Luke: The Man Christ Jesus

Jesus Suffers Death and He Becomes Alive Again

An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Luke 22:1 to 24:53

Ian Mackervoy

This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.


Judas goes to the chief priests – Luke 22:1-6

v1 It was almost time for the *feast of *unleavened bread, called the *Passover. v2 And the chief priests and the teachers of the law were trying to find a way to kill Jesus. However, they were afraid of the people. v3 Then *Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot. He was one of the 12 *apostles. v4 Judas went to the chief priests and the *temple guards. He discussed with them how he could hand Jesus over to them. v5 They were glad and they agreed to give money to him. v6 So, Judas promised to do it. He looked for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them away from the crowd.

Verses 1-2 On the 14th day of the *Jewish month called Nisan is the *Passover. From the 15th day of that month for 7 days is the *feast of *unleavened bread (Numbers 28:16-17). In time, people referred to these two *feasts as the *Passover. Nisan is about March or April in our calendar. Another name for Nisan is Abib.

At the *Passover, the *Jews remember how God rescued their families from Egypt. At that time, the *Jews were slaves in Egypt. God allowed a series of *disasters to happen in Egypt, but the king of Egypt still would not allow them to leave. Then, God told the *Israelites to kill a young sheep (or a goat) on behalf of each family. He told them to put some of the blood from these animals round their doors. That night, the oldest son in each *Egyptian family died. But God protected the families of the *Israelites who had put the blood round their doors. The result was that, at last, the king of Egypt let the *Israelites leave Egypt (Exodus chapter 12).

In the *feast of *unleavened bread, the *Jews remember how they left Egypt. They left in a hurry. So, they took the *dough with them before they had added the *yeast (Exodus 12:34).

Jesus had come to Jerusalem for the *Passover. The chief priests and many of the teachers of the law there wanted to kill Jesus. They could not arrest him in public because they were afraid of the reaction from the people. Previously, many of the *Pharisees had been the main enemies of Jesus. Now these chief priests and teachers of the law had become the leaders against him.

Verses 3-6 We do not know why Judas turned against Jesus. We do know that he was a thief. He had control of the money on behalf the *disciples and he took some for himself (John 12:4-6). Maybe he saw an opportunity to make money. He could get a good fee if he could hand over Jesus to the chief priests.

Judas went to the chief priests and the *temple guards. He offered to hand Jesus to them and they were glad. They agreed on a price. That price was 30 silver coins (Matthew 26:15). From then on, Judas looked for an opportunity to do it. But he had to do it in private, away from the crowds.

It seems that *Satan put the idea into the mind of Judas before the last supper. Then during the meal, *Satan entered him. Judas left the supper and he went out into the night (John 13:2; John 13:27-30). Jesus knew what Judas would do.

The last supper – Luke 22:7-38

v7 The day of *unleavened bread came. That is, the day when it was necessary to kill the young sheep for the *Passover. v8 Jesus sent Peter and John. He said to them, ‘Go. Prepare the *Passover meal for us to eat.’

v9 They asked him, ‘Where do you want us to prepare it?’

v10 He told them, ‘Go into the city. A man will meet you. He will be carrying a jug of water. Follow him into the house that he enters. v11 And say to the owner of the house. “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room? I want to eat the *Passover there with my *disciples.’ ” v12 The owner will take you upstairs. He will show you a large room ready for you to use. Prepare the meal there.’

v13 Peter and John left. They found everything as Jesus had told them. And they prepared the *Passover meal.

v14 When the time came, Jesus and the *apostles sat at the table. v15 Jesus said to them, ‘I really want to eat this *Passover with you. I want to eat it with you before I suffer. v16 I tell you that I will not eat it again on earth. I will not eat it until it has achieved its purpose in God’s *kingdom.’

v17 Then Jesus took a cup of wine and he thanked God. He said to his *apostles. ‘Take this and share it among yourselves. v18 I tell you this. I will not drink wine again until God's *kingdom comes.’

v19 Jesus took a loaf of bread. He thanked God and he broke the bread. He gave it to them. He said, ‘This is my body. I give my body on your behalf. Do this to remember me.’

v20 Then after the meal, Jesus took the cup of wine. He said, ‘This wine means the new promise that I will establish by my blood. It is sure because I will die on behalf of you. v21 But look. The hand of the man who will give me to my enemies is on the table with mine. v22 The Son of Man will go even as God intended. But it will be terrible for that man who hands him over to his enemies.’ v23 Then the *apostles began to discuss among themselves which of them would do that.

v24 Also, there was a quarrel among the *apostles. They argued about which of them was the most important. v25 Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the nations rule powerfully over their people. Those people in authority over the people are called “friends of the people”. v26 But you must not be like that. The most important among you should be like the least important. Your leader should be like the person who serves. v27 The person at the table is more important than the person who serves him. Usually that is what people think. But I am among you as a servant. v28 You have stayed with me through my struggles. v29 As my Father gave to me a *kingdom, even so I give this great honour to you. v30 You will eat and drink at my table in my *kingdom. Also, you will sit on *thrones. You will be the judges of *Israel’s 12 *tribes.

v31 Simon, Simon, *Satan has asked for all of you. He wants to test you all as a farmer separates wheat. v32 However, I have prayed for you, Simon. I have prayed that your *faith would not fail. And when you come back to me, support your brothers.’

v33 Peter answered, ‘*Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you. I am willing even to die with you.’

v34 Jesus answered him, ‘Peter, I tell you this. The *cock will call out in the morning. But before that, you will say three times that you do not know me.’

v35 Then Jesus said to the *apostles, ‘I sent you out without purses, bags or *sandals. Did you need anything?’

‘Nothing,’ they answered.

v36 Jesus said this to them. ‘But now if you have a purse, take it with you. If you have a bag, take that as well. If you do not have a sword, buy one. Sell your coat if necessary. v37 Do this because of what the *scripture says. It says, “They considered him to be a criminal.” I tell you that this must happen to me. What the *scripture says about me will happen.’

v38 The *disciples said, ‘Look, *Lord. Here are two swords.’

He replied, ‘That is enough.’

Verses 7-13 ‘The day of *unleavened bread’ was an unusual expression. Matthew and Mark say that this was the first day of *unleavened bread (Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12). Probably it means the day when the *Jews removed all *yeast from their houses. They had to do this before the *Passover.

This was on 13th Nisan. On that same day, they killed the animals for the *Passover meal. They ate lambs (young sheep) each *Passover to remember that first *Passover. This would be in the early evening. To the *Jews, the day began in the evening. So, in the *Jewish calendar, the day had become 14th Nisan. They ate the meal that same evening. This *Passover meal was a family or small group meal.

The 15th Nisan was the first actual day of the *feast of *unleavened bread. That day was a special day. The rules for that day were the same as for the *Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3-14). At the end of the *feast of *unleavened bread, there was another special day. That day would be the 21st day of Nisan. Sometimes people called these days special *Sabbaths. They were in addition to the normal *Sabbath days unless the 15th was a *Sabbath day. On the 15th Nisan there would be another ‘*Passover’ meal. This was the meal that the *Pharisees referred to in John 18:28.

Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare for their *Passover meal. They wanted to know where to prepare it. Jesus had kept his plans secret. Only he knew where he would eat the meal with his 12 *apostles. Perhaps this was to avoid an early arrest. Judas could not have known the place. Jesus told Peter and John to go into the city. There they must follow the man who carried a jug of water. It was not normal for a man to carry a jug of water. Women usually went to fetch water. The two *apostles went into the city and they met this man. Jesus knew that this man would fetch water. He knew that the *apostles would meet the man at that moment. This could not have been by chance. But probably it was not by a previous arrangement.

Peter and John followed the man to the house as Jesus had told them. They asked the master of the house where the guest room was. He showed them the large upper room. The room was upstairs. Those stairs would have been on the outside of the building. There the two *apostles prepared for the meal.

Verses 14-16 The *apostles gathered with Jesus for the *Passover meal. They had to wait for the correct time. That was when they could see the first three stars in the night sky. Also, a silver *trumpet sounded three times in the *temple area. Then the meal could start.

Before the meal, Jesus washed the feet of the 12 *apostles (John 13:1-20). Then Jesus sat down with them. To ‘sit’ here means to lie down on their left sides with their feet away from the table. They would lie on mats. At the original *Passover, the people had to be ready to go. They stood and they ate the meal in a hurry (Exodus 12:11). Now the *Jews were free and so they could lie down. They could enjoy the meal and relax.

Jesus really wanted to eat this meal with the *apostles. This was the last opportunity that he had to eat the *Passover with them. He knew that, in just a few hours, he would die. The death of the *Passover *lamb was the price of freedom for the people of *Israel. The death of Jesus was the price of freedom and life for those people who believe in him. Jesus would not eat the *Passover again on earth. But he looked forward to the great *feast in God’s *kingdom.

Verses 17-20 The *Passover meal had a traditional form. The meal included a supper at which they ate the *lamb. At certain parts of the meal, the leader would pass round 4 cups of wine. Two of these would be before the supper and two would be after the supper.

Jesus took one of the first two cups of wine. He gave thanks to God, as the leader would usually do. Then he passed the cup round to the *apostles. Again, he told them that this would be his last meal before his death. He would not drink wine with them again until that *feast in God’s *kingdom.

At the end of the supper, the leader would take some bread and he would break it. He would give thanks to God. Then he would pass the broken pieces of bread to the other people. Jesus took the bread and he broke it. He told them that this bread meant his body. He would give his body on their behalf. From then on, his *disciples should break bread to remember Jesus. Then he took the cup of wine that they would drink after supper. He gave thanks to God because of it. This was the third of the 4 cups of wine. He passed the cup to his *apostles. He told them all to drink from it. Then Jesus told his *apostles that God was making a new promise. Jeremiah had said a long time ago that God would do this (Jeremiah 31:31-34). God promised to forgive his people’s *sins. Jesus told them that he would die. He would give his blood on their behalf and on behalf of many people. This is how God can forgive our *sins. We can be free from the punishment that we deserve because of our *sins. We need to believe in Jesus and we must ask God to forgive us.

Christians break bread and drink wine together to remember Jesus. We remember that he died on our behalf. Also, we remember that he rose up from death again. The bread that we break reminds us of the body of Christ. The wine that we pour out reminds us of the blood of Christ. Jesus asked that we should do this (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Verses 21-23 John was on the right side of Jesus. The most important guest would be on the left side of the leader. But in this company, nobody was more important than the rest. It seems that Judas had this most important position. During the meal, Jesus said that one of them would hand him over to his enemies.

Jesus told them that he would die. His death was in God’s plan. But the man who handed Jesus over would be responsible for his actions. That man would suffer because of what he did.

They were all worried about this. Each of them asked whether it was him. That man would be the man who put bread into the dish at the same time as Jesus (Matthew 26:23). Peter signalled to John. And John asked Jesus who it would be. It would be the *disciple to whom Jesus passed a piece of bread. The leader would pass the piece of bread to the person on his left side. Jesus passed the piece of bread to Judas. Soon after that, *Satan took control of Judas (John 13:27). Jesus told Judas to go in order to do what he must do. Judas went out but the other *apostles did not know why (see Matthew 26:1-25; Mark 14:18-21; John 13:21-30).

Verses 24-27 This was the last time that Jesus would eat with his *apostles. He had told them that soon his enemies would kill him. One of the *apostles would give Jesus to his enemies. These things should have mattered much more to them than their thoughts about themselves. But the *apostles thought that the *kingdom would come soon. Jesus would be the king. So, at this last supper the *apostles argued about which of them would be the most important.

The nature of Christ’s *kingdom is different from the nature of *kingdoms in this world. Here kings rule with authority and the people must serve them. The leaders call themselves friends of the people. They make themselves important. They consider themselves superior to other people.

The most important people in Christ’s *kingdom are those people who make themselves as servants. This attitude is the opposite of the world’s attitude. In this world, the person who sits at the table is more important than the servant. However Jesus, the *Lord of all things, came as a servant. Earlier, Jesus had washed the feet of his *apostles (John 13:4-14). That was the task of a servant. Christ had served them as a servant and he urged his *disciples to act in the same manner too.

Verses 28-30 The *apostles had been loyal to Jesus. They had been with him through all the difficulties of his work. Except for Judas, they had proved themselves good *disciples of Jesus. So, Jesus encouraged them. Even as the Father had given a *kingdom to Jesus, so he would give a great honour to them. Jesus did not mean that they would receive a *kingdom on this earth. The *kingdom that he will give to them is his own. They will enjoy the future with Jesus in his *kingdom. They will dine at the king’s table. They will have responsible jobs in that *kingdom.

Verses 31-34 Already *Satan had achieved his purpose with Judas. *Satan wanted also to cause Simon Peter to lose his *faith in Jesus. *Satan does not have the authority to do what he wants. He has to ask God to allow him to do it. *Satan can go no further than God allows.

The word ‘you’ in verse 31 is in the plural. Not only did *Satan want Peter, but also he wanted all the *apostles. However, Jesus had prayed on Peter’s behalf. Jesus did not pray that *Satan would not test Peter. He prayed that Peter would not fail the tests. He knew that Peter would fail at first. But Jesus was confident that Peter would succeed in the end.

Peter would fail but he would come back to Jesus. His *faith and love for Jesus would be even stronger than before. All the *apostles would run away (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27). They would be afraid for their lives. When he came back, Peter must support the other *disciples. He would become a leader among them.

Peter did not understand how serious the situation was. He was a bold and strong person. But he did not know how weak he would be. He was ready to go to prison on behalf of Jesus. He was even willing to die for Jesus. That was what Peter said. But what actually happened was too hard for him. Peter was not as strong as he thought.

Jesus knew all that would happen to him and to the *apostles. Jesus told Peter what he (Peter) would do that same night. Peter would say that he did not know Jesus. Before the *cock called out in the morning, Peter would say that three times. However, Peter insisted that he would not do this. He said that he was ready to die with Jesus. And the other *apostles said the same things (Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31).

Verses 35-38 When Jesus sent the *disciples out to *preach, they did not take anything with them (10:1-12). The people to whom they went looked after them. In those days, there were no special dangers for them as they went. But from this time on, their experience would be very different. They would need to provide for themselves. They would need a purse, a bag and a sword. Jesus was not encouraging them to fight (22:49-51). He mentioned the sword to emphasise that the lives of the *disciples would be in real danger. They would need to look after themselves.

Jesus told them that his enemies would arrest him. They would take him as if he were a criminal (Isaiah 53:12). Jesus would die with criminals. But in his death, he would take away the *sins of many people. All that the *scriptures said about him would happen.

The *apostles did not understand what Jesus meant. They said that they had two swords. Jesus replied that this was enough. Jesus did not mean that two swords were enough. He meant that they had said enough about this matter.

In the garden – Luke 22:39-45

v39 As he usually did, Jesus went out of the city to the *Mount of Olives. And his *disciples followed him. v40 When Jesus arrived at the place, he said to them, ‘There will be a test for you. So, pray that you do not fail.’ v41 Jesus went beyond them about the distance that a person could throw a stone. He knelt and he prayed. v42 He said, ‘Father, if it is possible in your purposes, take this *cup from me. But I do not pray for what I want. Do what you want.’ v43 Then an *angel from heaven appeared to him and he gave strength to Jesus. v44 Jesus was in terrible pain. He prayed even harder. And from his skin came blood that fell onto the ground. v45 Jesus got up from his prayer and he came to his *disciples. But he found that, because of their deeply sad feelings, they were asleep.

Verses 39-45 At the *Mount of Olives, there is the garden called Gethsemane. It was to this garden that Jesus went (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:26). Often Jesus went to this garden therefore Judas knew where to find him. Jesus did not change his habit to avoid Judas. And he knew that Judas would come with the crowd from the chief priests. When Jesus and his *disciples got there, Jesus warned them. He said that the devil would test them. So, he told them to pray that they would not fail the test.

Jesus took three of the *disciples a bit further. They were Peter, James and John. He asked them to watch and to pray with him. He told them about the extreme strain that he felt. Then he went a little further by himself (Matthew 26:36-39; Mark 14:33-35). People usually stood to pray. On this sad and special occasion, Jesus knelt. He prayed to God. He knew about the awful death that he would suffer. This would not be an ordinary death. He called this the ‘cup’, which refers to the anger of God against *sin. Jesus would die because of the *sins of all people. God would put everybody’s *sins on Jesus. And he would carry these *sins away (1 Peter 2:24). By that means, God would forgive everyone who truly trusts him. However, we must confess our *sins to him, and we must invite Jesus into our lives (Acts 2:37-38; Acts 3:19).

Jesus knew that he would suffer the punishment because of all our *sins. He was in such pain because of this. Therefore, he asked God his Father to take this ‘cup’ away from him if it was possible. But there was no other way to remove our *sin. So, Jesus was ready to suffer and to die. That was what God wanted.

An *angel came to support Jesus. Jesus knew extreme pain in his mind and spirit. Here was a real struggle for Jesus. He had to overcome it. His prayer was so serious that blood fell to the ground from him.

Then he went back to the *disciples but they were asleep. They were so sad and tired. He spoke to Peter. He said, ‘You could not watch with me for one hour.’ Jesus went away and he prayed the same kind of prayer two more times (Matthew 26:42-44; Mark 14:37-41). Each time, when he came to the *disciples, they were asleep.

The arrest of Jesus – Luke 22:46-53

v46 Jesus said to them, ‘Do not sleep. Wake up. Pray that you will not fail this test.’

v47 While Jesus was speaking, a crowd arrived. The man called Judas, one of the 12 *apostles, led them. He came close to Jesus so that he could kiss him. v48 Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, with a kiss you are handing the Son of Man over to his enemies.’

v49 The people near Jesus saw what was happening. They asked him, ‘*Lord, should we use our swords to fight?’ v50 And one of them struck one of the chief priest’s servants. He cut off the servant’s right ear.

v51 But Jesus answered, ‘Allow this to happen.’ Then he touched the servant’s ear and he cured him.

v52 Those people who came to arrest Jesus were chief priests, *temple guards, and other leaders. Jesus said to them, ‘You have come here with swords and heavy sticks. It is as if you have come to arrest a thief. v53 I was with you in the *temple every day, and you did not arrest me. However, this is your time and now darkness rules.’

Verses 46-51 Luke records just one occasion when Jesus came back to the *disciples. He told them to wake up and pray. In fact, he returned to them three times. On the last occasion, he told them that they could sleep (Matthew 26:45, Mark 14:41). In other words, the time when they had to watch with Jesus had ended. However, really they must get up now because Judas was coming with a crowd to arrest Jesus.

While Jesus spoke to the *disciples, Judas and the crowd arrived. The crowd had come from the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders of *Israel. The crowd carried swords and heavy sticks. It was dark. So, Judas had agreed to show them by a kiss which man was Jesus. Judas came and he kissed Jesus. A kiss was a normal way for friends to greet each other. Judas was one of the 12 *apostles. But this kiss was from the man who had become an enemy of Jesus.

The *disciples asked Jesus whether they should fight. Before he could answer, Peter used his sword. He cut off the right ear of the chief priest’s servant. The servant’s name was Malchus (John 18:10). Immediately Jesus told the *disciples not to fight. There was no need to fight. All that happened was in the purposes of God. Jesus could have asked for an army of *angels to rescue him. But that would have been against the *prophecies in *scripture.

He cured the servant’s ear with a touch.

In an extraordinary way, Jesus seemed to be in control of the situation.

Verses 52-53 Among the crowd, there were some of the chief priests and leaders of the people. The leaders of the people would have been members of the *Sanhedrin. The *Sanhedrin was the committee that ruled the *Jews. They came with the *temple guards to arrest Jesus. The crowd had come with swords and heavy sticks. They had prepared themselves for a fight. It was as if they had to arrest a fierce and dangerous man. Jesus had been in the *temple each day of that week. He had taught the people in public. They did not arrest him there because they were afraid of the people. They could not arrest him then because it was not God’s time. Now they arrested him away from the people and in the darkness.

Jesus knew that the time had come for him to die. In this arrest, the forces of the devil attacked the *Christ. The final battle for our *salvation had begun.

Then all of the *disciples left Jesus and they ran away (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50).

Peter denies *Christ – Luke 22:54-62

v54 The men arrested Jesus, and they led him away. They brought him into the house of the chief priest. Peter followed at a distance. v55 Some people lit a fire in the middle of the open area by the house. And they sat down by the fire. Peter sat there with them. v56 A servant girl saw him as he sat in the light of the fire. She stared at him. And she said, ‘This man was with Jesus.’

v57 But Peter denied it. He said, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’

v58 After a little time, someone else saw him. He said, ‘You are one of them.’ But Peter replied, ‘Sir, I am not.’

v59 About an hour afterwards, another man insisted. ‘Certainly this man was with him, because he is from Galilee, too.’

v60 Peter replied, ‘Sir, I do not know what you are talking about.’ Just as he spoke this, a *cock called out. v61 The *Lord turned and he looked straight at Peter. Peter remembered what the *Lord had said to him. Jesus had told him, ‘The *cock will call out in the morning. But before that, you will say three times that you do not know me.’ v62 And Peter went outside and he wept bitterly.

Verses 54-62 The crowd took Jesus first to the house of Annas (John 18:13). Annas had once been the chief priest. He was the father of Caiaphas’ wife. At that time, Caiaphas was the chief priest. Then Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas (John 18:24). It seems that the entire *Sanhedrin had come to the house of Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57; Mark 14:53).

It was a cold night. The house of Caiaphas had an open area. The servants lit a fire there to keep themselves warm.

Peter was much braver than the other *disciples were. They ran away but he followed the crowd at a distance. Also, John followed Jesus to the house. John knew the chief priest and he went in with Jesus. He arranged for Peter to come in as well (John 18:15-16). Peter came into the property and he sat with the chief priest’s servants by the fire.

The servant girl, who opened the door, recognised Peter. She was the first person to say that Peter had been with Jesus (John 18:17). During the hours that followed, two other people accused him of the same thing. The last of these had been in the garden, and he was a relative of Malchus. This man was sure that Peter was one of the *disciples (John 18:26). On each occasion, Peter denied it. Three times, he denied that he even knew Jesus.

Then a *cock called out. Peter remembered what Jesus had said (verse 34). Jesus turned and he looked across the area at Peter. Jesus was aware of what Peter had done. Then Peter went outside and he wept. Peter was so sorry because of what he had done.

Soldiers, Pilate and Herod – Luke 22:63 to 23:25

Jesus and the *Sanhedrin – Luke 22:63-71

v63 And the men that were guarding Jesus made fun of him. And they struck him. v64 They covered his eyes so that he could not see. Then they demanded, ‘*Prophesy. Tell us who is hitting you.’ v65 And they said many other things to insult him.

v66 When day came, the nation’s leaders gathered, including the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They brought Jesus to their committee. v67 They said to Jesus, ‘Tell us this. Are you the *Christ?’

Jesus replied to them. ‘If I tell you, you will not believe. v68 And if I ask you a question, you will not answer. v69 But from now on, the Son of Man will sit at the right hand of God’s power.’

v70 They all said, ‘Then are you the Son of God?’

Jesus said to them, ‘You say that I am.’

v71 And they said, ‘We do not need any more witnesses. We ourselves have heard what he said.’

Verses 63-65 There was a group of men, probably soldiers, who guarded Jesus. They held Jesus until the *Sanhedrin, the committee of the *Jews, had come together. These guards made fun of Jesus. People considered Jesus a *prophet. So the guards covered his eyes and they hit him. If Jesus was a *prophet, he should have special knowledge from God. So the guards asked him to say who had hit him. And in other ways, they insulted him.

Verses 66-71 Through the night, the chief priest and some of his friends asked Jesus a series of questions. They tried to cause him to say something wrong. They looked for something with which they could accuse him. But they could not find anything of which he was guilty.

Caiaphas asked Jesus if he was the *Christ. Caiaphas, as the chief priest, was the leader of the *Sanhedrin. At that time, many people in Israel had completely wrong ideas about the *Christ. They expected the *Christ to be a human ruler. Their *Christ would fight against the *Romans. He would establish *Israel as the superior nation on earth. He would be their king. So, Jesus could not answer yes to Caiaphas’s question. Jesus was the *Christ but not that kind of *Christ.

If Jesus had tried to explain this to them, they would not listen to him. They would not believe that he was the *Christ. They had made up their minds not to believe in him. If Jesus asked them about the nature of the *Christ, they would not answer his questions. But Jesus did answer their question. He was the Son of Man. He would sit at the right hand side of God. He was the *Christ but this *Christ was much more than their idea of *Christ.

Jesus spoke about the immediate future. From now on, he would sit on ‘the right hand of God’s power’. Beyond his death, he would rise to life again. Then he would go to God his Father. He would sit at the right side of God. To sit meant that he had completed his work. That work was to achieve *salvation for us. The right side was the most powerful place to be. It was the place of the greatest honour and authority.

They seemed to understand something of what Jesus said. If Jesus would sit with God, he must be the Son of God. So, they asked Jesus if he meant that. The reply that Jesus gave to them did not say yes or no. However, the meaning of his reply was clear. Jesus could not deny that he was the Son of God. Therefore, his answer showed to them that he was the Son of God. They had tried to find witnesses against Jesus. Many came forward. But what they said was not enough. They were false witnesses and they did not agree with each other. The chief priest and those men with him used what Jesus said against him. Jesus agreed that he was the Son of God. Therefore, in their minds, Jesus was guilty of *blasphemy because he made himself equal with God. They decided that Jesus should die.

In the morning, the *Sanhedrin members came together. This was either in the house of Caiaphas or in the committee room in the *temple area. By their law, the *Sanhedrin could not meet during the hours of darkness. The guards brought Jesus to the whole *Sanhedrin as soon as it was light. Then the *Sanhedrin approved the decision that Jesus should die.

Jesus and Pilate – Luke 23:1-25

v1 The whole group rose up and they took Jesus in front of Pilate. v2 They began to accuse Jesus. They said, ‘We have found this man, who causes trouble among our people. He forbids them to pay taxes to the *emperor. And he says that he is the *Christ, a king.’

v3 Then Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the *Jews?’

Jesus answered him, ‘You say so.’

v4 Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I do not consider this man guilty of any crime.’

v5 But they insisted. ‘He causes trouble among the people. He has taught through the whole of Judea. He started in Galilee and now he has come here.’

v6 Pilate heard this. So, he asked whether Jesus was from Galilee. v7 Pilate realised that Jesus was, therefore, under Herod’s authority. So, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod. Herod was also in Jerusalem at this time.

v8 Herod was very glad to see Jesus. For a long time, he had wanted to see Jesus, because he had heard about him. And he hoped to see Jesus perform some kind of *miracle. v9 Herod asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus did not answer him. v10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law stood there. They were constantly accusing Jesus. v11 Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus and they insulted him. They dressed him in splendid clothing and Herod sent him back to Pilate. v12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends. Until this time, they had been enemies.

v13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people. v14 He said to them, ‘You brought this man to me. You say that he turns the people against the law. I have examined him in front of you. I consider him not guilty of the crime of which you have accused him. v15 Neither did Herod find him guilty, because Herod sent him back to us. Look. This man has done nothing to deserve death. v16 Therefore, I will punish him and then I will free him.’

v18 But the whole crowd shouted together, ‘Take this man away. Free Barabbas for us.’ v19 (Barabbas was in prison because he had fought against the government in the city, and for murder.)

v20 Pilate wanted to free Jesus, so he spoke again to the crowd. v21 But they shouted, ‘*Crucify him, *crucify him.’

v22 Then Pilate spoke to them a third time. ‘This man has done nothing wrong. I find no reason why we should put him to death. Therefore, I will punish him and I will let him go free.’

v23 But with loud shouts, they insisted that Pilate should *crucify Jesus. By their shouts, they succeeded. v24 Pilate decided that he would carry out their request. v25 Pilate freed the man who had fought against the government. (Because of that, and because of a murder, this man had been in prison. The crowd had asked Pilate to free this man.) But Pilate handed Jesus over as the crowd had requested.

Verses 1-5 The members of the *Sanhedrin had decided that Jesus must die. They were the leaders of the people. However, they opposed Jesus for different reasons. Many *Pharisees opposed Jesus because they did not agree with his message. The chief priests, on the other hand, belonged to the group called Sadducees. They worried that Jesus might cause trouble with the *Romans. Then the *Romans would destroy the *temple and the nation of *Israel. For this reason Caiaphas said that this one man should die (John 11:45-53). But the real reason was that Jesus was the *Christ, the Son of God. This made Jesus equal with God. Both the chief priests and most of the *Pharisees would not believe this. Therefore, to them this was *blasphemy.

The whole group of the leaders took Jesus to Pilate. Usually they would have sent a team on their behalf. But they felt so strongly that they all came. The *Romans did not allow the *Jews to put people to death (John 18:31). So, the leaders had to persuade Pilate to order the death of Jesus.

Pilate was the *Roman ruler in Judea. Usually he would have been in the town called Caesarea. But he was in Jerusalem at this time because of the *Passover.

The crime of *blasphemy was of extreme importance to the *Jewish religion. But *blasphemy was of no interest to the *Romans. *Blasphemy was not a crime under *Roman law. The *Jewish leaders had to find a better reason for their request to Pilate. So, they said that Jesus was claiming to be a king. As a king, he must be an enemy of the *emperor. That would be a political crime. The punishment for such a crime would be death.

The *Jewish leaders accused Jesus of three serious crimes. He tried to cause the people to act against the *Romans. Then he told the people not to pay taxes to the *emperor. And he said that he was *Christ the king. The first two of these were clearly false. And Jesus did not say to the leaders that he was a king.

Pilate and Jesus went into the hall of judgement. The *Jews would not go in because the place was to them unclean. That is, it was unclean for the purposes of their religion. Of course, the hall was not dirty. An unclean person, place or object was something that made people unable to carry out public acts of religion. So, if the *Jews went into the hall, it would make them unclean. Then they would not be able to take part in the *Passover ceremony (John 18:28).

Pilate asked Jesus about all the things of which the *Jewish leaders had accused him. The most serious matter was whether Jesus was a king. Pilate asked Jesus if he was a king. Jesus did not deny that he was a king. He was a king but his *kingdom did not belong to this world (John 18:33-38). But Pilate could see that he was not a danger to the *emperor. He was not a king in the way that the *Jewish leaders had meant. Pilate was a judge with much experience. It did not take him long to see that Jesus was innocent. He decided that Jesus was not guilty of any crime. He came out of the hall of judgement. And he told the *Jewish leaders and the crowd what his decision was.

The crowd would not agree with Pilate’s decision. They insisted more urgently that Jesus was guilty. They accused him of many things. They said that he caused trouble among the people. What he taught spread from Galilee through the whole nation.

The crowd would not agree with a ‘not guilty’ decision because the chief priests persuaded them (Matthew 27:20; Mark 15:11).

Verses 6-12 Jesus had become a difficult problem for Pilate. He wanted to free Jesus because Jesus was innocent. But he did not want to offend the *Jewish leaders. They insisted that Jesus should die. If Pilate freed Jesus, there would be trouble. They had mentioned Galilee. Jesus was from Galilee. In fact, Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea but he lived in Galilee. Pilate thought that he could pass the problem to Herod Antipas. Herod was the ruler of Galilee and he was in Jerusalem because of the *Passover. So, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.

In *Roman law, the problem would come to the judge in the region where the crime had happened. It was right that Pilate should be the judge. But as Jesus was from Galilee, he could pass the problem to Herod. This would please Herod. It would appear to him that Pilate respected him.

Herod had heard about Jesus. He had heard of the *miracles that Jesus had done. For a long time he had wanted to meet Jesus (9:9). Maybe Jesus would do a *miracle for him. So, he was glad when Pilate sent Jesus to him.

The chief priests and teachers of the law continued to accuse Jesus. Probably they accused Jesus of *blasphemy as well as political crimes. Herod had more experience of *Jewish politics and their religion than Pilate. Herod asked Jesus about all of these things. He may have asked Jesus about what he had taught. He wanted to see a *miracle as well. But Jesus did not answer him. Jesus had nothing to say to Herod. By his silence, Jesus showed that he was in control of the situation. Herod was the weaker person. It would have disappointed him very much that he got no answers from Jesus.

The *Jewish leaders wanted Herod to agree that Jesus should die. Also, Pilate wanted Herod to take that responsibility. But Herod did not satisfy either the *Jewish leaders or Pilate. With his soldiers, he made fun of Jesus. They dressed Jesus in fine clothes and they insulted him. Herod had no further interest in Jesus. He sent him back to Pilate. And Pilate had no choice. He had to take the responsibility.

It seems that Pilate and Herod had been enemies for some time. This incident caused them to become friends.

Verses 13-16 Pilate called together the *Jewish leaders and the people with them. He declared to them that he had examined Jesus. He had looked at all those things about which they had accused Jesus. Also, Herod had tried to find fault with Jesus in these matters. Neither Pilate nor Herod could find anything about which Jesus was guilty. Pilate as the judge must free the innocent man. He said that he would punish Jesus. Then he would free him. He hoped that this would satisfy the *Jewish leaders.

Verse 17 Some Bibles add, ‘Now he (Pilate) had to free someone for them at the *feast.’

Verses 18-25 It was a custom that Pilate freed a prisoner at the *Passover time. The people could choose which prisoner they wanted him to free (Matthew 27:15; Mark 15:6). The whole crowd shouted for him to free Barabbas. Barabbas had opposed the *Roman government and he was guilty of murder. John 18:40 calls him a ‘thief’. Probably, the *Jewish leaders had persuaded the crowd to choose Barabbas.

It could not have been a very large crowd. There was not enough room in that place. But the crowd was large enough to worry Pilate. It could not have been typical of the ordinary people. The people were not against Jesus. They believed that he was a *prophet. Maybe friends of Barabbas were in that crowd. They would want their friend to be free.

Pilate wanted them to ask for Jesus. So, he gave to them the chance to choose Jesus. He asked them if he could give to them the king of the *Jews. But they shouted even more for Barabbas (John 18:39-40).

Pilate again said that Jesus was innocent. He said that he would punish Jesus. And then he would free him. But this did not please the crowd. Then Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus. The crowd shouted their answer. They cried, ‘*Crucify him, *crucify him.’ Pilate asked them what evil deeds Jesus had done. They did not answer that question. Instead, they shouted even more loudly, ‘*Crucify him.’

In the end, Pilate gave in to them. He agreed to *crucify Jesus. He freed Barabbas. Pilate washed his hands as if to say it was not his fault (Matthew 27:24).

The *Roman soldiers took Jesus into their hall. They whipped him across his back many times until blood covered his back. They put purple clothes on him. (Kings wore purple clothes. However, the soldiers chose purple clothes for Jesus as an insult. They were laughing at the fact that people had described him as ‘king of the *Jews’.) Also, the soldiers put a crown of *thorns on his head. They hit Jesus with a stick and they made fun of him.

Then Pilate brought Jesus out to the crowd. He said, ‘Here is the man’ (John 19:5).

Jesus on the cross – Luke 23:26-49

v26 As the soldiers led Jesus away, they seized a man called Simon. He was from the city called Cyrene. He was coming into Jerusalem. They forced him to carry the cross of wood behind Jesus. v27 A large crowd of people followed Jesus. In the crowd, many women cried and they wept because of him. v28 Jesus turned to the women. He said to them, ‘Women from Jerusalem, do not weep on my behalf. Weep on behalf of yourselves and on behalf of your children. v29 A terrible time will come. Then people will say, “Happy are the women who could not have children. Happy are those women who never gave birth. Happy are those women whose breasts never fed babies.” v30 Then people will say to the mountains, “Fall on us.” And they will say to the hills, “Cover us.” v31 People are doing these things when their lives are as pleasant as a green tree. Then they will do worse things when their circumstances become as bad as a dry tree.’

v32 The soldiers led two other men that they would kill with Jesus. Those other men were criminals. v33 When they came to the place called the *Skull, they *crucified Jesus. And they *crucified the two criminals. One criminal was on the right side of Jesus and the other criminal was on his left. v34 Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.’ The soldiers divided his clothes among themselves. They played a game of chance to decide which of the clothes each would take.

v35 The people stood there and they watched. But the rulers insulted Jesus. They said, ‘He saved other people. Let him save himself. The *Christ whom God has chosen could do it.’

v36 The soldiers also made fun of Jesus. They came up to him and they offered to him sour wine. v37 They said to him, ‘If you are the king of the *Jews, save yourself.’

v38 Above Jesus, there was a sign. It said, ‘This is the king of the *Jews.’

v39 One of the criminals who hung there insulted Jesus. He said, ‘You pretend to be the *Christ. If you are, then save yourself and us.’

v40 But the other criminal protested at this. He said, ‘You ought to be afraid of God. You are suffering the same punishment as he does. v41 Our punishment is fair. We are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has not done anything wrong.’

v42 Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your *kingdom.’

v43 Jesus said to him, ‘I tell you the truth. Today you will be with me in *paradise.’

v44 It was about the 6th hour. And darkness came over the whole country until the 9th hour. v45 It was dark because the sun did not shine. And the curtain in the *temple split down the middle. v46 Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I place my spirit.' When he had said this, he took his last breath.

v47 The army officer saw what had happened. He praised God. And he said, ‘Certainly, this man was a good man.’ v48 The crowds had gathered to see this sight. They all saw what happened. They struck themselves because they were so sad. And they went away. v49 But all those people who knew Jesus stood at a distance. This included the women who had come with him from Galilee. They watched all that happened.

Verses 26 The soldiers led Jesus away to *crucify him. The place where they *crucified was outside the city walls. This place was called Golgotha. Golgotha means ‘the place of a *skull’.

The criminal had to carry his cross or at least the bar that crossed the centre. It was very heavy. The soldiers had punished Jesus so much that he was now weak. He could not carry his cross the whole way. The soldiers stopped a man called Simon and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.

This man, Simon, came from Cyrene. Cyrene was a city in the North African country called Libya. Probably he became a Christian because of this experience. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus (Mark 15:21). These two sons became Christians.

Verses 27-30 There was a large crowd of people on the streets as Jesus went by. The crowd followed him along the way. These people were not against Jesus. These were ordinary people. Many of them admired Jesus. The situation probably made them sad and angry. But they could do nothing. Many of the women wept aloud as they saw him.

Although he was so weak, Jesus managed to speak to the crowd. Even in this situation, Jesus did not think about himself, but about the people. He knew about the terrible events that would soon happen in Jerusalem. He said to the women, ‘Do not weep on my behalf. Weep on behalf of yourselves and on behalf of your children.’ When the *disaster happened, it would be terrible for the children. Then the people would say that it was better for those women without children. *Jewish women often felt a sense of shame if they were unable to have children. But then it would be terrible for mothers to watch how their children would suffer. That time would be so awful that people would want to die.

Verse 31 There have been several ideas as to what Jesus meant. He was comparing that present time with the future *disaster. He was innocent of any crime. The *Romans knew that he was innocent. Yet, they still *crucified him. It would be so much worse for the *Jews when the *Romans considered the nation guilty.

Fire spreads much more quickly through a forest when the trees are dry. So, Jesus warned them that the future events would be much worse than the present situation.

Verses 32-33 The soldiers led two other men with Jesus. These men were thieves. They came to the place called Golgotha, that is, the *Skull. The *Skull was probably a hill outside Jerusalem. One particular hill outside the old city walls of Jerusalem has the appearance of a *skull. There is a tradition that the *Romans *crucified Jesus and the criminals on this hill. But it is more likely that it was at the base of the hill. It was near the road because people passed by. As they passed by, the people made fun of Jesus (Matthew 27:39-40; Mark 15:29-30).

There the *Roman soldiers *crucified Jesus and the two criminals. Jesus was between the criminals. It was about 9 o’clock in the morning (Mark 15:25).

In *crucifixion, the person hung on a cross. We do not know for certain the shape of the cross. It was probably a central beam that had a bar across it. They fixed Jesus to the cross with nails through his hands and feet (John 20:25-27; Luke 24:39). This was an awful, slow and painful death. But the Bible does not say much about the physical pain that Jesus suffered. It concentrates more on the importance of Jesus’ death. In it, he took the punishment for all our *sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). We must confess our *sins to God and we must invite him into our lives, for God to forgive us. Also, by Jesus’ death, he defeated the devil (Hebrews 2:14). So, he frees his people from the devil’s power.

Verse 34 Jesus prayed on behalf of those people who were guilty of his death. He asked God his Father to forgive them. They did not understand what they had done. They knew that he was innocent of any crime. But they did not believe that he was the *Christ. And they did not understand that he was the Son of God. If they had understood it, they would not have *crucified the *Lord of *glory (1 Corinthians 2:8). However, this did not excuse them. They were guilty of this murder.

Jesus prayed on behalf of his enemies. He taught us that we should do the same (Luke 6:27-28; Matthew 5:44).

It was the custom for the soldiers to take the clothes after they had *crucified a person. They divided Jesus’ clothes into 4 parts. But they would not cut up his long coat. So, they played a game of chance to see which one of them would take the coat. In that game, they threw stones to decide who was the winner. The Book of Psalms says that this would happen (Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-25).

Verses 35-38 Many of the people would come to see a *crucifixion. So on this occasion people stood there and they watched Jesus. Most of the ordinary people did not insult Jesus. But some who were passing by did make bad remarks to Jesus (Matthew 27:39-40; Mark 15:29-30). It was the rulers who insulted him. These included the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders of the people. By their insults, they emphasised that they did not believe in him. If Jesus could save other people then he could save himself. If Jesus were the *Christ, he could come down from the cross. If God had chosen him, then God could save him. All of this was true. Jesus could have saved himself. But the rulers did not understand that Jesus came to die on our behalf. It was God’s plan that Jesus should die because of the *sins of all people.

It was the custom for the criminal to carry a board. That board had on it a note of his crime. And the soldiers would put that notice on the cross above the criminal’s head. Above the head of Jesus, the notice was: ‘This is the king of the *Jews.’ This was the reason for the death of Jesus, as Pilate understood it. The notice was in three languages: *Hebrew, *Greek and *Latin. *Hebrew was the language of the *Jews. *Greek was the language of many people who had come to Jerusalem for the *Passover. *Latin was the language of government and it was the official language of the *Romans.

The soldiers also made fun of Jesus. They said, ‘Let the king of the *Jews save himself.’ But they offered him sour wine to drink.

Verses 39-43 At first, the two criminals began to insult Jesus (Matthew 27:44; Mark 15:32). One of them continued to insult Jesus. But the other one of them realised who Jesus was. He protested to the other criminal. Soon that man would have to come in front of God as his judge. That should cause him to be afraid of God. All three of them were suffering the same punishment. The two criminals deserved it. But the criminal who spoke considered Jesus innocent of any crime.

It must have been difficult for them to speak. They suffered so much pain. And there was so much noise round about them. But the one criminal spoke to Jesus. He believed that Jesus was a king. He did not ask Jesus to rescue him from his cross or from death. He realised that death would not be the end. So, he asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his *kingdom.

The answer of Jesus was more than that criminal could have expected. Yes, he (the criminal) would be in that *kingdom. He would die that day and he would go to be with Jesus in *paradise.

The word *paradise came from the Persian language where it meant a garden. It was a place of beauty and delight. A person could relax as he enjoyed that beautiful place. Later, people chose that word to refer to the place where God’s people live with him after death. That was the meaning that Jesus gave to the word ‘*paradise’ here.

Verses 44-45 The *Jewish day consisted of 12 hours. The start of the day was sunrise. The end of the day was at sunset. So, the length of an hour varied at different times during the year.

In those days, they had no clocks or watches. As a result, the writers of the *New Testament estimated the times. Luke estimated that this darkness came at about the 6th hour (in other words, noon). It continued until about the 9th hour (3 o’clock). It was dark for three hours from about noon to about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

John says that Pilate brought Jesus out to the *Jews at about the 6th hour. Probably John used a different measurement of time that people commonly used in Asia. To them, the day started after midnight. So, that 6th hour would have been 6 o’clock in the morning (John 19:14).

This afternoon it was dark because the sun did not shine. The light from the sun could not come through the darkness. It could not have been an eclipse (the rare event when the moon is in front of the sun). That cannot happen when the moon is full. At *Passover, there was a full moon.

At the end of the period of darkness, Jesus died. And the large curtain in the *temple split from top to bottom. This curtain was between the most holy place and the rest of the *temple. The chief priest went into the most holy place once a year to meet with God. Nobody else could go behind the curtain. Now the curtain to the most holy place was open. It was as if anybody could now go beyond the curtain. Now the people could approach God for themselves because of Jesus’ death.

So, the meaning is that the death of Jesus has made the way for us to approach God. His body is like the curtain by which we have a doorway to God (Hebrews 10:19-25).

Verse 46 Jesus did not die because of the things that people did to him. He had said that he had authority to lay down his life. And he had power to take it again. Nobody could take his life from him. He would lay it down of his own decision (John 10:17-18). Jesus had done all that he had come to do. He cried out, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). Then he gave his own life to God his Father. He cried out with a loud voice that the people could hear. He said, ‘Father, into your hands I place my spirit.’ His life, his spirit, went to be with God. He took his last breath and his body died.

Verses 47-49 The officer in charge of the *crucifixion saw all that happened. He must have seen other *crucifixions but never one like this. He felt the darkness and he saw the *earthquake (Matthew 27:51). And he saw how Jesus had died in an unusual way. These things caused him to be afraid and he praised God. Now he knew that Jesus was innocent of any crime. Jesus’ death convinced him that Jesus was someone special. In Luke 23:47, he called Jesus a righteous man. The word ‘righteous’ means someone who is truly good. In Matthew 27:54, he called Jesus ‘the Son of God’.

The crowd of ordinary people who had come to see the *crucifixions went away sad. What they expected to be an entertainment brought no satisfaction. They too knew that Jesus was not guilty of any crime. Jesus was a good man. And the people thought that he was a *prophet. Now their leaders had murdered an innocent man. What the people had seen deeply affected them. It bothered them and it upset them.

Many of Jesus’ friends had come. But they stood some way from the cross. Among these friends were the women who had been such a help to Jesus during the last three years.

The grave of Jesus – Luke 23:50-56

v50 There was a man called Joseph. He was a good and sincere man. And he was a member of the committee that ruled the country. v51 But he had not agreed with the committee’s decision to act against Jesus. He was from the *Jewish town called Arimathea. He was waiting for and he was expecting God’s *kingdom to come. v52 Joseph went to Pilate and he asked for the body of Jesus. v53 He took the body of Jesus down from the cross of wood. And he wrapped the body in a cloth. Then he placed Jesus’ body in a grave. Workmen had cut the grave into the rock, and nobody had buried anyone there yet. v54 It was the day when the *Jews prepared for the *Sabbath day. This *Sabbath had almost come.

v55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the grave and how Joseph laid the body in it. v56 The women left there and they prepared *spices and oils for the body. But they rested on the *Sabbath day as the law ordered.

Verses 50-54 Joseph came from the *Jewish town called Arimathea. We do not know where Arimathea was. Joseph was a member of the *Sanhedrin of the *Jews. He could not have been there when the *Sanhedrin called for Jesus’ death. All of the *Sanhedrin that were there had agreed with the decision. But Joseph had not agreed with their decision. He was a sincere man who respected God. He expected the *Christ to come and he looked for the *kingdom of God. He was a *disciple of Jesus. But he kept quiet about it because he was afraid of the *Jews (Matthew 27:57; John 19:38).

Evening approached and at sunset the *Sabbath day would begin. That *Sabbath was a special day because it was the *Passover. So, it was important to bury Jesus’ body quickly, before sunset. Joseph was not afraid any longer. With much courage, he went to Pilate and he asked for Jesus’ body. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was dead already. He called the officer. And the officer told him that Jesus was dead. Then Pilate gave to Joseph authority to take and to bury the body.

Joseph took Jesus’ body down from the cross. He would have needed help to do this. Then they wrapped Jesus in a cloth. And they put him in a new grave. Then they rolled a large stone across the entrance to the grave. The grave was in a garden that was near to Golgotha. Joseph had prepared that grave for himself. His workmen had dug the grave into the rock. These graves were like rooms in the rock. They were large enough for a person to walk in.

Nicodemus brought some *spices. Joseph and Nicodemus put *spices on the body to preserve it (John 19:39). Then they wrapped the body in strips of cloth.

Nicodemus was another member of the *Sanhedrin. He too was a secret *disciple of Jesus.

Verses 55-56 The *Jewish custom was to wrap a mixture of *spices and oils with the body. There was not time to prepare *spices in a proper way. The women followed Joseph to see where the grave was. Then they went away to prepare the necessary *spices. They did not come to the grave on the *Sabbath day. They needed to buy some *spices, which they could not do on the *Sabbath day (Mark 16:1). They intended to come after the *Sabbath to wrap the body in a proper manner. However, before the *Sabbath began, Nicodemus and Joseph had already begun to wrap the body with *spices.

Jesus is alive again – Luke 24:1-12

v1 On the first day of the week, while it was still very early, the women came to the grave. They brought the *spices that they had prepared. v2 They found that someone had rolled the stone from the entrance to the grave. v3 When they went in, they did not find the body of the *Lord Jesus. v4 This was strange and they did not know what to think. Then two men appeared, who stood by them. The men wore clothes that shone like lightning. v5 The women were very afraid and they bent down with their faces to the ground. But the men said to them, ‘Do not look here for Jesus. You will not find him who is alive among dead people. v6 He is not here. He has risen from death. Remember what he told you in Galilee. v7 He said, “Someone will hand over the Son of Man to *sinful people. They will *crucify him. But he will rise from death on the third day.” ’ v8 Then the women remembered what Jesus had said.

v9 The women returned from the grave. And they reported all these things to the 11 *apostles and to all the other *disciples. v10 The women were Mary *Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James. There were also other women with them. They told these things to the *apostles. v11 Their words seemed like nonsense to them. So, they did not believe the women. v12 But Peter got up and he ran to the grave. He bent down to look inside. He saw the grave cloths but nothing else. He went away. And he wondered what had happened.

Verses 1-8 The *Sabbath day was the 7th day of the week. It ended at sunset on the Saturday. Then the first day of the week started. But the women could not do much during the hours of darkness. Very early on Sunday morning at sunrise, the women came to the grave. They were Mary *Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome and perhaps other women. They had prepared *spices and they had come to place the *spices on Jesus’ body.

They had discussed among themselves who could move the heavy stone from the grave (Mark 16:3). But there had been an *earthquake and an *angel had rolled the stone away (Matthew 28:2). So, when the women arrived, the grave was open. The women went into the grave but Jesus’ body was not there. Instead, two men stood there. The clothes that the two men wore shone like lightning. They were *angels. The women were very afraid. And they fell down with their faces to the ground.

It seems that one of the *angels sat down on the right side of the grave (Mark 16:5). And he spoke to the women. He told them not to be afraid. He knew that they had come to find Jesus. He said that Jesus was not there. Jesus was not dead. He had been dead but now he was alive. The *angel invited the women to see where the body had been. He reminded them of what Jesus had said. Jesus had spoken about his death and that he would rise to life again (Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 9:22; Luke 18:31-33). And the women remembered that Jesus had said this. Then the *angel told the women to go back to the *disciples. They must tell the *disciples that Jesus had risen from death. Jesus would go before them to Galilee and there they would see him.

Verses 9-12 It seems that Mary *Magdalene had been first at the grave. She discovered that Jesus’ body was not there. She ran to tell Peter and John (John 20:1-2).

As the other women went to tell the *disciples, Jesus met them. He told them to tell the *disciples to go to Galilee. There the *disciples would see him (Matthew 28:9-10). This was what the *angels had already told them.

It seems that Mary *Magdalene went back to the grave and she wept there. She looked into the grave and she saw the two *angels there. They asked her why she wept. She answered them and then turned away. As she turned, she saw Jesus. But she did not know that it was Jesus. She thought that he was the gardener. Then Jesus called her name and she recognised Jesus. Afterwards she went to tell the *disciples about it (John 20:11-18).

The women told the 11 *apostles and all the other *disciples what had happened. Their report was so strange that the *apostles did not believe the women. The story sounded like nonsense to them. They did not expect Jesus to rise from death to life. But Peter and John ran to the grave. Peter looked into the grave and he saw the grave clothes. He went in. And he saw how the cloth for the head was separate from the rest of the grave clothes. If someone had removed the body, that person would not have left the clothes in the grave. This convinced John that Jesus’ body had come out of those clothes (John 20:2-10). They went home and Peter wondered about these things.

The *disciples see that Jesus is alive – Luke 24:13-49

v13 On the same day, two of Jesus’ *disciples were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about 7 miles (11 kilometres) from Jerusalem. v14 They were talking to each other about all the things that had happened. v15 They talked and they discussed these things. As they did that, Jesus himself came to them. And he walked with them. v16 They saw him, but they were unable to recognise him.

v17 Jesus said to them, ‘What are you discussing with each other? What are you talking about as you walk along?’

They stood still with sad faces. v18 One of them called Cleopas said to him, ‘You must be the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know about it. Do you not know about the things that have just happened there?’

v19 Jesus said to them, ‘What things?’

They said to him, ‘The things about Jesus from Nazareth. He was a *prophet. His deeds and his words were powerful in front of God and all the people. v20 The chief priests and our leaders handed him over to the men who ordered his death. He died by *crucifixion. v21 We were hoping that he was the *Christ. We hoped that he would soon free *Israel. But now, in addition to all these things, it is the third day since these things happened. v22 Also, some of our women astonished us. They went to the grave early this morning. v23 But they did not find his body there. They came back to us. They told us that they had seen a *vision of *angels. The *angels told them that Jesus is alive. v24 Some of our men went to the grave and they found it empty. It was as the women had said. But those men did not see Jesus.’

v25 Then Jesus said to them, ‘How foolish you are. You do not seem able to believe all that the *prophets said. v26 They said that the *Christ must suffer these things. Then he would enter into his *glory.’ v27 And Jesus explained to them what all the *scriptures said about him. He began with the books of Moses and with all the *prophets to explain these things to them.

v28 They came near to the village to which the two were going. Jesus seemed to be going further. v29 But they urged him, ‘Stay with us. It is now late, and the day is almost over.’ So, he went to stay with them.

v30 When Jesus was at the table with them, he took the bread. He thanked God for it. He broke the bread and he gave it to them. v31 Then it was as if their eyes could see. They now recognised who he was. And he vanished from them. v32 They said to each other, ‘Our hearts seemed to burn inside us as he spoke to us on the way. That happened while he was explaining the *scriptures to us.’

v33 So, the two *disciples got up at once and they went back to Jerusalem. There they found the 11 *apostles together with some other *disciples. v34 These told the two *disciples, ‘It is true. The *Lord Jesus has risen from death to life. He has appeared to Simon.’ v35 Then the two *disciples told what had happened on the road. And they explained how they had recognised Jesus. They had recognised him when he broke the bread.

v36 As they said these things, Jesus himself stood among them. He said to them, ‘*Peace be with you.’

v37 The sight of him was a shock to them and it frightened them. They thought that they saw a spirit. v38 Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Do not have doubts in your minds. v39 Look at my hands and feet. You can see that it is really me. Touch me, and see for yourselves. A spirit does not have a physical body. But you can see that I do have a real body.’

v40 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. v41 Still they could not believe it. They were so full of joy and surprise. So, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ v42 They gave him a piece of fish that someone had already cooked over the fire. v43 Jesus took it and he ate it in front of them.

v44 He said to them, ‘Remember. I told you about this while I was still with you. The books of Moses, the *prophets and the Psalms spoke about me. All that they said about me must happen.’

v45 Then he helped them to understand the *scriptures. v46 He said to them, ‘The *scriptures say this. The *Christ must suffer. Then he will rise from death on the third day. v47 You must *preach the good news in his name. If people *repent, then God will forgive their *sins. *Preach this to all nations. And start in Jerusalem. v48 You are witnesses of these things. v49 I will send to you what my Father promised. Wait here in the city until you receive power from above.’

Verses 13-16 Afterwards on that same Sunday, two *disciples were walking to Emmaus. We do not know where Emmaus was. However, it was a village about 7 miles from Jerusalem. Perhaps they were going home after *Passover. One of the *disciples was Cleopas but Luke does not give to us the name of the other *disciple. We do not know whether the other *disciple was male or female. They could have been husband and wife, or two men.

These *disciples were discussing all that had happened. They had been there when the women came back from the grave. They heard that someone had moved the stone away and about the *angels. But they were sad and they felt confused by the events of the last few days. What had happened depressed them.

Jesus came up behind them from the direction of Jerusalem. And he joined them as they walked. However, they did not recognise him.

Verses 17-24 Jesus asked them what they were discussing. Then they stopped and they stood still. Their faces showed how unhappy they were. Cleopas turned to answer this stranger. What had happened in Jerusalem, in these few days, was so public. Everybody in Jerusalem except this man must have known about it.

Jesus asked what they were talking about. Then they told him about their hopes and disappointments. They believed that Jesus was a *prophet. They thought that he was more than a *prophet. What Jesus had said was clearly from God. Jesus had done many powerful deeds. They had seen the power of God in Jesus. Perhaps he was the *Christ who would free God’s people from all their enemies. That was what they had hoped. But it seemed as if all of this had failed completely.

They told how the chief priests and the rulers had caused Jesus’ death. The leaders had persuaded the *Romans to *crucify Jesus. All this happened three days ago. But that morning some women had been to the grave. The grave was empty and the body was not there. The women said that they had seen *angels. And the *angels said that Jesus was alive. The women surprised Jesus’ *disciples by what they had said. So, some of the men went to the grave. We know that Peter and John went there. Maybe other men went as well. They saw that the grave was empty. But they did not see Jesus. What the women said seemed not to be real. Perhaps Cleopas thought that it was just a *vision.

Verses 25-27 Jesus replied to them. They ought to have believed all that the *prophets had said. Then they would have believed the women. They would have known that Jesus was alive. The *Old Testament tells about the life and death of the *Christ. Jesus said that the *scriptures were about him (John 5:39). The *prophets clearly told about his death. They spoke about the things that the *Christ must suffer. It was necessary for him to suffer and to die. Jesus came as a man in order to die because of the *sins of all people. God sent his Son for that purpose. After he had suffered, the *Christ must become alive again. Then he would enter into (receive) his *glory.

Jesus taught them about himself from the whole of the *Old Testament. He started with what Moses had written. Then he showed them about the *Christ in the books of the *prophets. ‘Moses and the *prophets’ means all of the *scriptures. But Jesus did not tell them at this time that he himself was the *Christ.

Verses 28-32 It was now late in the day and it would soon be dark. The two *disciples arrived at the place where they would stay that night. This may have been their home or the home of one of them. If so, it would have been the custom to invite this stranger to be their guest. But maybe it was a hotel. Jesus was not intending to stop there. If they had not asked him to stay, he would have gone further. What Jesus taught them had impressed the *disciples. So, they urged him to stay with them. Jesus agreed to stay and to eat with them.

The three of them sat down for a meal together. Usually the host would have taken the bread and he would have said a prayer of thanks to God. But Jesus took the place of the host. Now he was not a stranger or just the guest. He was the master. After the prayer of thanks to God, Jesus broke the bread. He gave the broken pieces to the two *disciples.

Jesus broke the bread and he gave it to them. And it was as if something opened their eyes. Perhaps they saw the nail marks in his hands for the first time. Maybe God chose that moment to show them that Jesus was his Son. However, now they knew that the stranger was Jesus. He really was alive again. As soon as they recognised him, he vanished from their sight.

Then the two *disciples remembered how they had felt. As Jesus taught them, it had a powerful effect on them. It seemed like warmth that glowed in their hearts. In other words, it was more than a feeling. As Jesus spoke, the *Holy Spirit was working powerfully upon them. And that brought about a great change in their minds. Now they knew that it was Jesus. He had explained the *scriptures to them. They understood that Jesus was the *Christ. All that had happened made sense to them now. In other words, the meaning of those recent events had become clear to them.

Verses 33-35 Their first reaction was that they must tell the other *disciples. They got up from the table at once. And they hurried back the 7 miles to Jerusalem. It would have been dark for most of the way. But that did not seem to bother them. In Jerusalem, they found the 11 *apostles, who had some other *disciples with them. When they arrived, the *apostles had news to tell them: ‘Jesus is alive.’ Jesus had met with Simon Peter. This happened the same day that Jesus rose from death. It was after the women had seen Jesus. And it was some time after Peter and John had been to the grave. Also, this proved the reality of what the women had said.

Then the two *disciples told their story. They told how Jesus had taught them on the way to Emmaus. But they had not known him until he broke the bread.

Verses 36-43 The 11 *apostles were all present that evening. But clearly, Thomas left the house before Jesus came. Thomas found it impossible to believe the reports that Jesus was alive. However, Thomas was there a week afterwards when Jesus came again. That was when, at last, Thomas believed (John 20:24-29).

Although Jesus was alive, the *disciples were afraid of the *Jewish leaders. They made sure that they had shut the doors. Nobody could come in unless one of the *disciples opened the doors from the inside. It was by now quite late at night. While they spoke about him, Jesus himself came there among them. This physical world could not limit his new body. He was able to appear when and where he chose.

His sudden appearance must have been quite a shock to them. Nobody had let Jesus in. He was just there in the room. He greeted them with the words, ‘*Peace be with you.’ But they were afraid. They thought that he was a spirit. It could not really be Jesus.

Jesus told them not to be afraid. He proved that he was real and not just a spirit. He showed them the marks of the nails in his hands and feet. He invited them to touch him to prove that he had a physical body. The kind of spirit that they were afraid of would not have a real body like his.

They were so glad that they could not quite believe the truth. It was too wonderful to be true. As a final proof, Jesus asked for some food. They gave to him some fish. And Jesus ate it in front of them.

Verses 44-49 Jesus reminded his *disciples that he had told them about these things. He had told them many times about his death. He had taught them that he would rise again (9:22; 18:31-34). All that had happened to him was in the *scriptures. All that the *scriptures said about him must happen. Moses, the *prophets and the Psalms means the whole of the *Old Testament. Every part of the *scriptures tells us about Jesus.

Jesus had told them these things while he was with them. That was while he lived with them here, in this world. Now he was not with them all the time. Soon he would leave them. His body would not remain with them in this world.

As he had done on the road to Emmaus, now Jesus helped the *disciples to understand the *scriptures. He showed them from the *scriptures that the *Christ had to suffer. He showed them that the *Christ would rise from death. Now that this had happened, they must *preach this good news. They must tell people this *gospel. People must turn to Christ and they must *repent of their *sins. Then God will forgive them.

The *disciples must start to *preach this *gospel where they were, in Jerusalem. Then they must *preach it in all the nations of the world. This *gospel was for all people and not just the *Jews. This was a new idea for the *disciples. They must *preach in the name of the *Christ. That means that they must *preach with his authority.

The *disciples were in that room because they were afraid of the *Jewish leaders. They could not *preach the *gospel in their own strength. But God had promised to send the *Holy Spirit on his people (John 14:26). The *disciples would need the power of the *Holy Spirit to *preach the *gospel. So, Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until they had received this power from God.

Jesus goes back to heaven – Luke 24:50-53

v50 Jesus led the *disciples out toward Bethany. He raised his hands and he blessed them. v51 As he was blessing them, he left them. And he went up into heaven. v52 The *disciples *worshipped Jesus. Then they returned to Jerusalem with much joy. v53 They were constantly in the *temple, where they praised God.

It was 40 days afterwards that Jesus led his *disciples toward Bethany. Bethany was a village on the east slope of the *Mount of Olives. It was about two miles from Jerusalem. They did not go as far as the village called Bethany. They went about half way to the village. That distance of about a mile was called a *Sabbath day’s journey (Acts 1:12).

Jesus raised his hands and he prayed over his friends. As he blessed them, he went up from them. As they watched, a cloud hid him from their sight (Acts 1:9-11). The *disciples would not see him again. This was the end of Jesus’ work as a man on the earth. He is perfect God and perfect man, and he now has the place of greatest honour and *glory in heaven.

By this time, the *disciples clearly realised that Jesus is God. They *worshipped him. Jesus had gone from them. When he left them at Golgotha (the place of his death), they were sad. Now, as he left them to go to heaven, joy filled their hearts. And they returned to Jerusalem.

The *disciples went often to the *temple where they praised God. They remained in Jerusalem until the *Holy Spirit came upon them, about a week later (Acts chapter 2).

Word List

angel ~ a servant of God from heaven. God made angels to serve him and to take his messages. So, angels are God’s servants from heaven. But there are evil angels who opposed God. These evil angels now serve the devil.

apostle ~ someone whom God sends; especially one of the 12 men whom Jesus chose to be his helpers.

blasphemy ~ to say things against God; to curse and to insult God.

calf ~ a young cow that is up to one year old.

Christ ~ the Christ is the name for the person whom God would send to save his people. Jesus is the Christ and he was called Christ.

cock ~ a male chicken.

crucify ~ a *Roman method to kill as a punishment. *Roman soldiers fixed the person to a cross of wood.

crucifixion ~ the act when the *Roman soldiers *crucified a person.

cup ~ a word that Jesus used to describe his death. Jesus probably used this word to refer to God’s anger against *sin.

disaster ~ when something very bad happens.

disciple ~ a person who follows a leader, especially the 12 men that Jesus chose to be with him.

dough ~ bread before a person bakes it.

earthquake ~ when the earth shakes, that is an earthquake.

Egyptians ~ people from Egypt.

emperor ~ like a king. The *Romans called their most important ruler an emperor.

faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son.

feast ~ a time to eat and drink. The special times of many *Jewish ceremonies are feasts.

glory ~ great honour and beauty.

gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin because of Jesus Christ.

Greek ~ the language in which the authors wrote the *New Testament.

Hebrew ~ the language of the *Jews and of the *Old Testament.

Holy Spirit ~ God’s Spirit whom Jesus sent to help his people. It is another name for God, also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of *Christ and the comforter. The *Holy Spirit is a person but not human. He lives and works for God. He is God, equal with God the Father and with God the Son.

hypocrite ~ someone who pretends in order to give a false impression to other people.

Israel ~ the country of the *Jews.

Israelites ~ *Jewish people.

Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.

Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the families of their children.

kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules. In the New Testament, this is nearly always the people over whom the king rules and not a territory on earth.

lamb ~ a young sheep.

Latin ~ the ancient language of Rome.

Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things. In the *Old Testament, LORD was a special name for God.

Magdalene ~ from a town called Magdala.

miracle ~ a powerful deed that seems to be against the normal laws of nature. Miracles showed God’s power.

Mount of Olives ~ a hill near Jerusalem. ‘Mount’ means mountain; the olive is a type of tree.

New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus on earth.

Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Jesus’ birth.

paradise ~ ‘paradise’ came from the language called Persian where it meant a garden. The word began to refer to the place where God’s people live with him after death.

Passover ~ annual ceremony to remember God’s rescue of the *Jews from Egypt.

peace ~ the calm and content state that comes from a right relationship with God.

Pharisees ~ a group of *Jews who tried to obey all God’s rules. Many of them did not approve of Jesus.

preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.

prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the Holy Spirit.

prophesy ~ to speak a *prophecy.

prophet ~ person who speaks on behalf of God. A prophet can sometimes say what will happen in the future.

repent ~ to change the mind and the heart. To turn away from *sin and to turn to God. To turn the mind and heart away from *sin is to repent.

Roman ~ Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. Anything that belonged to Rome was Roman.

Sabbath ~ the 7th day of the week which was special to the *Jews as a holy day.

salvation ~ the result when God saves us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives to those people who believe in the *Lord Jesus.

sandal ~ a shoe with a piece of leather underneath and leather pieces to fit to the foot.

Sanhedrin ~ a group of 71 leaders under the chief priest who were the *Jewish government.

Satan ~ the name of the devil.

scriptures ~ the books of the Bible.

sin ~ sin is the wrong things that we do. To sin is to do wrong, bad or evil deeds and not to obey God.

sinful ~ a person who *sins is sinful.

skull ~ the bones in a head.

spices ~ a sweet substance or a substance with a strong smell.

temple ~ a special building for the *worship of God. The *Jews had a temple in Jerusalem for the *worship of the real God. But at other temples, people *worshipped false gods.

thorns ~ sharp hard points on a tree or bush.

throne ~ the special chair for the king or for an important person.

tribe ~ a large family of people who have come from the same person. The nation called *Israel grew from the 12 sons of Jacob. Their 12 families became the 12 tribes of *Israel.

trumpet ~ a musical instrument that makes a loud noise when someone blows into it.

unleavened bread ~ bread that someone has made without *yeast.

vision ~ like a dream. During a vision, a person seems to see something that has a special message or meaning for him. The person may or may not be asleep when he sees the vision.

worship ~ the act when someone shows honour to God (or to a false god). Someone who worships, praises God. That person thanks God. And that person respects God.

yeast ~ a substance that makes bread rise before someone bakes it.

Book List

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible

Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary

Joseph A Fitzmyer ~ The Gospel According to Luke ~ The Anchor Bible

I. Howard Marshall ~ Commentary on Luke ~ New International Greek Testament Commentary

Walter L. Liefeld ~ The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

Leon Morris ~ Luke ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries

William Barclay ~ The Gospel of Luke ~ The Daily Study Bible

Alfred Edersheim ~ The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah


A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament


© 2013, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).

December 2013

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