The Weekend Word
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.
- You would think that one of the disciples, the ones who vowed to die for him, would be there to help carry his cross.
- Instead we have a stranger – ‘a man of Cyrene, Simon by name.
- Cyrene was a large city in Libya Northern Africa a short distance from the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
- A large Jewish population, ) up to 1/4th of the city) many went to Jerusalem at this time of year. So many in fact that they occupied their own synagogue (Acts 2:10; Acts 6:9)
- Many became Christians (Acts 11:20)
- Was Simon the first missionary back to his home country telling of what he saw and who Jesus was?
33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull),
- Calvary is the Latin word for Place of the Skull.
34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it.
- Who are the “they”? It does not say it was the soldiers. The Jewish tradition says that the women of the town would offer this up to those condemned to crucifixion to ease the pain and to calm them.
- Jesus will not take the pain killer – he will endure all that the Father gives him. He has work to do and a few words left to say.
- He will drink the unmixed wine later in v. 48.
35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.
- See Psalm 22:18 – “they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there.
- What were they watching for? To be sure no one removed him from the cross.
37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
- According to John 19 “19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”
- The Jews want the statement changed – but Pilate stands by what he wrote.
38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left.
- Who were these 2? Could they have been part of Barabbas’ clan?
- Some manuscripts insert verse 28: And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “He was numbered with the transgressors” Which is a fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12.
- Of which he spoke to his disciples in the Garden Luke 22:37 – “37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads
- Here we see the one who is despised – Psalm 22:7 “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;”
- Isaiah 53:3 – “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
- Look what we have here – similar to Matthew 4 – Jesus being tempted.
- Satan is now using the mocking crowd to tempt Jesus.
- In Luke’s gospel at the end of the temptation it says v.13 – “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” – Now we see that opportune time.
41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying,
42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.
- This is a tremendous satanic temptation
- Save yourself – isn’t this how we all think we will get through life in God’s good graces? Saving ourselves?
- “and we will believe in him.” – God, do what we say and we will believe in you.
43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
- They do recognize the truth in their mocking – Jesus does trust in God.
- They do know what his words meant “I am the Son of God.”
44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
- You would think that they had enough troubles of their own.
- Note the term ‘robbers’ – as we said earlier about Barabbas, robbers = revolutionaries. If Barabbas was actually released, perhaps these are his fellow revolutionaries.