of the body, pulling down on the arms and shoulders, tended to fix the respiratory muscles in an inhalation state and hinder exhalation. The lack of adequate respiration resulted in severe muscle cramps, which further hindered breathing. To get a good breath, the victim had to push against the feet, and flex the elbows, pulling from the shoulders. Putting the weight of the body on the feet produced incredible pain, and flexing of the elbows twisted the hands hanging on the nails. Lifting the body for a breath also painfully scraped the back against the rough wooden post. Each effort to get a proper breath was agonizing, exhausting, and led to a sooner death.
It was not uncommon for insects to land upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites.
Death from crucifixion came from many sources: acute shock from blood loss; being too exhausted to breathe any longer; dehydration; stress-induced heart attack, or congestive heart failure leading to a cardiac rupture. If the victim did not die quickly enough, the legs were broken, and the victim was soon unable to breathe because of the posture of the crucified person.
How bad was crucifixion? We get our English word excruciating from the Roman word “out of the cross.”