Luke 23

1 Then the whole group got up and led Jesus off to Pilate.
2 They began to bring charges against Jesus. They said, "We have found this man misleading our people. He is against paying taxes to Caesar. And he claims to be Christ, a king."
3 So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes. It is just as you say," Jesus replied.
4 Then Pilate spoke to the chief priests and the crowd. He announced, "I find no basis for a charge against this man.
5 But they kept it up. They said, "His teaching stirs up the people all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was from Galilee.
7 He learned that Jesus was from Herod's area of authority. So Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. At that time Herod was also in Jerusalem.
8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very pleased. He had been wanting to see Jesus for a long time. He had heard much about him. He hoped to see Jesus do a miracle.
9 Herod asked him many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.
10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there. With loud shouts they brought charges against him.
11 Herod and his soldiers laughed at him and made fun of him. They dressed him in a beautiful robe. Then they sent him back to Pilate.
12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends. Before this time they had been enemies.
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people.
14 He said to them, "You brought me this man. You said he was turning the people against the authorities. I have questioned him in front of you. I have found no basis for your charges against him
15 Herod hasn't either. So he sent Jesus back to us. As you can see, Jesus has done nothing that is worthy of death.
16 So I will just have him whipped and let him go."
18 With one voice the crowd cried out, "Kill this man! Give Barabbas to us!"
19 Barabbas had been thrown into prison. He had taken part in a struggle in the city against the authorities. He had also committed murder
20 Pilate wanted to let Jesus go. So he made an appeal to the crowd again.
21 But they kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!
22 Pilate spoke to them for the third time. "Why?" he asked. "What wrong has this man done? I have found no reason to have him put to death. So I will just have him whipped and let him go."
23 But with loud shouts they kept calling for Jesus to be crucified. The people's shouts won out.
24 So Pilate decided to give them what they wanted.
25 He set free the man they asked for. The man had been thrown in prison for murder and for fighting against the authorities. Pilate gave Jesus over to them so they could carry out their plans.

Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross

26 As they led Jesus away, they took hold of Simon. Simon was from Cyrene. He was on his way in from the country. They put a wooden cross on his shoulders. Then they made him carry it behind Jesus.
27 A large number of people followed Jesus. Some were women whose hearts were filled with sorrow. They cried loudly because of him.
28 Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children.
29 The time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the women who can't have children! Blessed are those who never gave birth or nursed babies!'
30 It is written, " 'The people will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" They'll say to the hills, "Cover us!" ' (Hosea 10:8)
31 People do these things when trees are green. So what will happen when trees are dry?"
32 Two other men were also led out with Jesus to be killed. Both of them had broken the law.
33 The soldiers brought them to the place called The Skull. There they nailed Jesus to the cross. He hung between the two criminals. One was on his right and one was on his left.
34 Jesus said, "Father, forgive them. They don't know what they are doing." The soldiers divided up his clothes by casting lots.
35 The people stood there watching. The rulers even made fun of Jesus. They said, "He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."
36 The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him. They offered him wine vinegar
37 They said, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself."
38 A written sign had been placed above him. It read, this is the king of the jews
39 One of the criminals hanging there made fun of Jesus. He said, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself! Save us!"
40 But the other criminal scolded him. "Don't you have any respect for God?" he said. "Remember, you are under the same sentence of death.
41 We are being punished fairly. We are getting just what our actions call for. But this man hasn't done anything wrong."
42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 Jesus answered him, "What I'm about to tell you is true. Today you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus Dies

44 It was now about noon. The whole land was covered with darkness until three o'clock.
45 The sun had stopped shining. The temple curtain was torn in two.
46 Jesus called out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my very life." After he said this, he took his last breath.
47 The Roman commander saw what had happened. He praised God and said, "Jesus was surely a man who did what was right."
48 The people had gathered to watch that sight. When they saw what happened, they beat their chests and went away.
49 But all those who knew Jesus stood not very far away, watching those things. They included the women who had followed him from Galilee.

Jesus Is Buried

50 A man named Joseph was a member of the Jewish Council. He was a good and honest man.
51 He had not agreed with what the leaders had decided and done. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judea. He was waiting for God's kingdom.
52 Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.
53 He took it down and wrapped it in linen cloth. Then he put it in a tomb cut in the rock. No one had ever been buried there.
54 It was Preparation Day. The Sabbath was about to begin.
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how Jesus' body was placed in it.
56 Then they went home. There they prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath day in order to obey the Law.

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.

Luke 23 Commentaries