Luke 23

Chapter 23

Jesus before Pilate.[a] 1 Then the entire assembly rose and brought Jesus before Pilate. 2 They began to accuse him, saying, “We charge this man with subverting our nation, opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar, and claiming that he is the Christ, a king.” 3 Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He replied, “You have said so.”

4 Pilate then said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no evidence of a crime in this man.” 5 But they continued to insist, saying, “He is stirring up the people by his teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee, where he started, all the way to here.”

6 When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean, 7 and upon learning that he came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

Jesus before Herod.[b] 8 Herod was delighted when he saw Jesus, for he had heard about him and had been hoping for some time to see him and perhaps to witness him perform some sign. 9 He questioned him at length, but Jesus gave him no reply.

10 The chief priests and the scribes meanwhile were present, and they vehemently made accusations against him. 11 Herod and his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then Herod had him clothed in an elegant robe and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That very day Herod and Pilate became friends, although previously they had been enemies.

13 Jesus before Pilate Again.[c]Pilate then summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man before me and accused him of inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him here in your presence and have not found him guilty of any of the charges you have brought against him. 15 Nor did Herod, for he has sent him back to us. It is clear that he has done nothing deserving of death. 16 Therefore, I will have him scourged and then release him.”

Jesus Is Condemned to Death. [17 Now Pilate was obliged to release one man to them at the time of the festival.][d] 18 And then the crowd all shouted in unison, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (He had been imprisoned for an insurrection that had occurred in the city as well as for murder.) 20 In his desire to release Jesus, Pilate again pleaded with them, 21 but, they continued to shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 A third time he addressed them: “Why? What evil has he done? I have not found in him any crime that deserves death. Therefore, I will have him scourged and let him go.”

23 However, with loud shouts they continued to insist that he should be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24 Pilate ordered that what they wanted was to be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed over Jesus to them to deal with as they wished.

26 The Way of the Cross.[e] As they led him away, they seized a man from Cyrene named Simon, who was returning from the country. They put the cross on his back and forced him to carry it behind Jesus. 27 A large number of people followed Jesus, among them many women who were mourning and lamenting over him.

28 But he turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep rather for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Jesus Is Crucified.[f] There were also two others, both criminals, who were led away to be executed with him. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified[g] Jesus there along with the two criminals, one on his right and the other on his left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”[h] And they cast lots to divide his garments.

35 The people stood there watching.[i] Meanwhile, the rulers jeered at him and said, “He saved others. Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” 36 Even the soldiers mocked him. As they came forward to offer him sour wine, 37 they said, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription above his head that said, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals hanging there taunted Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, “Have you no fear of God, since you are under the same sentence? 41 In our case, we have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds. But this man has committed no wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus said to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”[j]

44 Jesus Dies on the Cross.[k] It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 45 for the sun was darkened. Then the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 He cried out, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” And with these words he breathed his last.[l]

47 On seeing what had taken place, the centurion praised God and said, “Surely, this man was innocent.” 48 When all the people who had gathered there to witness the spectacle saw what had happened, they returned home beating their breasts.[m] 49 However, all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance and watched all these events.

50 Jesus Is Buried.[n] Now there was a good and upright man named Joseph[o] who was a member of the council. 51 However, he had not agreed to their plan and the action they had taken. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was awaiting the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and requested the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of rock in which no one had ever been interred. 54 It was the Day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

55 The women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. But on the Sabbath they rested in obedience to the commandment.


  1. Luke 23:1 The Roman governor, who usually resided at Caesarea in Palestine, was in the religious capital at the time when the Passover was being celebrated. The religious leaders accuse Jesus before him as the civil power. Twisting the reality (see Lk 21:20-26), they invent political wrongs so as to have Jesus put to death. From the beginning the Roman governor is convinced of Jesus’ innocence, and he would prefer to extricate himself from this case and give it to others, for it could create nothing but trouble for him with the people and the leaders.
  2. Luke 23:8 Also present in Jerusalem was Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, a man interested in extraordinary phenomena, ready to be scornful of them, and unwilling to accept any responsibility (see Lk 9:9; Acts 4:27).
  3. Luke 23:13 Pilate is convinced that the accused is innocent. But he proposes to punish him so that the authorities might have the impression of having been heard. Finally, he yields to violence. Luke emphasizes above all the decisive responsibility of the leaders of the people. See notes on Mt 27:11-26; 27:11; 27:14; 27:24; 27:25.
  4. Luke 23:17 Many manuscripts add this verse, probably taken from Mt 27:15 or Mk 15:6.
  5. Luke 23:26 In place of solitude, Luke speaks of numerous people who take pity on Jesus; the people are already distancing themselves from the ignoble decision of their leaders. This recalls the conversion announced by the prophet Zechariah (Zec 12:10-14). But Jesus is haunted by a sorrowful vision: the ruin of Jerusalem and the official religion in which the Word of God has no effect. See also note on Mk 15:21.
  6. Luke 23:32 Jesus is placed in the ranks of evildoers. He is stripped of his clothes and vinegar is presented to him, fulfilling Psalms 22:19 and 69:22 before our very eyes. The people are silent. The leaders make fun of a Messiah who wishes to save human beings. The soldiers deride his royal title, the reason for his condemnation well affixed to the wood of the cross. This apparently humiliated king testifies to a true royalty by the unheard-of love that he gives: he asks for pardon of his killers and welcomes into his kingdom the thief who repents. See also note on Mt 27:35.
  7. Luke 23:33 Crucified: see note on Mt 27:35.
  8. Luke 23:34 This is the first word uttered by Jesus from the cross, reported only by Luke, the evangelist of mercy and meekness. Its authenticity is seemingly not open to doubt even though it is omitted in numerous codices written in an anti-Semitic age.
  9. Luke 23:35 Stood there watching: Luke, the friend of the crowds, does not include the people with those leaders who insulted the Crucified. They are there to watch.
  10. Luke 23:43 This is the second word of the crucified Jesus, also reported only by Luke, and it concludes with the pardon of the good thief. Thus, salvation flows from the cross.
  11. Luke 23:44 The crucified Just One expires and everything bears testimony in his behalf: a prayer of complete trust rises to his lips, a pagan acknowledges his innocence, the people already manifest their repentance (see Zec 12:10), and his dear ones are nearby. Is this a tableau of desolation? Yet a mysterious expectation grips us.
  12. Luke 23:46 Luke omits the word of abandonment found in Matthew and Mark. Instead, Jesus dies as the prototypical good person, who at the end of his life commends his spirit into the hands of the Father. Luke leaves aside the citation from Psalm 22 and reports verse 6 of Psalm 31, the prayer that the rabbis were wont to recite in the evening and that is still recited today at Night Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours.
  13. Luke 23:48 To the confession of the centurion, Luke adds that of the crowds, who had assisted in silence at the drama of the crucifixion. The centurion symbolizes the Roman world that recognizes the innocence and transcendental dignity of Christ, while the crowds indicate the rejection on the part of the chosen people.
  14. Luke 23:50 The burial of Jesus, a human gesture, must be accomplished before the rise of the evening star or before the lights are lit for the evening, for then the Sabbath will have arrived—when all work is prohibited.
  15. Luke 23:50 Man named Joseph: Luke shows the goodness of Joseph of Arimathea. At the same time, he shows that not every member of the Sanhedrin voted to condemn Jesus.

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