Jesus had suffered enough that he couldn’t carry the cross beam for his crucifixion (36). The main pole was already set up, and it was a special kind of agony to be made to carry your own implement of torture. Simon was forced to carry it for him, and it’s possible that his family became believers as a result. Talk about unintended consequences!
Mark 15:21 “The soldiers forced a passerby to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country (he was the father of Alexander and Rufus).”
Rom 16:13 “Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother who was also a mother to me.”
Jesus warns the women (and us) that harder times are ahead (27-31). Although he’s probably referring to the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem, he words can certainly apply to any and all who face persecution, and particularly those who may face it before His return: “if such things are done when the wood is greed (i.e. to Jesus), then what will happen when the wood is dry (i.e. the nation being judged)?”
The place of crucifixion is rightly called “The Skull,” and the persecution, ridicule, and mocking continue (32-38). Jesus, however, shows us his primary purpose for being there. He is dying so that we can be forgiven! And his words may have special importance. The ones putting him to death certainly didn’t understand what they were doing, and perhaps Jesus comments were especially for them.
One of the criminals dying with Him chose to join in the mocking, while another pleaded with Him for salvation (39-43). Deathbed conversions can be very real, so we shouldn’t shy away from presenting the gospel to those who are dying. We can’t know who is sincere and who isn’t, but God does!
The creation itself mourns with its creator (44), and something very symbolic happens: the veil of the temple is torn in two (45). The veil separated the holy place in the temple in two, and only the high priest could go in once a year. The tearing means that Jesus brought an end to sacrifices, and we all have access to God through Him!
Hebrews 9:11-14 “But now Christ has come as the high priest of the good things to come. He passed through the greater and more perfect tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation, and he entered once for all into the Most Holy Place not by the blood of goats and calves but by his own blood, and so he himself secured eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow sprinkled on those who are defiled consecrated them and provided ritual purity, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God.”
Many of the events here were predicted in Scripture, particularly in Psalm 22. The centurion in charge has seen enough to recognize that a tragedy has been perpetrated (47-49). Many others are affected too, but the centurion is used by Luke to reinforce the idea that Jesus died as an innocent man. The women are mentioned specifically because of the role they play surrounding the resurrection.
Joseph may have been a secret disciple before, but no longer (50-56). He secures Jesus’ body and places it in a tomb. The ladies can’t finish the burial, because the Sabbath falls. But the stage is set. Sunday is coming!
Psalm 22 “For the music director; according to the tune “Morning Doe;” a psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? I groan in prayer, but help seems far away. My God, I cry out during the day, but you do not answer, and during the night my prayers do not let up. You are holy; you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted in you and you rescued them. To you they cried out, and they were saved; in you they trusted and they were not disappointed. But I am a worm, not a man; people insult me and despise me. All who see me taunt me; they mock me and shake their heads. They say, “Commit yourself to the LORD! Let the LORD rescue him! Let the LORD deliver him, for he delights in him.” Yes, you are the one who brought me out from the womb and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts. I have been dependent on you since birth; from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not remain far away from me, for trouble is near and I have no one to help me. Many bulls surround me; powerful bulls of Bashan hem me in. They open their mouths to devour me like a roaring lion that rips its prey. My strength drains away like water; all my bones are dislocated; my heart is like wax; it melts away inside me. The roof of my mouth is as dry as a piece of pottery; my tongue sticks to my gums. You set me in the dust of death. Yes, wild dogs surround me— a gang of evil men crowd around me; like a lion they pin my hands and feet. I can count all my bones; my enemies are gloating over me in triumph. They are dividing up my clothes among themselves; they are rolling dice for my garments. But you, O LORD, do not remain far away! You are my source of strength! Hurry and help me! Deliver me from the sword! Save my life from the claws of the wild dogs! Rescue me from the mouth of the lion and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered me! I will declare your name to my countrymen! In the middle of the assembly I will praise you! You loyal followers of the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him! For he did not despise or detest the suffering of the oppressed; he did not ignore him; when he cried out to him, he responded. You are the reason I offer praise in the great assembly; I will fulfill my promises before the LORD’s loyal followers. Let the oppressed eat and be filled! Let those who seek his help praise the LORD! May you live forever! Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the LORD and turn to him! Let all the nations worship you. For the LORD is king and rules over the nations. All of the thriving people of the earth will join the celebration and worship; all those who are descending into the grave will bow before him, including those who cannot preserve their lives. A whole generation will serve him; they will tell the next generation about the sovereign Lord. They will come and tell about his saving deeds; they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.”