Christ the King | Proper 29 | Year C
Our Gospel reading this week, Luke 23:33-43, begins in Section 163 on Christ’s Journey to Golgotha and concludes in Section 164 which focuses on Jesus’ first three hours on the Cross. As you’ll see in the white space within the Harmony of the Gospels there’s must more to “the rest of this story” here and many more within the souls of the redeemed who are together worshiping Christ the King!
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Parsing the Collect – by The Rev. Rob Eaton, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Hemet, CA (used by permission)
Section 163 | Journey to Golgotha 1
31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off him, and put his clothes on him,2 and led him away to crucify him. 32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross.
33 When they came to a place called “Golgotha”, that is to say, “The place of a skull,” 34 they gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink.
20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple off him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him. 21 They compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross.3
22 They brought him to the place called Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, “The place of a skull.” 23 They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he didn’t take it.
26 When they4 led him away, they grabbed one Simon of Cyrene,5 coming from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it after Jesus.6 27 A great multitude of the people followed him, including women who also mourned and lamented him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’7 30 Then they will begin to tell the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and tell the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things in the green tree, what will be done in the dry?” 32 There were also others, two criminals, led with him to be put to death. 33a When they came to the place that is called The Skull,
16b So they took Jesus and led him away. 17 He went out, bearing his cross,
to the place called “The Place of a Skull”, which is called in Hebrew, “Golgotha”,
Section 164 | First Three Hours of the Crucifixion
35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36 and they sat and watched him there.
37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”8
38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left.
39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!” 41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach.
24 Crucifying him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots on them, what each should take.
25 It was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 The superscription of his accusation was written over him, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”9
27 With him they crucified two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28 The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, “He was counted with transgressors.”
29 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, “He saved others. He can’t save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe him.”
Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.
33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull,10 they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.11 34 Jesus said, “Father,12 forgive them,13 for they don’t know what they are doing.”14
Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.15
38 An inscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”16
35 The people stood watching.
The rulers with them also scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others.17 Let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen one!” 18 36 The soldiers19 also mocked him, coming to him and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”
39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds,20 but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”21
18 they crucified him, and with him two others, on either side one, and Jesus in the middle.
23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 Then they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things. 19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 20 Therefore many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews therefore said to Pilate, “Don’t write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘he said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.
- How do you feel about the suffering which Jesus experienced?
- Why was Jesus’ Crucifixion essential to the reconciliation, well-being, and fortitude of every believer?
- Earlier in Phase 5b (Mt 10:38, 16:24, Sections 70b, 83) Jesus says that every disciple must “take up their cross”. How is this to be interpreted in this day and age?
- Is Simon’s story similar to you own? Did you come to be a disciple unwittingly, unintentionally or did you seek Him out as did John and Andrew (John 1:35-51, Section 28) and Saul/Paul (Acts 9:1-19; Gal 1:13; 1Tim 1:13-16)?
- What questions (or fears) do you have about death, salvation, and your own eternal destiny? If you feel confident, please share how the grace of God and your understand of Scripture has resulted in such peace, confidence, and anticipation.
- As we conclude Year C and the Season after Pentecost, how will this lesson affect your thinking as we enter Advent and Year A.
- St. Jerome (342-420 AD), who lived in Bethlehem during the later part of his life, reported that there were countless pilgrims from all over the world who arranged to take a pilgrimage following the Way of the Cross. Due to the expense, and dangers caused by Muslim oppression, Pope Benedict XIV in 1742 exhorted all priests to provide Stations of the Cross within the church. The stations recreated the same 14 stations visited by Christ during the last week of his life helping members participate in Christ’s passion. Take a look at this map which includes links to a series of videos from each of the stations, including the via Dolorosa.
- Usually those criminals who would be crucified were marched naked through the streets to add to their humiliation, Jesus seems then to have been afforded some added respect (or mockery as the “King of the Jews”.
- Jesus would be carrying the horizontal crossbeam of the cross called the patibulum. It ranged in weight, but the average would have been about 100 pounds. The vertical part of the cross, called the stipes, would have already been at the top of the hill waiting for the criminal carrying the patibulum to arrive. There the two parts would be attached with the criminal nailed to them both, and then the cross would be dropped into the hole offering some additional pain and physical damage to the criminal to aid in their suffering.
- There would have been one centurion in charge of the crucifixion. Traditionally, he would march in front of the criminal. In front and behind of the criminal were two additional soldiers whose job it was to make sure there would not be any escape or abduction of the criminal. Another soldier would march to the right of the criminal while carrying the titulus (the sign) inscribed with the charges for which the individual was being crucified. Jesus’ placard did not have an official charge for he had not broken any law, but they simply posted a statement, “King of the Jews” (Lk 23:38; Mt 27:37; Mk 15:26; Jn 19:19).
- Simon was a Jewish man from the region of North Africa who was most likely in Jerusalem to observe the Passover (Acts 2:10). Mark 15:21 records that Simon had two sons, Alexander and Rufus. As Mark writes to a Roman audience, so does Paul in in which he also mentions Rufus by name in his greetings at the end of the letter (Romans 16:13). This indicates that these men most likely became Christians, no doubt inspired by their unintended involvement with Jesus this fateful day.
- Naturally, after such a beating as he took (Section 162, Mt 27:27-30 and Mk 15:16-19) Jesus would have very little strength left to make this exhausting trek outside of the city and up to the hill. Its a one mile journey with an elevation gain of 144′ and as much as a 5% incline.
- Jesus is prophesying about what will come about it 70 AD when the the army of Rome would destroy the Temple; and famine, slavery, and cannibalization would wrought the hearts of mothers whose children would be victims.
- See Note #2
- See Note #2
- Also known as “Golgotha” – it was said that the rock formation of the hill looked similar to a skull, and this was the place that the Romans used to exhibit the worst of criminal, especially rebellious Jews, who were crucified as a public warning and show of authority.
- See also Mt 27:38 and Mk 15:28 all three noting the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 53:12. Download this PDF listing 365 Prophesies Fulfilled by Christ.
- He is addressing God the Father, as Jesus himself is the only begotten Son of God (Jn 1:14, Section 2)
- Jesus is here again fulfilling a priestly duty, a foreshadowing of his pleasure in heaven as our chief advocate, making intercession for us all – for all have sinned, knowingly and unknowingly. They (the Jews and Romans alike) did not comprehend, accept, or believe that Jesus was the Messiah. The Jews misinterpreted (or willfully ignored) the prophecies concerning him. The evil, injustice and atrocity of Jesus’ conviction, punishment and death, was ultimately a prophetic fulfillment (Isa 42:1) for in his death there is atonement! If you’re the slightest unclear or underwhelmed by the atonement of Christ please watch this video explanation provided by Dr. Ben Myers, teacher of theology at United Theological College, Sydney AUS. and visiting scholar at Fuller Seminary.).
- Living out his own words of edification in lessons of forgiveness, mercy, and goodness to his disciples (Mt 5:44; Lk 6:27-28) See also: 1Pt 2:20-23, 3:9; 1Cor 4:12; Rm 11:30-31, 12:14. Finally, Remember that as Jesus told Pilate in the third phase of his judgment, none of this would not be able to occur it had not been the plan of God (Jn 19:11, Section 161)
- Another fulfilled prophecy this one from Psalms 22:18. See Note #9.
- See Note #2
- For a complete list see: Jesus the Healer and His Miracles.
- The “chosen one” equivalent to “the Messiah” – See: Isa 42:1; Mt 3:17, 12:18.
- Most probably this is referring to the four soldiers who ushered him along the Via Dolorosa who also nailed him to the cross and set it in place. See: note #4
- Gill points out in his commentary on this verse that they must have been judged as more than than thieves – perhaps murderers as well since “according to the law of Moses, theft was not punishable with death, but with a restoration, either double, or fourfold, or fivefold, according to the nature of it; see (Ex 22:1, 22:4).”
- The Greek word here us paradeisos / παράδεισος (G3857) distinguishing the upper regions of the heavens which Jews thought (ref #1, #2) to be the temporary abode of pious souls (and those favored by God) would dwell until the resurrection. Yet we understand that those who die in faith will “be with Christ” immediately (Php 1:23, CR Jn 11:23-26)