The Meaning of Luke 23:35 Explained

Luke 23:35

KJV: And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

YLT: And the people were standing, looking on, and the rulers also were sneering with them, saying, 'Others he saved, let him save himself, if this be the Christ, the choice one of God.'

Darby: And the people stood beholding, and the rulers also with them sneered, saying, He has saved others; let him save himself if this is the Christ, the chosen one of God.

ASV: And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also scoffed at him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if this is the Christ of God, his chosen.

What does Luke 23:35 Mean?

Study Notes

people
Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: "The people stood beholding" in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, "reviled"; the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid game. The cross is the judgment of this world. John 12:31

Verse Meaning

The Jewish people (Gr. laos) stood by looking on in fulfillment of prophecy ( Psalm 21:8). Perhaps Luke wrote that even the rulers sneered at Jesus because they of all the people should have been the most compassionate toward someone in Jesus" position (cf. Psalm 22:6-8). Instead they mocked His apparent impotence. They may have meant "saved" (Gr. esosen) in the sense of physical deliverance, or they may have meant it ironically, meaning that He claimed to save people spiritually. Both meanings could have been in their minds. The title "God"s Chosen One" reflects what Jesus claimed that He was and what the Father had acknowledged Jesus to be at the Transfiguration ( Luke 9:35; cf. Isaiah 42:1; 1 Peter 2:4).
"Jesus crucified is the touchstone revealing what the world is: "The people stood beholding" in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, mocked ( Matthew 27:41); the brutal "railed at him" ( Luke 23:39), i.e. reviled Him; the conscious sinner prayed ( Luke 23:42); and the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid game ( Matthew 27:35-36). The cross is the judgment of this world ( John 12:31)." [1]

Context Summary

Luke 23:35-46 - Saving Others By Not Saving Himself
Rulers, soldiers, and malefactors all heaped their insults on the dying Lord, little realizing that they were all included in the great love which was pouring itself out as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. It may be that we shall have to share the same opprobrium, if we drink of His cup and are baptized with His baptism. But God will do for us as He did for Jesus; He will not leave our soul in the grave nor suffer His own to see corruption, Psalms 16:10.
The signs of renewal, wrought in the heart of the penitent thief, showed the sure work of the Holy Spirit. These were the fear of God, the sense of justice in His suffering, the confession of evil deeds, the recognition of our Lord's sinlessness and dignity, and the anticipation of His coming Kingdom. We may begin a day under the dull skies of earth and close it where there is no need of sun or moon. See Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:6. For the rent veil, see Hebrews 10:20. Dying saints have often passed home with our Lord's last words on their lips, Psalms 31:5; Acts 7:59. [source]

Chapter Summary: Luke 23

1  Jesus is accused before Pilate, and sent to Herod
8  Herod mocks him
12  Herod and Pilate become friends
13  Barabbas is desired of the people,
24  and is released by Pilate, and Jesus is given to be crucified
26  He tells the women, that lament him, the destruction of Jerusalem;
34  prays for his enemies
39  Two criminals are crucified with him
46  His death
50  His burial

Greek Commentary for Luke 23:35

The people stood beholding [ιστηκει]
Past perfect active of ιστημι — histēmi intransitive and like imperfect. A graphic picture of the dazed multitude, some of whom may have been in the Triumphal Entry on Sunday morning. [source]
Scoffed [εχεμυκτηριζον]
Imperfect active, perhaps inchoative, began to turn up (out, εχ — ex) at the dying Christ. The language comes from Psalm 22:7.The Christ of God (ο Χριστος του τεου — ho Christos tou theou). He had claimed to be just this (Luke 22:67, Luke 22:70). The sarcastic sneer (he saved others; let him save others, for himself he cannot save) is in Mark 15:31; Matthew 27:42. Luke alone gives the contemptuous use of ουτος — houtos (this fellow) and the fling in “the elect” (ο εκλεκτος — ho eklektos). These rulers were having their day at last. [source]
The Christ of God [ο Χριστος του τεου]
He had claimed to be just this (Luke 22:67, Luke 22:70). The sarcastic sneer (he saved others; let him save others, for himself he cannot save) is in Mark 15:31; Matthew 27:42. Luke alone gives the contemptuous use of ουτος — houtos (this fellow) and the fling in “the elect” These rulers were having their day at last. [source]
Beholding []
See on Luke 10:18. [source]
Scoffed []
See on Luke 16:14. [source]
If he []
The A. V. does not give the contemptuous emphasis on οὗτος , this fellow. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Luke 23:35

Luke 16:14 Derided [ἐξεμυκτήριζον]
Only here and Luke 23:35. Lit., to turn up the nose at. The Romans had a corresponding phrase, naso adunco suspendere,to hang on the hooked nose: i.e., to turn up the nose and make a hook of it, on which (figuratively) to hang the subject of ridicule. Thus Horace, in one of his satires, giving an account of a pretentious banquet at the house of a rich miser, describes one of the guests as hanging everything to his nose; i.e., making a joke of everything that occurred. The simple verb occurs at Galatians 6:7, of mocking God. [source]
Luke 16:14 And they scoffed at him [και εχεμυκτηριζον]
Imperfect active again of εκμυκτηριζω — ekmuktērizō lxx where late writers use simple verb. In the N.T. only here and Luke 23:35. It means to turn out or up the nose at one, to sneer, to scoff. The Romans had a phrase, naso adunco suspendere, to hang on the hooked nose (the subject of ridicule). These money-loving Pharisees were quick to see that the words of Jesus about the wise use of money applied to them. They had stood without comment the three parables aimed directly at them (the lost sheep, the lost coin, the lost son). But now they do not remain quiet while they hear the fourth parable spoken to the disciples. No words were apparently spoken, but their eyes, noses, faces were eloquent with a fine disdain. [source]
Luke 23:37 If [ει]
Condition of the first class as is text in Luke 23:35 used by the rulers. The soldiers pick out “the king of the Jews” as the point of their sneer, the point on which Jesus was condemned. But both soldiers and rulers fail to understand that Jesus could not save himself if he was to save others. [source]
Luke 23:49 Stood afar off [ιστηκεισαν απο μακροτεν]
Same verb as in Luke 23:35. Melancholy picture of the inner circle of the acquaintances of Jesus and the faithful band of women from Galilee. [source]

What do the individual words in Luke 23:35 mean?

And stood the people beholding Were deriding [Him] then also the rulers saying Others He saved let Him save Himself if this is Christ - of God Chosen [One]
Καὶ εἱστήκει λαὸς θεωρῶν ἐξεμυκτήριζον δὲ καὶ οἱ ἄρχοντες λέγοντες Ἄλλους ἔσωσεν σωσάτω ἑαυτόν εἰ οὗτός ἐστιν Χριστὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ ἐκλεκτός

εἱστήκει  stood 
Parse: Verb, Pluperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἵστημι  
Sense: to cause or make to stand, to place, put, set.
λαὸς  people 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: λαός  
Sense: a people, people group, tribe, nation, all those who are of the same stock and language.
θεωρῶν  beholding 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: θεωρέω  
Sense: to be a spectator, look at, behold.
ἐξεμυκτήριζον  Were  deriding  [Him] 
Parse: Verb, Imperfect Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: ἐκμυκτηρίζω  
Sense: to deride by turning up the nose, to sneer at, to scoff at.
καὶ  also 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: καί  
Sense: and, also, even, indeed, but.
ἄρχοντες  rulers 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ἄρχων  
Sense: a ruler, commander, chief, leader.
λέγοντες  saying 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
Ἄλλους  Others 
Parse: Adjective, Accusative Masculine Plural
Root: ἄλλος  
Sense: another, other.
ἔσωσεν  He  saved 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐκσῴζω 
Sense: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction.
σωσάτω  let  Him  save 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἐκσῴζω 
Sense: to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction.
ἑαυτόν  Himself 
Parse: Reflexive Pronoun, Accusative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἑαυτοῦ  
Sense: himself, herself, itself, themselves.
οὗτός  this 
Parse: Demonstrative Pronoun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οὗτος  
Sense: this.
Χριστὸς  Christ 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: Χριστός  
Sense: Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Θεοῦ  of  God 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: θεός  
Sense: a god or goddess, a general name of deities or divinities.
ἐκλεκτός  Chosen  [One] 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἐκλεκτός  
Sense: picked out, chosen.