Luke 23:31-35

Luke 23:31 (KJB)
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Then Jesus uses the analogy of a green tree. A green tree is one that is fully in bloom with healthy leaves and gives much shade. This verse may be an allusion to Ezekiel 20:47. (Ezek 20:47 KJV) And say to the forest of the south, Hear the word of the LORD; Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee, and it shall devour every green tree in thee, and every dry tree: the flaming flame shall not be quenched, and all faces from the south to the north shall be burned therein. When Jerusalem is surrounded by the Roam army and faces total destruction, it would be like a tree which is in bloom only for a few weeks into summer and then someone comes and cuts it down. They cause the death of the tree prematurely. This is also a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ who in His prime is being crucified unto death by the hatred of the religious leaders in concert with Roman rule. He than ends the question concerning the dry tree. The dry tree is one that is almost dead, out of sap, and could represent Israel. If the Romans are willing to put to death an innocent man, then how severe will be the punishment of the nation of Israel which was a bane to Rome with all of its uprisings and rebellions. Not only against Rome but also against God who sent His Son as their Messiah and they hated Him and had Him put to death. The dry tree was Israel because they no longer had any spiritual life, they were dead. So you might as well cut the tree down and plant one that will live and give shade and be full of sap which will be the body of believers. (Psa 104:16 KJV) The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

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

The word “malefactor” in the Greek text carries with it the meaning of “a worker of evil or evil doer.” (Mark 15:27 KJV) And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. They were both thieves or robbers. (Isa 53:12 KJV) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Here was the literal fulfillment of Isaiah 53:12. It is interesting the way the verse reads by stating “also” which is a word of inclusion. So we have here three malefactors being crucified. Now the question begs an answer. Did Jesus commit any crime or any sin? The answer is no because He was perfectly sinless or else He could not be the Savior. So then what does the word “also” imply. Theologically speaking, it teaches us that Jesus was guilty of sin because when He went to the cross, He took all of the sins of the Elect on Him so He could pay the penalty for those sins.

(2 Cor 5:21 KJV) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;


So here are three verses which speak of the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ took all the sins of the Elect upon Him. According to the Mosaic law, He was guilty of all those transgressions of the law and death was the sentence. When Jesus died on the cross and said “it is finished,” the penalty was paid and His resurrection was God’s approval that it was done and accepted, therefore the Elect of God are considered sinless in soul and readied for Heaven.

Luke 23:33 (KJB)
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.

The name Golgotha, in the Aramaic is “gulgultă” which means “skull.” In Hebrew it is “gulgőleth” means “skull” and in the Greek, “kraniou totos” which means “the place of the skull.” Some believe it is Gordon’s Calvary because the rocks below the surface look like a skull, but that is doubtful. It was located north or west of Jerusalem. This place was not a designated place for executions and nowhere is it described as a skull shaped hill, or even a hill itself. What happened there was more important than the geographical location, as long as it was in keeping with the Scriptures.

Then along with Jesus there were two thieves crucified with Him. These two thieves may have been friends of Barabbas who got caught in the insurrection. They crucified Jesus between them as if He was one of the insurrectionists. One of the thieves became saved and the other did not.

This was also a fulfillment of prophecy. (Isa 53:12 KJV) Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. How could Isaiah have known this if it wasn’t under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit? He was numbered with the transgressors. The fact that the crucifixion of these two robbers happened at that time may have seemed like coincidence, we know there is no such thing as coincidence in the Kingdom of God, all is planned.

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

One of the highest forms of love is forgiving someone who has hurt you, especially when they do it intentionally. To say to one who hurts you that you forgive them usually shocks them into apologizing to you for their misdeeds. Unconditional forgiveness is one of the highest characteristics of true Christianity which can be manifested by a believer. It is with this trait that you may win people to Christ. We must be realistic, many times we hear people telling us to forgive and forget, only God is capable of forgetting. We will remember what people have done to us because Satan will not let us forget, so we must learn how to deal with those memories, so we don’t fall into Satan’s snare of dredging up past hurts and conflicts. When the memory arises:

1) Determine at that moment you will not raise that issue with the person who hurt you.
2) Ask the Lord immediately for strength to squelch the desire for revenge.
3) Keep in mind those whom you have hurt in the past and how they had forgiven you of your sins against them.
4) As soon as you have forgiven that person, seek immediately to rebuild the relationship.
5) Pray for the one who hurt you because it is hard to seek revenge when you are praying for someone.
6) Remember the Cross, God’s ultimate forgiveness.

If you keep these six principles of forgiveness in mind, then you will gain victory over a revengeful mindset and you will maintain stable relationships with all believers. True forgiveness is possible.

They had crucified Him by stripping Him naked. All the pictures of “Jesus” we see on the cross always has a loin cloth on Him but the reality is that the prisoner was stripped naked and then crucified. The arms were outstretched on the cross beam and were nailed in the wrists because if they were nailed in the palms, the weight of the body would rip the nail out or between two of the fingers. The prisoner was then placed on the cross upright and the body was supported by a little seat. The feet were nailed separately to the upright or supporting beam. It was done this way to prolong the agony of the prisoner and they normally took a long time to die. Then when Jesus was already on the cross, they had cast lots for His garment. (Psa 22:18 KJV) They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. This was also a fulfillment of prophecy. The soldiers could not tear the garment and give a small piece to each because it was seamless and that is why they had to cast lots, so one person would win the whole piece. (John 19:23 KJV) 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.

Luke 23:35 (KJB)
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.

Not only did Jesus receive mocking from the soldiers and the people, He now received them from the scribes, chief priests, and elders. You would think that them being the leaders would have stayed away and would not act like the rabble they led. Their hatred and contempt for Jesus was not satisfied by Him being crucified, so they had to continue the persecution by casting insults at Him. The two disciples of Jesus on the council, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea were not among those who were summoned to the meeting where they condemned Jesus nor did they partake of any mockery as the others did. They did not even address Jesus by name, instead they thought it was below their dignity so they addressed Jesus in the third person as if they were speaking to each other knowing full well that Jesus was more than able to hear them. When they said that “He saved others,” they were not speaking of the ministry of salvation but His miracles. Since they attributed His miracle power to the power of Satan, they now believed that His death on the cross was full proof that He was not the Messiah or else He would have done something about it.

Back