Luke 23:23-56 When God Showed His Love

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Luke, New Testament

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

God declares to us that His love for us is demonstrated by the Jesus going to the cross for the sins of every man and woman.

Chuck Smith– Love can be measured by what it costs to give.

Scourging and crucifixion was well know to the people of Jesus’ day.
The Romans had perfected crucifixion and a very slow and tortuous death.
When the gospel writers wrote that Jesus was crucified, the readers in that time understood the horror of it.

We are far removed from crucifixion, and don’t understand it fully.
Since God says that the cross was the way He shows His love for us,…
We do well to understand as much as we can about what Jesus went through a His act of love for us.

EXCRUCIATE: To cause great agony, torment
LATIN: ex- out from; cruciate- the cross

Prior to the crucifixion,…
1. Jesus was blindfolded and beaten by the Sanhedrin, the religious leaders.
Jesus was them led to Pilate. He probably did not sleep at all that night.
2. Jesus was scourged under the supervision of Pilate.
It is thought that perhaps scourging did not always accompany crucifixion.
The scourging came first, b/c Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus, and sought to satisfy the bloodlust of the crowd by scourging Jesus, and then releasing Him.
The crowd cried out for Jesus to be crucified, and so Jesus underwent even more torture than perhaps other victims of crucifixion.
a. Prisoner stripped and hands tied to a post above his head.
Jewish Law set a maximum of 40 lashes, but the Romans may have ignored this altogether.
b. The Roman soldier, called a legionnaire, began to whip the victim with what is called a flagrum, or flagellum.
c. Short whip w/ several leather thongs, w/ small bits of lead, or bone or metal, attached to the end of the leather thongs.
d. The victim was whipped on the shoulders, back, and legs.
e. The first blows raise welts, but then as the skin swell and stretches, the skin is torn open. The process continues, and the cutting of the flesh goes into the muscles. The bleeding is first at the level of veins and capillaries, but eventually goes deep enough that arteries are torn, and extreme blood loss occurs.
f. The scourging is terminated when the prisoner is thought to be at the point of death.
g. Isaiah 50:6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
h. Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men;

3. Jesus Mocked as a King
The soldiers then mock Jesus, placing a robe upon the severely damaged back of Jesus.
They place a staff in His hand and mockingly bow down to Him.
They weave together a crown made of flexible thorny branches, and press it onto the head of Jesus.
Gen 3:17, 18 “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
Jesus was crowned with that which sin brought forth: thorns

Severe bleeding again occurs, the scalp being one of the most vascular parts of the body.
Finally, the soldiers are tired of this, they take the staff and hit Jesus across the head, driving the thorns deeper into the scalp.
As they finish, they tear the robe off of Jesus’ back, no doubt, re-opening wounds that had begun to close as they stuck to the robe.

Jesus was then led away from the Judgment Hall and led by the longest possible route to the place of crucifixion.
About 650 yards from the Antonia Fortress to the supposed place of Golgotha.
He walked in the hollow square of four Roman soldiers surrounding him.
A sign was attached to a staff, and carried in front of the procession, announcing the crime of the victim.
The sign, also called the titulus, would then be attached to the top of the cross.
Two other criminals were part of the procession also.

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.

Crucifixion was a common practice among the Romans.
So common, that only a portion of the cross was actually carried by the victim.
The upright portion was called the stipes.
These were often left fixed in the ground at the place of execution, usually on a main road so that the Jewish public would be intimidated by the power of Rome.

The victim would carry the cross-bar, called the patibulum.

Latin cross- Cross bar fastened 2-3 feet below the top of the stipes.
Tau cross- shaped like a “T”, with the patibulum fitting into a notch on top of the stipes.
The Bible says that a sign was placed over His head, which sign had written upon it “The King Of The Jews”.
If Jesus died on a Latin cross, the sign was fastened to the stipes above His head.
If He died on a “T” shaped cross, the sign was somehow attached to the top of the patibulum.

It is thought that there was a shortage of wood in that time, so people may have been crucified on the upright portion of low growing trees, such as an olive tree.

Now as they led Him away,
Jesus carried the cross bar, the patibulum.
It weighed between 80-120 pounds.
B/c of Jesus’ poor physical condition, he could only carry the patibulum part of the way.
No doubt as He fell, further injury took place from the heavy beam tied across His shoulders.

they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian,…
Simon was in Jerusalem as a pilgrim who came to keep the Passover Feast.
He was from Northern Africa, from what is now called Tripoli.
Any Romans soldier could lay the flat part of his spear on anyone’s shoulder, and force him to follow His commands to a certain degree.
Simon is compelled to carry the bloody cross-beam that Jesus could no longer carry.

Imagine the shame and frustration that Simon must have felt, to be involved with this frightening spectacle.
He makes great effort and travels a great distance to come to keep a religious feast, and ends up being involved in a crucifixion.

Mark 15:21 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.

Notice that Marks writes and further identifies Simon as the father of Rufus and Alexander.
Why identify him in this way unless it was significant to the readers?
Mark’s gospel was written first, and to a Gentile audience.
Some think it was written to the Christians in Rome.
Romans 16:13 Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
Could it be that Simon of Cyrene carried the cross of Jesus, became a believer, and had sons who also followed Christ b/c of their father’s witness to them?

27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.
28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 “For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’
30 “Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘
31 “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death.
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.

Simon the Cyrene is finally allowed to put down the heavy cross-beam.
Jesus is thrown to the ground, and his arms are stretched out on the beam.
A nail is driven through the depression in the wrist, and his other armed is then extended out , also to be nailed to the cross beam.
The arms cannot be stretched too tightly, b/c some flexion is required in order for the victim to die more slowly.

Matt 27:34 They gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink.
This was done as an act of mercy, the wine and gall being a mild analgesic mixture to dull the pain.
Jesus refused it.

Jesus is now attached to the patibulum, and this cross beam is set in place on top of the stipes.

1. Nails through the hands.
Pictures show us that Jesus received the nails through the palms of His hands.
The hand is not designed to be able to hold that kind of body weight.
The nails were driven through the wrist, between the radial and ulna bones.
The nails used were 7 inches long, and about 3/8 of an inch in diameter.

2. Nails through the feet.
The legs are flexed, and nails driven through the top of each foot, the legs being bent in almost a 90 degree angle.
Others believe that the legs were twisted to the side, the feet being nailed through the achilles tendon area.
In either case, the legs are left in a flexed position.

3. The slow death
The process of death now begins.
As body weight sags down upon the nails through the wrists, pressure is put upon the median nerves, which radiate pain through the fingers, hands, arms, and shoulders.
As the victim tries to avoid this pain, he pushes up on the feet, and puts his full body weight upon that nail.
The pain radiates through the nerves in his feet and legs.

The arms and legs fatigue, and begin to cramp, and the throbbing pain does not let up.
The cramps inhibit the victim’s ability to push up on his feet.
The pectoral muscles become paralyzed, and the intercostal muscles between the ribs are unable to function.
Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled w/o pushing down on the feet.
This becomes increasingly difficult as the legs cramp and lose strength.
The victim is forced to slide up and down upon the upright of the cross.

Many times the legs of the victim would be broken, in order to hasten his death.
This is what happened to the two thieves, but not to Jesus.

Slowly, the victim begins to die of asphyxiation, as the body is unable to properly inhale and exhale, and carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs.

As the body would fatigue, and muscles cramp and lose strength, joint separation would occur, further compounding the problem.

The victim would gasp for air in short gulps, and that clearly explains the 7 shorts statements that Jesus made from the cross.

This all happened, including the fact that Jesus had not slept, was previously beaten, experienced sever blood loss and dehydration.

34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.”
36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine,
37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”

These crosses were not very tall. The feet of the victim were probably only a few feet off the ground.
Those who would taunt the victim could be at eye level with them.

38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation?
41 “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”
42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
From 12 noon until 3 p.m.

45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
Phlegon, Roman historian:
“In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an extraordinary eclipse of
the sun: at the sixth hour, the day turned into dark night, so that the stars in heaven were seen; and there was an earthquake” (cited in Clarke)

This is especially remarkable because during a full moon – which Passover was always held at – it was impossible that there be a natural eclipse of the sun.

Luke 22:53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Psalms 22:12-13 12 Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. 13 They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion.

Bashan was an area east of the Jordan, famous for very large cattle.
The people there worshipped demons that they believed inhabited the cattle.
Demons that were connected to Baal, and which they though brought fertility.

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

and the veil of the temple was torn in two.

Death usually came through asphyxiation.
We see something else in Jesus’ case.
The pericardium slowly begins to fill with fluid, and begins to compress the heart muscle.

Psalms 22:14-15 I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.

John 19:33, 34 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

The fact that blood and water issued forth from the sac around the heart is an indicator that Jesus died of a ruptured heart.
Heart failure due to constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.
Asphyxiation also a contributing factor.

With one last push upon His feet, He takes a deep breath, …

46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned.
49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man.
51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.
54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

John 19:30 (NKJV) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

John 10:17-18 (NIV)
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life–only to take it up again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Romans 5:9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.