Luke 23

Jesus before Pilate

1 Then the whole body of them got up and 1brought Him before Pilate.
2 2And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this man 3misleading our nation and 4forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King."
3 So Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And He answered him and said, "5It is as you say."
4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "6I find no guilt in this man.
5 But they kept on insisting, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, 7starting from Galilee even as far as this place."
6 When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.
7 And when he learned that He belonged * to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to 8Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.

Jesus before Herod

8 Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for 9he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.
9 And he questioned Him at some length *; but 10He answered him nothing.
10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.
11 And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, 11dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.
12 Now 12Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been * enemies with each other.

Pilate Seeks Jesus' Release

13 Pilate summoned the chief priests and the 13rulers and the people,
14 and said to them, "You brought this man to me as one who 14incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I 15have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him
15 "No, nor has 16Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.
16 "Therefore I will 17punish Him and release Him."
17 [Now he was obliged * to release to them at the feast one prisoner.]
18 But they cried out all together, saying, "18Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!"
19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.
20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,
21 but they kept on calling out, saying, "Crucify, crucify Him!
22 And he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will 19punish Him and release Him."
23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted.
25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Simon Bears the Cross

26 20When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of 21Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.
27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were 22mourning and lamenting Him.
28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 "For behold, the days are coming when * they will say, '23Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.'
31 "For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
32 25Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.

The Crucifixion

33 26When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left.
34 But Jesus was saying, "27Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." 28And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.
35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the 29rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; 30let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One."
36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, 31offering Him sour wine
37 and saying, "32If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!"
38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, "33THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 34One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? 35Save Yourself and us!"
40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 "And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds *; but this man has done nothing wrong."
42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"
43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in 36Paradise."
44 37It was now about 38the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 because the sun was obscured; and 39the veil of the temple was torn in two.
46 And Jesus, 40crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, 41INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT." Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 42Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began 43praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."
48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, 44beating their breasts.
49 45And all His acquaintances and 46the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.

Jesus Is Buried

50 47And a man named Joseph, who was a 48member of the Council, a good and righteous man
51 (he had not consented to their plan and action ), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was 49waiting for the kingdom of God;
52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain.
54 It was 50the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
55 Now 51the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 Then they returned and 52prepared spices and perfumes. And 53 on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Luke 23 Commentary

Chapter 23

Christ before Pilate. (1-5) Christ before Herod. (6-12) Barabbas preferred to Christ. (13-25) Christ speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem. (26-31) The crucifixion, The repentant malefactor. (32-43) The death of Christ. (44-49) The burial of Christ. (50-56)

Verses 1-5 Pilate well understood the difference between armed forces and our Lord's followers. But instead of being softened by Pilate's declaration of his innocence, and considering whether they were not bringing the guilt of innocent blood upon themselves, the Jews were the more angry. The Lord brings his designs to a glorious end, even by means of those who follow the devices of their own hearts. Thus all parties joined, so as to prove the innocence of Jesus, who was the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Verses 6-12 Herod had heard many things of Jesus in Galilee, and out of curiosity longed to see him. The poorest beggar that asked a miracle for the relief of his necessity, was never denied; but this proud prince, who asked for a miracle only to gratify his curiosity, is refused. He might have seen Christ and his wondrous works in Galilee, and would not, therefore it is justly said, Now he would see them, and shall not. Herod sent Christ again to Pilate: the friendships of wicked men are often formed by union in wickedness. They agree in little, except in enmity to God, and contempt of Christ.

Verses 13-25 The fear of man brings many into this snare, that they will do an unjust thing, against their consciences, rather than get into trouble. Pilate declares Jesus innocent, and has a mind to release him; yet, to please the people, he would punish him as an evil-doer. If no fault be found in him, why chastise him? Pilate yielded at length; he had not courage to go against so strong a stream. He delivered Jesus to their will, to be crucified.

Verses 26-31 We have here the blessed Jesus, the Lamb of God, led as a lamb to the slaughter, to the sacrifice. Though many reproached and reviled him, yet some pitied him. But the death of Christ was his victory and triumph over his enemies: it was our deliverance, the purchase of eternal life for us. Therefore weep not for him, but let us weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his grace. If God delivered him up to such sufferings as these, because he was made a sacrifice for sin, what will he do with sinners themselves, who make themselves a dry tree, a corrupt and wicked generation, and good for nothing! The bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus should make us stand in awe of the justice of God. The best saints, compared with Christ, are dry trees; if he suffer, why may not they expect to suffer? And what then shall the damnation of sinners be! Even the sufferings of Christ preach terror to obstinate transgressors.

Verses 32-43 As soon as Christ was fastened to the cross, he prayed for those who crucified him. The great thing he died to purchase and procure for us, is the forgiveness of sin. This he prays for. Jesus was crucified between two thieves; in them were shown the different effects the cross of Christ would have upon the children of men in the preaching the gospel. One malefactor was hardened to the last. No troubles of themselves will change a wicked heart. The other was softened at the last: he was snatched as a brand out of the burning, and made a monument of Divine mercy. This gives no encouragement to any to put off repentance to their death-beds, or to hope that they shall then find mercy. It is certain that true repentance is never too late; but it is as certain that late repentance is seldom true. None can be sure they shall have time to repent at death, but every man may be sure he cannot have the advantages this penitent thief had. We shall see the case to be singular, if we observe the uncommon effects of God's grace upon this man. He reproved the other for railing on Christ. He owned that he deserved what was done to him. He believed Jesus to have suffered wrongfully. Observe his faith in this prayer. Christ was in the depth of disgrace, suffering as a deceiver, and not delivered by his Father. He made this profession before the wonders were displayed which put honour on Christ's sufferings, and startled the centurion. He believed in a life to come, and desired to be happy in that life; not like the other thief, to be only saved from the cross. Observe his humility in this prayer. All his request is, Lord, remember me; quite referring it to Jesus in what way to remember him. Thus he was humbled in true repentance, and he brought forth all the fruits for repentance his circumstances would admit. Christ upon the cross, is gracious like Christ upon the throne. Though he was in the greatest struggle and agony, yet he had pity for a poor penitent. By this act of grace we are to understand that Jesus Christ died to open the kingdom of heaven to all penitent, obedient believers. It is a single instance in Scripture; it should teach us to despair of none, and that none should despair of themselves; but lest it should be abused, it is contrasted with the awful state of the other thief, who died hardened in unbelief, though a crucified Saviour was so near him. Be sure that in general men die as they live.

Verses 44-49 We have here the death of Christ magnified by the wonders that attended it, and his death explained by the words with which he breathed out his soul. He was willing to offer himself. Let us seek to glorify God by true repentance and conversion; by protesting against those who crucify the Saviour; by a sober, righteous, and godly life; and by employing our talents in the service of Him who died for us and rose again.

Verses 50-56 Many, though they do not make any show in outward profession, yet, like Joseph of Arimathea, will be far more ready to do real service, when there is occasion, than others who make a greater noise. Christ was buried in haste, because the sabbath drew on. Weeping must not hinder sowing. Though they were in tears for the death of their Lord, yet they must prepare to keep holy the sabbath. When the sabbath draws on, there must be preparation. Our worldly affairs must be so ordered, that they may not hinder us from our sabbath work; and our holy affections so stirred up, that they may carry us on in it. In whatever business we engage, or however our hearts may be affected, let us never fail to get ready for, and to keep holy, the day of sacred rest, which is the Lord's day.

Cross References 53

  • 1. Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; John 18:28
  • 2. Luke 23:2, 3: {Matthew 27:11-14; Mark 15:2-5; John 18:29-37}
  • 3. Luke 23:14
  • 4. Luke 20:22; John 18:33f; John 19:12; Acts 17:7
  • 5. Luke 22:70
  • 6. Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:14, 22; John 18:38; John 19:4, 6
  • 7. Matthew 4:12
  • 8. Matthew 14:1; Mark 6:14; Luke 3:1; Luke 9:7; Luke 13:31
  • 9. Luke 9:9
  • 10. Matthew 27:12, 14; Mark 15:5; John 19:9
  • 11. Matthew 27:28
  • 12. Acts 4:27
  • 13. Luke 23:35; John 7:26, 48; John 12:42; Acts 3:17; Acts 4:5, 8; Acts 13:27
  • 14. Luke 23:2
  • 15. Luke 23:4
  • 16. Luke 9:9
  • 17. Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:22; John 19:1; Acts 16:37
  • 18. Luke 23:18-25: {Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15;} John 18:39-19:16
  • 19. Luke 23:16
  • 20. Luke 23:26: {Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21;} John 19:17
  • 21. Matthew 27:32
  • 22. Luke 8:52
  • 23. Matthew 24:19; Luke 11:27; Luke 21:23
  • 24. Hosea 10:8; Isaiah 2:19, 20; Revelation 6:16
  • 25. Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; John 19:18
  • 26. Luke 23:33-43: {Matthew 27:33-44; Mark 15:22-32; John 19:17-24}
  • 27. Matthew 11:25; Luke 22:42
  • 28. Psalms 22:18; John 19:24
  • 29. Luke 23:13
  • 30. Matthew 27:43
  • 31. Matthew 27:48
  • 32. Matthew 27:43
  • 33. Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; John 19:19
  • 34. Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32; Luke 23:39-43
  • 35. Luke 23:35, 37
  • 36. 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7
  • 37. Luke 23:44-49: {Matthew 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41}
  • 38. John 19:14
  • 39. Exodus 26:31-33; Matthew 27:51
  • 40. Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; John 19:30
  • 41. Psalms 31:5
  • 42. Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39
  • 43. Matthew 9:8
  • 44. Luke 8:52; Luke 18:13
  • 45. Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:40; Luke 8:2; John 19:25
  • 46. Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:40; Luke 8:2; John 19:25
  • 47. Luke 23:50-56: {Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; John 19:38-42}
  • 48. Mark 15:43
  • 49. Mark 15:43; Luke 2:25
  • 50. Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42
  • 51. Luke 23:49
  • 52. Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1
  • 53. Exodus 20:10; Deuteronomy 5:14

Footnotes 24

Luke 23 Commentaries

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