Matthew 27:36-40

Mat 27:36 (KJB)
And sitting down they watched him there;

Since it could actually take several days for some of the prisoners to die, the soldiers would camp out there to make sure there was no attempt to free any of the prisoners. When we read in the Scriptures about “sitting down” it normally represents something that is done and finished. However, in this case the soldiers had sat down to early because the resurrection was coming on Sunday which means things had only begun.

Mat 27:37 (KJB)
And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Normally the crime of the condemned was placed somewhere on the cross or near it to warn others so they would not commit the same crimes. Since Jesus had not committed any crime, none could be placed there so instead, Pilate wrote down on a placard that “This is Jesus King of the Jews.” It was the only thing that Pilate could write. He did this not to further the mocking of Jesus but was done more to ridicule the Jews. (John 19:20-21 KJV) 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. {21} 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. They wanted Pilate to amend the sign but he refused and left it as is.

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

Then along with Jesus there were two thieves crucified with Him. 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.

Mat 27:39 (KJB)
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

Reviled - Blaspheming
Wagging - Shaking

Those who had passed by and there would have been many since crucifixions were not done in private places but in very public places for all to see. Apparently, many of the people who called for the crucifixion of Jesus had come out of the city and these people as they passed by were blaspheming Him, that is, they were speaking abusively or slandering Him. To wag or shake one’s head was an expression of insult and mockery. (Lam 2:15 KJV) All that pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying, Is this the city that men call The perfection of beauty, The joy of the whole earth?  Even while Jesus was dying on the cross, the hatred was still being spewed.

Mat 27:40 (KJB)
And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

It seems that the false accusations which the Sanhedrin leveled at Jesus had become widely known throughout the populace. The first false accusation they made was about destroying the temple and in three days building it up. They still did not know what that meant and had accused Him of desiring to destroy the temple and then rebuild it in three days. Little did they know that they were on day one. Then Jesus confirmed to Caiaphas that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, which caused him to rent his clothes in violation of the law. These who passed by had also slandered Him by stating that if He was the Son of God, to come down from the cross. If Jesus did that, there would be no salvation. In the time of Nehemiah, he was doing a great work by rebuilding the wall and all of Jerusalem and when Sanballat and Geshem had sent to Nehemiah to leave the work and come meet with them, he refused because he knew that he was doing a great work. (Neh 6:3 KJV) And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? When Jesus was on the cross He was doing a greater work by building the New Jerusalem, the body of believers, the city that Abraham looked for and if He would have come down off the cross, then the New Jerusalem would never have been built. There would be no body of believers because we would all still be in our sins.