Misled by tradition and the ignorance of
Scripture on the part of medieval painters, it is the general belief that only two were
crucified with the Lord.
But Scripture does not say so. It states
that there were two "thieves" (Gr. lestai=robbers, Matt. 27:38, Mark
15:27); and that there were two "malefactors" (Gr. kakourgoi, Luke
It is also recorded that both the
robbers reviled Him (Matt. 27:44. Mark 15:32); while in Luke 23.39 only one of the
malefactors "railed on Him," and "the other rebuked him" for so doing
(v. 40). If there were only two, this is a real discrepancy; and there
is another, for the two malefactors were "led with Him to be put to death" (Luke
23:32), and when they were come to Calvary, "they" then and there
"crucified Him and the malefactors, one on the right hand and the other on the
But the other discrepancy is, according to
Matthew, that after the parting of the garments, and after "sitting
down they watched Him there," that "THEN were there two robbers
crucified with Him, one on the right hand and the other on the left" (Matt. 27:38;
Mark 15:27). The two malefactors had already been "led with Him" and were
therefore crucified "with Him", before the dividing of the garments,
and before the two robbers were brought.
The first two (malefactors) who were
"led with Him" were placed one on either side. When the other two (robbers) were
brought, much later, they were also similarly placed; so that there were two (one of each)
on either side, and the Lord in the midst. The malefactors were therefore the nearer, and
being on the inside they could speak to each other better, and the one with the Lord, as
recorded (Luke 23:39-43).
John's record confirms this for he speaks
only of place, and not of time. He speaks, generally of the fact:
"where they crucified Him and with Him others, two on this side, and that side, and
Jesus in the midst" (John 19:9). In Rev. 22:2 we have the same expression in the
Greek (enteuthen kai enleuthen), which is accurately rendered "on either
side." So it should be rendered here: "and with Him others, on either
But John further states (19:32,33):
"then came the soldiers and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was
crucified with Him. Put when they came (Gr.=having come) to Jesus, and saw that He was
dead already, they brake not His legs." Had there been only two (one on either side)
the soldiers would not have come to the Lord, but would have passed Him, and then
turned back again. But they came to Him after they had broken the legs of the first two.
There are two words used of the
"other" and "others" in John 19:32 and Luke 23:32. In the former
passage we read, "they brake the legs of the first and of the other."
Here the Greek is allos, which is the other (the second) of two when there are
more (see Matt. 10:23, 25:16,17,20, 27:61, 28:1; John 18:15,16; 20:2,4,8, and Rev.
In the latter passage (Luke 23:32} the word
is heteros=different: "and others also, two, were being led with Him."
These were different(1) from Him
with Whom they were led, not different from one another; for they were "in the same
condemnation," and "justly," while He had "done nothing amiss"
From this evidence, therefore, it is clear
that there were four "others" crucified with the Lord; and thus, on the one
hand, there are no "discrepancies," as alleged; while, on the other hand, every
word and every expression, in the Greek, gets (and gives) its own exact value, and its
To show that we are not without evidence,
even from tradition, we may state that there is a "Calvary" to be seen at
Ploubezere near Lannion, in the Cbtes-du-Nord, Brittany, known as Les Cinq Croix
("The Five Crosses"). There is a high cross in the centre, with four lower ones,
two on either side. There may be other instances of which we have not heard.
"In the Roman Catholic church . . . the
altar-slab or 'table' alone is consecrated, and in sign of this are cut in its upper
surface five Greek crosses, one in the centre and one in each corner... but the history of
the origin and development of this practice is not fully worked out" (Encycl.
Brit., 11th (Cambridge) ed., vol. i, pp. 762,763). This practice may possibly be
explained by the subject of this Appendix.