Thursday, August 29, 2019


LUKE 24:1-9

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

Mark 16:1-3 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

Susie: Several women followers of Jesus had followed Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea in order to know where to bring the necessary spices for preparing the body of Jesus for the tomb. They had to wait until the Sabbath was over because that would have been considered work. Since the Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday, they went first thing the next morning rather than be out at night.

Susan: There was a question in the minds of the women disciples that morning. Who could they find to roll away the large stone Joseph and Nicodemus had rolled in front of the entrance to the tomb? But they proceeded toward the tomb hoping and praying there would be someone to assist them.

Luke 24:2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Mark 16:4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Susie: When they arrived at the sepulcher the stone had already been moved out of the way. Matthew’s gospel looks back to how that had happened:

Matthew 28:2-4 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

Susan: What two men had struggled to accomplish—rolling the stone downhill, the angel reversed easily; and the power that emanated from the angel as he rolled the stone back uphill caused a great earthquake!

Susie: This angel had a startling appearance with a face like lightning and glow-in-the-dark white clothing. Between his appearance and strength and the earthquake, the soldiers guarding the tomb fainted dead away!

Susan: When the soldiers reported to the chief priests what had happened, the priests paid them off to lie and say they had fallen asleep and the disciples had stolen the body. These same priests had paid witnesses to lie about Jesus at His mockery of a trial before the Sanhedrin and had bribed the crowd to yell “crucify him!” and ask for a murderer instead.

Matthew 28:11-14 Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.  And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

Luke 24:3-4 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:

Mark 16:5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Susan: The women entered the empty tomb and were astonished and confused to find the body of Jesus gone!

Susie: They saw two men, actually angels, in bright, shining clothing. Apparently only one of the angels spoke which may be why Mark mentions only one.

Luke 24:5-6 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

Susie: The women responded as most people who saw angels in the biblical accounts reacted to seeing angels: They bowed down, cowering in fright.

Susan: The words translated “the living” here are the definite article “the” and the verb “to live” in the Greek (Strong’s 2198) and literally “life” in the Aramaic text. Therefore, it would not be a stretch to translate this as follows: “Why do you seek THE LIFE among the dead?” This reminds me of what Jesus told the Apostles (emphasis mine):

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Susie: Mark records that the angel’s first words to them were, “Be not affrighted.” Angels must be fearsome because they usually open with some version of this, such as “fear not” or “be not afraid.”

Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

Matthew 28:5-6 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Susan: The angel assured the women that Jesus was not in the tomb because He had risen from the dead on the third day just as He had said He would.

Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Susie: Jesus had prophesied His death, burial, and resurrection more than once to His disciples and probably the women followers as well.

Susan: On those occasions, His prediction had gone right over their heads; but the angel is now reminding them of Jesus’s words.

Luke 9:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luke 18:31-33 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 24:8-9 And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

Matthew 28:7-8 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Susan: The angel urged the women to take the message of Jesus’s resurrection to the eleven remaining disciples.

Susie: They ran immediately to give this amazing report to the eleven who were gathered with some other followers of Jesus as well. We will see later, that included in this group were Cleopas and his companion to whom Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus.

Ponder this and apply it: Imagine the surprise of these women who went to a tomb prepared to anoint a body for burial and found that body to be missing! The angel explained the reason for the empty linen cloth lying there, and the women ran to tell the disciples. However, they still couldn’t quite take it all in. What exactly does the empty tomb mean to us? If Christ had not defeated death, we would have no hope of doing the same. The empty tomb means that those who believe will be with Jesus, not just in spirit, but in a resurrected body made new and perfect. We should rejoice and celebrate the empty tomb!

Monday, August 26, 2019


LUKE 23:49-56

Luke 23:49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

Susie: Jesus’s acquaintances would be His disciples, especially the eleven remaining Apostles. But who were these women? John MacArthur did the legwork on this question for us:

MacArthur Study Bible
23:49 the women…from Galilee. Matthew 27:56 and Mark 15:40, 41  report that this included Mary Magdalene; Mary, mother of James (the less) and Joses; Salome, mother of James and John, and many others. The same women were present at His burial (v. 55; Matt. 27:61; Mark 15:47) and His resurrection (24:1; Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:1)—so they were eyewitnesses to all the crucial events of the gospel (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3, 4).

1 Corinthians 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; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures

Susan: The disciples and these women followers were witnesses to the crucifixion. I imagine that the women felt anguish, disbelief, and dismay while watching Jesus die slowly. John’s gospel even records that Jesus gave the Apostle John responsibility for the care of His mother Mary:

John 19:26-27 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Luke 23:50-51 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: (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.

Susan: Joseph of Arimathaea was an incognito disciple of Jesus—a covert convert.

John 19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Susie: He kept his trust in Jesus a secret for fear of reprisals by others of the Jewish religious leadership. Remember, we have brought out in earlier passages that those who professed belief in Jesus as the Messiah were thrown out of the synagogues. Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin who was not in agreement with their condemnation of Jesus. 

Susan: He was probably not there when the decision was made to deliver Jesus to Pilate to be crucified. Otherwise, he surely would have been a dissenting vote, as would Nicodemus.

Susie:  I have a feeling that the leaders only gathered those they knew would vote with them to condemn Jesus.

Susan: The reason they had met secretly at night was so the vote would not be muddled up by those who were for Jesus like Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

Luke 23:52-53 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. 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.

Susie: Matthew tells us that this tomb belonged to Joseph of Arimathaea.

Matthew 27:59-60 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

Susie: Joseph was bold enough to ask Pilate to allow him to take Jesus’ body for burial, and Pilate granted his request.

Susan: Preparing a body for burial is a very intimate exercise, especially as it was done in the day of Jesus by family or friends. The incognito duo of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus became bold enough to ask for Jesus’ body and perform this final service for their Lord. After Joseph of Arimathaea was allowed to remove Jesus from the cross, he laid him in his very own tomb. 

Susie: He wrapped the body in linen with spices as was the custom, but he did not perform this task alone.

John 19:39-41 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

Susie: Remember Nicodemus from John chapter three? He came to Jesus at night to ask Him questions. Now he comes in the daylight to assist in preparing Him for burial. 

Susan: One hundred pounds is about what I weighed when I was 5’1”! That’s a lot of aromatic spices and a lot of money put into perfume! They were having to commence with the preparations speedily because it was almost time for the Sabbath.

Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

John 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Susie: Wrapping a body for burial would be considered work and would also render them “unclean” for a period because touching a dead body caused defilement under the law. Therefore, they had to prepare the body in haste.

Susan: Joseph offered his tomb because he loved the Lord, and it was in proximity to Golgotha, the place called “the skull” where the Lord was crucified. Jesus was the first to occupy this tomb but only borrowed it for three short days. Even His burial place fulfilled messianic prophecy:

Isaiah 53:9 (VOICE) And when he was dead, he was buried with the disgraced in borrowed space (among the rich), Even though he did no wrong by word or deed.

Luke 23:55-56 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Susie: The women who were devout followers of Jesus followed Joseph and Nicodemus to see where they would put Jesus’s body. Then they went back home to prepare spices and perfumes themselves to anoint the body. Perhaps they did not think the two men would correctly prepare the Lord for the tomb or that the men may not have had time to perform this final ministry. Then the women rested according to the law of the Sabbath.

Ponder this and Apply it: None of Jesus’s followers seem to remember at this point that He said He would rise from the dead. They are lovingly preparing His body for burial while thinking their hopes that He was the Messiah are gone. Would we have had any more confidence than they did? Looking back from this side of the cross, we may think we would have held on to belief. However, how easily do we lose faith in God’s power when we have a much less traumatic event than seeing the One we believed in crucified? We suffer financial loss or illness and ask ourselves whether God is in control, so I am sure we would have been shaken to the core at the foot of the cross. But God is in control. Christ did rise from the grave. We can place our trust in Him.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019


LUKE 23:44-48

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Susie: Since Passover falls in the middle of a month, this could not have been a solar eclipse. It was a supernatural occurrence in which God shielded or “turned off” the sun for three hours between noon and 3:00 PM.

Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

MacArthur Study Bible
Mark 15:33 darkness. A mark of divine judgment (cf. Is. 5:30; 13:10, 11; Joel 2:1, 2; Amos 5:20; Zeph. 1:14, 15; Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). The geographical extent of the darkness is not known, although the writings of the church fathers hint that it extended beyond Palestine.

Susan: Perhaps there was an hour of sorrow for each member of the Trinity.

Susie: This phenomenon of unexplained darkness in the middle of a day would certainly capture the attention and remain in the memories of the people witnessing the execution of Jesus. Since the Jewish people there would associate darkness with God’s judgment, it may have struck fear in the hearts of some.

Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Susan: Susie and I studied the tearing of the veil for a devotional post. We are going to interject that post here rather than “reinventing the wheel.”

Matthew 27:50-51a Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

Susan and Susie: At the very moment Jesus breathed His last on the cross, a miracle occurred. The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn from top to bottom. This was nothing a person could accomplish. This veil was thick enough that it was completely opaque (no one was allowed into or could even look into this holy place except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement). It was as much as sixty feet tall. Therefore, scaffolding would have to be built to start tearing it from top to bottom! This is an impressive miracle, but it was merely a symbol of the greater miracle Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross and resurrection from the grave on the third day. The way to the Holy of Holies in the Temple was physically exposed by the tearing of the veil, but access to the true Holiest place where God is seated upon His throne was opened to us by the tearing of Jesus’s flesh when He was scourged and then nailed to the cross.

Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest  by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

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.
Susie: John’s gospel reports that before Jesus put His spirit into the Father’s hands, He declared that the purpose for which He had come to earth as a man was complete:

John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Susan: At least one commentary conjectured that Jesus had declared His thirst and had His mouth wet with vinegar in order to have the strength needed to make the proclamation, “It is finished!” Jesus had fully accomplished the plan His Father had set forth and now the Son proclaims, “All done!”

Susie: Since the salvation of all who would believe was now secured, there was nothing left but to, as the King James Version puts it, “Give up the ghost.” I have stood at the bedside of three loved ones at the very moment of death. Even though the person may have been laboring to breath for a long time, there comes an instant when it is obvious they have left their body; and only the shell they once lived in remains. This was that moment for the God-Man, Jesus.

Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Susan: Mark records a slightly different version of what the centurion said, perhaps a more specific quote. We must remember that the Gospel writers were inspired by the Holy Spirit but each wrote from their own unique perspective. Perhaps the Roman soldier said both things, and the Holy Spirit had Luke emphasize one and Mark the other.

Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

Susie: The centurion would have been the officer in charge of the crucifixion crew and responsible to verify the deaths of the prisoners. Therefore, he stood near the crosses observing. He had been in a position to see how Jesus faced this ordeal all day long, had witnessed His graciousness, the miraculous darkness, His confidence in commending His Spirit to God. Because of this, He exclaimed that Jesus was the righteous One.

Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Susie: Beating one’s breast was a sign of sorrow, mourning, or repentance.

Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Susan: If I were a Jewish person witnessing the darkness and the death of Jesus, I may have gone home truly repentant. I may have even come to the belief that Jesus truly was the Son of God and begged the Lord to forgive me. Of course, this is easy to say since I am looking back with the full knowledge of the New Testament. They were blinded by the teachings of the religious leaders and were, also, fearful of suffering the same persecution and death that Jesus endured.

Ponder this and Apply it: Because of the blood of the Prince of Peace, we have peace with God. Because of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, we become the sheep of the Great Shepherd. Because God gave His Son to die in our place, we can become children of the Heavenly Father. Because the veil, Jesus’s body, was torn we can be raised from the walking death of our sin to a new, eternal, joyous life in which we can boldly approach the Holy, All-Powerful God through prayer.

Sunday, August 18, 2019


LUKE 23:39-43
(see also Matthew 27:44, Mark 15:32)

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Susie: The other two synoptic gospels report that both of the criminals which Matthew calls “thieves” joined the jeering crowd in demeaning Jesus. Perhaps early in the process they both reviled Him, but one changed his tune.

Matthew 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Susie: Only Luke records the conversation between Jesus and the thief on His other side.

Luke 23:40-41 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Susan: The other thief turned to the one scoffing at Jesus and called him on the carpet. He reminded him that he, too, was hanging naked on the cross and asked him, “Don’t you even fear God considering you are dying for crimes you actually committed?” The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and apparently this guy was not wise at all!

Susie: The believing thief then pointed out that Jesus was innocent, not deserving their mutual sentence of crucifixion. How did he come to the realization that Jesus was innocent? Perhaps he was there when Pilate pronounced Jesus blameless. He may have based his statement on Jesus’s calm and forgiving demeanor. Perhaps he had heard Jesus preach or heard about His ministry.

Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Susan: We do not know how much this man understood about the Kingdom of God. He asked no special favors, but only that Jesus remember him when He came into His kingdom. The assumption is that he be remembered in positive way as the one who ceased to degrade Jesus.

Susie: His question presumes that Jesus is, indeed, a king (maybe even THE KING, the Son of God) and He will somehow survive crucifixion. This man may have heard Jesus predict His resurrection, but I doubt it. The Holy Spirit drew this penitent thief and gave him the basic understanding he needed to be saved.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Susan: The only way to be saved, to join Jesus in paradise, is to believe He is the Son of the One true God. Jesus promised the thief he would be with Him in Heaven. Therefore, the thief must have believed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, because Jesus can see into our hearts.

Susie: Note that the thief was not going to live more years to serve his newly professed Savior. He had done no good works to earn a place in Heaven, but he had done plenty of evil that should have sent him to Hell. Jesus granted this man salvation purely on the fact that he believed. The Holy Spirit revealed the truth to him, and he expressed that belief in asking Jesus to remember him.

Susan: After a person dies on this earth, it is too late to be saved. You might say this man scooted in under the wire in the nick of time. That may not seem fair to those who have served the Lord all their adult life, but Jesus is God and has a right to redeem anyone He chooses. After all, it was He who shed His blood to purchase their freedom.

Ponder this and Apply it: Good works are not the criteria for entering Heaven. If so, the thief would not have qualified. The only thing necessary for Jesus to bring you into right relationship with God is faith—belief—and the Bible says that even the faith we need to believe in Him is a gift:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


LUKE 23:32-38
(see also Matthew 27:32-44,
Mark 15:22-32, John 19:18-24)

Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

Susan: Here we have another one of those words that is not in common use today—malefactors. From the context, we know that these are others who have been condemned to death, but we looked it up in the dictionary to be sure of the precise meaning.

The American Dictionary of the English Language, Noah Webster, 1828.

MALEFAC'TOR, noun [supra.] One who commits a crime; one guilty of violating the laws, in such a manner as to subject him to public prosecution and punishment, particularly to capital punishment; a criminal.

Susie: Matthew and Mark clarify that the two were thieves or in some translations “robbers.” More than one source speculated that the two thieves may have actually been a part of Barabbas’s crew since robbery would not usually warrant the death penalty unless there were other circumstances.

Matthew 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

Mark 15:27-28 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

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.

Susan: Calvary was another name used for the place of crucifixion which the Jews called Golgotha or “Place of the skull.”

Easton's Bible Dictionary as quoted at

Calvary - only in Luke 23:33, the Latin name Calvaria, which was used as a translation of the Greek word Kranion,  by which the Hebrew word Gulgoleth was interpreted, "the place of a skull." It probably took this name from its shape, being a hillock or low, rounded, bare elevation somewhat in the form of a human skull. It is nowhere in Scripture called a "hill." The crucifixion of our Lord took place outside the city walls (Hebrews 13:11-13) and near the public thoroughfare. "This thing was not done in a corner."

Susan: Jesus was an innocent man sandwiched between two who were guilty.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment and cast lots.

Susie: This is the first of seven statements Jesus made while on the cross. Here is a link to the entire list:

Susan: Whereas most people in the process of being executed would be praying, “forgive ME,” Jesus who was innocent graciously prayed, “Father forgive THEM.” Jesus was in no need of forgiveness because He was dying as the Father’s sacrificial Lamb, taking the place of those guilty ones who trust in Him for salvation. The guiltless took on the sin of the guilty in order that those who believe, trust in, rely on Him might be redeemed by His blood.

Susie: For whom did Jesus ask forgiveness? Certainly, the Roman soldiers who were merely carrying out orders as executioners did not know exactly Whom they were nailing to the cross. Pilate knew He condemned an innocent man but had no real understanding of the true identity of Christ. The Jewish religious leaders who cried out for Him to be crucified knew full well that He was not guilty of insurrection, but they were blinded to the truth that He was their Messiah because of their unbelief. Perhaps this prayer was for all who had a part in this unjust execution. In that case, He may have even been praying for me because it was my sin and yours for which He died. See the devotional post “Who Sent Jesus to the Cross” at

Susan: The Apostle John shares more specific details about the soldiers gambling for Jesus’s clothing. They parceled out some of the garments but did not want to tear a unique robe made with no seam.

John 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.

Susie: As John’s gospel notes, even the gambling for Jesus’s clothing was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy:

Psalm 22:18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

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.

Susan: The mob in unison with the religious leaders stood gawking and mocking. Jesus hung absolutely naked on the cross. Unlike the paintings that depict Him wearing some sort of loin cloth, Jesus was completely exposed—exposed to the elements and exposed to the glaring stares of the crowd—humiliated. Jesus came into this world as a naked baby, and He died naked again and with no worldly goods since the soldiers even took possession of the clothes off His back.

Susie: The religious leaders led the scornful taunts, telling Him to save Himself if He really was the Messiah. They still need a miracle to believe, but they do not really expect one since they are completely blinded to the truth.

Luke 23:36-37 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

Susie: The Roman soldiers, pretending to do an act of kindness by offering Jesus a drink, gave Him vinegar instead. This seemingly inconsequential detail was a fulfillment of the following Messianic prophecy:

Psalm 69:21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.

Susan: Mark says the vinegar or sour wine was mixed with a pain-deadening agent:

Mark 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

Susan: John MacArthur explains why Jesus refused this narcotic in his note for Matthew 27:34:

MacArthur Study Bible
27:34 wine mingled with gall. “Gall” simply refers to something bitter. Mark 15:23 identifies it as myrrh, a narcotic. The Jews had a custom, based on Prov. 31:6, of administering a pain-deadening medication mixed with wine to victims of crucifixion, in order to deaden the pain. Tasting what it was, Christ, though thirsty, “would not drink,” lest it dull His senses before He completed His work. The lessening of physical pain would probably not have diminished the efficacy of His atoning work (see notes on 26:38, 39). But He needed His full mental faculties for the hours yet to come. It was necessary for Him to be awake and fully conscious, for example, to minister to the dying thief (Luke 23:43).

Susie: The soldiers joined in the jeering by tempting Jesus to save Himself to prove He was the King of the Jews. We have the benefit of looking back at the cross and realize that Jesus was performing the greater miracle of purchasing our redemption, our freedom from sin. This miracle of grace is far more important than displaying God’s power by saving Himself 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.

Susan: Where normally there would be a plaque delineating the crimes of the criminal being executed, Pilate had ordered that a sign be placed reading, “This is the King of the Jews.” He had it translated into all the languages commonly spoken by the people of Jerusalem. When the chief priests urged Pilate to change the sign to read, “He said I am the King of the Jews,” he refused.

John 19:20-22 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

Ponder this and Apply it: The main idea to ponder in this passage is the extreme grace of Jesus that even as they nailed Him to the cross, He prayed the Father would forgive them. He died in order to extend that forgiveness to all who trust in Him. If you believe that Jesus was and is the Son of God, that He died to free people from sin and enable them to be in right relationship with God, and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day, you are able to place your complete trust in Jesus. Romans 10:9 “if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” If you have any questions about surrendering your life to Jesus, please contact us through our website as we would like to pray for you and answer questions you may have. Click on the link below and then click on the “Contact/Prayer/Donate” tab.