Living Word Magazine

Jesus Taken before Pilate


23:1  Then the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus before Pilate.


Having condemn Jesus of blasphemy the Sanhedrin had no power to invoke capital punishment on Him.   So the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.


23:2 They began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king."


There they listed the charges that they had made up against Him.   First of all that He was misleading the people and turning the nation of Israel away from Roman authority. That He was encouraging the people not to pay tax to Caesar and proclaiming Himself to be the Messiah, the Christ and a King.   All these charges were carefully worded in order to get a conviction worthy of death from Pilate.   They knew that Pilate would not be interested in any of their Jewish laws being broken.


23:3  So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He replied, "You say so."


In fact the only thing that Pilate was concerned about was the charge that Jesus had said He was a King as this would be in opposition to Caesar.   So he asked Jesus if He is the king of the Jews.   The Lord's reply was that which is true "yes He is" (Isaih 9: 6 -7).


23:4  Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no basis for an accusation against this man."


As Jesus stated that He was king of the "Jews" Pilate had no misgivings about proclaiming to the chief priest and those with them that He innocent of any crime.


 23:5  But they persisted in saying, "He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea. It started in Galilee and ended up here!"


But they vehemently insisted that He had stirred the people to rebellion  with His teaching throughout all Judea and Galilee.


23:6  Now when Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.


When Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee he asked them if He was a Galilean.  The chief priests assume that Jesus was born in Galilee because He was brought up in Nazareth.   He was in fact a Judean for He was born in Bethlehem.


 (Luk 23:7)  When he learned that he was from Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who also happened to be in Jerusalem at that time.


V7.   And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.   When Pilate heard them say that Jesus was a Galilean He would then come under Herod's authority so that is where he sent Jesus.   Herod was in Jerusalem at this time keeping the Passover.


2.   Jesus transferred to Herod then back to Pilate 8 - 12.


(Luk 23:8)  When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some miraculous sign.


V8.   Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.


When Herod saw Jesus he was overjoyed for he had wanted to see Him for a long time because of all the miraculous things that he heard that He had done.   He was hoping that Jesus would "perform" a miracle before him (Luke 9: 7 - 9).  


(Luk 23:9)  So Herod questioned him at considerable length; Jesus gave him no answer.


V9.   Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.


Herod asked Jesus many questions but He did not answer anyone of them.


(Luk 23:10)  The chief priests and the experts in the law were there, vehemently accusing him.


V10.   And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.


The chief priests and scribes were not interested in Herod's whims that continually shouted out their accusations against Jesus.


(Luk 23:11)  Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, dressing him in elegant clothes, Herod sent him back to Pilate.


V11.   Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.


Herod's reaction to Jesus' silence before him was to set his soldiers on Him.   They treated Him with scorn, set Him at nought, and made fun of Him.   Finally they but a spendid robe upon Him and sent Him back to Pilate.   (The Syriac version renders it, "scarlet"; and the Arabic and Persic versions, "red").


(Luk 23:12)  That very day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other, for prior to this they had been enemies.


V12.   That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.


Pilate and Herod at been antagonistic to each other but when Pilate recognised Herod's authority in sending Jesus to him they became friends.




3.   A Choice made 13 - 25.


(Luk 23:13)  Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,


(Luk 23:14)  and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. When I examined him before you, I did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing.


V13 - 14.   Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, said to them, "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;


Pilate summoned the members of the Sanhedrin to him and some of the people and announced his verdict.   The only valid charge they had made against Jesus as far as Pilate was concerned as Roman governor was that He was inciting the people to rebel against Caesar.   Pilate proclaimed Him innocent of this charge.


(Luk 23:15)  Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, he has done nothing deserving death.


V15.   no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.


Furthermore Herod to whom he had sent Jesus was also of the same opinion and therefore nothing had been done to deserve the death penalty.


(Luk 23:16)  I will therefore have him flogged and release him."


V16.   I will therefore chastise Him and release Him"


Although declaring Jesus innocent of any charge Pilate did wanted to keep in with the Jewish leaders so he compromised by saying that He would have Jesus flogged and then released.




(Luk 23:17)  (TEXT OMITTED)


V17.   for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).


It was customary for Roman governors to release a Jewish prisoner at the Passover so the people expected Pilate to do the same now.


23:18 - 19  But they all shouted out together, "Take this man away! Release Barabbas for us!"  (This was a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder.)


Pilate really believed that the crowd would cry for Jesus to be set free but they with one voice cried out for Jesus to be crucified and Barabbas released.   Barabbas was in prison for taking part in an uprising against Roman authority in Jerusalem and for murder.


23:20  Pilate addressed them once again because he wanted to release Jesus.


Pilate wanted to release Jesus so he called out to them again who did they want him to release Jesus or Barabbas.


23:21  But they kept on shouting, "Crucify, crucify him!"


The chief priests, rulers and the crowd of people with them fiercely cried out together "Crucify Him".   In no way did they want Jesus to be released they were determined that He should die.


23:22  A third time he said to them, "Why? What wrong has he done? I have found him guilty of no crime deserving death. I will therefore flog him and release him."


For the third time he asks them why Jesus should be crucified, what wrong had He did ? Pilate had found no reason to put Him to death.   So again he says that he will flog and let Him go.


23:23  But they were insistent, demanding with loud shouts that he be crucified. And their shouts prevailed.


The people kept up the pressure and with loud voices demanded that Jesus be crucified.   The shouts and cries of the chief priest and the people prevailed.


23:24  So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.


So Pilate sentenced Jesus to be crucified as they had demanded.   They had made their choice Barbabbas, a criminal, to be set free and Jesus Christ the Son of God who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), to be put to death for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2).


23:25  He released the man they asked for, who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder. But he handed Jesus over to their will.


So it was done according to the choice they had made, Barbabbas who was justly imprisoned waiting execution for his crimes was set free and Jesus Christ delivered up to be crucifed.


The King of Kings on the Cross


23:26  As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country. They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.


In Matthew  27:26 we are told that Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged (this would have been with a lead-tipped whip and then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.  So He was led away to Calvary bearing His own cross upon His shoulders.  Having suffered terribly from the flogging He was too weak to carry it so the Roman soldiers took hold of a man who was coming into the city from the country, Simon a Cyrenian , and forced him to carry the cross walking behind Jesus.


23:27 A great number of the people followed him, among them women who were mourning and wailing for him.


As was normally the case when a crucifixion was taking place a large crowd of people followed Jesus.   Among them women who wept and mourned in pity for Him.


23:28  But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.


Turning to these women He addressing them as "daughters of Jerusalem" tells them not to weep for Him but to weep for themselves and their children.


23:29  For this is certain: The days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never nursed!'


This He says in fulfillment of what He had told His disciples would happen concerning the siege and destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21: 23 - 24).   Those who have never had children will be considered blessed in that day for they will not see their children starved to death and put to the sword.


23:30  Then they will begin to say to the mountains,  'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'


So great will be the anguish of that time that they will cry out for the mountains to fall upon them and bury them.


23:31  For if such things are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"


Adam Clarke says "this seems to be a proverbial expression" meaning that if a tree is cut done when it has an abundanced of fruit and foliage what will be done to a tree that has died and is rotting away.   Jesus Christ is the tree that is being cut off from the land of the living  (Isaiah 11:1, Isaiah 53:8).


23:32  Two other criminals were also led away to be executed with him.


There were two criminals who were being led away to be crucified with Jesus Christ.


23:33 So when they came to the place that is called "The Skull," they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.


They took them to an hill called Calvary,the Skull, and there they nailed Jesus to a cross through His hands and feet (Psalm 22:16) and lifted Him up(John 12: 32).


23:34  [But Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing."] Then they threw dice to divide his clothes.


As He hangs there on the cross Jesus prayed for those who had  falsely accused Him, illegally tried Him and handed Him over to be crucified and for those who actually carried out the crucifixion.   Jesus Christ knowing that they were ignorant of the God's plan and purpose of the cross asks His Father to forgive them.   While He was uttering this the soldiers around the foot of the cross were gambling for His clothes that had been stripped off Him (Psalm 22:18).


23:35  The people also stood there watching, but the rulers ridiculed him, saying, "He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!"


The crowds watched and their rulers scoffed and taunted Him by their words.   He claimed to be the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God, he had healed and delivered others then let Him save Himself from the cross.


23:36 - 37  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!"


The soldiers were not to be outdone they also mocked Him and came and offered to Him some of their drink saying "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself."   Clarke says that sour vinegar (sour wine in fact) was a common drink of the Roman soldiers; and it is supposed that wherever they were on duty they had a vessel of this liquor standing by.


23:38  There was also an inscription over him, "This is the king of the Jews."


It is recorded in John's Gospel that it was Pilate who had the inscription written in all the three languages that were in common use at that time and had it put on the cross (see John 19: 19 - 22).   In verse three he had asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews and Jesus had replied that He was.   Whether Pilate had it written to spite the Jews or whether he believed it or not doesn't matter.   The fact is that Jesus is not only King of the Jews but the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).


23:39  One of the criminals who was hanging there railed at him, saying, "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"


One of the criminals who was crucified with Jesus  also joined in the mockery and blasphemed against Him.   If you are who you claim to be then save yourself and us.   This man had no thought for God.


23:40 - 41  But the other rebuked him, saying, "Don't you fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did, but this man has done nothing wrong."


The other one rebuked him by asking him if he had no fear of God at all since he was under the same sentence of death.   This man acknowledged that he was justly paying the penalty for his crimes and that Jesus had done no wrong (1 Peter 1: 18 - 19).


(Luk 23:42)  Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom."


While he hung on the cross facing certain death this criminal had a revelation that he had sinned against God and that Jesus Christ was dying on the cross for his sins and that He, Jesus, was going to Paradise (Romans 3:23, 5: 12, 10:9).   So he asked Jesus to remember him when He comes into His Kingdom.


(Luk 23:43)  And Jesus said to him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."


Jesus gave this repentant man the blessed assurance that he was a common criminal, a sinner, would be with Him in Paradise this very day (Hebrews 7: 25, 2 Corinthians 5:8).


Jesus Gives His Life


3:44  It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon,


About midday when the sun would be at it's highest a darkness came over all the earth and lasted for three hours (Amos 8:9).


23:45  because the sun's light failed. The temple curtain was torn in two.


At the same time the veil that hid the Holy of Holies from the people was torn in two (Exodus 26:33).


23:46  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And after he said this he breathed his last.


Jesus cried out in a loud voice committing His spirit into the hands of His Father.  Having said this He gave up His life  for the sins of the whole world (John 10:18).


23:47  Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he praised God and said, "Certainly this man was innocent!"


The centurion in charge of the execution when he saw all that had happened recognised God and gave thanks and praised Him saying "of a certainty this Man was righteous.


23:48) And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.


All the people who had come to see the crucifixion when they saw all that had taken place they smote upon their breasts in anguish and great fear and returned to their homes.


23:49  And all those who knew Jesus stood at a distance, and the women who had followed him from Galilee saw these things.


All the friends of Jesus and the women who had followed Him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.   Mark records that among them was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and Salome ( see Mark 15: 40).   From John's account we know that Mary the mother of Jesus was there also (see John 19:26).


23:50 - 52  Now there was a man named Joseph who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man.(He had not consented to their plan and action.) He was from the Judean town of Arimathea, and was looking forward to the kingdom of God.He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.


We are not told if Joseph of Arimathea was at the scene of the Cross but he most probable would have been as he knew immediately when Jesus had died.  He was a member of the Sanhedrin, a good and upright man, and had not consented to the decision of the council to hand Jesus over to be crucified.   He was expecting and waiting for the Kingdom of God.   It was this man who went to Pilate and asked if he could have the body of Jesus.


23:53  Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and placed it in a tomb cut out of the rock, where no one had yet been buried.


He had a tomb already hewn out of the rock in readiness for himself but he was willing to give it over for the Lord to be buried there.    He took the body of the Lord Jesus Christ down from the cross and wrapped it in linen clothes and laid him in this tomb.


GO to Luke 24 Bible study

A Free Online Commentary of the Bible.

Luke 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

                                                                To view commentary for each chapter, click desired chapter number.

Chapter 23


Online Bible studies, Christian, New Testament, Luke 23 Bible study

Copyright (2009-2014) Sharon Full Gospel Church, United Kingdom. Reg. Charity No. 1050642

Bible studies