Luke 23

1 Then the whole company of them arose, and brought him before Pilate.
2 And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king."
3 And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so."
4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, "I find no crime in this man.
5 But they were urgent, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place."
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.
7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time.
8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him.
9 So he questioned him at some length; but he made no answer.
10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him.
11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then, arraying him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate.
12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
14 and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him
15 neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him;
16 I will therefore chastise him and release him."
17 * [No text]
18 But they all cried out together, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas"--
19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder
20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus;
21 but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!
22 A third time he said to them, "Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him."
23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.
24 So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted.
25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyre'ne, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus.
27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him.
28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.
29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!'
30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall on us'; and to the hills, 'Cover us.'
31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.
33 And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.
34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.
35 And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!"
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar
37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,
45 while the sun's light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two.
46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.
47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, "Certainly this man was innocent!"
48 And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.
49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance and saw these things.
50 Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathe'a. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man,
51 who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God.
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid.
54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.
55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid;
56 then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. 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.

Luke 23 Commentaries