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The Gospel According to Luke: Chapter 23

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1Then the assembly rose as a body and brought Jesus b Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two before Pilate. 2They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, forbidding us to pay taxes to the emperor, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king.” c Or is at hand for you 3Then Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He answered, “You say so.” 4Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.” 5But they were insistent and said, “He stirs up the people by teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee where he began even to this place.”

6When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7And when he learned that he was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him off to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some sign. 9He questioned him at some length, but Jesus d Or is at hand gave him no answer. 10The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate. 12That same day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other; before this they had been enemies.

13Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16I will therefore have him flogged and release him.” a Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two

18Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” 19(This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; 21but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” 23But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. 24So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. 25He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished.

26As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. 28But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus b Gk he there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. &frllalpha;34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”ὲ c Other authorities read in the spirit And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah d Or praise of God, his chosen one!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself‐!” 38There was also an inscription over him, a Or for so it was well‐pleasing in your sight “This is the King of the Jews.”

39One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding b Gk him him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? c Other ancient authorities add as Elijah did Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into d Other ancient authorities read rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what spirit you are of, 56for the Son of Man has not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them.” Then your kingdom.” 43He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

44It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land e Gk he until three in the afternoon, 45while the sun's light failed; f Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent.” g Or is at hand for you 48And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts. 49But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

50Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, 51had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 52This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock‐hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. 54It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. h Or is at hand 55The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how his body was laid. 56Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment.


d Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two

a Or is at hand for you

b Or is at hand

c Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two

d Gk he

e Other authorities read in the spirit

f Or praise

g Or for so it was well‐pleasing in your sight

h Gk him

a Other ancient authorities add as Elijah did

b Other ancient authorities read rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what spirit you are of, 56for the Son of Man has not come to destroy the lives of human beings but to save them.” Then

c Gk he

d Other ancient authorities read seventy‐two

a Or is at hand for you

b Or is at hand

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

2.21–38 : Jesus' circumcision and presentation.

22–23 :

Ex 13.2,12,15; Lev 5.11; 12.8 . The phrase their purification is ambiguous and likely refers to the parents, though there was no rite of purification for the father (or the newborn). Luke's interest in this ritual is to recognize the occasion of the parents' taking Jesus to the Temple.

25–38 :

Simeon and Anna, not otherwise known, acclaim Jesus as savior and redeemer.


The fourth hymn, whose opening words in Latin are “Nunc dimittis.”


See 3.6.

32 :

See Isa 49.6; 46.13 .

33 :

Luke calls Joseph the father of Jesus (notwithstanding 1.34–35 ) since he was Mary's husband and Jesus' legal father (cf. Mt 13.55; Lk 2.48; 3.23 ).

22.1–23.56 : The Last Supper and Jesus' trials, death, and burial

(Mt 26.1–27.61; Mk 14.1–15.47; Jn 13.1–19.42 ).

23.1–5 : Jesus before Pilate

(Mt 27.1–14; Mk 15.1–5; Jn 18.28–38 ).

1 :

Pilate, see 3.1n.

2 :

Cf. 19.38; 20.25; see Acts 24.5 . The charge is phrased to sound like treason.

4 :

23.14,22,41; Jn 19.4,6; Acts 13.28 . Pilate refused to take religious ideas in a political sense. Here, and later, Pilate sought to free Jesus but then yielded to pressures.

23.6–12 : Jesus before Herod.

Only Luke reports this episode. Herod Antipas was a son of Herod the Great (see 3.1n. ).

8 :

9.9; Acts 4.27–28 .

11 :

Jn 19.2–3 .

23.13–16 [17]: Pilate's declaration of Jesus' innocence.

14 :

Vv. 4,22,41 .

16 :

Jn 19.12–14 .

[ 17 ]:

An addition to Luke's account from Mk 15.6 ; see note there.

23.18–25 : The sentencing of Jesus to death

(Mt 27.15–26; Mk 15.6–15; Jn 18.39–40; 19.16; see Acts 3.13–14 ).

23.26–31 : On the way to the cross

(Mt 27.31b–32; Mk 15.20b–21; Jn 19.17a ).

26 :

Cyrene, in Libya. The cross, i.e., the horizontal cross‐beam.

28–32 :

21.23–24; 19.41–44 .

30 :

Incorporates wording parallel to Hos 10.8 .

31 :

Cf. Prov 11.31 . This proverb may mean either that if the innocent Jesus meets such a fate, then a worse fate awaits the guilty Jerusalem, or that if such takes place with Jesus present and active, what will happen when he is no longer present? Cf. 1 Pet 4.17–18 .

23.32 : Two criminals with Jesus.

23.33–38 : The scene of the crucifixion

(Mt 27.33–43; Mk 15.22–32a; Jn 19.17b–27 ).

33 :

The Skull, its Aramaic name, Golgotha, is found in the other Gospels.

34 :

See note c; cf. Acts 7.60 . The final phrase alludes to Ps 22.18 .

36 :

Ps 69.21 .

23.39–43 : The exchange between Jesus and the two criminals

(Mt 27.44; Mk 15.32b ).

41 :

Vv. 4,14,22 .

42 :

The robber's appeal may be based on the charge against Jesus (vv.2,3,38 ); he thinks in terms of 21.27–28 . Jesus promises him more than he asked, intimating that God's kingly power is a present reality, not merely future.

43 :

Paradise, originally a term for the garden of Eden (Gen 2.8–10 ), was a contemporary term for the lodging place of the righteous dead prior to the resurrection; cf. 16.22 .

23.44–48 : The death of Jesus

(Mt 27.45–54; Mk 15.33–39; Jn 19.28–30 ).

45 :

Ex 26.31–35 . The sun's light failed, the translation is uncertain; see Am 8.9; Joel 2.31 .

46 :

Jesus' words quote Ps 31.6 .

47 :

In the context of Luke's Gospel, the centurion (see 7.2n. ) declares Jesus to be “righteous” rather than merely innocent.

48 :

The cause of this popular agitation is not clear (Zech 12.10 ), though compare 18.13–14 for a possible meaning of the crowd's reaction.

23.49 : Jesus' acquaintances at the crucifixion

(Mt 27.55–56; Mk 15.40–41; Jn 19.25–27 ). See 23.55; cf. 8.1–3; 24.10; Ps 38.11 .

23.50–54 : The burial of Jesus

(Mt 27.57–60; Mk 15.42–46; Jn 19.38–42 ).

50 :

The council, 22.66n.

54 :

The sabbath began at sundown. Luke, perhaps having Gentile readers in mind, indicates the urgency of the burial in Jewish custom.

23.55–56 : Women at the burial

(Mt 27.61; Mk 15.47–16.1 ).

55 :

Cf. 24.10 .

56 :

Ex 12.16; 20.10 . Spices and ointments were applied to the corpse; see Mk 16.1; Jn 19.40 .

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