Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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LUKE - Chapter 23

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Luke 23

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those parts of the Third Gospel that are peculiar to it are commented on here.  For all other parts the reader should consult the Commentaries on the parallel passages in the other Gospels.


2.  The Passion and Death of Jesus  22, 39 -- 23, 56 (continued)

23, 1-7:  Jesus before Pilate.    1.  Jesus is delivered to Pilate: parallels in Matt. 27, 2; Mark 15, 1b; John 18, 28.    2.  The charge of sedition: peculiar to Luke; cf. 20, 20-26 and parallels.    3.  Pilate interrogates Jesus about His claim to be the king of the Jews: parallels in Matt. 27, 11; Mark 15, 2; John 18, 33-38a.    4.  Conclusion of the first hearing before Pilate: parallel in John 18, 38b.    5-7.  Peculiar to Luke who here gives the reason why Jesus was sent to Herod (transition to the next section).

23, 8-12:  Jesus before Herod.  Only in Luke.    11.  Arraying him: literally "throwing about him"; Jesus was not stripped of his own garments on this occasion.  The bright robe was not necessarily "white."  The Greek word (bright) is related to our word "lamp" and means "shining, flashy, brilliant, splendid."  Apparently this was intended as a royal garment to ridicule Jesus as a mock king.    12.  Previously they had been at enmity: we do not know the reason for their previous enmity, but it has been plausibly suggested that it was caused by Pilate's high-handed treatment of the Galileans in Jerusalem (cf. 13, 1 f).

23, 13-25:  Jesus Again before Pilate.    13-15.  Peculiar to Luke.    16.  Chastise him: i.e., have him scourged.  Our Lord was scourged, not merely as the usual punishment preceding crucifixion, as one might conclude from Matt. 27, 26; Mark 15, 15, but, according to Pilate's original intention, as a substitute for crucifixion (cf. John 19, 1-5).    17-22.  Christ and Barabbas: parallels in Matt. 27, 15-23; Mark 15, 6-14; John 18, 39 f.  Pilate tried this expedient before ordering the scourging of Christ (cf. 22 and John 18, 39 -- 19, 1).    23-25.  Pilate consents to the condemnation of Jesus: parallels in Matt. 27, 24-26; Mark 15, 15; John 19, 16a.

23, 26-32:  The Way of the Cross.    26.  Simon of Cyrene: parallels in Matt. 27, 31b-32 and Mark 15, 20b-22; cf. also John 19, 16b-17.    27-32.  Only in Luke.    28.  The sense is, "Weep less for me than for yourselves and for your children."  Jesus does not reject their sympathy but warns them of the terrible chastisements that shall soon befall Jerusalem.    29.  The childless woman will be envied in those days, for the mothers will have additional sorrow in the sight of their suffering children.    30.  They will wish to hide within the hills and mountains to escape from God's wrath.    31.  The meaning of this figurative language is, "If the Romans, who know that I am innocent, treat me so severely, how much more severely will they treat you as a rebellious nation."  The figure is taken from the fact that dry wood burns more easily than green wood.

23, 33-43:  The Crucifixion.    33.  Parallels in Matt. 27, 33.35a.38; Mark 15, 22.25.27; John 19, 17b-18.    34.  Luke alone records our Lord's first word on the Cross, whereby He taught in practice His own lesson on the forgiving of one's enemies (Matt. 6, 14 f).  Christ finds an excuse for them in the fact that they were ignorant of His true nature.  On the dividing of Christ's garments, cf. Matt. 27, 35; Mark 15, 24; John 19, 23 f.

35-37.  Jesus is derided on the Cross: parallels in Matt. 27, 41-44 and Mark 15, 31-32a.    38.  The title over the Cross: parallels in Matt. 27, 37; Mark 15, 26; John 19, 19.    39.  In Matt. 27, 44 and Mark 15, 32b both robbers are spoken of as reproaching Jesus.  Either they both did so at first and then afterwards one repented, or, as seems more probable, Matthew and Mark merely use the plural number, "the robbers," in the sense of "one of the robbers."    42.  Thy kingdom: the penitent thief acknowledges Jesus to be a king who would enter his kingdom through the portals of death, i.e., the Messias in the true sense taught by Christ.  Under the circumstances this was an extraordinary act of faith.

23, 44-49:  The Death of Jesus.    44-45a.  Darkness for three hours: parallels in Matt. 27, 45 and Mark 15, 33.    45b.  The curtain of the temple is rent asunder: in Matt. 27, 51a and Mark 15, 38 this is placed more suitably as happening at the very moment of Christ's death.    46.  Luke alone records this prayer of Jesus, which is taken from Ps. 30, 6, but the "loud cry" at His death is also mentioned in Matt. 27, 50; Mark 15, 37.    47-49.  The centurion and the women: parallels in Matt. 27, 54-56 and Mark 15, 39-41.

23, 50-56:  The Burial.  Parallels in Matt. 27, 57-61; Mark 15, 42-47; John 19, 38-40.

Confraternity Bible:

Jesus Before Pilate  1 And the whole assemblage rose, and took him before Pilate.  2 And they began to accuse  him, saying, "We have found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding the payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he is Christ a king."  3 So Pilate asked him, saying, "Art thou the king of the Jews?"  And he answered him and said, "Thou sayest it."  4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the crowds, "I find no guilt in this man."

5 But they persisted, saying, "He is stirring up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, and beginning from Galilee even to this place."  6 But Pilate, hearing Galilee, asked whether the man was a Galilean.  7 And learning that he belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him back to Herod, who likewise was in Jerusalem in those days.

Jesus before Herod  8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had been a long time desirous to see him, because he had heard so much about him, and he was hoping to see some miracle done by him.  9 Now he put many questions to him, but he made him no answer.

10 Now the chief priests and Scribes were standing by, vehemently accusing him.  11 But Herod, with his soldiery, treated him with contempt and mocked him, arraying him in a bright robe, and sent him back to Pilate.  12 And Herod and Pilate became friends that very day; whereas previously they had been at enmity with each other.

Jesus Again before Pilate  13 And Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, "You have brought before me this man, as one who perverts the people; and behold, I upon examining him in your presence have found no guilt in this man as touching those things of which you accuse him.  15 Neither has Herod; for I sent you back to him, and behold, nothing deserving of death has been committed by him.  16 I will therefore chastise him and release him."

17 Now at festival time it was necessary for him to release to them one prisoner.  18 But the whole mob cried out together, saying, "Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas!"--- 19 one who had been thrown into prison for a certain riot that had occurred in the city, and for murder.  20 But Pilate spoke to them again, wishing to release Jesus.  21 But they kept shouting, saying, "Crucify him!  Crucify him!"  22 And he said to them a third time, "Why, what evil has this man done?  I find no crime deserving of death in him.  I will chastise him and release him."

23 But they persisted with loud cries, demanding that he should be crucified; and their cries prevailed.  24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that what they asked for should be done.  25 So he released to them him who for murder and riot had been put in prison, for whom they were asking; but Jesus he delivered to their will.

The Way of the Cross  26 And as they led him away, they laid hold of a certain Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country, and upon him they laid the cross to bear it after Jesus.  27 Now there was following him a great crowd of the people, and of women, who were bewailing and lamenting him.  28 But Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  29 For behold, days are coming in which men will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and breasts that never nursed.'  30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us,' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'  31 For if in the case of green wood they do these things, what is to happen in the case of the dry?"  32 Now there were also two other malefactors led to execution with him.

The Crucifixion  33 And when they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, and the robbers, one on his right hand and the other on his left.  34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  Now in dividing his garments, they cast lots.

35 And the people stood looking on; and the rulers with them kept sneering at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ, the chosen one of God."  36 And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him and offering him common wine, 37 and saying, "If thou art the King of the Jews, save thyself!"

38 And there was also an inscription written over him in Greek and Latin and Hebrew letters,
"This is the King of the Jews."
39 Now one of those robbers who were hanged was abusing him, saying, "If thou art the Christ, save thyself and us!"  40 But the other in answer rebuked him and said, "Dost not even thou fear God, seeing that thou art under the same sentence?  41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what our deeds deserved; but this man has done nothing wrong."  42 And he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom."  43* And Jesus said to him, "Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise."

The Death of Jesus  44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  45 And the sun was darkened, and the curtain of the temple was torn in the middle.  46 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."  And having said this, he expired.

47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, "Truly this was a just man."  48 And all the crowd that collected for the sight, when they beheld what things had happened, began to return beating their breasts.  49 But all his acquaintances, and the women who had followed him from Galilee, were standing at a distance looking on.

The Burial  50 And behold, there was a man named Joseph, a councillor, a good and just man--- 51 he had not been party to their plan of action---of Arimathea, a town of Judea, who was himself looking for the kingdom of God.  52 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  53 And he took him down, and wrapped him in a linen cloth, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever yet been laid.  54 And it was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was drawing on.  55 And the women who had come with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how his body was laid.  56 And they went back and prepared spices and ointments.  And on the Sabbath they rested, in accordance with the commandment.


43: Paradise: i.e., the abode of the just souls under the old dispensation, who were waiting in limbo for the coming of the Messias to lead them to heaven.