Luke 23

See Isaiah 53:3-6, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
(Only the divine Word can conclude this scene.)

1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.

3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.

4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.

6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.

7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.

8 ¶ And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.

9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

11 And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.

12 ¶ And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

13 ¶ And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

14 Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:

15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.

17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.

21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.

23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.

27 ¶ And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 ¶ Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.

36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39 ¶ And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

46 ¶ And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

50 ¶ And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:

51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 23:1-12 – ​Silent under False Accusations

   The Jewish Sanhedrin, hastily summoned at the hour of dawn, having elicited from Jesus the profession of His messiahship and deity, and having concluded on the death sentence, set themselves to induce Pilate, the Roman governor, to concur in their verdict. In order to do this, they urged that Jesus imperiled the Roman supremacy.
   Pilate was accustomed to deal with men, and after careful examination, was satisfied that there was no ground for the death sentence. I find no fault. As God’s Paschal Lamb, the Savior was searched to discover if there were spot, or blemish, or anything that could invalidate His claim to sinlessness. Only the sinless could save sinners. In his heart Pilate knew that our Lord should be acquitted, but his fear of the Jews deflected the verdict of his conscience. By sending the case to Herod, he hoped to get the right thing done, without incurring the odium incident to doing it. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 23:13-25 – ​Barabbas or Christ?

   Herod’s moral nature had become almost extinguished by a long course of immorality and cruelty. While the Baptist lived, he had “done many things” and heard John gladly; but when the beheading of this faithful witness on his own orders had taken place, the royal sinner went headlong to ruin. He treated this incident with flippant levity. The gorgeous raiment, being an imitation of the royal apparel of the Jewish kings, may have suggested the inscription affixed to the cross.
   By giving the people the alternative of Christ or Barabbas, Pilate expected that they would certainly choose the former. To his dismay, this second effort to salve his conscience without endangering his reputation failed. So he drifted and sold his soul for power. Each of us has to choose between Christ and Barabbas, between the self-surrender of the Cross and brutal selfishness. Barabbas must have stolen to the Cross in the afternoon and said, as he stood there: “He hangs where I should have been. I am saved by His death.” —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 23:26-34 – ​“They Crucified the Lord of Glory”

   Simon’s two sons are believed to have become Christians. See Mark 15:21, Romans 16:13. Perhaps this strange interruption in his ordinary experiences led to the whole household becoming Christian. Jesus and he bore the cross together. So later, Symeon of Cambridge, who was much reviled for his evangelical principles, loved to think that he and Christ were suffering together.
   Ever more thoughtful for others than for Himself, the Lord seemed to forget His griefs that He might address warnings and entreaties to these poor women, Luke 23:28. He was the young green tree in the forest glade, consumed in the awful heat of divine burnings, while they and theirs were the dry wood, which would soon crackle in the overthrow of their city.
   On the cross our Lord became immediately the high priest, pleading for the great world and for His own; and He has never ceased since. See Hebrews 7:25. Sins of ignorance are placed in a different category from those of presumption; See I Timothy 1:13, I John 5:16. The answer to that prayer, Luke 23:34, was given on the day of Pentecost. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 23:33 – ​Away on the frontier of our country, out on the prairies, where men sometimes go to hunt, or for other purposes, the grass in the dry season sometimes catches fire, and you will see the flames uprise twenty or thirty feet high, and roll over the Western desert faster than any fleet horse can run. Now, what do the men do? They know it is sure death unless they can make some escape. They would try to run away, perhaps, if they had fleet horses. But they can’t; that fire goes faster than the fleetest horse can run. What do they do? Why, they just take a match, and they light the grass from it, and away it burns, and then they get into that burnt district. The fire comes on, and there they stand perfectly secure. There they stand perfectly secure – nothing to fear. Why? Because the fire has burned all there is to burn. Such a place is Mount Calvary. (Moody)

​Luke 23:33 – Mount Calvary is lord of the Sacred Mountains, and by its baptism of blood and agony, its moral grandeur, and the intense glory that beams from its summit, is worthy to crown the immortal group. Its moral height no man can measure, for though its base is on the earth, its top is lost in the heaven of heavens. The angels hover around the dazzling summit, struggling in vain to scale its highest point, which has never yet been fanned by even an immortal wind. The divine eye alone embraces its length and breadth, and depth and height. Oh, what associations cluster around it! what mysteries hover there! and what revelations it makes to the awe-struck beholder! Mount Calvary! at the mention of that name the universe thrills with a new emotion, and heaven trembles with a new anthem, in which pity and exultation mingle in strange yet sweet accord! (Headley)

Luke 23:35-46 – ​Saving Others by not Saving Himself

   Rulers, soldiers, and malefactors all heaped their insults on the dying Lord, little realizing that they were all included in the great love which was pouring itself out as the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. It may be that we shall have to share the same opprobrium, if we drink of His cup and are baptized with His baptism. But God will do for us as He did for Jesus; He will not leave our soul in the grave nor suffer His own to see corruption, Psalm 16:10.
   The signs of renewal, wrought in the heart of the penitent thief, showed the sure work of the Holy Spirit. These were the fear of God, the sense of justice in His suffering, the confession of evil deeds, the recognition of our Lord’s sinlessness and dignity, and the anticipation of His coming Kingdom. We may begin a day under the dull skies of earth and close it where there is no need of sun or moon. See Philippians 1:23; II Corinthians 5:6. For the rent veil, see Hebrews 10:20. Dying saints have often passed home with our Lord’s last words on their lips, Psalm 31:5; Acts 7:59. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Luke 23:43—Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.

​   Today!—Dost thou ask Me to remember thee at some distant moment, when the kingdom of which I am now laying the foundations shall have become the all-conquering kingdom of the world? Thou needest not wait so long. I say unto thee that this very day, when yonder sun now scorching above our heads is sinking in the west, and the shadows lie long from our crosses, and the people have gone to their homes, thou shalt be with Me, where the sun shall no more be thy light by day, nor the moon by night, but the Lord shall be thy everlasting light.
   Shalt thou be with Me.—Dost thou ask only to be remembered; that I should give thee the glance of a thought; that I shall recall thy voice and face for a brief moment? Thou shalt be with Me, for I will await thee on the confines of my home. The throngs which escort Me shall behold thee by my side, and when I sit upon my sapphire throne I will give thee to sit beside Me, the one who, in my mortal anguish, trod the vale of the shadow, and who, with Me, shall tread the paths of light and glory.
   In Paradise.—I am here regaining Paradise. All that was lost is being recovered. Within a few hours it will be mine to give; within a few hours its key will be in my hand; within a few hours thou shalt walk with Me there in the cool of the day, and the angel that drove out Adam shall keep watch lest the Serpent enter to molest.
   Verily I say unto thee.—All this is fixed and certain. I say “verily” to thee because the Father hath said “verily” to Me. Oh, trembling soul, who hast fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before thee, thou mayest have strong encouragement from my Word and death. —Our Daily Homily

Luke 23:47-56 – ​Faith from, Unexpected Quarters

   God has His agents everywhere. They are not known to us, but are well known to Him, and one word from Him will bring them and their resources to His help. How many are unsuspected lovers of His Kingdom! Who would have thought that Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God, or that he would have identified its advent with the death on the cross!
   The body of our Lord was well cared for. They who commit themselves to God will find that He will make Himself responsible for the body, in life to feed and in death to honor; see Matthew 6:33; Deuteronomy 34:6. The new tomb was so ordered that there could be no possible mistake in identifying the precious body, and that the Resurrection should be beyond question. Love, which clings to the last offices with tender solicitude hastened to express itself with a devotion that braved the hatred of the rulers. Darkness and silence settled on the scene—but this was not the end. —Through the Bible Day by Day