Luke Twenty Three

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Luke 23:1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.

Luke 23:2 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.

Luke 23:3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.

Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.

no fault. It is noteworthy that the governor who condemned Jesus to die acknowledged that He was not guilty of the false charges (Luke 23:2) that had been lodged against Him. Pilate knew that Jesus' accusers were lying, but for political reasons condemned Him anyway. Pilate probably said more than he knew when he was led (possibly by the Holy Spirit) to pronounce that “there is no fault in Him.” Not only had Jesus committed no political crime, He had never committed any kind of sin at all. If any man ever deserved not to die, it was he!

Luke 23:5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.

Jewry. That is, “Judaea.”

Luke 23:6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.

Luke 23:7 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.

Luke 23:8 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.

Luke 23:9 Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.

answered him nothing. Jesus' silence before the king was in fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7.

Luke 23:10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.

Luke 23:11 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.

Luke 23:12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

enmity. It is remarkable how often mutual enemies will join forces to oppose and defeat, if possible, any Christian teaching or action—especially if related to the truth of creation or, in this case, to the Word of the Creator/Redeemer.

Luke 23:13 And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,

Luke 23:14 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:

Luke 23:15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.

Luke 23:16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.

Luke 23:17 (For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)

Luke 23:18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

Luke 23:19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)

Luke 23:20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.

Luke 23:21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.

Luke 23:22 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.

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

Luke 23:24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

Luke 23:25 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.

Luke 23:26 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.

Luke 23:27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

Luke 23:28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

Luke 23:29 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.

Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

Fall on us. This prophecy was fulfilled in part at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. Its ultimate fulfillment will be in the coming tribulation period (Revelation 6:15-17; see also Isaiah 2:19-21).

Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

green tree. Jesus was comparing the Roman treatment of Himself to what they would later do to the Jews. He was like a live tree, offering life-giving fruit, whereas the Jewish nation had become a dead tree, producing nothing but trouble.

Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.

Luke 23:33 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.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

forgive them. This is the first “word” from the cross. In previous times Jesus Himself had directly forgiven sins (e.g., Matthew 9:6), but on the cross He was limited to only His human resources, especially the resource of prayer.

know not. Jesus did not pray for forgiveness of willful sin (Hebrews 10:26).

Luke 23:35 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.

Luke 23:36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,

Luke 23:37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.

Luke 23:38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Luke 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

railed on him. While one of the thieves on the cross repented and believed unto salvation (Luke 23:43), the other continued his scoffing unbelief until he died. The one assures us that no one need despair of ever being saved, since it is possible at any time before death. The other warns us that no one should presume on God's forgiving patience. Long-continued rebellion against God is likely to become so fixed in one's character that repentance may become humanly impossible.

Luke 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Luke 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Luke 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

said unto Jesus, Lord. The repentant thief, beholding Christ and hearing the first two words from the cross (Luke 23:34; John 19:26), believed that Jesus was Lord and that he could, indeed, be forgiven. He had no opportunity to be baptized, change his life style, or to do anything except repent, believe on Christ, and confess his faith (Romans 10:9). That was sufficient!

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

To day. They would die that day, and the soul of the unrepentant thief would descend into Hades, to await condemnation at the judgment day. The other, because of his trust in Christ, would go with Him to paradise, or “Abraham's Bosom” (Luke 16:22). While there, the Lord would proclaim His victory to the many imprisoned evil angels confined there in chains of darkness (2 Peter 2:4; 1 Peter 3:19). He would then set free the souls of those who had died in faith (Luke 4:18), taking them and their “paradise” with Him to the “third heaven” (Ephesians 4:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4), and carrying with Him “the keys of hell (hades) and of death” (Revelation 1:18).

Luke 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

Luke 23:45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luke 23:46 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.

commend my spirit. This is Christ's seventh, and last, word from the cross (for the others, see Luke 23:34; John 19:26; Luke 23:43; Matthew 27:46; John 19:28, 30). After the three hours of darkness (Luke 23:44) when the Father had forsaken Him, and Christ could only call Him “My God” (Matthew 27:46), the work was finished (John 19:30) and Christ could again call Him “Father.” Furthermore, no mere human being could, simply of his own volition, dismiss His spirit from His own body. But Christ again was fully God as well as man, so could and did do exactly that.

Luke 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

Luke 23:49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.

Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:

Luke 23:51 (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.

Luke 23:52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

Luke 23:53 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.

never man before. The intriguing account of the burial of Jesus is given in all four gospels, and explanatory footnotes should be consulted for each. Joseph as a “counsellor” (Luke 23:50) was a member of the Sanhedrin, the group that had condemned Jesus. The fact that he had not “consented” to this deed with the others had, no doubt, alienated him from his colleagues, and this would be seriously aggravated by his provision of a proper burial for Jesus' body. Furthermore, he had apparently purchased the plot of land for just this purpose, and then had “hewn out in the rock” (Matthew 27:60) a “new tomb,” wherein none before had been buried. Nicodemus, his colleague on the counsel, had participated with him in all these plans, which must have occupied at least many weeks before the crucifixion. See especially the notes on John 19:38-41.

Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

the preparation. Evidently Joseph had prepared the tomb very near to Mount Calvary, in order to have quick access to the body and get it buried before the sabbath, which would begin at dusk, and on which the law required everyone to rest (Luke 23:56). Thus, Jesus died on the sixth day of the week, His body “rested” in the tomb on the seventh day, while everyone else likewise was supposed to be resting, and then rose again “upon the first day of the week” (Luke 24:1). As He had promised, therefore, He was “raised the third day” (Luke 9:22). There seems no way in this record to accommodate one or two more days between His death and resurrection, as some would argue. He was crucified on one day, rested in the tomb all through the second day, then was “raised the third day.”

Luke 23:55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.