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Luke 23:33-38 - Jesus crucified with two criminals

Updated: Apr 3, 2022

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."


Part B

Verse thirty-three can then be seen as beginning this ‘Part B’ because it begins with a capitalized “Kai.” That marks both great importance to be seen in this verse and section, while also being a signal for a new section to begin. This is no longer about the walk to Golgotha, but “when they came” to that place. The great importance has nothing to do with the process upon which human bodies were secured to wooden stakes, but “when they came” to their final destination in life.

The whole of this verse can then be seen to literally state: “Kai when they came to this place this being called the Skull , there they crucified himself , kai those criminals , who indeed from out of the right hand ; who now from out of the left hand .” The great importance that needs to be seen here is Luke writing the Greek word for “Skull, Head” (“Kranion”), while Mark and John mention both the Hebrew “Golgotha” (John stating that to be “Hebrew”) and the capitalized “Skull” (Matthew writes “skull” in the lower-case). The significance of this capitalized name says an execution site is a place of death, with the “Head” being where Big Brains come to die. By following the lead of that fleshy organ, which blocks all Spiritual access to Yahweh and being led by His Spirit, “the Skull” leads to a place of the flesh, which is a mortal place of death. This is a most important lesson to grasp.

In the subsequent segments that repeat the Greek word “hon,” the NRSV (and others) has conveniently translated the repetition as saying, “one on his right and one on his left,” making “hon” appear to say “one.” It does not say that. It is a relative pronoun that states “who, which, or that.” Rather than be read as ‘eeny meeny miny moe,’ the use of “who” says the “two criminals” were “different,” not only in the way they were guilty of crimes, but in how their crimes were “differently” motivated. Thus, “who indeed from out of the right hand” is a statement of one who acted with due cause, but was judged by the authorities as having committed a criminal act, one due the death penalty. That “who now from out of the left hand” was then a man duly convicted of a crime worthy of such a death sentence. While it makes logical sense to see three men all crucified in a row, with Jesus crucified first, in the center, and the other two being each to Jesus’ right and left, that ordering is less important. The order of writing by Luke says Jesus was crucified first; so, the next two were crucified in an order that says the least worthy of crucifixion (Jesus) was the first crucified, with the one most worthy of that fate being last. The “who” to the “right hand” could be to the left side of Jesus, with the “who” to the "left hand” being furthest to Jesus’ left side. Both being to Jesus' left says Jesus was unjustly condemned, while the other two were more deserving that fate. The point is that three men were crucified together, with the “right hand” being unjustly sentenced to death and the “left hand” the only one justly sentenced. The positioning of those three is not where the importance lies in this verse. The one to the “left hand” most likely had the highest self-opinion, from a big brain (the “Skull-Head”), thinking he was the one who should not be there.

Verse thirty-four then begins with the capitalized word “Ho,” which is a divinely elevated “This,” reflecting back on Jesus having been “crucified” with “those criminals.” Here we find Jesus praying, which does not mean he was loudly boasting about his not yet being dead, so others could hear him still able to speak. “This” (do not try this at home) element of being “crucified” is a death that suffocates, making breathing most difficult, even more so speech. The whole of this verse goes further than prayer, literally saying, “This now Jesus he was bringing word , Father , you send away themselves , not indeed they are aware what they do . dividing into parts now those robes of himself , they cast lots .

In this, the NRSV translates “aphes” as saying, “forgive.” While that is done somewhat routinely (forty-nine times our of 146 occurrences in the New Testament is some form of “forgive” the translation), the root word means “to send away, leave alone, permit,” implying “(a) I send away, (b) I let go, release, permit to depart, (c) I remit, forgive, (d) I permit, suffer.” (Strong’s) In the second-person, where “you” is implied, this cannot be Jesus asking Yahweh (the “Father”) “to forgive,” but instead him stating “you take away” or (in times of death) “you send away,” such that what is given (life) is taken away (the mortality of life). Therefore, Jesus was referring to the other two men, who were like himself (his soul in his flesh) being separated from their bodies of flesh.

The breath of life was being returned to the source. The next segment of words takes “they appreciate” or “they are aware” and expands the focus of “they” to the teachers of the Jews, who did not know how to teach the truth of divine marriage of souls to Yahweh (being His elohim). "They" did not teach Jews not to become “criminals., as "they" only pointed out those who broke the Law. Only Yahweh has the power of forgiveness; so, while He might allow souls of unaware criminals to come back and try again to find Him in marriage, those who reject being told that neglect is wrong. "They" do not deserve forgiveness. Rather than be reincarnated and given another chance, some souls get (as Jesus said) cast into the outer darkness, which I assume means eternal damnation of their souls.

Meanwhile, as Jesus’ soul was not in need of air to live, so quite able to pray, the scene below had the clothing of Jesus being “divided.” Here, one must realize that Jesus was a “Teacher,” which means he wore a special outer robe that was much like a priest wearing a collar around the neck, as an article of clothing that designates to laypeople, “I am a priest.” Jesus would not have worn that expensive tallit to the Seder in the upper room (being off duty). He also would have known his death was coming; so, he would have left his finely woven robes in the house in Bethany, to be used in the burial of his body. His arrest was then with Jesus in his ‘street clothes.’ However, wearing a street robe before Herod Antipas meant he was made to wear a “bright robe,” which means (most likely) a purple dyed robe; and, one tailor-made of fine fabric, for Herod the Great (extras kept in a closet in his palace).

Jesus would have worn that on top of his other outer and under garments, all of which were then taken off his body before crucifixion … and bloodstained. This means Luke writing “dividing into parts now those robes of his flesh” (“himself”) that included the fine robe put on him by Herod, announcing to the leaders of the Temple, “Here is your king!” While Luke does not write of the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus by the soldiers in Fort Antonia, they did that because Jesus still wore the “bright robe” Herod had placed upon him. So, the casting of lots was for that robe and the other clothes of Jesus; but “dividing them into parts” can also mean fabric was torn to multiple pieces, so all soldiers could get something for their crucifixion work efforts.

Verse thirty-five then moves further away from below Jesus’ cross, taking in those Jews who had screamed at and threatened Pilate for this execution event to take place. To stand before Jesus and shout insults at him, without any repercussions from witnesses, simply due to the fact that they could always blame the Romans for the decision to see Jesus’ guilt as crucifixion worthy, this focus begins with a capitalized “Kai,” showing how very important it is to grasp these insults as being against Yahweh (therefore against their own souls). The whole of this verse can then be seen literally saying, “Kai made a stand this people beholding , they were mocking greatly now kai those rulers , saying , Others he healed ; let him rescue himself if here exists this Anointed one this of God , this chosen [favorite] .

The capitalized “Kai” makes a greater statement about the Jews who “took a stance,” more than simply not walking past a scene of death and stopping to stand and gawk. Those words importantly say the Jews made a point of standing before Jesus to mock him loudly. The use of “laos,” which translates as “people,” is like the use of “tis,” being “a certain one,” where both are implied references to “Jews.” Thus, these “people” were the Jews who had screamed at Pilate, “Crucify him.” There they then “stood,” “beholding” the beauty of their dreams having come true. For them to be found “mocking him greatly,” this says they were again screaming like they had to Pilate, acting like their wealth made them above anyone who possessed less. Still, the presence of an internal “kai” says that among “these people” ("Jews”) were their “rulers” or the “leaders” of the Sanhedrin, thus the chief priests and high priest. While those dignitaries might not have demeaned themselves by shouting loud insults (not wanting their own spit to fly from their lips onto their fancy robes), they would have agreed wholeheartedly with those insults shouted (perhaps suggesting a few choice words via whispers). Smiles were certainly in order for them, at that time.

When we get down to the specifics of some things said, the capitalization of “Others” is a divinely elevated statement of what Yahweh sent His Son into a body of flesh to do – serve “Others,” not himself. To scream out that Jesus “saved Others,” becomes a major confession before Yahweh that screamed out, “I saved no one, not even my own evil soul!” They certainly had no powers to “heal” the blind or lame or lepers, as there were not many like that around who could. Still, they used that known history as an indictment against their own souls, by not trying to get Jesus down, saying, “We need a Savior like him around a little longer.”

Instead, they screamed, “Save yourself, if here exists this Anointed one this of God , this chosen.” That challenges Yahweh to work a miracle to prove to them that a body of flesh is more important to save than a soul. They could not fathom that a “Christ” is not a spotlight shining down from heaven that has a blinking light in the hand of an angel, who announces, “This is Yahweh’s Son, who He likes more than you!” Yahweh only “Anoints” souls; and, the eyes of fools cannot see a “Christ.” They cannot see how the soul of Jesus was still connected to his body of flesh, while standing right next to the souls of those shouting, saying, “That’s it. Give your soul a little more rope. That’s it, you can hang your soul with those words!”

Verse thirty-six then presents a statement that begins with the capitalized word “Enepaixan,” which again brings divine elevation to “They,” as relative to those who have “Mocked” Jesus. Because this important word begins a new verse, following the mocking of the Jews, telling Jesus to prove he is Yahweh’s “favorite,” (an implication as being “chosen”), the Jews were then “Mocked” in return by Jesus, which demands the other three Gospels merge to make this be seen. Yahweh and His Son “Mocked” the Jews, who were a “people” that called themselves “chosen.” As such, all were supposed to have been each a “Christ,” “Anointed ones” of Yahweh – His elohim; but they were not. While Luke does not write what Jesus said, the other Gospels write of him quoting David’s psalms. He “Mocked” the Jews as not being “chosen,” because they did not understand anything of Scripture, even though they memorized it all. The Roman soldiers heard Jesus and thought he told them he was thirsty, causing them to hold up a sponge with vinegar to his mouth. Jesus mocked them by having their souls fall into the trap prepared by the Jews; so, the blind led the blind into the pit of hell.

The whole of this verse can then be read literally as saying, “[They} Mocked now himself kai those soldiers , drawing near , sour wine making an offering to himself .” Here, it is after the capitalization of “They Mocked now his soul” (“himself”) that points to the Roman “soldiers.” To say they were “drawing near,” that word in Greek is one that implies a gathering before God. As such, when the soldiers made an “offering to Yahweh’s Son,” it was “sour wine” or “vinegar,” being nothing of value that Jesus would accept. While they thought they “mocked” Jesus by making an offering of worthless juice, “They Mocked” their own souls, motivated by having heard Jesus whispering a song of David. By "drawing near" as if honoring a religious "king," they laughed because they put vinegar to his lips. Their offering, after having "gathered before God," spoke of their own souls being soured. They paid no respect to the dying, which means Yahweh would pay no respect to their released souls, when their deaths would come. “They [were the ones] Mocked” divinely.

Verse thirty-seven then continues with this exchange made by the “soldiers,” as they offered a false prayer to the deity that hung above them. This verse is important, because it begins with the word “kai.” The whole of this said can be found literally stated as: “kai saying , If yourself exists this King of this of Jews , save yourself !

The capitalization of “Ei” becomes a divinely elevated ‘Big IF,’ where lowly “soldiers” are setting a condition to a deity (one they mocked with an offering of sour wine), for Jesus to prove his flesh was what needed to be “saved.” This shows that simple minds follow the lead of the Big Brains. Because the Jews had shouted that out, the soldiers dimwittedly repeated what they heard in insults. They did so because their own brains had not been trained to think for themselves. Just as the Sanhedrin seeded the gathering in public, making it be like a fake sporting event that pretended to be offering freedom to either Barabbas or Jesus, all it took was some ‘plant voice’ to make the first shout out. Then, all the idiots would quickly jump on the bandwagon, not once thinking about what they were agreeing with. This becomes why Jesus had prayed earlier to the “Father,” letting him know nobody around him at that time was “aware of what they were doing.” Jesus was “saved” before his soul was divinely placed in the womb of Mary. Flesh is born to die; so, only souls can be saved from death. Sadly, there are no idiots telling that, so the other idiots can shout out in agreement, “Yeah! Me too! Like he said!”

Verse thirty-eight is then the great example of how Pilate had made sure everyone would be “Mocked” by the sign he ordered made and placed above Jesus’ head. Roman soldiers might have been brave and fearless warriors, but few were literary geniuses. Most could not read Latin, much less Greek or Hebrew; unlike the Jewish literates. In this verse is written, as it is in all four Gospels, the text that was on the sign placed above Jesus’ head, in a way that is so important – so divinely elevated – that words are not simply capitalized, they are written in all-capital letters. Just as a capitalized “Kai” elevates a normal “kai,” all-caps greatly elevates that written to the divine. The whole of this verse can then be seen to literally say, “[It] Existed now kai an inscription over himself , THIS KING OF THIS OF JEWS HERE . [in letters Greek kai Latin kai Hebrew] :

Here, the capitalized first word – “Ēn” – bears the meaning in the third-person Imperfect Indicative, as saying “Existed,” implying “It” in the third-person singular. This becomes a divinely elevated statement of “It” having been created (“Existed”) because Pilate had been influenced by Yahweh (no doubt from his contact with the presence of Jesus, which if nothing else shone the light of truth on who the Jews were), so the truth was made “to be” placed on a sign, nailed above the head of Jesus, at the place of the “Head.” The truth stated MOST DIVINELY that “HERE” – “THIS” dead body of flesh once lived the “KING” – as the Son of Yahweh being God incarnate – and “OF THIS” death by crucifixion, everyone can blame it on the desires “OF JEWS.” It announced to the world (in three languages) that everyone can lay to rest any expectations of a "KING OF THE JEWS" ever returning, because "HERE THIS" is … the one and only … dead of flesh.

In brackets is then written an aside by Luke, which says the inscription was not only done in Greek, but importantly in “Latin,” so Romans with the ability to read could realize whose body was crucified; and, also importantly all Jews, who were literate in “Hebrew.” All pilgrims visiting Jerusalem for the Passover would read that sign and know their KING was dead. They would take that message back to their homes with them. This verse then ends with a colon mark, signifying this signage would be loudly addressed by someone who stood before Jesus, letting the other “two criminals” who hung gasping for breath know what was posted on a sign above Jesus, on his cross.

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