Luke 23

1 – 2

When the whole group stood up and led Jesus to Pilate. They began to accuse Jesus. They told Pilate, “We caught this man telling things that were confusing our people. He says that we should not pay taxes to Caesar. He calls himself the Christ, a king.”

Pilate was in trouble with the leaders in Rome and he knew that if he did not do what the Jews wanted then he could lose his position.

3 – 4

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Yes, that is right.” Pilate said to the leading priests and the people, “I find nothing wrong with this man.”

Every man should ask himself what he will do with Jesus who has done nothing wrong to us.

5. They said again and again, “But Jesus is making trouble with the people! He teaches all around Judea. He began in Galilee, and now he is here!” Pilate heard this and asked if Jesus was from Galilee.

Pilate was a very bad man and had done many things to make the Jews angry. The Jews told the leaders of Rome about this bad treatment and peak. Pilate had to be very careful not to make them angry again.

The Jews could not kill Jesus because the Romans did not give them permission to do this kill anyone. They also could not ask Pilate to bring Jesus to a Roman trial about their religion. They decided to say that Jesus was teaching the people to fight against Rome.

6 – 12

If so, Jesus was under Herod’s authority. Herod was in Jerusalem at that time; so Pilate sent Jesus to him. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad. He had heard about Jesus and had wanted to meet him for a long time. Herod was hoping to see Jesus work a miracle.

Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus said nothing. The leading priests and teachers of the law were standing there. They were shouting things against Jesus.

Then Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus. They dressed him in a kingly robe and then sent him back to Pilate. In the past, Pilate and Herod had always been enemies. But on that day they became friends.

By now Pilate has seen that there is no way out of this situation. He sits on the judgment seat because he has already decided he will let Jesus be killed. But he wants to mock the Jews first. The Jews mock him also. They hate Rome but now they say they want no king but Caesar. They reject God as their king, just like they did in the days of Samuel. 1 Samuel 8:7

13 – 17

Pilate called all the people together with the leading priests and the Jewish leaders. He said to them, “You brought this man to me. You said that he was making trouble among the people. But I have questioned him before you all, and I have not found him guilty of the things you say.

Also, Herod found nothing wrong with him; he sent him back to us. Look, he has done nothing for which he should die. So, after I punish him, I will let him go free.” Every year at the Passover Feast, Pilate had to release one prisoner to the people.

Pilate’s sin is that he knew Jesus was innocent and he knew that he had the power to let Him go, but he wanted to stay out of trouble with the Jews.

18 – 21

But all the people shouted, “Kill him! Let Barabbas go free!” Barabbas was a man who was in prison because he started a riot in the city. He was guilty of murder.
Pilate wanted to let Jesus go free. So he told this to the crowd. But they shouted again, “Kill him! Kill him on a cross!”

This would mean that they knew they could sone Jesus because only the Romans could do that. Psalm 22 says the Messiah would not have any broken bones that come from dying on a cross.

22. A third time Pilate said to them, “Why? What wrong has he done? I can find no reason to kill him. So I will have him punished and set him free.”

He is saying that he has not found Jesus guilty of rebellion against Rome and their claims about blasphemy have nothing to do with Roman law.

23 – 25

But they continued to shout. They demanded that Jesus be killed on the cross. Their yelling became so loud that Pilate decided to give them what they wanted. They wanted Barabbas to go free, the man who was in jail for starting a riot and for murder. Pilate let Barabbas go free and gave Jesus to them to be killed.

They want a man named Barabbas who is rebelling against Rome after accusing Jesus of rebelling against Rome! Luke 23:19
Barabbas knew what it was like to have somebody die in his place.

We wonder if Barabbas later heard the Gospel and understood what had happened. It is amazing how there are police officers and firefighters and soldiers dying for us almost every day and we rarely think about it.

26. The soldiers led Jesus away. At that time, there was a man coming into the city from the fields. His name was Simon, and he was from the city of Cyrene. The soldiers forced Simon to carry Jesus’ cross and walk behind him.

Simon’s family was known by the early Christians. Romans 16:13, Acts 13:1

27 – 31

A large crowd of people was following Jesus. Some of the women were sad and crying. 28 But Jesus turned and said to them, “Women of Jerusalem, do not cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children too!

The time is coming when people will say, ‘Happy are the women who cannot have children! Happy are the women who have no babies to nurse.’

Then people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ And they will say to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ If they act like this now when life is good, what will happen when bad times come?”

And they cried to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. Revelation 6:16

32 – 33

There were also two criminals led out with Jesus to be killed. Jesus and the two criminals were taken to a place called the Skull. There the soldiers nailed Jesus to his cross. They also nailed the criminals to their crosses, one beside Jesus on the right and the other beside Jesus on the left.

They have pierced my hands and feet. Psalm 22:16

34. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” The soldiers threw lots to decide who would get his clothes.

Some people say that the ones that hurt them do know what they are doing. This kind of thinking goes against what Jesus is teaching us here.

They divide My clothes among themselves and throw dice for My clothing. Psalm 22:18

35. The people stood there watching. The leaders made fun of Jesus. They said, “If he is God’s Chosen One, the Christ, then let him save himself. He saved other people, did he not?”

No man will save himself if he has made up his mind to save someone else from death.

36 – 38

Even the soldiers made fun of him. They came to Jesus and offered him some vinegar. They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!” At the top of the cross these words were written: “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Paul says something like this which shows that the devil would like to put a sign over our heads to condemn us and accuse us as sinners to the world. Colossians 2:14

39 – 43

One of the criminals began to shout insults at Jesus: “Are you not the Christ? Then save yourself! And save us too!”
But the other criminal stopped him. He said, “You should fear God! You are getting the same punishment as he is.

We are punished justly; we should die. But this man has done nothing wrong!” Then this criminal said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!”

Then Jesus said to him, “Listen! What I say is true: Today you will be with me in paradise!”

This man was shown by the Holy Spirit that his sins were going to send him to hell and that Jesus was dying for him. It is never too late!

44 – 46

It was about noon, and the whole land became dark until three o’clock in the afternoon. There was no sun! The curtain in the Temple was torn into two pieces. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, I give you my life.” After Jesus said this, he died.

This curtain was very thick and was very high up. The priests would see this and know that no man could have done this. The way is now open for us to come before God without a priest or a curtain between us.

47 – 49

The army officer there saw what happened. He praised God, saying, “I know this was a good man!”
Many people had gathered there to watch this thing. When they saw what happened, they returned home. They beat their chests because they were so sad.

Those who were close friends of Jesus were there. Some were women who had followed Jesus from Galilee. They all stood far away from the cross and watched.

The people know that they have helped to kill an innocent man. What has Jesus ever done to deserve to be hated this way? Is it so important to be the one who controls your own life that anything good that Jesus has done must be dead to you?

50 – 54

A man from the Jewish town of Arimathea was there, too. His name was Joseph. He was a good, religious man. He wanted the kingdom of God to come. Joseph was a member of the Jewish council, but he had not agreed when the other leaders decided to kill Jesus.

Joseph went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. So Joseph took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in cloth. Then he put Jesus’ body in a tomb that was cut in a wall of rock. This tomb had never been used before. This was late on Preparation Day. When the sun went down, the Sabbath day would begin.

Joseph from Arimathea was a rich man and would not want to be buried next to a place where criminals were hung on crosses. He bought this tomb because it was close by and it was time to get ready for the Sabbath.

Some teachers do not agree but there is a tomb exactly like the one shown to us in the Gospels still there in Jerusalem. Next to the hill that looks like a skull. It is an empty tomb, just as the Bible said it was.

55 – 56

The women who had come from Galilee with Jesus followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and saw inside where the body of Jesus was laid. Then the women left to prepare perfumes and spices. On the Sabbath day they rested, as the law of Moses commanded.

They planned to bury Him with the wicked but He was put in a rich man’s grave. Isaiah 53:9