Luke 23

1 And having risen, the whole multitude of them did lead him to Pilate,
2 and began to accuse him, saying, `This one we found perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying himself to be Christ a king.'
3 And Pilate questioned him, saying, `Thou art the king of the Jews?' and he answering him, said, `Thou dost say [it].'
4 And Pilate said unto the chief priests, and the multitude, `I find no fault in this man;
5 and they were the more urgent, saying -- `He doth stir up the people, teaching throughout the whole of Judea -- having begun from Galilee -- unto this place.'
6 And Pilate having heard of Galilee, questioned if the man is a Galilean,
7 and having known that he is from the jurisdiction of Herod, he sent him back unto Herod, he being also in Jerusalem in those days.
8 And Herod having seen Jesus did rejoice exceedingly, for he was wishing for a long [time] to see him, because of hearing many things about him, and he was hoping some sign to see done by him,
9 and was questioning him in many words, and he answered him nothing.
10 And the chief priests and the scribes stood vehemently accusing him,
11 and Herod with his soldiers having set him at nought, and having mocked, having put around him gorgeous apparel, did send him back to Pilate,
12 and both Pilate and Herod became friends on that day with one another, for they were before at enmity between themselves.
13 And Pilate having called together the chief priests, and the rulers, and the people,
14 said unto them, `Ye brought to me this man as perverting the people, and lo, I before you having examined, found in this man no fault in those things ye bring forward against him
15 no, nor yet Herod, for I sent you back unto him, and lo, nothing worthy of death is having been done by him;
16 having chastised, therefore, I will release him,'
17 for it was necessary for him to release to them one at every feast,
18 and they cried out -- the whole multitude -- saying, `Away with this one, and release to us Barabbas,'
19 who had been, because of a certain sedition made in the city, and murder, cast into prison
20 Pilate again then -- wishing to release Jesus -- called to them,
21 but they were calling out, saying, `Crucify, crucify him.
22 And he a third time said unto them, `Why, what evil did he? no cause of death did I find in him; having chastised him, then, I will release [him].'
23 And they were pressing with loud voices asking him to be crucified, and their voices, and those of the chief priests, were prevailing,
24 and Pilate gave judgment for their request being done,
25 and he released him who because of sedition and murder hath been cast into the prison, whom they were asking, and Jesus he gave up to their will.
26 And as they led him away, having taken hold on Simon, a certain Cyrenian, coming from the field, they put on him the cross, to bear [it] behind Jesus.
27 And there was following him a great multitude of the people, and of women, who also were beating themselves and lamenting him,
28 and Jesus having turned unto them, said, `Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but for yourselves weep ye, and for your children;
29 for, lo, days do come, in which they shall say, Happy the barren, and wombs that did not bare, and paps that did not give suck;
30 then they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, Cover us; --
31 for, if in the green tree they do these things -- in the dry what may happen?'
32 And there were also others -- two evil-doers -- with him, to be put to death;
33 and when they came to the place that is called Skull, there they crucified him and the evil-doers, one on the right hand and one on the left.
34 And Jesus said, `Father, forgive them, for they have not known what they do;' and parting his garments they cast a lot.
35 And the people were standing, looking on, and the rulers also were sneering with them, saying, `Others he saved, let him save himself, if this be the Christ, the choice one of God.'
36 And mocking him also were the soldiers, coming near and offering vinegar to him
37 and saying, `If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.'
38 And there was also a superscription written over him, in letters of Greek, and Roman, and Hebrew, `This is the King of the Jews.
39 And one of the evil-doers who were hanged, was speaking evil of him, saying, `If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us.'
40 And the other answering, was rebuking him, saying, `Dost thou not even fear God, that thou art in the same judgment?
41 and we indeed righteously, for things worthy of what we did we receive back, but this one did nothing out of place;'
42 and he said to Jesus, `Remember me, lord, when thou mayest come in thy reign;'
43 and Jesus said to him, `Verily I say to thee, To-day with me thou shalt be in the paradise.'
44 And it was, as it were, the sixth hour, and darkness came over all the land till the ninth hour,
45 and the sun was darkened, and the vail of the sanctuary was rent in the midst,
46 and having cried with a loud voice, Jesus said, `Father, to Thy hands I commit my spirit;' and these things having said, he breathed forth the spirit.
47 And the centurion having seen what was done, did glorify God, saying, `Really this man was righteous;'
48 and all the multitudes who were come together to this sight, beholding the things that came to pass, smiting their breasts did turn back;
49 and all his acquaintances stood afar off, and women who did follow him from Galilee, beholding these things.
50 And lo, a man, by name Joseph, being a counsellor, a man good and righteous,
51 -- he was not consenting to their counsel and deed -- from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who also himself was expecting the reign of God,
52 he, having gone near to Pilate, asked the body of Jesus,
53 and having taken it down, he wrapped it in fine linen, and placed it in a tomb hewn out, where no one was yet laid.
54 And the day was a preparation, and sabbath was approaching,
55 and the women also who have come with him out of Galilee having followed after, beheld the tomb, and how his body was placed,
56 and having turned back, they made ready spices and ointments, and on the sabbath, indeed, they rested, according to the command.

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