Home  Library  Donate

Luke 23:26-37

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 11, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Video: 2017 Harvest America Promo

This afternoon we will be hosting the live webcast of Harvest America.

We’re pulling out the stops and will be providing treats like chips, cookies, and ice-cream.

The “pre-concert” starts at 4:30, the actual event is 5-7pm.

We’ve arrived at the pinnacle of Jesus’ ministry.

Jesus is on His way to be crucified.

Luke told us what Jesus’ main purpose was in life:

(Luke 19:10 NKJV) for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
He would do this by dying for our sins.

We saw Jesus arrive in Jerusalem on the previous Sunday, Palm Sunday, to the shouts of an adoring crowd, crying “Hosanna”.

On the following Thursday night, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples before taking them back to spend the night at the Garden of Gethsemane.

Judas showed up with a group of Jewish leaders and soldiers.

They took Jesus to the high priest’s house, and then early on Friday morning Jesus was condemned before the Sanhedrin.

Then Jesus was taken to Pilate because they needed his condemnation of Jesus in order for Jesus to be put to death.

When Pilate couldn’t find anything wrong with Jesus, he sent Him to Herod, and when Herod couldn’t find anything wrong, Jesus was sent back to Pilate.

Pilate has tried to get out of sentencing Jesus to death, but he now gives in to the pressure of the crowd and the Jewish leaders.

Jesus is scourged, and then sent to be crucified.

:26-32 Via Dolorosa

There is a route through the streets and bazaars of the Old City in Jerusalem that claims to trace the footsteps of Jesus from His trial with Pilate to His death and burial.  It’s called the “Via Dolorosa” or, the “way of sorrows”.

It was set up by the Catholic church several hundred years ago as a way to help pilgrims remember the various things Jesus endured on His way to the cross and burial.

Today we’re going to spend time on the Via Dolorosa.

Even though the Via Dolorosa contains more than a little fiction, we will take a walk today down the actual way of sorrows as Jesus is taken from Pilate to the cross.

Here’s a taste of the Via Dolorosa –

Video:  Via Dolorosa – Simon Cyrene

: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.

they laid hold ofepilambanomai – to take in addition, to lay hold of, take possession of, overtake, attain, attain to; to lay hold of or to seize upon anything with the hands, to take hold of, lay hold of

SimonShim‘own – “heard”

Cyrenian Kurenaios – a native of Cyrene.  Cyrene is thought to be a town in North Africa.

the countryagros – land; the field, the country

they laidepitithemi – to put or lay upon; to add to

bearphero – to carry; to carry some burden; to bear with one’s self; to move by bearing; move or, to be conveyed or borne, with the suggestion of force or speed; to bear, i.e. endure, to endure the rigour of a thing, to bear patiently one’s conduct, or spare one (abstain from punishing or destroying)

:26 Simon a Cyrenian

Video:  Cyrene map

Cyrene was a Roman city in North Africa, in what is now the nation of Libya.
Because it is in North Africa doesn’t necessarily mean it was populated by blacks. Much of the Mediterranean coastal cities were colonized by the Phoenicians.

Jesus’ crucifixion would have taken place outside of town.

Typically crucifixions were done in very public places, such as a city gate or where roads cross.

The idea was to make this very humiliating, painful death to be a warning to everyone.

While the procession is leading the criminals out of the city to be crucified, Simon was on his way into the city when he is stopped and forced to help Jesus take the cross outside the city.

There is some evidence that Simon and his family would become believers after this day.

Mark tells us about Simon’s family:

(Mark 15:21 NKJV) 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.
When Paul wrote to the Romans, he says,
(Romans 16:13 NKJV) Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.

It has been thought that through this incident, Simon and his family came to know the Lord.

:26 on him they laid the cross

It was customary for the condemned man to carry his own crossbar to the place of execution.

The crossbeam would weigh about 60 pounds.

Jesus had apparently been so weakened by the various beatings and scourging, that He was no longer able to carry His own crossbar.


Taking up the cross

Jesus had said,
(Luke 9:23 NKJV) …“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

This is what Simon is now literally doing, except rather than taking up his own cross, Simon will be carrying the cross of Jesus.

Warren Wiersbe writes, “This means to be identified with Him in surrender, suffering, and sacrifice.”
The cross was what Jesus had to endure in His submission to the Father.  It involved shame and suffering.
There are going to be times when following Jesus is going to take us into a place where life will no longer be comfortable.  This place may involve something so small as ridicule, or something as difficult as suffering and death.
Peter’s death
Church tradition tells us that Peter was executed in Rome.

Word was that Nero wanted to put Peter to death, and with much urging from the church, Peter started to leave Rome.  As he left the city, he runs into Jesus coming into the city.  Peter asked Jesus where He was going and Jesus said He was going to be crucified.  Peter realized that Jesus was talking about Peter’s death, so Peter went back into the city and was arrested.

Jerome said that when he was killed, he asked to be crucified upside down because he wasn’t worthy of being crucified in the same way Jesus was.

Peter was willing to take up his cross.

Church tradition tell us that Peter was executed in Rome.  From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

…Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, “Lord, whither dost Thou go?” To whom He answered and said, “I am come again to be crucified.” By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.

If following the Lord meant suffering, Peter was willing to do it.
I’m afraid that too much of modern American Christianity is self-centered.
We want a Jesus who will make us wealthy and heal our sicknesses.
We want a Jesus who will make us feel better about ourselves and give us happy lives.
Other parts of the world are a little closer to the Christianity of the Bible.
The mission organization “Gospel for Asia” is all about training native peoples to reach their own nation for Christ.  When they send a missionary into a new village, they have a practice of digging a grave at the edge of the village.  They are digging their own grave.  Ready to face what might be ahead.
The Coptic Christians in Egypt understand what it means to carry their cross.  ISIS is specifically targeting them for persecution.

Churches are bombed, people are beheaded, people are shot.

The Coptic Church has embraced the persecution that’s connected to following Jesus.

Back in 1989, a young pastor named Tim Dearborn had to share a cab with four other people in Bangkok, Thailand.  One of the passengers was a Marxist revolutionary on his way to India.
The Marxist quizzed Tim at length about his faith.  Finally, he said, “How can you be a Christian?  Don’t you realize there’s no way your cause can win?”
“What do you mean there’s no way my cause can win?”  Tim asked.
The Marxist explained:  “I am on my way to India to organize fishermen to overthrow their oppressors.  And I am quite willing to lay down my life for the revolution.  Your American Christianity is preoccupied with what your God can do for you.  And dying for self-interest is a contradiction in terms!”

-- World Vision, Oct/Nov 1989, p.23

:27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.

:27 mourned and lamented Him

multitudeplethos – a multitude; a great number, of men or things; the whole number, the whole multitude, the assemblage; the multitude of the people

peoplelaos – a people, people group, tribe, nation, all those who are of the same stock and language; of a great part of the population gathered together anywhere

womengune – a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow; a wife; of a betrothed woman

Jesus is not going to be crucified while nobody is around.

An entire multitude of people are following Him to the place of crucifixion.

It’s interesting to note that while most of the male disciples have disappeared, the women were still there.

mournedkopto – to cut; to beat one’s breast for grief

lamented threneo – to mourn; to sing funeral songs.

to mourn, to lament; of singers of dirges, [to wail]; to bewail, deplore; to give utterance to a dirge over the dead, either in unstudied words, or in a more elaborate poem. This word is used by the Septuagint in describing David’s lament over Saul and Jonathan.

:28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.

turningstrepho – to turn, turn around; to turn one’s self (i.e. to turn the back to one

daughtersthugater – a daughter

weepklaio – to mourn, weep, lament; weeping as the sign of pain and grief for the thing signified (i.e. for the pain and grief); of those who mourn for the dead; to weep for, mourn for, bewail, one

childrenteknon – offspring, 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!’

blessedmakarios – blessed, happy

the barrensteiros – hard, stiff; barren; of woman who does not conceive

wombskoilia – the whole belly, the entire cavity; the womb, the place where the foetus is conceived and nourished until birth

boregennao – of men who fathered children; of women giving birth to children

breastsmastos – the breasts

nursedthelazo – to give the breast, give suck, to suckle; to suck

:30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ’

the mountainsoros – a mountain

fallpipto – to descend from a higher place to a lower; to fall (either from or upon); to be thrust down

hillsbounos – a hill, eminence, mound

coverkalupto – to hide, veil; to hinder the knowledge of a thing

:31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

greenhugros – damp, moist, wet; full of sap, green

woodxulon – wood; a tree

the dryxeros – dry; of members of the body deprived of their natural juices, shrunk, wasted, withered; of the land in distinction from the water

I want to explain the previous verses in reverse order.

:31 the green wood … the dry

The implied picture is of judgment by fire.

Green wood is harder to burn, and is a symbol of an innocent being put through judgment.

Dry wood is a picture of the guilty, burning easily and quickly.

The gist of it is this:

If Jesus the innocent one can face this kind of judgment, what will happen when guilty Jerusalem faces judgment?

A.T. Robertson –

“Green wood is hard to burn and so is used for the innocent. Dry wood kindles easily and is a symbol for the guilty. This common proverb has various applications. Here the point is that if they can put Jesus to death, being who he is, what will happen to Jerusalem when its day of judgment comes?”

Barnes –

“If they, the Romans, do these things to me, who am innocent and blameless; if they punish me in this manner in the face of justice, what will they not do in relation to this guilty nation? What security have they that heavier judgments will not come upon them? What desolations and woes may not be expected when injustice and oppression have taken the place of justice, and have set up a rule over this wicked people?”

:30 Fall on us!

Jesus is speaking of a future time of judgment when people will be asking the mountains to hide them.

This is a prophecy with two fulfillments.

He is speaking of the coming destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, forty years after Jesus was crucified.
He is speaking of the events of the coming Great Tribulation when all hell will be breaking loose on the planet.  John records the people of the world crying out:
(Revelation 6:16 NLT) And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.

:29 Blessed are the barren

Children are a great blessing from the Lord.

Even though they may drive you crazy at times, children are a great blessing from God.

(Psalm 127:3 NLT) Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.

Yet because of the coming judgments, there will be a day when people will wish they had no children so their children wouldn’t have to live through such difficult times.

Before we had kids, I remember secretly asking myself the question, “Do I want to have children who might have to face some of the terrible things predicted in the Bible for the End Times?”
I’m VERY glad I didn’t let those thoughts stop us from having children.

:28 do not weep for Me


Misplaced grief

These women are expressing their grief over what is happening to Jesus, but they are missing the whole point.
Sometimes our grief is a little misplaced at times as well.
Sharing the gospel –
Sometimes people say mean things to you. We can get upset that we are being insulted. But we ought to be more concerned for the person who is rejecting the Lord. Their choices are leading them to a much greater trouble than the insult you face.
At funerals –
It is very understandable for there to be grief at a funeral.
There is nothing wrong with grieving over our loss, at the fact that we won’t see them for a while.
But if they were a believer, we should be happy for them.
For them, their pain is over and they are now with Jesus.
For Jesus –
These gals are feeling sorry for Jesus.

He’s going to die a horrible death that He didn’t deserve.

And yet what Jesus was doing, He did by choice, for us.

God’s plan was for Jesus to take the sins of the world and pay for them by being a sacrifice.

Even today, some folks get quite emotional at the cross.

I’ve had folks walk out when I show pictures or video of Jesus being scourged or dying.

If it’s hard for you to watch, remember that this is what it took to pay for our sin.

:32-38 Crucified

:32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.

criminalskakourgos (“evil” + “worker”) – a malefactor

put to deathanaireo – to take up, to lift up (from the ground); to take away, abolish; to put out of the way, kill slay a man

:32 two others, criminals

We mentioned last week that Mark calls them “robbers” (Greek: lestes)

(Mark 15:27 NKJV) With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left.

This was the same word (lestes) that John used to describe Barabbas (John 18:40), also the same word that Josephus used to describe some who were part of the Jewish rebellion at the time.

(John 18:40 NKJV) Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
The two people between whom Jesus is crucified are also described as “bandits,” a term that Josephus uses to describe elements of the resistance movement that may not have been directly related to the Zealots but were nevertheless involved in the Jewish fight for freedom (Mark 15:27).[1]

I suggested last week that it might be that these two men were part of the same rebel group as Barabbas since Barabbas was originally supposed to be crucified as well.

: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.

criminalskakourgos – a malefactor

the right handdexios – the right, the right hand

the leftaristeros – left

:33 come to the place called Calvary

Calvary kranion – a skull

Did you know that you were attending “Skull Chapel”?

There are several possibilities as to where this actual place was.

The traditional spot is at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
There is also a spot called the Garden Tomb that fits the description as well.
There is a rock outcropping there that used to look like a skull before the weather wore it down.

The traditional spot is at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a temple to Venus over the site to keep Christians from visiting the empty tomb.
The Emperor Constantine ordered that the temple be replaced by a church, and the first church was completed in AD 335.
It has been in ruins and rebuilt several times since then.

In the 19th century, British archaeologists found another possible location outside the Damascus gate.

Several things made this site interesting.
There was a rock outcropping that looked like a skull.
Next door to this area they found the site of an ancient vineyard with an empty tomb which fits what John wrote:

(John 19:41 NKJV) 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.

Today we call this the “Garden Tomb”.

:33 there they crucified Him

David prophesied in detail of the crucifixion 1,000 years earlier, including this:

(Psalm 22:16b NKJV) …They pierced My hands and My feet;

Crucifixion was unknown in David’s time.

The Persians invented crucifixion around 800 BC, but the Romans perfected it.
It was widely used as a deterrent against rebellious slaves.
When Rome put down the rebellion of slaves led by Spartacus in 71 BC, they marked the end of the rebellion by crucifying 6,000 captives.

The prisoner’s hands were attached to the crossbeam with either ropes or nails.

A small wooden block was attached to the vertical beam to support the weight of the prisoner.
The feet were then attached either by ropes or nails.
Death usually came slowly after several days, and resulted from the cumulative impact of thirst, hunger, exhaustion, exposure.

Crucifixion was considered by the Romans as “the most wretched of deaths” (Josephus) and was reserved for the lowest class of people and the most heinous crimes.

:33 one on the right hand and the other on the left

Another fulfillment of prophecy:

(Isaiah 53:9a NKJV) And they made His grave with the wicked…
Jesus died with criminals.

:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

:34 Father, forgive them

knoweido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive



How do you respond when people aren’t nice to you?
It’s not always easy to react like Jesus.
We’d prefer to get even.
After 17 years of marriage, a man dumped his wife for his young secretary. His new girlfriend demanded that she wanted to live in the couple’s Multimillion dollar home, and since the man’s lawyers were a little better, he prevailed. He gave his now ex-wife just 3 days to move out. She spent the first day packing her belongings into boxes, crates and suitcases. On the second day, she had the movers come and collect her things. On the third day, she sat down for the last time at their beautiful dining room table by candlelight, put on some soft background music, and feasted on a pound of shrimp, a jar of caviar, and a bottle of Chardonnay. When she had finished, she went into each and every room and deposited a few half-eaten shrimp shells, dipped in caviar, into the hollow of the curtain rods. She then cleaned up the kitchen and left. When the husband returned with his new girlfriend, all was bliss for the first few days. Then slowly, the house began to smell. They tried everything; cleaning & mopping and airing the place out. Vents were checked for dead rodents, and carpets were steam cleaned. Air fresheners were hung everywhere. Exterminators were brought in to set off gas canisters, during which they had to move out for a few days, and in the end they even paid to replace the expensive wool carpeting. Nothing worked. People stopped coming over to visit... Repairmen refused to work in the house...The maid quit... Finally, they could not take the stench any longer and decided to move. A month later, even though they had cut their price in half, they could not find a buyer for their stinky house. Word got out, and eventually, even the local Realtors refused to return their calls. Finally, they had to borrow a huge sum of money from the bank to purchase a new place. The ex-wife called the man, and asked how things were going. He told her the saga of the rotting house. She listened politely, and said that she missed her old home terribly, and would be willing to reduce her divorce settlement in exchange for getting the house back... Knowing his ex-wife had no idea how bad the smell was, he agreed on a price that was about 1/10th of what the house had been worth ... but only if she were to sign the papers that very day. She agreed, and within the hour, his lawyers delivered the paperwork. A week later, the man and his new girlfriend stood smirking as they watched the moving company pack everything to take to their new home... including the curtain rods.
Even some of the good guys in the Bible didn’t respond like Jesus.
Zechariah was a high priest who was put to death by King Joash: 

(2 Chronicles 24:22b NKJV) …and as he died, he said, “The Lord look on it, and repay!”

Jesus asked God to forgive them.
forgiveaphiemi – to let go, give up a debt, forgive
Instead of holding on to a grudge and figuring out how to get even, we need to let it go.
We’re supposed to be like Jesus, not Zechariah.
(Ephesians 4:31–32 NKJV) —31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

:34 divided His garments

divideddiamerizo – to cleave asunder, cut in pieces; to be divided into opposing parts, to be at variance, in dissension; to distribute

garmentshimation – a garment (of any sort); garments, i.e. the cloak or mantle and the tunic; the upper garment, the cloak or mantle

castballo – to throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls; to scatter, to throw, cast into

lotskleros – an object used in casting or drawing lots, which was either a pebble, or a potsherd, or a bit of wood; the lots of several persons concerned, inscribed with their names, were thrown together into a vase, which was then shaken, and he whose lot fell out first upon the ground was the one chosen

This too was a fulfillment of a prophecy, again by David:

(Psalm 22:18 NKJV) They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

For those of you who came out to watch “The Robe”, this is where that fictional story comes from, answering the question “Whatever happened to Jesus’ robe?”

Video:  The Robe – The Crucifixion (38:50-44:06)

: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.”

looking ontheoreo – to be a spectator, look at, behold; to view attentively, take a view of, survey; to view mentally, consider; to see

sneeredekmukterizo – to deride by turning up the nose, to sneer at, to scoff at

savedsozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue

ChristChristos – “anointed”; Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God

choseneklektos – picked out, chosen

:35 He saved others

They are probably thinking about how Jesus has healed many people.

: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.”

mocked  empaizo –  to play with, trifle with; to mock

coming toproserchomai – to come to, approach; draw near to

offeringprosphero – to bring to, lead to; to be borne towards one, to attack, assail

:36 offering Him sour wine

sour wineoxos – vinegar; the mixture of sour wine or vinegar and water which the Roman soldiers were accustomed to drink

Jesus will be offered several things on the cross to quench His thirst.

He will refuse the wine mixed with myrrh, which acted as an anesthetic.

He would take a sip of this vinegar.

:37 save Yourself

savesozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction; to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health; to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue



The people and the rulers are “sneering” at Jesus.
The soldiers are “mocking” Him.

They all are taunting Him to “save” Himself.

I am reminded of what happened when Jesus came into town the previous Sunday.
(Matthew 21:9 NKJV) Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”

Do you recall what the word “Hosanna” means?

It means “save now”.

They cried out to Him on Sunday thinking that He might save them from the Romans.
They’re taunting Him now to save Himself.
What they don’t know is that He is saving them, and from something far worse than the Romans.
He is dying for their sins.
Isaiah saw it seven hundred years earlier:

(Isaiah 53:5–6 NKJV) —5 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. 6 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.

Paul wrote

(2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Why did Jesus die for our sins?
Because He loves us and He wants us to spend eternity in heaven with Him.

(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Why would you not believe and follow someone who loves you like that?

[1] Johnson, B. T., & Lookadoo, J. (2016). Zealot. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.