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Gospel of Luke Chapter 23
Theme: Jesus is brought before Pilate; Jesus is brought before Herod; Barabbas is released; Jesus foretells destruction of Jerusalem and prays for His enemies; Jesus is crucified; Jesus mocked by rulers and soldiers; Jesus mocked by one thief; the second thief turns to Jesus and is accepted by Him; Jesus dismisses His spirit and dies; Jesus is placed in the new tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.
Jesus Is Brought Before Pilate (Luke 23:1-5)
Luke 23:1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. (KJV)
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate . . . there indeed was a multitude of Jesus’ enemies gathered together to do Him great harm: the chief priests, Scribes, and elders; all of the Great Sanhedrim, except Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, having in their court condemned Christ Jesus to death.
They had bound Him as a prisoner and a criminal, and brought Jesus to Pilate, so that their sentence might be confirmed by civil power, and that He might be put to the death on the cross, which was a horrible Roman punishment.
Luke 23:2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King. (KJV)
And they began to accuse him . . . after they found that Pilate would not receive Jesus as a malefactor (criminal) on their word, and delivery of Him as such was refused by him. Pilate insisted on knowing what evidence they had to charge Jesus with, and what accusation they had to bring against Him. The Jews were at no loss for words:
Saying, we have found this fellow perverting the nation . . . the nation of the Jews, of which nation Jesus belonged (Jn.1:11). He is said to pervert the nation in their politics, and so a charge of sedition (treason, rebellion, trouble making) against Him was made, as follows,
Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar . . . this was absolutely FALSE! (Mat.17:24-27; 22:17-21).
Nor does what is after claimed, support this charge:
Saying, that he himself is Christ, a King . . . the word ‘King’ is a reason to bring the case under the head of treason. They must have been well aware that this charge was false because Jesus had always refused and prevented every effort to make Him a temporal king (Jn.6:15). This was their third charge.
Luke 23:3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it. (KJV)
And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? . . . Luke’s story tells of the trial very briefly. The Jewish priests had expected that on their authority Pilate would at once order Jesus to be executed, but, it did not work out that way. Just the opposite! Pilate first meant to hear the case, and asked them what accusation they brought, refusing to accept their bare claim that He was “a malefactor.” Pilate just attends to the third charge, and asks Christ this question on the Roman principle that it was always required to secure the confession of the accused. We see from John 18:33, that Jesus had been led into the Praetorium while His accusers stayed outside; that He had not heard their accusations (Jn.18:34), and that Pilate was now questioning Jesus privately. For a fuller account of this, read John 18:28-49. This is also referred to in 1 Tim.6:13.
And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it . . . that is, thou sayest well; it is as thou sayest, I am the King of the Jews. (Mat.27:11). Jesus did not leave this without an explanation; without informing Pilate what sort of a King He was, and what kind of a kingdom He had (Jn.18:36-37), which made Pilate perfectly at ease, and eager to release Him, as is clear by what follows.
Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. (KJV)
Then said Pilate to the Chief priests, and to the people . . . both to the Sanhedrim, and to the multitude that was gathered together around the governor's palace for this occasion; and who were standing outside the judgment hall. The Jews would not enter, lest they should be defiled, and be unfit to eat the passover. What hypocrisy! They would not enter the Roman court for fear of being defiled, yet they are determined to put an innocent Man to death!
So Pilate came out to them; and this was the second time he came out to them, when he said the following words (Jn.18:28,38).
I find no fault in this man . . . NO cause, NO reason why any punishment should be inflicted on Him, and especially NOT that He be put to death. There is NO crime that can be laid on Him, NO accusation proven against Him, NOTHING that amounts to a charge of sedition! The Man is a harmless and innocent Man, that has done nothing against Caesar, or the government, and good of the nation; and therefore is NOT worthy of death, or of stripes (beating, flogging, scourging), but should be turned loose. This was Pilate's verdict.
Luke 23:5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. (KJV)
And they were the more fierce . . . the Jews were all the more furious, all the more violent, all the more urgent to have Jesus put to death. They cried out all the more loudly, with great fury and violence, and increased their charges.
Saying, he stirreth up the people . . . to sedition and rebellion.
Teaching throughout all Jewry . . . not just in a few places, but everywhere.
Beginning from Galilee to this place . . . where Jesus did begin His ministry, and where He chiefly taught (Mat.4:12,17;23). From Galilee to the city of Jerusalem, the focus of the nation; suggesting, that Jesus taught seditious principles not only in Galilee, but all the way from there throughout Judea, and even in their main city, and had drawn many disciples after Him everywhere.
Jesus Is Brought Before Herod (Luke 23:6-16)
Luke 23:6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. (KJV)
When Pilate heard of Galilee . . . the name of Galilee,
He asked whether the man were a Galilean . . . Jesus was believed to be a Galilean, for even though He was born in Bethlehem in Judah, He was brought up in Nazareth in Galilee, where He spent the bigger part of His private life, and His public ministry was mainly done in those parts. Because of this, the Jews thought that He came out of Galilee, and was a Galilean (Jn.7:41,52).
Luke 23:7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. (KJV)
And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction . . . the country which was under his power, and he had the government of; for Herod was tetrarch of Galilee (Lk.3:1). This was Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the great, and the same one that beheaded John the Baptist (Mat.14:8,11). As soon as Pilate found that Jesus came from Herod’s province, he immediately sent Jesus to Herod, to be examined, and to have His cause tried before him.
Who himself was also at Jerusalem at that time . . . this Pilate did partly, that he might be rid of this troublesome business he wanted no part of; and partly to show Herod what respect he had to his jurisdiction and power.
Luke 23:8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. (KJV)
And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad . . . even though Jesus had been brought up in Herod’s country, and had so frequently preached, and done miracles there, he had never seen Jesus before; and to see Him, would satisfy his curiosity.
For he was desirous to see him of a long season . . . ever since Herod had heard of Jesus’ fame, he had an idea that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead, whom he had beheaded. So he wanted to see Jesus to see IF He were John the Baptist.
Because he had heard many things of him . . . concerning His doctrine, and especially the miracles, how that He cast out devils, and healed all manner of diseases, and even raised the dead to life.
And he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him . . . which would have greatly satisfied his curiosity, and would have been the subject of further inquiry and conversation.
Luke 23:9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. (KJV)
Then he questioned with him in many words . . . probing as to Who He was; was He John the Baptist or not? And whether it was true that He had done such miracles that he had heard of, and how He did them, by what power He did them, and how He came by that power? It seems Herod tried many arguments to persuade Jesus to work a miracle at that time.
But he answered him nothing . . . Jesus would not give Herod even one word in return to his many questions, nor would He work any miracle in his presence. He gave Herod no words, no miracles. Jesus would not humor Herod’s curiosity, although Jesus might have obtained His liberty by it if He had.
Luke 23:10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. (KJV)
And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him . . . the Sanhedrim that had followed Jesus from Pilate's hall, to Herod's palace. They were afraid that Herod would let Jesus go, in case Herod would be convinced Jesus was the Messiah by His working a miracle. They vehemently accused Jesus of the same things that they had accused Him of before Pilate, with great bitterness and hostility, increasing and worsening the charges against Him.
Luke 23:11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. (KJV)
And Herod, with his men of war . . . his soldiers and/or bodyguards that were with him, who came with him from Galilee both for his security and service, and for his pomp and grandeur.
Set him at nought . . . treated Jesus with contempt and ridicule (Isa.49:7; 53:3).
And mocked him . . . as being a king, ridiculed and made sport with Him.
And arrayed him in a gorgeous robe . . . there are different ideas about this gorgeous robe: #1. The Jewish kings wore a white robe, which was often very shining or gorgeous by much tinsel or silver interwoven into the fabric. Josephus says that the robe which Agrippa wore was so bright with silver that when the sun shone on it, it so dazzled the eyes that it was difficult to look on it. The Jews and Romans therefore decked Jesus in the manner appropriate to their own country to mock Him. If this means shining white, this was the royal color among the Jews, and it may have been in contempt of His claim to be "King of the Jews." BUT, if so, Herod actually honored Him, just as Pilate did with His true title displayed on the cross (Lk.23:38). #2. Some versions say "a scarlet robe" as in (Mat.27:28), or “a purple robe” as in (Mk.15:17; Jn.19:2,5). Purple was the color associated with the rich and famous, because it was hard to come by (Lk.16:19; Rev.18:12,16). #3. Some say it could be that it was an old worn-out robe of one of the officers, or soldiers, which they put on Him, to ridicule His being a king, as the Roman soldiers afterwards did.
And sent him again to Pilate . . . un-condemned, Herod did not know what to do with Jesus, or what to charge Him with. He was unwilling to have any hand in Jesus’ death, remembering the case of John the Baptist; and therefore sends Jesus back to Pilate, to do as he thought fit with Him.
Luke 23:12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. (KJV)
And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together . . . the reason of their friendship seems to have been the courtesy and respect which Pilate (Roman) showed to Herod (Jew) in this case. It was not because they were united in hating Jesus, as is often the case with wicked men, because Pilate certainly wanted to release Jesus, and both considered Him just an object of ridicule and sport. Consider: when wicked men are in disagreement in other things, they are often united in opposing and ridiculing Christ and His followers.
For before they were at enmity between themselves . . . maybe because of the Galileans, the subjects of Herod, whom Pilate had slain, while they were sacrificing at Jerusalem (Lk.13:1), which Herod might resent, as a transgression upon his authority and power. But now matters were resolved by this step of Pilate, in sending Jesus to Herod, who was supposed to be a Galilean, and so was of Herod's jurisdiction.
Luke 23:13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, (KJV)
And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests . . . after Herod had sent Jesus back to Pilate, he then called the chief priests together, to consider what should be done to Jesus, and with them also,
And the rulers and the people . . . both the civil and religious rulers, and the chief among the people, who had been so determined in accusing Jesus, and seeking His death.
Luke 23:14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him: (KJV)
Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me . . . pointing to Jesus, who stood before him,
As one that perverteth the people . . . they accused Jesus of perverting their religion, their laws and their loyalty to Caesar (verse 2).
And behold, I having examined him before you . . . not only privately and alone, and between themselves in the judgment hall (Jn.18:33; 19:9), but openly in their presence, when he brought forth Jesus to them, and heard their charges, and urged Him to answer to them (Mat.27:11-14). Have found no fault in this man . . . could not find any charge proven against Him, or any crime that He is guilty of, for which punishment should be inflicted on Him; and certainly NOT that He should be put to death.
Touching those things, whereof ye accuse him . . . verse 4, I find no fault in this man. Pilate had carefully looked into, and examined everything, had omitted nothing, and their accusations and charges, all put together, did not show that Jesus was guilty of one single crime.
Luke 23:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. (KJV)
No, nor yet Herod . . . who was a Jew, and better versed in Jewish religious affairs, and better understood the nature of the charges, could NOT find sufficient proof either. Herod had also examined Jesus, in their presence, and had heard all that they had to accuse Him with, but could find NO fault in Him of any kind, that would condemn Him to death.
For I sent you to him . . . along with Jesus, to make your charges against Him good before him. Herod, after he had examined Jesus, and found no fault in Him, sent Jesus back again to Pilate, not being able to find any crime against Him, or to pass any judgment on Him.
And lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him . . . it seemed to Herod, that Jesus had done nothing that deserved death.
Jesus was tried six times, by both Jewish and Roman authorities, but He was never convicted of any crime deserving death. He was convicted of NO crime, PERIOD! He was SINLESS! Sinless Jesus: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23-24; Jn.8:46; Lk.23:41,47; 2 Cor.5:21; Heb.4:15; 7:26-27; 1 Pet.2:22; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:5).
My friend, today, NO one, anywhere, can find ANY fault in Jesus. But just like Pilate, Herod and the wicked religious leaders, multitudes still refuse to acknowledge Him as Lord. BEWARE!!! You will either acknowledge Him now, or in a future day when you wished you had already done so (Isa.45:23; Rom.14:11; Phil.2:10).
Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him. (KJV)
I will therefore chastise him, and release him . . . chastise here means to scourge or to whip. This was usually done before capital punishment, to increase the sufferings of the man condemned. It is confusing to understand the reason. IF Pilate thought Jesus was innocent, WHY did he publicly scourge Him? Especially IF scourging preceded capital punishment. It was really just as wrong to scourge Him as it was to crucify Him! Possibly Pilate expected by this to calm the minds of His wicked accusers. Maybe he thought that by seeing Jesus beaten, whipped, disgraced and condemned to ridicule, contempt and suffering, they would be satisfied. It is said that among the Romans it was right for a magistrate to inflict a slight punishment on a man when a charge of gross offence was not fully made or where there was not sufficient testimony to substantiate the precise charge suspected. All this shows:
#1. The extreme injustice of our Lord's condemnation;
#2. The determined malice and stubbornness of the Jews.
#3. The lack of firmness in Pilate. He should have released Jesus at once, but his love of power and popularity led him to the murder of the Son of God. Every person should do his duty in all situations; and anyone, like Pilate, who seeks only public favor and popularity, will certainly be led into crime. Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Barabbas Is Released,
Jesus Given to the People to be Crucified (Luke 23:17-26)
Luke 23:17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.) (KJV)
For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast . . . at the feast of the Passover, the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner. From what, where or by whom this custom was started, is not known. It was possibly approved to secure popularity among the Jews, and to show the Roman government less hateful. Even a little sympathy granted to the Jews, during the heavy oppression of the Romans, would serve to calm them, and to keep the nation from incitement to rebellion. At that feast: (Mat.27:15; Mk.15:6; Jn.18:39).
Luke 23:18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas: (KJV)
And they cried out all at once . . . the chief priests, rulers and common people, not wanting to hear of His release, now they had gotten Him into their hands.
Saying, away with this man . . . to the cross, to Calvary, the place of execution; He is not fit to live.
And release unto us Barabbas . . . the choice of Barabbas by the mob was not spur-of-the-moment. It was prompted by these priestly murderers. The guilt of the Jesus’ death rests mainly with the priests, because of their influence on the people. (Mat.27:16).
Luke 23:19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) (KJV)
Who, for a certain sedition made in the city . . . Barabbas had made trouble in Jerusalem, opposing the Roman government, in order to have the yoke thrown off, and to declare and maintain the Jews’ liberties, as a free people. It seems that he also seized and plundered the properties of other people, since he is represented elsewhere as a robber (Jn.18:40).
And for murder . . . which had either been committed by himself, or his accomplices, in the insurrection (Mk.15:7). It was for these things: treason, sedition and murder, that he
Was cast into prison . . . where he was confined until this feast, waiting to be executed.
Luke 23:20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. (KJV)
Pilate therefore willing to release Jesus . . . Pilate is more and more convinced of Jesus’ innocence. He is more clearly seeing into the wickedness, malice and envy of Jesus’ accusers, and he had received a message from his wife. Matthew 27:19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. (KJV)
Spake again to them . . . Pilate asking them again which man he should release. Asking them what he should do with Jesus. It was very plain that Pilate thought Jesus was innocent, and that it was right to let Him go.
Luke 23:21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. (KJV)
But they cried, saying, crucify him, crucify him . . . they were fierce and furious, becoming more noisy and clamorous, for they saw that Pilate wanted to free Him. They were all the more eager to have Him crucified, becoming more impatient by the minute. Their repetition Crucify him, crucify him reveals this.
Luke 23:22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. (KJV)
And he said unto them the third time . . . Jesus had been sent back to Pilate from Herod, because Herod found no fault in Him (Jn.18:38). Pilate now asks them for the third time,
Why, what evil hath he done? . . . what capital crime has He committed? Is He guilty of murder? Sedition? Blasphemy? Robbery, Theft? WHAT enormous crime is He guilty of?
I have found no cause of death in him . . . Pilate again states that he finds NO fault in Jesus, and especially that of being put to death.
I will therefore chastise him, and let him go . . . it seems Pilate hoped they would be content with Jesus being beaten and dismissed, as he at first suggested in verse 16.
Luke 23:23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. (KJV)
And they were instant with loud voices . . . they were red-hot with rage, and insisted upon His crucifixion, pressing ever so hard for it, exerting their voices more and more loudly,
Requiring him, that he might be crucified . . . demanding that Jesus be crucified, for nothing else would make them content.
And the voices of them, and the chief priests, prevailed . . . Pilate gave in to them. He granted their request, going against his own conscience, the manner of Herod, and the message of his wife. The people had knuckled under to the persuasion of the chief priests (Mat.27:20; Mk.15:11), and the chief priests joining with them, their numbers were great, and their requests were pressing in on Pilate with so much force, violence and insistence, that he could not withstand them.
Luke 23:24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required. (KJV)
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required . . . Pilate did not want to give Jesus the death sentence. He thought the Jewish leaders were just jealous and wanted to get rid of a rival. But, when they threatened to report Pilate to Caesar (Jn.19:12), Pilate became afraid. It seems that Pilate had been warned by Roman authorities about tensions in this region. The last thing Pilate wanted or needed was a riot in Jerusalem at Passover time, when the city was full of Jews from all over the empire.
Luke 23:25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will. (KJV)
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison . . . Pilate gave in to their request, and turned Jesus over to the mob to do with as they pleased. He gave them Jesus to be crucified, and released Barabbas, verse 19.
Whom they had desired . . . they wanted Barabbas released, and so it was. (Acts 3:14). So sad.
But he delivered Jesus to their will . . . to do as they would with Him, to mock and scourge and crucify Him.
Luke 23:26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus. (KJV)
And as they led him away . . . from Pilate's hall, out of the city of Jerusalem towards Calvary. This was done by the Jews and Roman soldiers, after they had stripped Him of his own clothes, and put on Him a scarlet robe, and had platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and a reed in His Hand, and bowed the knee and mocked Him, saluting Him as King of the Jews, after they had finished making their sport with him, and had put on Him His own clothes again.
they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian coming out of the country . . . father of Alexander and Rufus. (Mat.27:32; Mk.15:21).
And on him they laid the cross . . . on which Jesus was to be crucified, and which he was bearing himself at that time; but finding out just how weak He was, and unable to carry the cross Himself, and fearing that He might die on the way, they put the cross, at least the cross-bar of it, upon Simon’s shoulders.
That he might bear it after Jesus . . . either the whole of it, following Jesus; or the cross-bar of it.
WHY was Jesus so weak? I think the following prophecies can answer that:
Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. (KJV) . . . He was unable to help Himself, He was full of pain, as if all His bones were out of joint.
Psalm 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. (KJV) . . . Can you even begin to imagine what this means?
Psalm 69:20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. (KJV) . . . NO one to help Him.
Isaiah 50:6 I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. (KJV) . . . Pulled the hair off His Face.
Isaiah 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: (KJV) . . . Beaten so badly that He was not even recognizable!
Micah 5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. (KJV) . . . Beat with rods on His Face.
Jesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem, and
Jesus Prays For His Enemies (23:27-30)
Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. (KJV)
And there followed him a great company of people . . . not only of the common people, but of the main inhabitants of the city; for among these were the chief priests, Scribes, and elders. Some pitied Him, some mocked Him, but they all followed to see the sad and depressing sight (verse 48). This was quite normal at executions: and what might make the crowd the greater, was the number of people in the city, which were come from all parts to the Passover; as well as the fame and character of the Person, who was going to suffer.
And of women, which also bewailed and lamented him . . . for although the Jews had their mourning women, who were hired to assist in mourning; by using mournful gestures, tones and songs (Jer.9:17-18), yet public mourning was not allowed for persons that were executed as malefactors (verses 32 & 33) and therefore it is all the more remarkable, that here, and in verse 48 that any public signs of sorrow were expressed.
The following words of Jesus to the women is found only in Luke’s Gospel, very fitting to the love and passion at the threshold of His death.
Luke 23:28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. (KJV)
But Jesus turning unto them . . . these women were behind Jesus, and He knew who they were (Lk.23:49,55), and what they were doing, turns Himself to them, and spoke to them in the following manner, Said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me . . . daughters of Jerusalem is the women of Jerusalem. This was a common way of speaking among the Jews.
But weep for yourselves, and for your children . . . not for themselves personally, but their nation and posterity; for sin, especially the sin of crucifying Him, that would come upon them, in a short time, and which would be MUCH more harmful to the Jews than to Him, for on this account Jesus Himself had wept over Jerusalem, and its inhabitants. (Lk.19:41-42).
Luke 23:29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. (KJV)
For behold the days are coming . . . the Lord Jesus speaks here of the destruction of Jerusalem, which days were hurrying on. In just a few years more, this time of distress would be upon the Jews.
In the which they shall say . . . the following words shall be in everyone's mouth,
Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck . . . this was no doubt said many times by women in the siege of Jerusalem when children died by the thousands in the famine, or to be killed with the sword before their eyes, which would greatly increase their miseries. (Mat.24:19; Lk.21:23).
Cannibalism: (Lev. 26:29; Deut.28:53-57; 2 Ki.6:26-29; Jer.19:9; Eze.5:10; Lam.2:20; 4:10). Jewish historian
Josephus referred to that day. http://www.rjgeib.com/thoughts/desolation/josephus.html
Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. (KJV)
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us . . . the Lord Jesus speaks of the troubles of the Jews in the destruction of Jerusalem and in the Great Tribulation period. It shall be GREAT, as never was the like since the creation of the world, nor never will be to the end of it (Mat.24:21). They shall be painfully pressed with the sword and famine; by the enemy without, and divisions, robberies, and murders within. Their miseries shall be indescribable and unbearable. They will actually seek to go into the holes of the rocks, and caves of the earth, as is prophesied of them (Isa.2:19), and as Josephus says, many of them did, when the city was taken; and, like those in (Hos.10:8), will say, "to the mountains fall on us, and to the hills cover us". They would rather have the mountains and hills around Jerusalem, fall upon them, and they be buried under the ruins of them, than to live in such terrible distress, or fall into the hands of their enemies! (Rev.6:15-16).
Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (KJV)
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? . . . these words have the character of a proverb. I think that we must consider that the Lord Jesus is speaking of the Roman power. IF Pilate could as a result, sentence to death this innocent One in whom he admitted that he could find no fault, what might be expected from his successors when they had to deal with a rebellious people up in arms? The same thought exists in a more general and less symbolic form in the following Passage. 1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (KJV)
I think the Lord Jesus refers to the calamities that would come upon them by the Romans in the destruction of their city and temple. The Passage may also be applied, to the punishment of the wicked in the future. Verses 27-31 are found only in Luke. They are just a part of what happened on the way, while the Saviour was going to His cross. (Mat.27:32). They are another prophecy of Jesus of the dreadful calamities which happened about forty years after this, at the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jesus Is Crucified (Luke 23:32-34)
Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. (KJV)
And there were also two other malefactors led with him to be put to death . . . NOT that Christ Jesus was a criminal, even though He certainly was seen and treated as one by the Jews. But, as the words read, there were also two other, malefactors. These really were criminals! They were two thieves who had been guilty of theft and robbery, and were condemned to die. They were crucified with the Lord Jesus to bring greater disgrace and humiliation to Him; that it might be thought that He was also a malefactor, and deserved death as they did. Death on the horrible cross, was the death the Romans put slaves, thieves, robbers and the worst and vilest of men to.
Luke 23:33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. (KJV)
And when they were come to the place which was called Calvary . . . Calvary means a skull; so called from the skulls of persons that lay about, who were executed there. It is a tradition of the ancients, that Adam was buried in this place where Christ was crucified, and that his skull lay here. It was usual to crucify on high places, and on mountains, such a one as this was. Matthew, Mark and John all say Golgotha instead of Calvary. (Mat.27:33-34; Mk.15:22-23; Jn.19:17-18).
There they crucified him, and the malefactors . . the two thieves (criminals)..
One on the right hand, and the other on the left . . . and so fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12.
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (KJV)
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do . . . these blessed words of the Lord Jesus are recorded only by Luke. It is a prayer so very true to the Spirit of Jesus, and it is absolutely credible. Anyone who denies its genuineness is a fool. The whole purpose of Luke in his Gospel, is to exhibit and reveal the goodness, graciousness and loving kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus asked His Father to forgive the crowd for crucifying Him. How many of us could do that? As He was near death, His concern was NOT for Himself, but for the good of the people! His love and kindness was evident even to His last breath.
Consider this: IF Jesus had not prayed this prayer to His Father, on behalf of that wicked crowd, they would have been guilty of committing the unpardonable sin of putting to death the Son of God. Thank You Jesus for being YOU!
And they parted his raiment, and cast lots . . . cast lots for His clothing, and so fulfilled the prophecy in (Ps.22:18). Matthew 27:35 says: They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots . . . His vesture, or coat, or robe, was seamless, and woven from top to bottom, they did not tear into pieces, but cast lots for it, who should have it (Jn.19:23-24).
Jesus Mocked By Rulers and Soldiers (Luke 23:35-38)
Luke 23:35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (KJV)
And the people stood beholding . . . the people watched this sad and disturbing sight. They insulted and reviled Him, shaking their heads at Him. This was done by all those that passed by, and by the Jewish rulers as well; all the chief priests, Scribes and elders, the members of the Sanhedrim, whose characters should have restrained them from such an inhuman conduct.
He saved others . . . by healing their diseases, or raising them from the dead.
Let him save himself . . . from death, by removing Himself from the cross. (Mat.27:42; Mk.15:32).
If he be Christ . . . the Messiah, He and His followers say He is; even the chosen of God, referring to (Isa.42:1). If He is who He says He is, let Him save Himself. There was NO mercy! My dear friend, please do NOT make the mistake of denying WHO Jesus really is! Jesus absolutely IS Who He says He is!
Luke 23:36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, (KJV)
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar . . . the execution was committed to the Roman soldiers, who crucified Jesus, and parted His garments, and stood at His cross watching. But they also joined in the rude, jeering insults and mocking against Him, and they offered Him vinegar (Mat.27:48; Mk.15:36; Jn.19:29).
Luke 23:37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. (KJV)
And saying, if thou be the King of the Jews, save thyself . . . the same mocking as in verse 35. But, this was the Romans, so they said: If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. IF You are the Jewish Messiah, deliver thyself from the cross.
Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. (KJV)
And a superscription also was written . . . this sign was meant to be sarcastic. This “King” had been stripped naked and executed in public view, had clearly lost is kingdom forever according to the people. BUT, Jesus, who turns the world's wisdom upside down, was just coming into His Kingdom. His death and resurrection would strike the death blow to Satan's rule and establish Christ's eternal authority over the Earth. Few people reading the sign that miserable afternoon understood its real meaning, but that sign was absolutely true. All was NOT lost. Jesus IS King of the Jews AND of the Gentiles and the whole universe! Believe it! (Mat.27:37; Mk.15:26; Jn.19:19-20)
Jesus Mocked By One Thief,
The Second Repents and Is Accepted By Him (Luke 23:39-43)
Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. (KJV)
And one of the malefactors, which were hanged . . . one of the thieves crucified on the cross, along with Jesus. Luke says one thief. According to Matthew and Mark, both of the malefactors reviled Jesus, and said the same things as the priests, people and soldiers did. (Mat.27:44; Mk.15:32). I really do not see this as a contradiction. It is very likely that both the thieves did revile Jesus, but as time went on, and the one thief saw and watched Jesus, he knew that Jesus had to be who He said He was.
Railed on him, saying, if thou be Christ, save thyself, and us . . . as I said, it is very possible that both thieves, at first, did say these things.
Luke 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? (KJV)
But the other answering, rebuked him . . . Luke says that the one thief reproved the other thief for his vileness and wickedness.
Saying, dost not thou fear God . . . do you not fear God any more than these priests, people, and soldiers do? They are acting in such a barbarous and inhuman way to a man in misery. Will you do the same? Do you not fear God? Don’t you have any compassion?
Seeing thou art in the same condemnation? . . . the repentant thief may have had some Messianic hopes of some kind, even if only of the unclear beliefs among his people. Yet deeper in his character there must have been the fear of God, a reverence and awe rising out of his sense of sin; which he did not see in the other thief. He accepted his punishment as just, and in so doing it seems it changed him.
Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. (KJV)
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds . . . for sins committed against the law, our sentence is just, we are rightly punished. This reveals that the repentant thief had a true sense of the wickedness of sin, and anywhere that is, there will be an acknowledgment of the sin, and justification by God (1 Jn.1:8-9).
But this man hath done nothing amiss . . . Jesus had done nothing dishonest, immoral, wicked or despicable. He had done NO injury to God, or man. He had wronged no man's person or property. He had obeyed the law of God perfectly, and always did the things which were pleasing to God. So it was, that from the mouth of one of the malefactors Christ suffered with, was He declared innocent. What the Jews planned, by crucifying Jesus with the criminals, was to make the people believe that He suffered for a crime equal, or superior to theirs. Sinlessness Of Christ: (Isa.53:9; Mat.27:4,19,23; Mk.1:24; 15:14; Lk.1:35; 23:14,22,41,47; Jn.7:18; 14:30; 18:38; 19:4; Acts 3:14; 4:27; 7:52; 13:28; 22:14; 2 Cor.5:21; Heb. 1:9; 4:15; 7:26; 9:14,28; Jam.5:6; 1 Pet.1:19; 2:22; 1 Jn.3:3,5).
Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (KJV)
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom . . . the thief acknowledged Jesus to be the Messiah, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; the Lord of all! This was certainly great faith to be exercised at such a time as this, when Jesus was under the greatest criticism and humiliation; while He was insulted and derided by all sorts of people; and when He was forsaken by His own apostles, and was suffering a shameful punishment, and now, at death’s door.
Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (KJV)
And Jesus said unto him . . . Jesus did not hesitate to answer him, although He did NOT say one word to the other thief that condemned Him, or to the multitude that abused Him. Jesus promised the repentant thief more than he asked for, and much sooner than he expected.
Verily I say unto thee, today thou shall be with me in paradise . . . not the earthly paradise, but the future place, and state of the happiness of the saints, meaning Heaven, and eternal glory, which the Jews frequently call by this name (2 Cor.12:4).
This man was a thief, but because of his faith in the Son of God he became a saved thief. This man had faith to believe that the Lord Jesus was coming into a kingdom, and it would come after His death! Clearly, this thief had come a long way spiritually while hanging on that cross.
Our Lord made the remarkable statement that this thief would be in paradise with Him that very day. What was the difference between the two thieves? They both were thieves. The difference was that one thief believed in Jesus Christ and the other one did not.
The Lord Jesus said to that thief, "Today you'll be with Me in paradise." My friend, HE DID just that! He went into the presence of God because of His faith in Christ Jesus. When Jesus made this promise to the thief, it did more than simply comfort the dying man and promise him the reward of faith. It proclaimed the completion of salvation. Salvation was completed that day at the cross. There were NO more battles for Jesus to fight. Satan was beaten at the cross.
Jesus Dismisses His Spirit and Dies (Luke 23:44-49)
Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. (KJV)
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. . . or twelve o'clock at noon. (Mat.27:45). The Jews divided their day into twelve hours, beginning the count at sunrise. There was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour . . . until three o'clock in the afternoon. The sun was darkened (verse 45). This darkness had to be a supernatural eclipse of the sun; for it was at the time when the moon was in the full, as appears from its being at the time of the Passover; which was on the fourteenth day of the month Nisan (April). The Jews begin their months from the new moon: and furthermore, it was over all the land, or Earth. Some versions say "the whole world was dark". Whether this darkness was over "all the earth," in our sense of the terms, or only over the small portion of it, there at Jerusalem, is not known. We know that this darkness came suddenly at noon, and then left at three o'clock, therefore it lasted during the three hours in which the sun is usually at its greatest heat and brightness. There was darkness. This could not have been a normal eclipse of the sun, for the Passover was celebrated at the time of the full moon, when the moon is opposite to the sun. The ONLY cause of this, was the intervening power of Almighty God, which provided evidence to the dignity of the Sufferer, and causing the elements to sympathize with the pains of His dying Son. It was also strangely proper to furnish this testimony when the Sun of Righteousness (Mal.4:2), was withdrawing His light for a time, and the Redeemer of men was dying. A thick, dark cloud, shut out the light of day, and clothed everything with the darkness of midnight, which was the proper curtain with which the world should be clothed when the Son of God died.
This darkness that was over the Earth at the time of Christ's sufferings, was no doubt, an addition to them. The sun, hiding its face and refusing to give its comforting light and heat to Him . . . but what about the hatred of the monstrous sin the Jews were committing, and as expressing the divine anger and resentment of the Father? God's purposes and decrees, and the end He had in view, did NOT excuse, nor diminish or lessen their wickedness! It shows their shameful stupidity, for they were NOT awakened and convinced by the amazing darkness! It made absolutely NO impression on them, although it did on the Roman centurion, who settled in his mind that Christ must be the Son of God. The darkness was a symbol of the judicial blindness and darkness of the Jewish nation.
Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. (KJV)
And the sun was darkened . . . there was an eclipse of it, which was supernatural, it being now a full moon, and lasted three hours, as to darken the whole earth; and now the prophecy in (Amos 8:9) was literally fulfilled.
And the veil of the temple was rent in the midst . . . Matthew 27:51 says: And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom . . . do you see how that veil was torn? NOT from the bottom to the top but from top to bottom. It was rent by God, NOT by man. The veil symbolizes the Body of Jesus. When His Body was rent upon the Cross . . . when He had paid the penalty for your sin and mine in His own Body . . . it was then that the way was opened for us into the Presence of God (Rom.5:1-2). Since then we do NOT have to have a priest or a preacher go into the Presence of God for us. We ourselves are a priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9). We can go directly to the throne of God through Christ. My friend . . . the only Way to the Father is through His Son. "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim.2:5). Also see: (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12).
For Holy of Holies, and Veil, see:
Again, this is from Mat.27:51: And the earth did quake . . . whether this earthquake was only on the ground where Christ was crucified, and on which the city and temple of Jerusalem stood; or whether it extended to other parts of the Earth is not said. It is said that there was an earthquake in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, in which twelve cities in Asia fell. It is not certain this is the earthquake mentioned here. But, this earthquake certainly was an indication of God’s divine anger and resentment, and in abomination of the sin of crucifying Christ (Ps.18:7; Heb.12:27), and it was a symbol of the shaking and removing of the Jewish church state and ordinances (Heb.12:26-27). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5395-earthquake
Again, from Mat.27:51: And the rocks rent . . . which were near Mount Calvary and around Jerusalem. It is said that the cracks and crevices are to be seen to this day, and which seemed to be supernatural. This also was a sign of Almighty God’s divine wrath and fury (Nah.1:5-6), and a rebuke for the stupidity and hardness of the Jews, who were unmoved when rocks were rent (broken) asunder. But, the rocks were a symbol of the future conversion of many through the powerful ministry of the Word, and as a result of Christ's death . . . hearts, as hard as rocks, were broken in pieces, stony hearts removed, and hearts of flesh given (Eze.11:19; 36:26); of which the three thousand being pricked to the heart under Peter's sermon, were an example (Acts 2:41).
See the end of this chapter for more on the importance of the VEIL being rent.
Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. (KJV)
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice . . . this is His second time that Jesus cried out with a “loud voice.” The first loud cry was when He said: "Eli, Eli, lama, sabachthani" (Mat.27:46).
He said, Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit . . . this does not mean the Holy Spirit, nor His divine nature, but His human soul. That He had a real soul, as well as a real body, is certain, and which soul He committed unto God, to His divine care and protection; during its separation from His body (Ps.31:5).
Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man. (KJV)
Now when the centurion saw what was done . . . after the centurion saw all the supernatural events while Jesus hung on the cross,
He glorified God . . . by confessing that Christ was indeed the Son of God, and declaring Him to be an innocent person.
Saying, certainly, this was a righteous man . . . the centurion knew without a doubt that Jesus was NOT guilty of the charges against Him, and that He had suffered wrongly and unlawfully. This he decided from all the unusual things that had happened, and which he knew had to be tokens of God’s divine anger. So he, like the repentant thief, finally realized the Truth!
Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned. (KJV)
And all the people that came together to that sight . . . to see the execution of Jesus, some of them being His confirmed enemies, came to insult Him, and did insult Him, but many of these, although not all of them,
Beholding the things which were done . . . the eclipse, sun darkened, the veil of the temple rent, the earthquake . . . they like the centurion, started to feel guilt, and as fearing some dreadful judgment would fall upon them,
Smote their breasts . . . they were conscious of their sin . . . for the sin of crucifying Christ Jesus. One version reads, "they went back, and kneeled down, and prostrated themselves to the ground" as being in the utmost astonishment, confusion, fear, and dread.
And returned . . . to the city, to their own houses, where they might more seriously, and with the greater composure of mind, reflect on these things. OH! What have I done?
Luke 23:49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. (KJV)
And all his acquaintance . . . those who were related to Him in a natural or in a spiritual way, or both, such as His own mother, and the beloved apostle John, who were both present (Jn.19:26), those that were known unto Him, and well acquainted with Him, who attended His ministry, and were close to Him.
And the women that followed him from Galilee . . . these were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome the mother of Zebedee's children,
Stood afar off . . . from the cross,
Beholding these things . . . His friends, spiritual relatives and women stood far off seeing all that was going on, watching their dear suffering Lord, with aching hearts and many tears.
Jesus’ Body Claimed by Joseph of Arimathaea (Luke 23:50-56)
The final section of this chapter deals with the burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus, which belong together. 1 Cor.15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (KJV)
These are the basic facts of the Gospel. How do you feel about these facts? #1. Jesus died. #2. He was buried. #3. He rose again from the dead. #4. He LIVES! What does this mean to you? Do you believe He died for you? Do you believe that He rose again? Do you believe He lives today? Do you believe that Jesus’ righteousness becomes our righteousness? Do you believe that only Jesus can give you eternal life? I pray that you do, for that is what the Holy Word of God teaches.
Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (KJV)
And behold, there was a man named Joseph . . . Matthew 27:57 says: Who also himself was Jesus' disciple . . . I believe until now, Joseph was a ‘closet Christian’, the same as Nicodemus was. He had not as yet, publicly professed Christ Jesus, for fear of the Jews, who had made a law, that whoever did, should be cast out of the synagogue (Jn.19:38). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8815-joseph-of-arimathaea
A counsellor . . . Mark says, an "honourable" counsellor. He was either one of the council of the high priests, or a member of the great Sanhedrim (Mk.15:43).
And he was a good man, and a just . . . he had a just, calm, good and kind character. A similar character is given of Joseph the husband of Mary, the mother of our Lord (Mat.1:19).
Luke 23:51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. (KJV)
The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them . . . even though Joseph was with the Jews, the chief priests, Scribes and elders, in the high priest's palace, being one of that great council; he did NOT agree with them. Matthew 27:57 says Joseph was a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple. It was not on his advice and counsel, that they should put Jesus to death. He was against it, he did not consent to it.
He was of Arimathea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God . . .
Joseph also himself was Jesus' disciple (Mat.27:57; Mk.15:34).
Luke 23:52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. (KJV)
This man went unto Pilate . . . Mark says, he went "boldly unto Pilate" (Mk.15:43).
And begged the body of Jesus . . . knowing that Jesus was dead; that he might bury it.
Luke 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. (KJV)
And he took it down . . . from the cross, with the help of others, having obtained permission from Pilate so to do. Nicodemus also came to help Joseph (Jn.19:38).
And wrapped it in linen . . . as was the custom of the Jews in burying their dead. (Mat.27:59). John says that this was done with spices (Jn.19:38-40). The Jews’ custom was to use myrrh, aloes and other aromatics in large quantities, when they buried their dead. When they were not regularly embalmed, which was a long and tedious process, they enclosed the spices in the folds of the linen, or wrapped the body in it. Spices were sometimes used in such large quantities as to form a bed, on which the dead body was laid. It is said of Asa (2 Chron.16:14), they "laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and spices." There was not enough time to properly embalm the Body of Jesus, so He was buried in this manner.
This clean linen cloth, in which the dead Body of Christ was wrapped, may be a symbol of His purity and innocence, who did NO sin. He did NOT die for any of his own sins, but for the sins of others (you and me), and it also represents His pure and spotless righteousness (Jer.23:5; 1 Cor.1:30; Heb.1:9; 1 Jn.2:1; 3:7; Rev.19:11), which is compared to fine linen, clean and white.
Wherein never man before was laid . . . Christ was laid not in His own tomb, but in another's tomb. This perfectly matches His lifetime, “He had not where to lay his head” (Mat.8:20; Lk.9:58). So when He died, He had no sepulcher (tomb) of His own to put His body in; thus fulfilling yet another prophecy (Isa.53:9). Do NOT believe those heretics that say that Jesus was rich. They LIE!!!
Matthew 27:60 says: And he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre . . . sepulchers were made with doors to go in and out at. The stone rolled to the door, was a large and broad stone, with which the mouth of the sepulcher was enclosed. It was at the shutting up of the sepulcher with this stone, that mourning began; and after it was shut with this big stone, it was not lawful to open it. This was done by Joseph, to preserve Jesus’ Body from any injury, either from beasts, or from the Jews. This serves to confirm the Truth of Jesus’ resurrection.
Joseph then departed to his own house; for the Sabbath was here, and there was no more time to do anything more.
The sepulcher in which the Body of Christ was laid, had been hewn out of a rock; the body was wrapped in a clean linen cloth, and wound up in it with myrrh and aloes to preserve it, and was buried . . . the women later prepared spices and ointments, to anoint Jesus' Body with; although they rested on the Sabbath day according to the commandment; but then as soon as the Sabbath was over, although it was a feast day, they came to the sepulcher with their spices and ointments (Lk.23:56; 24:1).
Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. (KJV)
And that day was the preparation and the sabbath drew on . . . both for the Sabbath, and for the "Chagigah", or grand festival, which they kept on the fifteenth day of the month, in a very pompous manner; so that the day following was a very high day.
It was at this time that the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate (Mat.27:62-66) to demand that he set a watch at the tomb. Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, that after three days I will rise again . . . we must consider that although the Pharisees quote Jesus as saying that He would rise "after three days," they demand, that the tomb be guarded only "until the third day," showing that they regarded the time designated by "after three days" as terminating "on the third day." (Mat.12:40).
The Jews said to Pilate: Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure . . . by these words, the Jews also ADMIT that Jesus was buried. And they knew in what tomb, and whose tomb He was laid, and where it was. Pilate had given permission to Joseph to take the body and bury it, and now he would also give orders that the sepulcher might be watched until the third day, that NO one might come near it, and remove the Body.
Until the third day . . . but until then they insisted that it was necessary for the tomb to be guarded, Lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away . . . Pilate told them that they could secure the sepulcher as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all was well. To guard the tomb against the poor weak disciples was foolishness, but to guard it against the power of God was absolute stupidity. That was fruitless, and to no purpose . . . yet they thought they had dealt wisely. But the Lord took those supposedly wise ones in their own craftiness, and all the rage and the plans of Christ's enemies would be made to promote His glory.
The chief priests and Pharisees thought that the common people were illiterate, gullible and easily imposed on, and were afraid they might believe the apostles, and say unto the people, he is risen from the dead . . . should it be told there was proof that He was risen from the dead.
The Jewish day closed at sunset, and the Sabbath at that time started. The next day mentioned here does not mean the following day in our understanding of the word, or the following morning, but the next day in the Jewish way of speaking; that is, after the next day had commenced, or after sundown. They certainly would not have waited until the next morning. That would be absurd, because the disciples would be just as likely or more, to steal Him away the first night as the second . . . IF they were going to steal Him. We knew a Jewish man years ago, knew him very well . . . he told us “You stole Him,” meaning Jesus.
Luke 23:55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. (KJV)
And the women also which came with him from Galilee . . these women were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome the mother of Zebedee's children, (Lk.23:49).
Followed after, and beheld, the sepulcher . . . the women saw how the body of Jesus was laid, and saw that it was not a completed burial. Nicodemus and Joseph wrapped the linen around the body in mummy fashion. John's Gospel says that they wound it in linen clothes with the spices “about one hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes”, as "...was the manner of the Jews is to bury" (Jn.19:39-40). The women watched which tomb it was and where it was in the garden that they might know how to find it again.
And how his body was laid. . . they saw in what position, form and order it was; and saw that it was only wrapped in linen, and not anointed or embalmed.
Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment. (KJV)
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments . . . to the city, and to their own houses, or to one of them, to prepare sweet spices, as was the manner of the Jews. This they did out of affection to Christ, but it seems they had no faith in His resurrection, even though He had told them of it, which they had forgotten.
And rested the sabbath day, according to the commandment . . . as in (Ex.20:8-11), not as yet knowing the abolition of it, along with the rest of the ceremonial law. Therefore, although they had bought and prepared the spices and ointments, they did not carry them to the sepulchre to anoint the Body of Jesus with them, until the Sabbath was over; for this was forbidden to be done on a sabbath day.
What was the importance of the Temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died?
During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy Temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The Temple was where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. A veil separated the Holy of Holies, which was considered the earthly dwelling place of God’s Presence, from the rest of the Temple. That veil indicated that man was separated from God by sin (Isa.59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil, and only once each year (Ex.30:10; Heb.9:7), to enter into God's Presence for ALL of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16).
Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Ki.6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to say that this veil was possibly almost 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus tells us that this thick veil was made from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.
The size and thickness of that veil makes the events that happened at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more important. And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that very moment the curtain (veil) of the temple was torn in two . . . from the TOP to bottom (Mat.27:51; Mk.15:38). There is NO way man, or many men, could have torn this veil, even from the bottom and at the very moment of Jesus; death! NO way!! This was a supernatural miracle that could have been done ONLY by Almighty God in Heaven!
HOW can we apply this to us today? WHAT importance does this torn veil have for us today? The tearing of that veil at the very moment of Jesus' death vividly symbolized that His Sacrifice, the shedding of His own precious Blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins in the Eyes of God the Father! It meant that from that moment on, the way into the Holy of Holies was open for ALL people, for ALL time, both Jew and Gentile. NO more priests are necessary! Born again believers are now the priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9).
When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place, never again to dwell in a temple made with hands again (Acts 17:24).
The Temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the Temple stood, it implied the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:9-11 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Heb.8:13; Rom.6:14-15).
The veil was really symbolic of Christ Himself as the only Way to the Father (Jn.14:6; Acts 4:12). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now, Christ Jesus is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished Work on the cross, we partake of His priesthood (1 Pet.2:5,9). We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him (Rom.5:1-2). Born again believers enter into the sanctuary (the Throne of God) by the “blood of Jesus” (Heb.10:19-20; 1 Pet.1:18-19). This is the way that He opened for us, through the veil, that is, through his flesh. That veil is symbolic of Jesus’ Flesh being torn for us during His suffering and death, just as He was tearing down the Temple veil for us.
The veil being torn from top to bottom is a fact of history. The profound significance of this event is explained in wonderful detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately pointed to Christ Jesus. He was the Veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful believers now have free access to God (Rom.5:1-2; Eph.2:18; 3:12).
The veil in the Temple was/is a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit to be in the Presence of a holy and pure God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually, plus countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed clearly that sin could NOT truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Christ Jesus through His death, removed the wall (the veil) between God and man, and now we can approach Him with confidence and boldness (Heb.4:14-16).
At the exact time that Christ spoke with a loud voice and died, was the time of the offering of the evening incense; and so must have been seen by the priest that was then offering, and those that assisted him, because the incense altar was near the veil. This renting of the veil must have been a very amazing sight to them.
The Six Miracles of Calvary
#1. The Miraculous Darkness: Luke 23:44-45. It was the 6th hour. That was noon. There was darkness over all the land and it continued from 12:00 to 3:00 o'clock. This was not an eclipse, which lasts for only a few minutes. It was at full moon, when an eclipse is impossible. At Jesus birth the night became light. At His death the light became night.
#2. The Rending of the Veil: Matthew 27:51. There were three divisions in the Temple: #1. The Outer Court, #2. The Holy Place and #3. And the Most Holy Place. There was a very high and stout veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place is where only the High Priest entered, and ONLY once a year. NO one else ever stepped beyond this veil. When Jesus cried out on the cross . . . "It Is Finished", this veil was torn in two from top to bottom, thus opening the way for anyone to enter into the Presence of God, without the high priest.
#3. The Miraculous Earthquake: Matthew 27:51. The shaking of the Earth was at the exact moment of Jesus’ death. The Earth quaked to the extent that rocks were split open, yet the cross did NOT move. Supernatural? Yes! God interfered with nature. God controls nature!
#4. The Miracle of the Opened Graves. Matthew 27:52-53. The graves, of some saints, were opened at the very moment of Jesus’ death. Graves were rocky tombs, excavations in the rocks, and made secure by doors of stone. None came out of the graves at this time. The Earthquake was evidence of God’s divine power. The opening of the graves was evidence of God’s will.
#5. The Undisturbed Grave Clothes of Jesus. Luke 24:12; John 20:3-10. When Peter and John entered the sepulcher, they saw the "linen clothes lying". . . precisely as the body had lain there. NO human hands could have removed the body from its clothes without leaving behind marks of disturbance. One thing they knew, Jesus was not there. He had risen.
#6. Life in the Graveyard. Matthew 27:52-53. The graves of the saints were opened at the earthquake, but the dead bodies of the saints, did not rise and come out of the graves, until after Christ Jesus Himself had risen. This is a grand miracle to say the least! Totally miraculous.
Do you believe God? Do you believe His Holy Word?
If not, some day you shall wish that you had! Jesus IS the Messiah! Jesus IS God!
Is Jesus Really God? . . . IS JESUS GOD?
Gospel of Luke
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