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Matthew 27:31-32
(31)   And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
(32)   Now as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. Him they compelled to bear His cross.

Mark 15:20-21
(20)   And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
(21)  Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.
Luke 23:26-31
(26)   Now as they led Him away,
they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.
(27)   And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.  (28)  But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  (29)  For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'  (30)  Then they will begin 'to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"'   (31)  For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?"
(32)  There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.
John 19:16,17a
(16)   Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away.
(17)   And He, bearing His cross, went out...

Simon of  Cyrene

From Cyrene,  in Libya,  on the north coast of Africa.
Many of these had come to Jerusalem to await the Messiah,  and were called the  "Diaspora" - dispersion;  which also had a synagogue at Jerusalem  (because of the difference of language) - Acts 6:9.

It is possible that his sons,  Alexander and Rufus,  were the ones mentioned in Acts 19:33 and Romans 16:13.

In Matthew, Mark They  "compelled"  Simon to carry His cross
In Luke They  "laid it" on him  "that he might bear it after Jesus"
In John "He, bearing His cross,  went out..."

Thus we see that Jesus carried the cross alone part of the way;  but, being exhausted with the scourging and other cruelties which He had received, He was found incapable of bearing it alone;  therefore they obliged Simon to assist Him - they carried it together.

And since in Luke we find that he carried it  "after Jesus,"  if our assumption of what the cross looked like is correct,  we see that Jesus still carried the heaviest part that had the cross beam.

Jesus, even in his weakened and tortured physical condition, bore our burdens all the way

Matthew 11:28-30
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."    (NIV)

1 Peter 5:7
...casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.   (NAS)

The Cross

The word  "cross"  is stauros,"  pronounced stav-ros'.

It was an upright stake,  an instrument of  torture for serious cases
Originally it was not the form familiar to us,  as has been handed down over the generations
However it did eventually develop into various forms
It is said that possibly the Persians invented or first used it
It was subsequently used by various others,  including Alexander the Great
The Romans were the last,  not the first,,  to use this method of execution
Constantine,  Emperor of  Rome,  put an end to this method of capital punishment

In shape, there were five basic forms:

1. The vertical, pointed stake
2. The upright stake with a crossbeam above it in the shape of a  T,  called the "crux commissa."
3. The upright stake with a crossbeam of equal length like a  +
4. In the shape of the letter  X
5. The type usually presented in art - the traditional form with the cross bar below the top,
but above the middle

Jesus, turning to them

The miserable procession resumed its course,  and though the apocryphal traditions narrate many incidents of the  "Via Dolorosa,"  (The way of the Cross),  only two incidents are recorded in the Gospels:  Simon of Cyrene,  and the women mourners.

These women could not and would not conceal the grief and amazement with which this spectacle filled them.
They meat upon their breasts and rent the air with their lamentations,  till Jesus Himself hushed their shrill cries with words of solemn warning.  Turning to them He said:

"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me..."

Theirs was but an emotional outburst of womanly tenderness,  which they could not repress as they saw the great Prophet of mankind in His hour of  shame and weakness,  with the herald proclaiming before Him the crimes
with which He was charged,  and seeing the title of derision hung around His neck.  But He warned them,  that,  if this were ALL,  which they saw,  in the passing spectacle,  far bitterer causes of  woe awaited them,  and their children,  and their race.  (See Josephus - destruction of Jerusalem by Titus of Rome 70 A.D. - 40 years future).

Many of them,  and the majority of  their children,  would live to see such rivers of bloodshed,  such complications of agony,  as the world had never known before - days which would seem to overpass the capacities of  human suffering,  and would make men seek to hide themselves under the very roots of  the hill on which their city stood.

The fig tree of  their nation's life was still  "green" -

If such deeds of  darkness were possible  NOW,
What should be done when that tree was withered and blasted,  and ready for the burning?
If in the days of hope and decency they could execrate their blameless Deliverer,
What would happen in the days of blasphemy and madness and despair?
If, under the full light of day, Priests and Scribes could crucify the Innocent,
What would be done in the midnight, bloodstained, orgies of zealots and murderers?
This was a day of crime;  the day was coming when Crime had become her own avenging fury .

The solemn warning,  the last sermon of Christ on earth,  was meant primarily for those who heard it;  but,  like all the words of Christ,  it has deeper and wider meaning for all mankind.

Those words warn every child of  man that the day of careless pleasure and blasphemous disbelief
Will be followed by the crack of doom
They warn each human being who lives in pleasure on earth,  and eats,  and drinks,  and is drunken,  that though the patience of God waits,  and His silence is unbroken,
Yet the days shall come when He shall speak in thunder,  and His wrath shall burn like fire

2 Corinthians 6:2
For He says:
"In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you."
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.     (NKJV)

And He was concerned for them!


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This section is divided into 5 parts:


Matthew 27:33-36
(33)   And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, Place of a Skull,  (34)  they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
(35)  Then they crucified Him,
 and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: "They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots."
(36)  Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 

Mark 15:23-25
(23)   Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 
(24)  And when they crucified Him,
they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.
(25)  Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
Luke 23:33-37
(33)   And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 
(34)  Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
And they divided His garments and cast lots.  (35)  And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
(36)  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,  (37)  and saying, "If  You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."
John 19:17-18, 23-24
(17)  And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,  (18)  where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
(23)  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.  (24)  They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:
"They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots."
Therefore the soldiers did these things.


Golgotha is derived from Aramaic,  and means  "the skull."

Aramaic Golgotha The skull
Latin Calvary Skull
Greek Kranion Cranium - The skull

Literally transliterated,  Golgotha is:

Aramaic gulgotha
Hebrew Gulgoleth

The exact location of the site is unknown, because Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D., and for 60 years the city lay in ruins.  Few Christians returned to live there,  and those who did would have been only children when they fled from the city,  and on their return would not have been able to identify places where devastation had been so complete sixty years before.

Various sights have been suggested,  but only two of  these are seriously considered.
One is within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher,  and the other is called Gordon's Calvary,  with its Garden Tomb.

The sight of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was designated when Constantine sent his mother, Helena,  to the Holy Land to search for the tomb in which Christ had been buried.  With the aid of  Eusebius and Macarius,  the debris from a mound was removed and a nearby tomb uncovered.  Here were found three crosses,  and other evidence that led them to designate the place as Calvary.

As for Gordon's Calvary - On a lone gray hill north of Jerusalem,  a  "stone's throw"  from the ancient wall,  and some seven hundred feet outside the Damascus gate,  is a prominent site which covers three acres and can be
seen plainly from every direction.  As a hill rises forty to fifty feet above the surrounding terrain,  and the side of the hill,  which is turned toward the city,  is rounded at the top and bears  "a certain fantastic likeness"  to a human skull.

Many excavations have been carried out,  and efforts made to trace the course that the north wall must have
taken during Christ's time.  Herodian masonry underneath the Damascus gate indicates the presence of the wall in that area during Christ's time,  but the exact course of the wall from Jaffa gate to Damascus gate must be traced before it can be decided if the site now occupied by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was within or without the city wall.  Until then,  no final word may be given as to the exact site of Golgotha.

Sour wine mingled with gall

Mark has it  "wine mingled with myrrh."
It was a common custom to administer a stupefying potion compounded of  sour wine (vinegar),  frankincense,  and myrrh,  to help to alleviate the sufferings of the condemned person.

They crucified Him

The condemned man was first stripped of his clothing,
which seems to have been the prerequisite of the executioners.
He was then fastened to the cross, which had been in most cases previously fixed in the earth
(though sometimes he was first fixed to the cross, which was then lifted and thrust into the ground).
He sat on the middle bar or horn
[some sources claim that there was no support for the body, but that the weight of the body was supported merely by the ropes and nails that held it there.].
His limbs were stretched out and tied to the bars of the cross.
Large iron spikes were then driven through the hands and feet.
Sometimes the feet were nailed separately,
and at other times they were crossed and a long spike was driven through them both.
The cross was not generally more than 10 feet high, so that when erected, a part of it being in the earth,
the feet of the sufferer were not far from the ground.
In this situation the sufferer was left to linger until death slowly came to his relief.
This usually required two or three days, though some lingered longer.

Crucifixion was a very lingering punishment,  and proved fatal,  not so much by loss of blood - since the wounds in the hands and feet did not lacerate any large vessel,  and were nearly closed by the nails which produced them - as by the slow process of nervous irritation and exhaustion.

Father, forgive them

Perhaps the crossbeam was now nailed to the upright,  and certainly the title was now nailed to the summit of  His cross.  He was stripped of all His clothes,  and then followed the most awful moment; He was laid down upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the crossbeams; and at the center of the open palms,  the point of a huge iron nail was placed,  and,  by the blow of a mallet,  was driven home into the wood.  Then through either foot separately,  or possibly through both together as they were placed over one another, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh.
Whether the sufferer was also bound to the cross we do not know;  but to prevent the hands and feet being torn away by the weight of the body,  which could not  "rest upon nothing but four great wounds,"  there was,  about the center of the cross,  a wooden projection strong enough to support,  at least in part,  a human body which soon became a weight of agony.
It was probably at this moment of inconceivable horror that the voice of the Son of Man was heard uplifted,  not in a scream of natural agony at that fearful torture,  but calmly praying in Divine compassion for His brutal and pitiless murderers - yes,  and for all who in their sinful ignorance crucify Him afresh for ever - " Father,  forgive them,  for they do not know what they are doing!"


The tunic was without seam

His  "garments"  consisted of the outer dress,  all of which could easily be divided.
The  "coat"  or "tunic"  was the close-fitting inner tunic or vest,  usually knee length.
John 19:23 says that the tunic  "was woven from the top in one piece."
Several have seriously doubted whether this can be literally understood.  But it has been proven that such things were done by the ancients.

It is worthy of  remark that the very dress He was in was similar to that of  the Jewish high priest.
The following is the description given of the high priest dress by Josephus:
"Now this coat was not composed of two pieces,  nor was it sewed together upon the shoulders and sides,  but it was one long vestment,  so woven as to have an opening for the neck. ... and it was also parted where the hands were to come out."


Matthew 27:37
(37)  And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him:  THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Mark 15:26
(26)  And the inscription of His accusation was written above:  THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Luke 23:38
(38)  And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:  THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
John 19:19-22
(19)  Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:  JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
(20)  Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.
(21)  Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"
(22)  Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

A Title




(Interlinear Transliterated Bible. Copyright (c) 1994 by Biblesoft)

John uses the technical Roman term "titulus,"  a placard or notice.
Matthew has  "accusation;"
Mark has "inscription of  His accusation;"
Luke has "superscription."

It was a Roman custom in cases of  capital execution to put on a tablet the crime for which the condemned
suffered,  this tablet being placed in full view of all who witnessed the execution.

Eusebius states that the martyr Attalus was led around the amphitheater,  while before him there was borne a tablet,  on which were the words:    "This is Attalus the Christian."

The tablet was sometimes carried by the condemned man himself,  hung around his neck, on the way to execution.
In the official language of the Romans it was called "Titulus."
It was a metal plate,  having black letters on a white background.
We don't know whether Jesus carried this tablet around His neck,  or whether it was borne before Him;  but when the cross was reared it was placed over His head in view of all beholders.

Hebrew, Greek, Latin

The order of  the languages,  according to the true reading,  answers to the position that they would naturally occupy:

1. The  National,  Religious,  Vernacular HEBREW (or ARAMAIC)
Yeshuwa' Natsariy' Malkaa' Diyhuwdaa'
2. The  Official,  Political LATIN
Iehsus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeomm
3. The Common,  Current,  Intellectual GREEK
Ieesous Ho Nazooraios Ho Basileus toon Ioudaioon
4. English  
Jesus of Nazareth, the King  of the Jews

What I have written I have written

Perhaps we may see in the difference of  form between the title assigned by Pilate -"The King of the Jews" -
and that suggested by the priests as claimed by Jesus - "King of the Jews" -
an instinctive unwillingness on their part to connect in any way the Messianic dignity (The Kingship) with Him whom they had condemned.

If  Pilate had a Roman king in mind,  then Jesus could be considered a rebel.
If the governor was thinking about a Jewish kind of king,  then political matters could be set aside.
It is interesting that Pilate called Jesus  "king"  at least four times during the trial,  and even used that title for the placard he hung on the cross (John 18:39; 19:3,14-15,19).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

John 18:39 "Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
John 19:14 And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
John 19:15 Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
John 19:19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was:

To Him who was crucified,  the poor malice seemed to have in it nothing of derision.  Even on His cross He reigned;   even there He seemed divinely elevated above the priests who had brought about His death,  and the coarse,  idle,  vulgar multitude who had flocked to feed their greedy eyes upon His sufferings.
The malice was quite impotent against one whose spiritual and moral nobleness struck awe into dying malefactors and heathen executioners,  even in the lowest abyss of His physical degradation.
With the passionate ill humor of  the Roman governor there probably blended a vein of seriousness.  While he
was delighted to revenge himself on his detested subjects by an act of public insolence,  he probably meant,  or half meant,  to imply that this  WAS,  in one sense,  the King of the Jews - the greatest,  the noblest,  the truest of His race,  whom therefore His race had crucified.  The King was not unworthy of  His kingdom, but the kingdom was unworthy of the King.

Pilate refused to alter what he had written.
The Roman laws forbade the sentence to be altered when once pronounced.

Pilate also seems to speak prophetically - This is the King of the Jews:  they shall have no other Messiah forever!


Matthew 27:38-45
(38)  Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.
(39)  And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads (40)  and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
(41)  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said,  (42)  "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him.  (43)  He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.'"
(44)  Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
(45)  Now from the sixth hour until the Ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  (46)  And about the Ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

Mark 15:27-34
(27)  With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left.  (28)  So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with the transgressors."
(29)  And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days,  (30)  save Yourself, and come down from the cross!"
(31)  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save.  (32)  Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe."
Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.
(33)  Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the Ninth hour.  (34)  And at the Ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
Luke 23:35-37
(35)  And the people stood looking on.
But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
(36)  The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,  (37)  and saying, "If  You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."

Blasphemed Him

This is reminiscent of  the Temptation of  Jesus by Satan.

Jesus was mocked by:

You...destroy the temple and build it in 3 days Save Yourself!
If You are the Son of God Come down from the cross
He saved others Himself He cannot save
If He is the King of Israel Let Him now come down from the cross
He trusted in God Let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him
If You are the Christ Save Yourself and us
If  You are the King of the Jews Save Yourself

Jesus could have saved Himself physically

But in doing so, we would be lost!
And in doing so, He would have disobeyed the Father's will, and He would be lost!

Jesus could have come down from the cross

But in doing so, we would be lost!
And in doing so, He would have disobeyed the Father's will, and He would be lost!

In the garden when they came to arrest  Him, Jesus said to His disciples:
"Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father,  and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?"    (Matt 26:53-54)   (NAS)

When Sennacherib, king of Assyria came against Israel in the days of Hezekiah, Isaiah 37:36 says:
"Then the angel of the LORD went out,  and killed in the camp of  the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand."
One angel killed 185,000
Just imagine what 12 Legions would do
But Jesus said:
"Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father."    (John 10:17-18)    (NKJV)

Wuest quotes Swete:
"The jest was the harder to endure since it appealed to a consciousness of power held back only by the
self-restraint of a sacrificed will."

Merely because we CAN do something
doesn't necessarily mean it is RIGHT to do it.

Jesus said to "Humble ourselves."

To make full satisfaction for us,
Christ suffered and overcame not only the torments of the body,
but also the most horrible torments of the mind.

Ps 22:6-8
But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
"He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"     (NKJV)

Ps 22:16-18
For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.     (NKJV)

From the sixth hour until the ninth hour

That is,  from our twelve o'clock noon to 3 in the afternoon.
The Jews divided their day into twelve hours, beginning to count at sunrise.

Matthew Henry says:
It is reported that Dionysius, at Heliopolis in Egypt, took notice of this darkness, and said,
"Aut Deus naturae patitur, aut mundi machina dissolvitur" - Either the God of nature is suffering, or the machine of the world is tumbling into ruin.
An extraordinary light gave intelligence of  the birth of  Christ (Luke 2:9 & Matt 2:2),  and therefore it was proper that an extraordinary darkness should notify his death,  for he is the Light of the world.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says:
Jesus was placed upon the cross at 9 A.M. ("third hour," Mark 15:25).
After three hours had passed,  a supernatural darkness enveloped all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour
(noon to 3 P.M.).
Since Passover occurred at full moon,  this darkness could not have been a solar eclipse.
It was clearly supernatural in its timing, although God may possibly have employed some providential means to bring it about.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

Why have You forsaken Me?

The answer is found in Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:4 To bear our grief
Isaiah 53:4 To carry our sorrow
Isaiah 53:5, 8 Because of our Transgression
Isaiah 53:5 Because of our Iniquities
Isaiah 53:5 To take our Punishment

Isaiah 53:4-8
Surely He has borne our griefs,  and carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,  smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,  He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,  and by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,  and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,  so He opened not His mouth.
He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?
For He was cut off from the land of the living;  for the transgressions of My people He was stricken


Matthew 27:44
(44)  Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Mark 15:27
(27)  With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left.  (28)  So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with the transgressors."
Luke 23:39-43
(39)  Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."
(40)  But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?  (41)  And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong."  (42)  Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom."
(43)  And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."

They also crucified two robbers

The pains of crucifixion did not confuse the intellect,  or paralyze the powers of speech.
We read of crucified men who,  for hours together upon the cross,  vented their sorrow,  their rage,  or their despair in the manner that best accorded with their character;  of some who raved and cursed,  and spat at their enemies;  of others who protested to the last against the iniquity of their sentence;  of others who implored compassion with abject entreaties;  of one even who,  from the cross,  as from a tribunal,  harangued the multitude of his countrymen,  and upbraided them with their wickedness and vice.

But,  except to bless and to encourage,  and to add to the happiness and hope of others,  Jesus spoke not.
So far as the malice of  the passersby,  and of  the priests and  scribes and elders,  and soldiers,  and of  these poor robbers who suffered with Him,  was concerned,  He maintained unbroken His Kingly silence.

The one dying robber had joined at first in the half-taunting,  half-despairing appeal to a defeat and weakness which contradicted all that he had hoped;  but now this defeat seemed to be greater than victory,  and this weakness more irresistible than strength.  As he looked,  the faith in his heart dawned more and more into the perfect day.  He had long ceased to utter any reproachful words;  he now rebuked his comrade's blasphemies.
Ought not the suffering innocence of punishment and flagrant guilt?
And so,  turning his head to Jesus,  he uttered the intense appeal , "Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingdom."  Then Jesus,  who had been mute amid invectives,  spoke at once in surpassing answer to that humble prayer,  "Assuredly,  I say to you,  today you will be with me in Paradise!"



What is Paradise as the Jews saw it?
Josephus' discourse to the Greeks concerning Hades (Paradise).

1. "Now as to Hades, wherein the souls of the righteous and unrighteous are detained, it is necessary to speak of it. Hades is a place in the world not regularly finished; a subterraneous region, wherein the light of this world does not shine; from which circumstance, that in this region the light does not shine, it cannot be but there must be in it perpetual darkness. This region is allotted as a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, agreeable to every one's behavior and manners."
2. "In this region there is a certain place set apart, as a lake of unquenchable fire, whereinto we suppose no one hath hitherto been cast; but it is prepared for a day aforedetermined by God, in which one righteous sentence shall deservedly be passed upon all men; when the unjust and those that have been disobedient to God, and have given honor to such idols as have been the vain operations of the hands of men, as to God himself, shall be adjudged to this everlasting punishment, as having been the causes of defilement; while the just shall obtain an incorruptible and never-fading kingdom. These are now indeed confined in Hades, but not in the same place wherein the unjust are confined."
3. "For there is one descent into this region, at whose gate we believe there stands an archangel with an host; which gate when those pass through that are conducted down by the angels appointed over souls, they do not go the same way; but the just are guided to the right hand, and are led with hymns, sung by the angels appointed over that place, unto a region of light, in which the just have dwelt from the beginning of the world; not constrained by necessity , but ever enjoying the prospect of the good things they see, and rejoice in the expectation of those new enjoyments, which will be peculiar to every one of them, and esteeming those things beyond what we have here; with whom there is no place of toil, no burning heat, no piercing cold, or are any briers there; but the countenance of the fathers and of the just, which they see always smiles upon them, while they wait for that rest and eternal new life in heaven, which is to succeed this region. This place we call the Bosom of Abraham."
4. "But as to the unjust, they are dragged by force to the left hand by the angels allotted for punishment, no longer going with a good will, but as prisoners driven by violence; to whom are sent the angels appointed over them to reproach them and threaten them with their terrible looks, and to thrust them still downwards. Now those angels that are set over these souls, drag them into the neighborhood of hell itself; who, when they are
hard by it, continually hear the noise of it, and do not stand clear of the hot vapor itself; but when they have a nearer view of this spectacle, as of a terrible and exceeding great prospect of fire, they are struck with a fearful expectation of a future judgment. for a chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it."

See Luke 16:19-31 - Jesus' description of  Hades (Paradise)


Matthew 27:47-50
(47)  Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, "This Man is calling for Elijah!" 
 (48)  Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.
(49)  The rest said, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him."
(50)  And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice,
and yielded up His spirit.

Mark 15:35-37
(35)  Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, "Look, He is calling for Elijah!" 
 (36)  Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down."
(37)   And Jesus cried out with a loud voice,
and breathed His last.
Luke 23:46
(46)  And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice,
He said, "Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit." Having said this, He breathed His last.
John 19:25-30
(25)   Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  (26)  When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"  (27)  Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
(28)  After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!
(29)  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 
(30)  So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!"
And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.


A term of  respect and tenderness.

A group of women,  along with the Apostle John,  stood near the cross for a time.
John specifies four women:

Mary, the mother of Jesus;
His mother's sister,  Salome,  the mother of James and John;
Mary, the wife of Clopas (Cleophas);
and Mary Magdalene.
It took courage to stand there in the midst of such hatred and ridicule, but their being there must have encouraged our Lord.

The first time we meet Mary in the Gospel of  John, she is attending a wedding (John 2:11); now she is preparing for a burial.
The hour had come!  She was experiencing  "the sword"  that had been predicted years before (Luke 2:35).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Tradition says that she continued to live with him John in Judea until the time of her death, which occurred about fifteen years after the death of Christ.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


I thirst

There,  in tortures which grew ever more insupportable,  ever more maddening as time flowed on,  the unhappy victims might linger in a living death so cruelly intolerable,  that often they were driven to entreat and implore the spectators,  or the executioners,  for dear pity's sake,  to put an end to anguish too awful for man to bear.  For in deed a death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of  horrible and ghastly - dizziness,  cramps,  thirst,  starvation,  sleeplessness,  traumatic fever,  tetanus,  publicity of shame,  long continuance of torment,  horror of anticipation,  mortification of untended wounds - all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all,  but all stopping just short of the point which would give the relief of  unconsciousness.
Hence there are many ancient instances of men having been first strangled,  or nearly killed, then crucified;  and of men who bought by large bribes this mournful but merciful privilege.

And yet,  amid all this physical suffering, it was that SPIRITUAL THIRST, and that SPIRITUAL HUNGER which caused Him almost unbearable suffering.
Here was that  "Bread from Heaven" - that  "Water of Life" -  which would cause those who came to Him to never hunger or thirst again - and yet not a drop to drink,  nor a crumb to eat for Himself.  It was this from which He had shrunk in the Garden.

And yet, even more so - the scripture says that:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,  that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)    (NKJV)

He not only FELT the ravages of sin that we feel, but He was actually SATURATED with it.

He felt the uncontrollable thirst for wine and whiskey like the alcoholic
He felt the uncontrollable desire to kill as does the murderer
He felt the uncontrollable hate that causes wars
He felt the uncontrollable and overpowering desire for drugs as does the addict
This was the thirst He felt


Hebrews 4:15
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.   (KJV)


Sour wine ... on hyssop

Matthew and Mark have "a reed."
Luke says merely that they offered Him vinegar.
This was not the stupefying draught.
This was sour wine; the  "posca"  or ordinary drink of the Roman soldiers.
The hyssop gives a hint of the height of the cross,  as the greatest length of the hyssop reed was not more than three or four feet.

Yielded up His spirit

Literally,  "dismissed His spirit."
The fact that the evangelists,  in describing His death,  do not use the neuter verb, "ethanen" (He died),
but  "He breathed out His life"  (Mark);
"He gave up His spirit"  (John);
seems to imply a VOLUNTARY yielding up of His life.

Augustine says:
"He gave up His life BECAUSE He willed it,  WHEN He willed it,  and  AS He willed it."

It is not said that he hung on the cross till He died through pain and agony;
but that HE  HIMSELF  DISMISSED  THE  SOUL,  that He might thus become,  not a forced sacrifice,

Every man,  since the fall,  has not only been liable to death,  but has deserved it;  as all have forfeited their lives because of sin.  Jesus Christ,  as born immaculate,  and having never sinned,  had not forfeited His life,  and therefore may be considered as naturally and properly immortal.  "No man,"  says He, "takes it,  my life,  from me, but I lay it down of myself:  I have power to lay it down,  and I have power to take it again. .." (John 10:17,18).

This power was the result of  His sinlessness.
Hence we rightly translate Mt. 27:50  "He dismissed His spirit,"  in order that He might die for the sin of the world. Only of  Jesus does the Greek say that HE gave up his spirit.


1. Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do
2. Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?    (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?)
3. Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
4. Woman, behold your son! Behold your mother!
5. I thirst!
6. It is finished!
7. Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.


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Matthew 27:51-53
(51)   Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split,  (52)  and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;  (53)  and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Mark 15:38
(38)   Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Luke 23:45
(45)   Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

The Veil

60 feet from top to bottom
This was the thick and gorgeously-wrought veil which was hung between the  "Holy Place"  and the "Holiest of all,"  shutting out all access to the presence of God as manifested  "from above the mercy-seat and from between the cherubim" - "the Holy Ghost thus signifying,  that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest" (Hebrews 9:8).

Into this Holiest of all none might enter,  not even the high priest,  save once a year,  on the great day of atonement,  and then only with the blood of  atonement in his hands,  which he sprinkled  "upon and before the mercy-seat seven times"  (Leviticus 16:14) - to signify that access for sinners to a holy God is only through atoning blood.

But as they had only the blood of bulls and of goats,  which could not take away sins (Hebrews 10:4) during all the long ages that preceded the death of Jesus Christ.  The thick veil remained;  the blood of bulls and of goats
continued to be shed and sprinkled;  and once a year access to God through an atoning sacrifice was vouchsafed 
-   in a picture,  or rather,  was dramatically represented,  in those symbolical actions - nothing more!

BUT NOW,  the one atoning Sacrifice being provided in the blood of Christ,  access to this holy God could no
longer be denied;  and so the moment the Victim expired on the altar,  that thick veil which for so many ages had been the dread symbol of separation between God and guilty men was,  without a hand touching it,  mysteriously "rent in twain from top to bottom" - "the Holy Ghost thus signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was NOW made manifest!"


Graves were opened ... Saints were raised

The graves were opened, probably by the earthquake, at the Lord's death, and this only in preparation for the
subsequent exit of  those who slept in them,  when the Spirit of  life should enter into them from their risen Lord,  and along with Him they should come forth,  trophies of  His victory over the grave.

Thus,  in the opening of the graves at the moment of the Redeemer's expiring,  there was a glorious symbolical proclamation that the death which had just taken place had  "swallowed up death in victory."
(1 Corinthians 15:54)


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Matthew 27:54
(54)  So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

Mark 15:39
(39)  So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of  God!"
Luke 23:47
(47)  So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Certainly this was a righteous Man!"

The Son of God

But there is no article.
The words do not indicate recognition of  Jesus as the Son of the one true God.
A pagan soldier in his own sense of  "a demigod or hero"  uttered them.
Yet they may have taken color from the fact that the soldiers had heard from the chief priests and others that Jesus had claimed to be God's Son.

The meaning then, clearly is, that He must have been what He professed to beHe was no impostor!


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This section is divided into 2 parts:

Removal from the Cross

Matthew 27:57-59a
(57)   Now when evening had come,
there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 
(58)  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 
(59)  When Joseph had taken the body,

Mark 15:42-46a
(42)   Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
(43)  Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God,
coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
 (44)  Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.  (45)  So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 
(46)  Then he bought fine linen, took Him down,
Luke 23:50-53a
(50)   Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.  (51)  He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.
(52)  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 
(53)  Then he took it down
John 19:31-38
(31)   Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.  (32)  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him.  (33)  But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  (34)  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  (35)  And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.  (36)  For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken."  (37)  And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."
(38)  After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews,
asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus;
and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus.

When evening had come

The Hebrews reckoned two evenings, an earlier and a later:

1. The former began midway between noon and sunset, or around 300 P.M.
2. The latter began at sunset, or around 6:00 P.M.

The reference here is to the earlier,  though the time may have been well on toward the beginning of the later.
The preparations had to be hurried because the Sabbath would begin at sunset.

That their legs might be broken

They,  who had not thought it a pollution to inaugurate their feast by the murder of their Messiah,  were seriously alarmed lest the sanctity of the following day  (which began at sunset)  should be compromised by the hanging of the corpses on the cross.

It was a  "high day"  because:

1. It was the combination of  2 Sabbaths - the weekly Sabbath,  and the Passover.
2. It was the day on which all the people presented themselves in the temple
according to the command in Exodus 23:17.
3. It was the day on which the sheaf of the first fruits was offered
according to the command in Leviticus 23:10,11.
So upon this day there happened to be three solemnities in one.

The  "crurifragium,"  as it was called,  consisted in striking the legs of  the sufferers with a heavy mallet,  a
violence which seemed always to have hastened,  if not instantly cause,  their death  (if those are correct who say that there was no bodily support except the hands and feet fastened to the wood,  then the breaking of the legs would hasten death by suffocation,  since the diaphragm and rib cage were severely pressured by being hung from the arms above,  with no support by the legs).

Nor would the Jews be the only persons who would be anxious to hasten the end.
Until life was extinct, the soldiers appointed to guard the execution dared not leave the ground.
The wish, therefore, was readily granted.

Blood and water

It has been argued very plausibly that this was a natural phenomenon,  the result of a rupture of the heart which,  it is assumed,  was the immediate cause of death,  and which was followed by an effusion of blood into the "pericardium."  This blood,  separated into its thicker and more liquid parts,  flowed forth when the spear pierced the pericardium.


John evidently intends to describe the incident as something unexpected,
and the Holy Spirit evidently intended to describe the incident as something marvelous

As is evidenced by vs. 35 - "He that saw it bare record"  (KJV)
And 1 John 5:6 -
"This is He who came by water and blood -- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood."

The sign by which this revelation was made becomes intelligible from the use of the terms "blood" and "water" elsewhere in the writings of John:

1. BLOOD The symbol of the natural life;  and so especially of life as sacrificed;
and Jesus by dying provided for the communication of the virtue of His human life.
2. WATER The symbol of the Spiritual Life;
and Jesus by dying provided for the outpouring of the Spirit.
The cleansing from sin and the quickening by the Spirit are both consequent of His death.

Not one bone...shall be broken

The Passover lamb was to have no broken bones (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12),
and Christ is our Passover (I Corinthians 5 :7).
The ordinance extended to the burnt-offerings (Leviticus 1 :5) in that it was to be flayed into  "his pieces."
That which was offered to God might not be arbitrarily mutilated.
It was fitting that it should be brought to Him in its full strength.

Psalm 34:20
He guards all his bones;  not one of them is broken.    (NKJV)

Joseph of  Arimathea

Joseph was a "Counselor,"  or a member of the Great Council - the Sanhedrin.

Matthew calls him rich
Mark calls him honorable
Luke calls him good and just

He was from Arimathaea,  which location is in doubt,  but is conjectured to be  Ramathaim-Zophim,  the Ramah of Samuel's residence in the hill-country of Ephraim,  about 20 miles NW of Jerusalem.

Pilate gave him permission

According to Roman law.
Ulpian, a Roman jurist of the third century,  says:  "The bodies of those who are capitally punished cannot be denied to their relatives.  At this day,  however,  the bodies of those who are executed are buried only in case permission is asked and granted;  and sometimes permission is not given,  especially in the cases of those who are punished for high treason.  The bodies of the executed are to be given for burial to anyone who asks for them."

Avaricious governors sometimes sold this privilege.
Cicero,  in one of his orations against Verres,  has a terribly graphic passage describing such extortions.  After dwelling upon the tortures inflicted upon the condemned,  he says:  "Yet death is the end.  It shall not be.  Can cruelty go further?  A way shall be found.  For the bodies of the beheaded shall be thrown to the beasts.  If this is grievous to parents,  they may buy the liberty of burial."

The Burial

Matthew 27:59b-66
 (59)  ...he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 
(60)  and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. 
(61)  And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
(62)  On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,  (63)   saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said,  'After three days I will rise.'  (64)  Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."
(65)  Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."  (66)  So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

Mark 15:46b-47
(46)  Then he bought fine linen, ... and wrapped Him in the linen.
And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 
(47)  And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.
Luke 23:53b-56
(53)  ...wrapped it in linen,
and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 
(54)  That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
(55)  And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.  (56)  Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
John 19:39, 40b-42
(39)   And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.
(40b)  ...and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
(41)  Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.  (42)  So there they laid Jesus,
because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.

Myrrh and aloes

Myrrh One of the most valuable of the gum resins. Either naturally or when the stems are injured, the gum oozes from the shrub-like tree.  The pale yellow liquid gradually solidifies and turns dark red or even black.  This aromatic gum was sold as a spice or medicine.
Aloes A member of the lily family,  this plant has a cluster of thick fleshy basal leaves which contain aloin,  a substance which,  dissolved in water and added to myrrh,  was used by the ancients in their highly perfected art of embalming.

About a hundred pounds

Great quantities of spices were used for embalming dead bodies, when they intended to show peculiar marks of respect to the deceased.

As the custom of the Jews is

This was not embalming,  according to the Egyptian method.
The Jews simply anointed the body,  and wrapped it in fine linen,  putting spices and ointments in the folds.
In this case the operation was not completed owing to the coming of the Sabbath.

A  "napkin"  is also mentioned in connection with the burial of Lazarus.
This was a handkerchief that was employed to tie up the chin of the corpse.

A large stone

In the Jews' sepulchers in general there were doors hung on hinges, the grooves and perforations for which may still be seen.  Joseph's tomb may have been differently constructed,  or else was in an unfinished state.

Because of the Jews' preparation

From this it may be conjectured that

they had designed to have put Him in a more magnificent tomb;
or,  that they intended to make one expressly for Him after the Passover;
or,  that they had designed to have put Him somewhere else,  but could not do it for want of time;
and that they put Him here because the tomb was near,  and they had little time.

The last deception will be worse

Not "deceit" or "imposture" - but they referred to error on the part of the people.
The last deception,  namely,  the false impression that He has risen from the dead,  will be worse than the first error - the impression made that He was the Messiah.

They did not realize that the real deception was in denying that He is the Messiah.

Made the tomb secure

They sealed the stone in the presence of the guard,  and then left them to keep watch.
It would be important that the guard should witness the sealing.

Stretching a cord across the stone and fastening it to the rock at either end by means of sealing clay performed the sealing.  Or,  if the stone at the door happened to be fastened with a cross beam,  this latter was sealed to the rock. 
"And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment."


(End of Lesson Twenty Four)



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