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Luke  ◦   Chapter 23

1All those at the tribunal got up and took him to Pilate,2where they made their allegations, saying: "This man is a traitor to our nation. He opposes paying taxes to Caesar and claims to be the deliverer king."

3Pilate asked Jesus, "Is this true? Are you the king of the Jews?" "Your words, not mine," Jesus replied.

4Then Pilate announced to the church leaders and mob, "Your accusations against this man are unfounded. I find no reason for the charges."

5But they persisted: "He's an agitator! All over Judea he stirs up the people with his teachings; he started in Galilee and has now come here."

6Pilate instantly asked if Jesus was a Galilean.7Upon learning that he was from Herod's jurisdiction, he thought to sidestep the issue and sent him to Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem at that time.

8Herod was most happy when they brought Jesus to him, because for a long time he had wanted to see him. After hearing about all that Jesus had done, he wished to be entertained by Jesus performing some miracles.9He interrogated him with question after question, but Jesus gave no answer.10The church leaders, senior pastors and theology professors stood there, angrily accusing him.11Then Herod and his soldiers began to make fun of Jesus and call him names. They dressed him up in mock royal attire, and sent him back to Pilate.12Herod, grateful for the respect Pilate showed him by sending Jesus to him, changed his hostile attitude toward Pilate and they became friends that day.

13Pilate called in the church leaders, senior pastors, theology professors and the people,14and told them, "You brought this man to me accused of inciting the people to rebel. I examined him in front of you and found no basis for your charges.15Further, I sent him to Herod, and he also found no basis for your charges–that is why he sent him back to me. So, as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death.16Therefore, I will punish him, but then release him."17(He was expected to set one prisoner free each Passover.)

18But with a frenzy of bloodlust, the mob screamed out as one voice, "Away with him! Away with him! Set Barabbas free! Set Barabbas free!"19(Barabbas was an insurrectionist in prison for murder.)

20Pilate wanted to release Jesus, so he tried again to reason with the crowd,21but they were mad with hate and just kept shouting, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

22A third time Pilate tried to speak to the mob: "Why should he be crucified? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason for the death penalty. Won't you be satisfied if I simply flog him and release him?"

23But the mob went into a greater frenzy of rage–screaming, demanding that he be crucified–and their insistence worked.24Pilate gave in to them and granted their demand.25He released the insurrectionist in prison for murder (the one the mob requested by name), and gave them Jesus to crucify.

26As they led him away, they forced Simon — a man who was traveling from his home in Cyrene — to carry the cross behind Jesus.27A large crowd trailed behind, including many women who wailed and mourned for him.28Jesus turned to them and said, "Women of Jerusalem, don't cry for me; cry for yourselves and your children.29For now, a time will come when you say, 'The women without children are the lucky ones. Those who never gave birth or nursed a child–they are the lucky ones!'30Then you will beg the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and the hills, 'Cover us!'

31 "For if people destroy a fruitful tree, what will happen to a dead and barren tree?"

32There were two other men, both criminals, who were led out to be executed with Jesus.33When they arrived at the place called the Skull, they crucified him and the criminals — one on his right and the other on his left.34Jesus, revealing his character of love, said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they are doing." And the soldiers tossed dice to determine who would get his clothes.

35The people stood by, watching as the church leaders ridiculed, sneered and insulted him. They said, "He saved others, so if he is the Savior from God — the Chosen One — then let him save himself!"

36The soldiers also mocked him and ridiculed him. They offered him wine vinegar37and tempted him, "If you are the king of the Jews, then do something to save yourself!"

38Above him, posted on the cross, was a written notice which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

39One of the criminals also ridiculed him and tempted him: "Aren't you supposed to be the Deliverer? Well then, save yourself, and us while you're at it!"

40But the other criminal confronted him, saying, "What's wrong with you? Have you no regard for God and the future afterlife? You're being executed as well.41And our punishment is deserved: our actions put us here. But this man has done nothing wrong."

42Then he turned to Jesus and said, "Jesus, please, will you remember me when you come into your kingdom?"

43Jesus smiled and said to him, "Today, I tell you truly, you will be with me in paradise."

44It was noon, and suddenly a deep darkness came over the entire area and persisted until three o'clock in the afternoon.45It was as if the sun had stopped shining. And during that time, the veil in the temple was torn into two pieces.46Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Father, I trust you, and into your hands I commit my spirit." When he said this, he expired, giving up his life.

47The centurion on duty saw all of this and praised God, saying, "Surely this was a holy and sinless man."48The crowd who had gathered to watch the execution, seeing how Jesus conducted himself, and all that transpired, were overcome with sorrow and left, beating their chests in grief.49But those who knew him personally, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood back and thoughtfully watched all that happened.

50There was a man named Joseph, a member of the Jewish high court (but an honest and trustworthy man),51who was not party to the decision to seek the death of Jesus. He hailed from a town called Arimathea and was eagerly waiting for God's kingdom of love.52He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.53He took it down, wrapped it in linen, and gently laid it in a tomb cut into the rock, one that had never been used.54It was Friday, Preparation Day; sunset was approaching and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55The women who came with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb where Jesus' body was laid.56Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes to anoint the body, but they rested on the Sabbath, in harmony with the commandment.