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. 34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots to divide his clothing.35And 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!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
In a very matter-of-fact way Luke describes the crucifixion of Jesus: of the three "criminals" led to the place of execution, the place called "The Scull"; their being nailed to the transverse beam of the cross; Jesus' words of forgiveness, "Father, forgive them"; the curiosity of the gathered crowd; the scoffing of the religious authorities; the mockery of the soldiers as they divide the spoils between them; the attaching of Pilate's notice, "This is the king of the Jews"; the argument between the two insurgents ("criminals"), with the statement of faith by one and Jesus' promise to him of eternal reward, "today you will be with me in Paradise"; the oppressive darkness that shrouded the land between noon and 3pm.; the final words of Jesus, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"; the statement by the soldier, "certainly this man was innocent"; and finally, the silent witness of Jesus' friends.
This passage, detailing the crucifixion of Jesus, is the second episode of a series of six dealing with the glorification of the messiah. For Luke, the theological center of the crucifixion lies in Jesus' words to the repentant κακουργος, "criminal/wrongdoer". The religious elite, the soldiers and possibly the crowd, reject any possibility that this suffering fool could be the "Chosen One" (the Messiah). Only one person, a criminal, recognizes that Jesus could be the long-awaited savior. So, he asks Jesus to "remember" him when he gains his crown. Jesus agrees, but changes the "not yet" of the kingdom to "now". So, in Jesus' death we see the end of the old age, and in his resurrection, the beginning of the new.
23:32 κακουργοι (ος) "criminals" - It is generally agreed that they are more than just criminals, likely insurgents/terrorists (depending on your point of view).
αναιρεθηναι (αναιρεω) aor. pas. inf. "to be executed" - infinitive forms a purpose clause; "in order to be put to death" the aorist case indicates a present action with future ramification.
v33 τον καλουμενον (καλεω) pres. pas. part. "called" - being called the Κρανιον "skull" – a site probably named after it's skull like shape, in Aramaic the Greek rendering is "Golgotha", but Luke drops this name. And yet by using it Luke preserves an actual historical memory, so it was a real place. εσταυρωσαν (σταυροω) aor. "they crucified" - none of the gospel writers describe Jesus' actual crucifixion but this was a public execution in a well-known (i.e. public) venue, again all pointing to the historicity of the event. This is not some theological construct but an actual execution.
τους κακουργους (ος) "the criminals" - Mark has "bandits", the sense possibly being "terrorists", or if you were a Jew, "freedom-fighters" (or "insurgents" if you want to sit on the fence!). Luke may not have used Mark's word because of its political flavor.
v34 αφες (αφιημι) aor. imp. "forgive" actually to ‘remit’ the legal finding. This prayer is not found in all manuscripts. οιδασιν (οιδα) perf. "they [do not/cannot] know" – i.e. understand. διαμεριζομενοι (διαμεριζω) pres. part. "dividing” - adverbial, possibly temporal, "then they distributed his cloths among themselves". εβαλον (βαλλω) aor. "casting" - they threw; Matthew and Mark use the phrase, "casting lots".
v35 θεωρων (θεωρεω) pres. part. "staring”- adverbial, expressing the manner of their standing,
εξεμυκτηριζον (εκμυκτηριζω) imperf. "sneered at" a durative action, so "continued sneering." Luke does seem to separate the officials from the people when it comes to this abuse.
λεγοντες (λεγω) pres. part. "they said" – saying; attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb " they continued mocking him and said" σωσατω (σωζω) imp. "let him save" – or elsewhere, “heal thsyself”!
του θεου (ος) gen. "of God” actually "sent from God" ο εκλεκτος "the chosen one" – a Messianic title, the one whom God has chosen.
v36 προσερχομενοι (προσερχομαι) pres. part. "came up – approaching” a derivative of the word often translated as “prayer” in the NT. The participle, as with προσφεροντες, "offering", and λεγοντες, "saying", v37, is adverbial expressing means; "the soldiers made fun of him too by coming up and handing him vinegar, saying ....." ενεπαιξαν (εμπαιζω) aor. "mocked" - ridiculed, some argue the offering of the sour wine the mocking in that a king would not be offered cheap οξος "wine vinegar" - a rough low cost dry red wine (cf. Ps.69:21)
v38 επιγραφη (η) "a notice, a placard, a formal title” detailing the criminal's name and the charge for which he was being executed.
v39 των κρεμασθεντων (κρεμαννυμι) gen. aor. pas. part. "one who hung there" εβλασφημει (βλασφημεω) imperf. "hurled insults" ουχι - "[Are]n't [you the Christ]" - the negative here indicates the question expects a positive answer, although it is clear he doesn't believe in Jesus.
v40 αποκριθεις (αποκρινομαι) aor. pas. part. having answered the other επιτιμων (επιτιμαω) pres. part. "rebuked" him. The participle is adverbial modifying the main verb "said", so "rebuckingly the other [criminal] answered and forcefully said to him". This is purely a Luken account and is so singular that it has caused debate as to its authenticity.
ουδε φοβη/ (φοβεω) pres. pas. "don't you fear [God]?" as before a negation that expects a positive reply. The second criminal recognizes Jesus' messianic credentials.
v41 απολαμβανομεν (απολαμβανω) pres. "we are receiving" what we deserve for ων gen. pro. "what [our deeds deserve]". The adjective αξια, "worthy, fitting, proper" ατοπον adj. "wrong" literally “out of place”. Jesus has done nothing deserving crucifixion. Luke is underlining the innocence of Jesus, although he is not suggesting this criminal is applying a knowledge of the law, rather he (of all people) senses the injustice at work.
v42 μνησθητι (μιμνησκομαι) aor. pas. imp. "remember" "Remember me kindly/show me your kindness." A phrase often found on gravestone inscriptions at the time, a seeking divine recall of the person after death. A request that God place the deceased with the righteous on the day of judgment.
v43 σημερον adv. "today". "Today" is a common technical phrase used of the messianic kingdom, and does not mean "this day", but rather "on the coming day." Some manuscripts place "today" with v42 - "remember me ...... today." The "coming day" is likely the day of resurrection; a blessing inaugurated in Christ but realized on the day of his coming again (that coming day). The blessing is "paradise"- the imagery of Eden where God was in complete fellowship with creation is inferred. This does not mean that Jesus actually believed or taught in such a place, only that there would be a restoration of what has been broken and the Criminal would have a place there along with the Messiah.
τω παραδεισω (ος) "paradise" - the word used of an enclosed garden, later of a holding place after death where the righteous waited for the coming kingdom. Jesus likely meant "heaven" in the sense of a new Garden of Eden.