The Berean Expositor
Volume 38 - Page 202 of 249
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"Thou shalt be with Me in Paradise."
A preliminary study.
pp. 70 - 73
The first of the seven steps to reality, in which the believer is said to be "with" Christ,
is connected with His crucifixion. Two passages make use of the verb sustauroo "to
crucify with". Of the seven terms, five are not used in any other connexion than that of
the union of the believer with his Lord in being either buried with Him, quickened with
Him, raised with Him, seated with Him, or manifested with Him. The first two however,
are used in other connexions than those immediately referring to union with Christ, and
this we must first of all investigate. For the time being we are limiting our inquiry to the
term "to crucify together". Sustauroo is used three times in the Gospels, to speak of the
thieves who were "crucified with" the Lord (Matt. 27: 44; Mk. 15: 32; Jn. 19: 32).
"Then were there two thieves crucified with Him, one on the right hand and another
on the left" (Matt. 27: 38).
"And they that were crucified with Him reviled Him" (Mark 15: 32).
"Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was
crucified with Him" (John 19: 32).
For the purposes of this present study we do not feel it would be of any help to make a
digression and discuss the question whether there were two only who were thus crucified
with Christ, or whether there were two thieves, and two malefactors. The interested
reader will find all the relevant data in Appendix 164 of "The Companion Bible".
Luke does not use the words "crucify with" but expresses the fact in another way saying
"There they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on
the left" (Luke 23: 33).
The passage in  Mark 15:,  which gave us the first great "reckoning" "He was
numbered with the transgressors", supplies us also with the one occurrence in that gospel
of the words "to crucify with" (Mark 15: 27, 32). As used by Mark, this word sustauroo
does not mean union, but physical proximity and similarity of execution, but as used by
Paul the new and wonderful doctrine of identification intensifies the meaning of the
While Luke does not employ the words "crucify with", he alone reveals the
conversation, the conviction, and the confession of the dying malefactor, and the
contrasted mental attitude of the two malefactors provides a transition of meaning,
where mere physical proximity passes over into blessed union expressed in the promise
"Thou shalt be with Me in paradise" (Luke 23: 43).
Let us note the words of the dying malefactor. In answer to the railing of his
companion in condemnation, it is written: