Jesus before Pilate
1The entire council stood at once and took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. 2They accused him of false testimony, saying, “This man tells us not to pay our taxes to Caesar. And he proclaims himself to be Christ the King and Messiah. He’s a deceiver of our nation.”
3Pilate asked Jesus, “Is this true? Are you their king and Messiah?”
Jesus answered, “It is true.”
4Pilate turned to the high priests and to the gathered crowd and said, “This man has committed no crime. I find nothing wrong with him.”
5But they yelled and demanded that Pilate do something, saying, “He has stirred up our nation, misleading people from the moment he began teaching in Galilee until he has come here to Jerusalem!”
Jesus before Herod
6-7When Pilate heard the word Galilee, he asked if Jesus was a Galilean, and when they told him “yes,” Pilate saw a way out of his problem. He knew that Antipas, # 23:6–7 “Antipas” is a nickname for Herod Antipater, son of Herod the Great. The Greek text reads simply “Herod.” son of Herod, ruled over Galilee, and he happened to be in Jerusalem at that time, so Pilate sent Jesus to Antipas.
8When he saw Jesus, he was elated, for he had heard a great deal about his ministry and wanted Jesus to perform a miracle in front of him. 9Antipas questioned him at length, but Jesus wouldn’t even answer him.
10-11All the while the high priests and religious leaders stood by, accusing Jesus of wrongdoing, so that Antipas and his soldiers treated him with scorn and mocking. Antipas put an elegant purple robe on Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. 12That day, Antipas and Pilate healed their long-standing feud and they became good friends.
Jesus Sentenced to Death
13-14Pilate gathered together the people, the high priests, and all the religious leaders of the nation. # 23:13–14 This group of religious leaders was known as the Jewish council of the Sanhedrin. He told them, “You have presented this man to me and charged him with stirring a rebellion among the people. I have examined him here in your presence and have put him on trial. My verdict is that none of your charges against him are true. I find no fault in him. # 23:13–14 The phrase “I find no fault in him” is found in the Aramaic text. 15-16Then I sent him to Antipas, son of Herod, who questioned him and found him not guilty. Since he has done nothing deserving of death, I have decided to punish him with a severe flogging and release him.” 17For it was Pilate’s custom to honor the Jewish holiday by releasing a prisoner. # 23:17 Although many Greek manuscripts do not have this verse in the text, it is found in the Aramaic text.
18When the crowd heard this, they went wild. Erupting with anger, they cried out, “No! Take this one away and release Barabbas!” # 23:18 There were two men, two sons. Barabbas means “son of a father.” Jesus was the Son of our heavenly Father. One was a son of Adam; the other was the Son of God. 19For Barabbas had been thrown in prison for robbery # 23:19 Most Greek manuscripts have “for insurrection.” The Aramaic states “for robbery.” and murder.
20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, tried to convince them it was best to let Jesus go, 21but they screamed out over and over, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” # 23:21 Crucifixion was the cruelest form of execution, reserved for only the worst of criminals.
22A third time, Pilate asked the crowd, “What evil crime has this man committed that I should have him crucified? I haven’t found one thing that warrants a death sentence! I will have him flogged severely and then release him.”
23But the people and the high priests, shouting like a mob, screamed out at the top of their lungs, “No! Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Finally their shouts and screams succeeded. 24Pilate caved in to the crowd and ordered that the will of the people be done. 25Then he released the guilty murderer Barabbas, as they had insisted, and handed Jesus over to be crucified.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26As the guards led Jesus to be crucified, there was an African man in the crowd named Simon, from Libya. # 23:26 Or “from Cyrene,” which is present-day Tripoli, Libya. He had just arrived from a rural village to keep the Feast of the Passover. The guards laid Jesus’ cross on Simon’s shoulders # 23:26 By this time Jesus had been severely beaten and flogged, had gone days without sleep, and was carrying a heavy load. and forced him to walk behind Jesus, carrying his cross.
27Massive crowds gathered to follow Jesus, including a number of women, who were wailing with sorrow over him. 28Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. You should be weeping for yourselves and your children. 29The day is coming when it will not be the women with children who are blessed but those who are childless. Then you will say, ‘The barren women are the most fortunate! Those who have never given birth and never nursed a child—they are more fortunate than we, for they will never see their children put to death!’ 30And the people will cry out for the mountains and hills to fall on top of them to hide them from all that is to come. # 23:30 See Hos. 10:8. 31For if this is what they do to the living Branch, what will they do with the dead ones?”
32The guards led away two criminals with Jesus, to execute all three at the same time. 33When they came to the place that is known as The Skull, the guards crucified Jesus, nailing him on the center cross between the two criminals. 34While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over, # 23:34 Or “he prayed intensely.” “Father, forgive them, # 23:34 The Greek text implies a repetitive action. He did not pray, “forgive me,” but “forgive them.” As the centurion crushed him to the ground and tied his arms to the crossbeam, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” When the spikes tore through each quivering palm, he prayed again, “Father, forgive them.” And when the soldiers parted his garments and gambled for the seamless robe, again Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Only heaven knows how many times he uttered that prayer. Many reliable Greek manuscripts omit this verse; however, it does fit with the Lukan theology of forgiveness (Luke 6:27–36) and the parallel passage in Acts 7:60. for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
The soldiers, after they crucified him, gambled over his clothing.
35A great crowd gathered to watch what was happening. The religious leaders sneered at Jesus and mocked him, saying, “Look at this man! What kind of ‘chosen Messiah’ is this? He pretended to save others, but he can’t even save himself!”
36The soldiers joined in the mockery, offering Jesus a drink of vinegar. # 23:36 See Ps. 69:21. It was likely Jesus had had nothing to drink since the night before.
37-38Over Jesus’ head on the cross was written an inscription in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic: # 23:37–38 Many Greek texts omit the mention of these three languages. “This man is the king of all the Jews.” And all the soldiers laughed and scoffed at him, saying, “Hey! If you’re the king of Jews, why don’t you save yourself?”
39One of the criminals hanging on the cross next to Jesus kept ridiculing him, saying, “What kind of Messiah are you? Save yourself and save us from this death!”
40The criminal hanging on the other cross rebuked the man, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You’re about to die! 41We deserve to be condemned. We’re just being repaid for what we’ve done. But this man—he’s done nothing wrong!”
42Then he said, “I beg of you, Jesus, show me grace and take me with you into your everlasting kingdom!”
43Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”
The Death of the Savior
44It was now only midday, yet the whole world became dark for three hours as the light of the sun faded away. # 23:44 The darkening of the sun indicated that the “day of the Lord” had now come. See Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9. 45And suddenly in the temple the thick veil hanging in the Holy Place was ripped in two! 46Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, I surrender my Spirit into your hands.” # 23:46 See Ps. 31:5. And he took his last breath and died.
47When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.” # 23:47 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “innocent man.”
48The crowds that had gathered to observe this spectacle went back to their homes, overcome with deep sorrow # 23:48 Literally “beating their breasts,” which is a figure of speech for deep sorrow. and devastated by what they had witnessed. 49But standing off at a distance were some who truly knew Jesus, and the women who had followed him all the way from Galilee were keeping vigil.
50-51There was also a member of the Jewish council named Joseph, from the village of Ramah, # 23:50–51 As translated from the Aramaic. Ramah (formerly Ramathaim Zophim) was the village of Samuel, only a few miles from Jerusalem. The Greek is, “Joseph of Arimathea.” a good-hearted, honorable man who was eager for God’s kingdom to appear. He had strongly disagreed with the decision of the council to crucify Jesus. # 23:50–51 One ancient Syriac manuscript adds here, “This man was one who did not take part with the mind of the devil.” 52He came before Pilate and asked permission to take the body of Jesus for a proper burial, and Pilate granted his request. 53So he took the body from the cross, wrapped it in a winding sheet of linen, and placed it in a new, unused tomb chiseled out of solid rock. 54It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was fast approaching.
55The women who had been companions of Jesus from the beginning saw all this take place and carefully contemplated how the body was laid in the tomb. 56Afterward they returned home and prepared fragrant spices and ointments and were planning to anoint his body after the Sabbath was completed, according to the commandments of the law.
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