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May 15, 2020

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Bible Gem 1263 - A Curious Couple of Verses (Luke 23:32-33)

August 28, 2019



I made the following comment in Gem 1256 - "I have also stuck with Robertson's division of this segment in his Harmony, even though I would close this segment in Luke at 23:31 and move the following two verses to the next segment of the scene at the cross."  But after doing the analysis through the number of Gems on this passage I have changed my mind. I have also noticed a strange thing that Robertson has done when arranging his harmony. He has repeated Luke 23:33 in both segments of his harmony. That is why I have marked it uniquely with white writing on a black background. That is a curious thing for Robertson to do. He hasn't done that anywhere else; just with this verse. The question is: why? Don't worry I am not going to leave you for a few days while you work on the problem. I do want to finish Luke's gospel quickly. 


Notice how the other gospel writers move the action quickly to the cross and tell us the name of place was the Place of the Skull (Golgotha). In the next section all four gospel writers inform us Jesus was nailed to the cross.  But Luke takes great care to tell us what happen on the road with Jesus' comments to the women of Jerusalem and then to tell us two others, criminals, were with Him and they were all three nailed to cross. Jesus was nailed between two criminals. It is an interesting little snippet of detail tacked to the end of the comments Jesus made to the women on the road. I initially thought this section belonged to the following segment. I decided to place it at the end of segment 163. Jesus on the way to the cross on Golgotha in accord with Robertson simply because I had clipped the pericope from his harmony. But now I am not so sure. I would like to ask Robertson why he has made the unique decision to include verse 33 in both segments 163 and 164. That at first glance seems strange. But I think it was deliberate on Robertson part and planned by Luke to put those added Lukan statements where he did.  


I suspect as I have pointed out before that Luke is less likely to simply follow the chronology than he is to be making a specific thematic point. 

32  Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him.  

33  When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed Him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on His right and one on His left. 


It appears that Luke is more intent on telling us that this Innocent One which Luke himself  has taken the time to point out in what went before this segment was nailed to the cross with TWO OTHERS, CRIMINALS, ONE ON HIS RIGHT AND ONE ON HIS LEFT, and don't forget they were CRIMINALS. Luke is not simply narrating the order of events here. He is very deliberately drawing a contrast between the INNOCENT JESUS and the CRIMINALS who were nailed with Him. Don't miss the repetition of the word CRIMINALS. Luke wants to grab our attention here. Rather than these two simple verses being placed with the next segment [164] they really belong here in segment 163. They round off the point he was intending to make concerning – IF THESE THINGS ARE DONE TO THE RIGHTEOUS ONE. A masterful move on Luke's part, so I didn't want you to miss it. 


But then this unit also links naturally to the flow the other three gospel writers have in their narrative. Hence these two verses in Luke both round out the theme of Luke 23:26-31 and introduce the next phase of the crucifixion and the first three hours on the cross. Luke has blended both elements together to emphasize his theme and follow along with what the other witnesses were telling us too. Hence I suspect the reason why Robertson includes verse 33 in both segments. My initial hunch was to place verses 32 and 33 with what follows but then upon analysis I noticed the elements I have described above. 


Am I certain that Robertson had all this in mind when he placed verse 33 in both segments? No, I have don't know what was in Robertson's mind and neither am I in a position to question him. But that is my hunch. When I see him in heaven talking with Luke and asking his questions about this passage, then I would like to be in on the conversation. My only problem is I don't know what Robertson or Luke look like, neither do I have any idea what they will look like in their resurrected bodies. But I suspect I will just "know" who they are in order to ask them both. (If I am even thinking about these kind of things when I am in the presence of Jesus in heaven. But then again I do have a millennium of time to kill. But I hasten to add I don't think any of us will be looking for ways to kill time. Besides I will be able to play tennis again with Jesus, and Rod Laver).


Enough of my ramblings. Next Gem we turn our attention to the second segment I gave you above. So now you have some time to do the comparative colouring for what is to come. Have fun colouring in. 




In life you will meet two kinds of people. Ones who build you up, and ones who tear you down. But in the end, you will thank them both.


God is more interested in your character than your comfort.


Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.


Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in Harmony.  Benjamin Franklin




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