Bible Commentaries
Luke 23

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Verses 1-25


And took Jesus before Pilate. See notes on Matthew 27:11-35; John 18:28 to John 19:16. Matthew says they put Jesus in chains and took him. Telling them not to pay taxes to the Emperor. This was false (see Matthew 22:21). It is ironic that they accuse Jesus of doing what Barabbas had actually done (see Mark 15:7 and note there). Claiming that he himself is Christ, a king. This was true, but not in the sense of their charge. He did not claim to be an earthly king. I find no reason to condemn this man. This is Pilate’s verdict, after questioning Jesus (see John 18:33-38). He is starting a riot. They try again to make Jesus seem to be one of the “Zealots” who start riots in their attempt to drive out the Roman Occupation Troops. He sent him to Herod. Herod Antipas. This man murdered John the Baptist. Herod was very pleased. He had a great curiosity about Jesus. Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus. Pilate was not cruel like Herod. Herod and Pilate became friends. Because Pilate had sent Jesus to Herod. Nor did Herod find him guilty. Pilate tries again to set Jesus free. I will have him whipped, then, and let him go. This would be a compromise which would allow the Council to “save face.” Pilate will have an innocent man whipped and then let him go free. Set Barabbas free for us! Barabbas is a guilty man! See notes on Matthew 27:15-26. See note on Luke 23:2.

Verses 26-49


They took Jesus away. The most complete notes on the Crucifixion are found in Matthew 27:32-56. A large crowd of people followed him. This shows that Jesus had a lot of sympathizers in Jerusalem. Women of Jerusalem. These are local residents, not from outlying areas. Don’t cry for me. Even in his own agony, Jesus thinks of these people and the horrors which they are bringing on themselves (see note on Matthew 24:21). For if such things as these are done. This is a proverb. The meaning is: “If the leaders and the Romans crucify the nation’s Messiah, what will they do to the nation itself?” Forgive them, Father. Only Luke tells these words. Jesus must have said this just after they nailed him to the cross. The kind of LOVE which he demonstrates here, is the kind of love Christians are to develop. See John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:16-21. They don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know they are rejecting and killing their own Messiah. They don’t know they are sealing the doom of their own city and nation. They divided his clothes among themselves. See John 19:23-24.

Verse 39


One of the criminals hanging there. These criminals were certainly associates of Barabbas (see Mark 15:7 and note there). Matthew and Mark show these criminals insulting Jesus. [The Zealots tried to drive out the Roman Occupation Forces. They had expected Jesus to announce himself king and raise an army. Their insults express their frustration.]

Verses 40-48


The other one, however. This one has a “change of heart,” and rebukes his fellow criminal. Alford (Greek Testament) mentions that some feel this penitent criminal was a disciple of Christ. If he was, this would fit in with the fanaticism of the Zealots, especially what he says in Luke 23:42. [One of the Twelve was a “zealot,” Simon the Patriot.]

41. Ours, however, is only right. They knew the risks they were taking by being political activists, and they knew also that Jesus was not one of them, but was innocent of the charges.

42. Remember me, Jesus, when you come as King! This is an expression of faith! This man obviously knows something of Jesus’ teaching, and EXPECTS him to come as King [of a spiritual Kingdom].

43. Today you will be in Paradise with me. Paradise is “heaven before the Judgment” (see note at end of Luke 16:31). This man was Jew, a descendant of Abraham. If he was a disciple of Christ (see note on Luke 23:40), he had been baptized (John 4:1-2). Until Jesus died, the Old Law was in effect (see Colossians 2:14 and note).

46. Jesus cried out in a loud voice. He first said Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? Then: It is finished! Then: Father! In your hands I place my spirit! [We ordinarily say “soul” when we mean “spirit.”]

47. The army officer. See note on Matthew 27:54.

48. Beating their breasts. People would pound on their chest as a sign of great sadness!

49. Including the women. See notes on Matthew 27:55-56.

Verses 50-56


There was a man named Joseph. On the Burial of Jesus, see notes on Matthew 27:57-61. Although a member of the Council. Both Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin (the ruling Jewish Council and Supreme Court) but had opposed the decision and action against Jesus. [Johnson thinks that they were not present when the Sanhedrin took their action against Jesus.] It was Friday. The day before the Passover (John 19:14). [Remember the Sabbath would begin at 6 P.M. Friday.] Jesus died about 3 P.M. (Matthew 27:46), the time the lambs would be killed in preparation for the Passover. This shows the Jews had not yet eaten the Passover Meal.

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Luke 23". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.