104. Crucifixion: Father, Forgive Them (Luke 23:26-38)

Audio (32:41)
Gospel Parallels §§248, 249

James J. Tissot, detail of 'The Pardon of the Good Thief' (1886-94)
James J. Tissot, detail of 'The Pardon of the Good Thief' (1886-94), gouache on gray wove paper, Brooklyn Museum, New York.

"26  As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. 28  Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. 29  For the time will come when you will say, "Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!" 30  Then they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"' 31  For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?'

32  Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33  When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals -- one on his right, the other on his left. 34  Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, 'He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.' 36  The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37  and said, 'If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.' 38  There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." (Luke 23:26-38, NIV)

Sometimes the darkest, most depressing scenes are illuminated by a bright light. This is true of our passage today. As it begins, it is not a pretty picture -- one we shun because it is so horrifying.

Simon Carries the Cross (Luke 23:26)

Pilate has given into the shouting crowd and made his decision. Barabbas, the murderer and insurrectionist, is released while Jesus is sentenced to death by crucifixion.

If there was ever a "norm" for the barbaric practice of crucifixion among the Romans1125 -- and practices varied widely in the first century -- it usually began with a flogging using a scourge tipped with glass or metal (Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15), so severe that it killed some men outright, before their crucifixion could be carried out.1126 But Luke passes over the soldiers' mocking and scourging, and moves quickly to Jesus' journey out of the city.

"As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus." (Luke 23:26)

In Jesus' day it was customary for the criminal under the sentence of death to carry his cross out to the place of execution. Typically, the cross consisted of two parts:

  1. The cross-beam or horizontal member (Latin patibulum) on which the arms would be stretched out and attached, and,
  2. The vertical post or stake which would be sunk in the earth and remain in place at the execution site.1127 The Greek word for cross is stauros, originally "an upright pointed stake or pale," such as might be used in constructing a palisade. Later the word stauros came to refer to any part of the cross, whether the upright, or cross-piece.1128

And so Jesus begins to carry or drag the beam from the Roman praetorium where he had been flogged, along the Via Dolorosa to his execution outside the walls. Jesus the carpenter has felled trees and fashioned many a beam, and borne them on his shoulders to a new house or remodeling project in Nazareth. But now he must carry the heavy beam on shoulders lacerated by the Roman scourge, and is weak from loss of blood. Seneca describes the "swelling with ugly welts on the shoulders and chest" that would result from the scourging.1129 While the text doesn't specifically state it, he must have staggered and fallen, unable to continue. For Simon of Cyrene is seized from the crowd of onlookers and forced to carry the beam behind Jesus.

The first verb in the 22:26 is epilambanomai, "take hold of, grasp, catch," sometimes with violence.1130 Simon has no choice; the soldiers grab him and lay Jesus' cross upon him, making him carry it for the condemned man, who staggers and yet forces himself to go on. Simon follows. The (improper) preposition here is opisthen, "of place, 'behind, after' someone."1131 The phrase "made him carry (Greek pherō) it following (opisthen) Jesus" reminds me of Jesus' own words, months before, where he told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up (airō) his cross daily and follow (akoloutheō) me." The Greek words are different, but the thought is similar. The experience of carrying Jesus' cross must have been life-changing for Simon, for Mark notes that he is "the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mark 15:21), no doubt later disciples who are well-known to Mark's readers.

Daughters of Jerusalem

Now we come to a passage that is only recorded in Luke's Gospel:

"A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, "Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!" Then they will say to the mountains,
'Fall on us!'
and to the hills, 'Cover us!'"
For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?'" (Luke 23:27-31)

Jesus' followers line the streets mourning and wailing for him. The verb translated "followed" in 23:27 is the imperfect tense (continuous action in the past) of the familiar verb akoloutheō, "follow as a disciple." Jesus' enemies have him condemned, but he still has a large popular following. They can do nothing but weep, however. Jesus is now surrounded by ruthless Roman soldiers who will crush any attempt to rescue him. Mourning (Greek koptō) and wailing (Greek thrēneō) were characteristic at funerals, and even thought of as meritorious. The tense again is imperfect, indicating the continual mournful din that accompanied Jesus' passage through the streets. Greek koptō means "beat' one's breast as an act of mourning, mourn someone."1132 Greek thrēneō carries the idea, "mourn, lament," especially, "sing a dirge." The noun threnos means "dirge."1133 There is mournful confusion in the streets.

Though I am not a Roman Catholic, I sometimes find that meditating on the fourteen Stations of the Cross1134 helps me relive this day of Jesus' death. These Stations are nearly always found on the interior walls of a Catholic church, and sometimes in a garden or cloister at a monastery. One ancient tradition, though with little documentation, is that during this procession winding through the streets of Jerusalem, one of the women (who came to be known as Veronica) wipes Jesus' face as an act of compassion.1135

Weep for Yourselves (Luke 23:27-31)

Luke's text says "Jesus turned" and spoke to the crowds. The Greek verb is strephō, which, in the passive voice, has a reflexive meaning, "turn around, turn toward."1136 I see in my mind's eye Jesus being allowed by the soldiers to pause for a moment, and as he does, he turns around to the wailing women crowding the streets. There is a hush, so the women can hear his weak voice:

"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then they will say to the mountains,
'Fall on us!'
and to the hills, 'Cover us!'
For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? " (Luke 23:27-31)

Jesus speaks with sorrow about the terrible destruction that will befall Jerusalem, fulfilled in cruel finality when the Romans, under Vespian's son Titus, besiege Jerusalem for six months in 70 AD. During his triumphal entry, Jesus had prophesied as he wept over the city:

"The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you." (Luke 19:43-44)

The terror of that siege was extreme. Josephus tells us,

"So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine, and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them.

As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it; and those that were hearty and well were deterred from doing it by the great multitude of those dead bodies, and by the uncertainty there was how soon they should die themselves; for many died as they were burying others, and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come.

Nor was there any lamentations made under these calamities, nor were heard any mournful complaints; but the famine confounded all natural passions; for those who were just going to die looked upon those that were gone to rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night, had seized upon the city."1137

Jesus said the women should weep now for their children, who would be adults at that fearful time, for there was no mourning then. Jesus' quotation about calling for the mountains to fall upon them is from Hosea 10:8.

Jesus' final saying isn't as familiar: "For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" It sounds like a contemporary proverb. The comparison is between green wood that is difficult to burn, and dry wood that will support a blazing fire. Perhaps the idea is: If God doesn't spare innocent Jesus, how much more severe will be the fate of guilty Jerusalem?1138

The Place of the Skull (Luke 23:32-33)

The destination of this mournful procession is outside Jerusalem:

"Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals -- one on his right, the other on his left." (Luke 23:32-33)

Luke doesn't use the Aramaic term Golgotha, "skull," as do the other Gospel writers (John 19:17; Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22), but rather translates the term into Greek, "the place called the Skull" (Greek kranion). The term evokes the haunting specter of death. The KJV uses the term "Calvary" to describe the place, from the Vulgate's Latin word calvaria, "skull."

Locations of traditional Golgotha (Church of the Holy Sepulcher) and Gordon's Calvary
Locations of traditional Golgotha (Church of the Holy Sepulcher) and Gordon's Calvary. (larger map)

There is disagreement about the site of Golgotha. Scriptures indicate that it was outside the city (Hebrews 13:12) but close to it (John 19:20), probably along some public thoroughfare (Matthew 27:39), as well as being visible from afar (Mark 15:40; Luke 23:49). Two possible locations are held to be most probable:

  1. Church of the Holy Sepulcher. A site within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, not too far from the supposed site of Jesus' tomb. This site has the support of church tradition going back to Eusebius in the fourth century.1139 According to archeological studies in the 1960s, the location would have been well outside the city walls according to Josephus' description of the city's fortifications. Prior to the city's expansion, it was a quarry into which a number of tombs had been cut.1140
  2. "Gordon's Calvary." A prominent, rounded, grassy hill above the so-called "Grotto of Jeremiah," northeast of the modern Damascus Gate. It sometimes called "Gordon's Calvary," after famous British General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), an early advocate of the site. Though it has some resemblance to a skull, the "eyeholes" and rounded top are due to artificial excavations going back a couple of centuries and are not ancient.1141

Though we think of Golgotha as on a hill, the text doesn't tell us that. Only the ability to see it from afar suggests a hill. The exact location isn't important. What happened there is of vital importance.

They Crucified Him (Luke 23:32-33)

"Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals -- one on his right, the other on his left." (Luke 23:32-33)

The word translated "executed" (NIV) or "to be put to death" (KJV) is Greek anaireō, "'take away, do away with, destroy,' mostly of killing by violence, in battle, by execution, murder, or assassination."1142 The Gospel writers don't dwell on the gruesome execution, they say simply "they crucified him," Greek stauroō, "nail to the cross, crucify."1143

Crucifixion apparently began with the Persians, and was practiced later by Alexander the Great, and the Carthaginians. But with the Romans, the cross was widely used as a terrifying method of quelling the slave rebellions of the second century BC.

Crucifixion was performed in many cruel ways, as many as could be imagined to hurt and humiliate a victim and fix him as an example and deterrent in the minds of onlookers. The usual pattern, however, was this: On the ground the condemned person was

"... bound with outstretched arms to the cross-beam by ropes, or else fixed to it by nails. Then the beam was raised with the body and fastened to the upright post. About the middle of the post was a wooden block, which supported the suspended body. There was no foot-rest in ancient accounts."1144

Hegel says,

"In Roman times not only was it the rule to nail the victim by both hands and feet, but that the flogging which was a stereotyped part of the punishment would make the blood flow in streams."1145

It is certain that Jesus' hands and feet were nailed to the cross,1146 though the nails did not usually kill the condemned person. These wounds bled little. Most of the blood loss would be from the scourging administered before the crucifixion. That Jesus died within six hours on the cross is a testimony to the severity of the scourging administered by Pilate's soldiers before he was sent to Golgotha.

Death would come only slowly to most of the crucified, usually only after several days. Death resulted either from shock or "a painful process of asphyxiation as the muscles used in breathing suffered increasing fatigue."1147 Imagine your body hanging from the arms for days at a time. To take a breath you'd have to raise your chest by pulling on your arms. Eventually, slowly, a condemned man became too weak to breathe.

Along with the Criminals (Luke 23:32-33)

The Gospel is clear: Jesus is crucified alongside common criminals, Greek kakourgos, "criminal, evil-doer, one who commits gross misdeeds and serious crimes."1148 Luke tells us,

"They crucified him, along with the criminals -- one on his right, the other on his left" (Luke 23:33)

Jesus has suffered the final shame, something we might equate with death in the electric chair or gas chamber. Paul writes,

"He humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross!" (Philippians 2:8)

The writer of Hebrews says, he "endured the cross, scorning its shame" (Hebrews 12:2). He did it for us. Eight centuries before, Isaiah had prophesied of the Suffering Servant,

"He poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors." (Isaiah 53:12)

James and John had asked for the places at his right and at his left -- in his glory (Mark 10:37). But the cross was scarcely his glory but his humiliation -- glory would come later (Philippians 2:8-11). And at his left and right were robbers, common thieves (Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27). And now he makes intercession for the transgressors.

Father, Forgive Them (Luke 23:34a)

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" (Luke 23:34a)

Of the Seven Last Words of Christ from the cross, this is the first -- forgiveness (though the text is missing in some early manuscripts).1149 Notice the simple address to his "Father." In an early morning time of prayer in Gethsemane or from the cross, it is the same. God is "Father." He asks the Father to forgive, Greek aphiēmi, "cancel, remit, pardon," used of loans (Matthew 18:27) as well as referring to the remission of guilt.1150 Forgiveness is choosing to no longer hold something against a person. In Jesus' case, he was asking the Father not to hold his execution against his killers, "for they do not know what they are doing."

Who is he forgiving?

  1. The soldiers. They have grown callous with killing. Jesus is just another criminal to them, driving the spikes is all in a day's work. Nothing personal, mind you. Business, strictly business. While Jesus is praying what may be the most profound prayer of all time, they are gambling to see who will win his clothing. Can the soldiers claim, "I can't help myself. If I didn't do it, someone else would have. It's the fault of the system"? No. They are personally responsible for their actions, under orders or not. Nothing absolves them from guilt -- except the Son of God hanging above them.
  2. Pilate. Pilate is arguably the most powerful man in Jerusalem, yet in the Gospels -- and to history -- he appears weak. He quickly perceives that Jesus is innocent of the trumped up charges against him. His wife warns him of a dream she has had, and pleads with him not to do anything to him (Matthew 27:19). And yet Pilate appeases the Jewish leaders and grants their request -- against all sense of pride in Roman justice. How could he not know what he was doing?
  3. The Jewish leaders. The high priestly family, the scribes, and the Pharisees were all out to destroy Jesus. They manipulated his words, brought false witnesses, put political pressure on Pilate, and stirred up the crowd to demand crucifixion rather than release. How could they not know what they were doing? They might have excused themselves by saying that the end justifies the means. But they were guilty.

But even though each responsible party acted wickedly and unrighteously, Jesus gives them the benefit of the doubt. So do the leaders of the early church:

"This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross." (Acts 2:23)

"Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders." (Acts 3:17)

"The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath." (Acts 13:27)

"None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1 Corinthians 2:8)

As I look for lessons in this depressing and chilling lesson, this prayer of Jesus to forgive his enemies stands as a brilliant light and a rich jewel that illuminates the darkness of that day.

The application to disciples is very clear: if Jesus intercedes for the forgiveness of his enemies who are guilty of gross wickedness, how can you and I withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged us? If we are disciples, learners, of Jesus, then we must learn this. If we are followers of Jesus, then we must follow him here, along the path of forgiving our enemies and persecutors and those who intend evil against us (Luke 6:27-31; Matthew 5:43-48; 6:14-15).

When evil has plunged a person into the grossest iniquity and the depths of degradation, the grace of God seems to be all the more beautiful.

Casting Lots for His Clothing (Luke 23:34b)

Among those Jesus forgives, none has asked for forgiveness. The second half of this verse is deeply ironic. At Jesus' feet sit the soldiers on the crucifixion detail that day. It is their right, their perquisite, to claim the clothing of the condemned.

"And they divided up his clothes by casting lots." (Luke 23:34b)

They throw lots to decide who gets a particular garment. The noun is Greek klēros, "'lot' (i.e. pebble, small stick, etc.). When I was a boy we drew straws to see who got something. Casting lots was a game of chance designed to decide a matter. Above them Jesus hangs naked and bloody. Below him they cast lots for his bloody raiment. The bloodstains will wash out, they tell each other. The bloodstains will wash away.

This passage is worded to bring to mind the prophecy of Psalm 22:16-18, which it fulfills:

"Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing." (Psalm 22:16-18)

Naked on the Cross?

Was Jesus naked and exposed on the cross? Men were ordinarily crucified naked.1151 Schneider tells us, "Sometimes [the condemned person] was stripped and his clothes were divided among the executioners, though this was not the common rule."1152 The very purpose of crucifixion was utter humiliation for the condemned. What would be more humiliating than to strip a person naked?

But among the Jews, nakedness, particularly nakedness in public, was considered exceedingly shameful. Edersheim cites Sanhedrin vi.3.4 that in Jewish executions by stoning, "the criminal was undressed, only the covering absolutely necessary for decency being left." While he concedes that Jesus was executed by Romans, not Jews, he feels that "every concession would be made to Jewish custom," and thus Jesus would have been spared the indignity of exposure as being "truly un-Jewish."1153 Green, on the other hand, assumes Jesus' nakedness at the crucifixion.1154 Was Jesus naked on the cross? We just can't be sure.

Let Him Save Himself (Luke 23:35-37)

Two groups mock Jesus on the cross: the rulers and the soldiers themselves.

"The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, 'He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.' The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, 'If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.'" (Luke 23:35-37)

The mocking is strangely familiar. It sounds much like Satan's original temptation in the desert, "If you are the Son of God..." (Luke 4:3, 9). It is a challenge to prove against all odds that you are whom you claim to be. Many of us fall for this form of temptation easily as our pride kicks into gear. Not Jesus. The word translated "sneered" in verse 35 is the Greek imperfect tense of ekmyktērizō, "ridicule, sneer," literally "turn up the nose" at someone.1155 The imperfect tense suggests continuous action in the past -- the rulers kept on ridiculing him. They wouldn't quit. In verse 36, the verb translated "mocked" is the Aorist tense of Greek empaizō, "ridicule, make fun of, mock" (in word and deed).1156 The tense of the word suggests that the soldiers mocked Jesus once and then ceased, though they probably spent the rest of the day at the foot of the cross.

We may think of mockery as confined to Jesus, but mockery of condemned criminals was widespread and common at crucifixions.1157 Watching someone die seems to bring out the curious as well as the worst in humankind. Mockery of the condemned occurred during public hangings in England into the nineteenth century.

But consider whom the rulers and soldiers mocked with the devil's words: an innocent man, the Son of God, and their only hope for eternal life. How many times since have each of these foolish men wished they could have taken back their words?

Offering Wine Vinegar (Luke 23:36b)

The text mentions that the soldiers mocked him while offering him wine vinegar, Greek oxos, "sour wine, wine vinegar." Arndt and Gingrich note, "It relieved thirst more effectively than water and, because it was cheaper than regular wine, it was a favorite beverage of the lower ranks of society and of those in moderate circumstances, especially of soldiers."1158 John's Gospel records,

"A jar of wine vinegar (oxos) was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips." (John 19:29-30)

This was offered in response to Jesus' words, "I thirst," and appears to be different from the wine (oinos) mingled with myrrh (Matthew 27:34; Mark 15:23) that was offered (and refused) before the crucifixion, apparently paid for by an association of charitable women in Jerusalem, to help deaden the pain.1159

King of the Jews (Luke 23:38)

"There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews." (Luke 23:38)

Part of a typical crucifixion included a tablet hung around the offender on the way to his execution stating his crime.1160 At least in Jesus' case, this inscription was affixed to the cross after the execution so that all could see, though there is no evidence that such posting on the cross was a general practice.1161

The placard is ironic: "This is the king of the Jews." Pilate no doubt wrote it as a jab at the Jewish leaders whom he despised, and to whom he had given in, allowing Jesus to be crucified. Pilate might have been weak, but he would have the last word. The leaders complained, but Pilate persisted: "What I have written, I have written" (John 19:19-22).

But the placard is doubly ironic. The roughly printed placard intended to state Jesus' crime in reality proclaims his true title. He is the Son of David, the descendent of Israel's greatest king, who comes as the Christ, the Messiah to liberate his people. And in his final act of liberation -- the atonement of the cross -- he is publicly proclaimed as King!

And so the Servant King humbles himself and becomes "obedient to death -- even death on a cross!" As Lamb of God, he gives up his life, bearing our sins, that we might not have to answer for them at the Judgment, but be forgiven.

It is a strange plan, this plan of God.
It is a cup that Jesus pleaded could be removed from him,
but only if the Father willed it.
And now the weight,
the weight of our sin,
settles down upon him
as he suffers,
as he suffers to redeem you and me.
This is the King.
Not only the King of the Jews,
But, by God's grace,
Our King -- yours and mine.


Father, to read and study about Jesus' death depresses me, it saddens me. How horrible! And yet, I know that there's a sense in which my sins put him there, and a sense in which his words, "Father, forgive them," were spoken about me, too. Thank you for your love that bore such pain. Thank you for the undeserved, costly gift of forgiveness that you have given me. Help me to now live in a manner worthy of such love. In Jesus' holy name, I pray. Amen.

Key Verse

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'" (Luke 23:34a)


Click on the link below to discuss on the forum one or more of the questions that follow -- your choice.

  1. What does Simon carrying Jesus' cross tell us about Jesus? About Simon? In what sense must his followers carry his cross today as they follow after him?
  2. Why does Jesus tell the daughters of Jerusalem to weep for themselves and their children?
  3. What is the significance of Jesus being crucified among common criminals? Why does the Father allow this event to be so degrading and degraded?
  4. In his prayer, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?" whom does Jesus forgive? Can we be forgiven if we know full well what we are doing? Was Pilate forgiven? The soldiers? The chief priests? Judas? Does that mean we will see them in heaven, or is it a "potential pardon" only which must be accepted?
  5. Why did Pilate write the inscription, "This is the king of the Jews?" What did he mean by it? What is the full significance of this placard?
Discipleship Training in Luke's Gospel, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Lessons compiled in 805-page book in paperback, Kindle, & PDF.


Abbreviations and References

[1125] The best resource on crucifixion I have found is the short and relatively inexpensive book Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross by Martin Hengel (translated from the 1976 German edition by John Bowden; Fortress Press/SCM Press, 1977, 99 pages, ISBN 080061268X). It is richly footnoted and provides a comprehensive study of the gruesome practice of crucifixion in the ancient world.

[1126] Hengel, p. 29, fn. 21, includes half a page of references

[1127] Johannes Schneider, saturos, ktl., TDNT 7:572-584, esp. 573.

[1128] Stauros, BAGD 764-765. TDNT 7:572. The Jehovah's Witness' contention that Jesus died on an impaling stake shows a narrowness in interpreting the ancient evidence. While men were impaled on impaling stakes in ancient times, it is clear that Jesus is nailed to the cross and left to die. The shape of the stauros varied greatly. It could be a single upright post, or with a cross-piece added, either to the top in a T shape (L. crux commissa), or with intersecting beams of equal length ( L. crux immissa).

[1129] Seneca, Epistle 101 to Lucilius, quoted in Hengel, pp. 30-31.

[1130] Epilambanomai, BAGD 295.

[1131] Opisthen, BAGD 574.

[1132] Koptō, BAGD 444. Also used in Matthew 11:17; 24:30; Luke 8:52; Revelation 1:7; 18:9.

[1133] Thrēneō, BAGD 363.

[1134] See my "Stations of the Cross or The Way of the Cross
for Protestants and Catholics," illustrated with paintings by James J. Tissot.  https://www.joyfulheart.com/stations-of-the-cross/

[1135] "St. Veronica," Catholic Encyclopedia (1907).

[1136] Strephō, BAGD 771.

[1137] Josephus, Wars of the Jews, v.12.3.

[1138] Marshall, Luke, p. 865; Gottlob Schrenk, xylon, ktl., TDNT 5:38.

[1139] Eusebius, Vita Constantini iii.26.

[1140] Joel B. Green, "Death of Jesus," DJG, pp. 146-163, in particular, p. 150.

[1141] David F. Payne, "Golgotha," ISBE 2:523-524. Edersheim, Life and Times 2:585-586, describes it and suggests that this was the actual location.

[1142] Anaireō, BAGD 54-55.

[1143] Stauroō, BAGD 765.

[1144] Schneider, TDNT 7:573. See also Hengel, p. 25.

[1145] Hengel, pp. 31-32.

[1146] "Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself!" Luke 24:39; also John 20:25; Acts 2:23; Colossians 2:14.

[1147] Green, DJG, p. 147.

[1148] Kakourgos, BAGD 398.

[1149] Verse 34 is omitted in many early manuscripts: p75 אa vid B D* W Θ ita,d syrs copsa,bo. The UBS text include it only in double brackets with a rating of C (A is most probably, D is less probable), and Metzger, p. 180 concludes that "the logion, though probably not part of the original Gospel of Luke, bears self-evident tokens of its dominical origin...." On the other hand, Marshall (Luke, pp. 867-868) marshals eight arguments in favor of its originality. He concludes, "The balance of the evidence thus favors acceptance of the saying as Lucan, although the weight of the textual evidence against the saying precludes any assurance in opting for this verdict."

[1150] Aphiēmi, BAGD 125-126.

[1151] Artemidorus II. 61, is cited by William L. Lane, Commentary on the Gospel of Mark (New International Commentary series; Eerdmans, 1974), p. 566.

[1152] Schneider, TDNT 7:574.

[1153] Edersheim, Life and Times 2:584.

[1154] Green, Luke, p. 820.

[1155] Ekmyktērizō, BAGD 243.

[1156] Empaizō, BAGD 225.

[1157] Schneider, TDNT 7:574.

[1158] Oxos, BAGD 574.

[1159] Edersheim (Life and Times 2:589-590) cites Mass Sem. ii.9; Bemid. R. 10; and Sanh. 43a.

[1160] Schneider, TDNT 7:573.

[1161] Green, DJG, p. 151.

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