Luke 23

Pilate asks Jesus questions

1 All the people at the meeting stood up to leave. They took Jesus to stand in front of Pilate. 2 Then they all started to tell Pilate that Jesus had done bad things. They said, ‘We found this man when he was telling our people wrong things. He said that we must not pay taxes to the Roman government. He also said that he himself is the Messiah, that is, a king.’

23:1Pontius Pilate ruled over this part of the land that the Romans ruled. He ruled over Jerusalem.

3 Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Jesus replied, ‘You have said it.’

4 Pilate then said to the leaders of the priests and to all the crowd of people, ‘I cannot find any reason to say that this man is guilty.’ 5 But they continued to speak strongly to him. They said, ‘He makes the people angry and ready to fight against the government. He has taught these bad things everywhere in Judea. He started in Galilee and now he has come to Jerusalem.’

6 When Pilate heard this, he asked if Jesus came from Galilee. 7 He discovered that he was from the country where Herod ruled. So Pilate sent Jesus to stand in front of Herod. Herod was also in Jerusalem at that time.

23:7Herod was a king and he ruled over the whole of Galilee. It was Herod that had killed John the Baptist.

Herod asks Jesus questions

8 Herod was very happy to see Jesus. He had heard about him and he had wanted to meet him for a long time. He wanted to see Jesus do something to show God's power. 9 He asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus did not answer any of them. 10 The leaders of the priests and the teachers of God's Law stood there. They were shouting out that Jesus had done many bad things. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers started to laugh at Jesus. They were saying things to make him feel bad. They put a beautiful coat on him. Then they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same day, Herod and Pilate became friends. Until then, they had not liked each other.

Pilate and the Jewish leaders argue about Jesus

13 Pilate then told the leaders of the priests, the leaders of the Jews and the people to come back to him. 14 He said to them, ‘You brought this man to me. You said that he was causing the people to fight against their rulers. Listen! I have asked him some questions in front of you. But I have not found that he has done anything wrong. 15 Herod also did not find that he had done anything wrong. That is why he has sent him back to me. You can see this. He has not done anything bad that means he ought to die. 16 So I will just punish him. I will command a soldier to hit him with whips. Then I will let him go.’

17 [Pilate usually let one person go free out of the prison at Passover time.]

23:17Verse 17 is not in many copies of Luke.

18 But the crowd all shouted together, ‘Take this man away and kill him! We want Barabbas to go free.’

19 Barabbas had fought against the Roman rulers in Jerusalem. He had also killed somebody. That is why the rulers had put him in prison. 20 But Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go. So he spoke to the crowd again. 21 But they continued to shout. They were shouting, ‘Kill him on a cross, kill him on a cross.’

23:21Roman rulers fixed bad people to a big cross made from wood, to kill them.

22 Pilate asked them the same question for the third time. ‘Why should I kill him? What wrong things has he done? You want me to say that he should die. But I have not found anything wrong that would cause me to say that. So I will punish him. I will command my soldiers to hit him with a whip. Then I will let him go.’

23 But they continued to shout at Pilate, ‘Kill him on a cross.’ They continued to shout very much. So, in the end, 24 Pilate did what they wanted. 25 They had asked Pilate to let Barabbas go free out of the prison. He was the man that had caused the Jewish people to fight against the Roman rulers. He had also killed somebody. He was the man that Pilate let go free. As for Jesus, Pilate commanded the soldiers to take him away. He let the people do to him what they wanted.

They kill Jesus on a cross

26 So the soldiers took Jesus away, to go to the place where they would kill him. On the way, they took hold of a man called Simon. This man was from the town of Cyrene. He was coming in from outside the city. The soldiers took the cross that Jesus was carrying on his shoulders. They made Simon carry it instead as he walked behind Jesus.

27 A very large crowd of people were following Jesus. There were many women among them. They were crying with loud voices. They were weeping and crying because they were very sad. 28 So Jesus turned round and he said to them, ‘You women that live in Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Instead, cry for yourselves and for your children. 29 Listen! Days will come when people will say, “It is better for those women that could not have babies. Those women that never had babies to feed are the happy ones!” 30 People will begin to say, “It would be better if we were dead.” They will ask the mountains to fall on top of them. They will ask the hills to cover them up. 31 There is much trouble and pain now. But much worse things will happen! Now the fire burns slowly. But soon it will be like a fire that quickly burns dry wood!’

23:31Again, Jesus is telling the people that enemies will soon destroy Jerusalem. Jesus is like a tree that is alive. He has not done anything wrong. But still the Romans will kill him on a cross. The bad people in Jerusalem are like dry wood. They have done many wrong things. The Romans will do worse things to them.

32 The soldiers also took two other men out of the prison. These men had done bad things. The soldiers would kill them and Jesus together. 33 They took them to the place that is called ‘The Skull’. There they fixed Jesus to a cross to die. They also fixed the two bad men to crosses. One of these men was on the right side of Jesus. The other was on his left side.

34 Jesus said, ‘Father, these people do not know what they are doing. So please forgive them.’

The soldiers then picked up Jesus' clothes for themselves. They played a game to decide who would receive each piece of his clothes. 35 The people stood there and they were watching. The Jewish leaders were laughing at Jesus. They said, ‘He saved other people, did he? Then he should save his own life! Then we will know that he is really the Messiah, the man that God has chosen.’

36 The soldiers also laughed at him. They came up to him and they offered him cheap wine to drink. 37 They said, ‘If you are really the King of the Jews, save your own life.’

38 There was also a notice fixed at the top of the cross. It said, ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

39 One of the bad men on a cross at the side of Jesus started to insult him. He shouted, ‘You say that you are the Messiah, don't you? Then save your own life and save our lives too!’

40 But the bad man on the other cross told him that he should be quiet. He said, ‘You should be more afraid of God. We will die here, as well as him. 41 We two men have done very bad things. So it is right that we should die. But this man has not done anything wrong.’ 42 Then the man said to Jesus, ‘Remember me, Jesus, when you start to rule in your kingdom.’ 43 Jesus replied, ‘I promise you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

Jesus dies

44 It was now about midday. The whole country became dark for three hours. 45 The sun did not give any light. Then the curtain inside the temple tore into two parts. 46 Then Jesus shouted loudly, ‘Father, I give my spirit to you.’ After he shouted this, he died.

47 There was a captain of the soldiers there. When he saw what had happened, he praised God. He said. ‘I am sure that this man had not done anything wrong.’

48 A very big crowd had come together to watch the men die. They saw what had happened. Then they began to go home. They were very sad, and they were hitting their own bodies with their hands. 49 The friends of Jesus were there. The women that had come with him from Galilee were also there. They were all standing a long way away. They also saw what happened to him.

Joseph buries Jesus

50 A man called Joseph was also there. He was one of a special group of important Jewish leaders. He was a good man that wanted to do right things. 51 He was from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He had not agreed with the other leaders that Jesus should die. He was waiting for God to begin to rule his people in his kingdom.

23:50This was the same group that asked Jesus questions. They had wanted Pilate to kill Jesus.

52 So Joseph went to see Pilate. He asked Pilate for the dead body of Jesus. Pilate agreed to this. 53 Joseph then went to the place where Jesus died. He took the dead body down from the cross. He put a piece of linen cloth around the body. Then he put the body into a large hole in the rock. People had made that hole to put dead bodies in, but it was the first time that anyone had used it.

23:53At that time, they put dead bodies in a hole in a rock. Then the family and friends closed the front with a big stone.

54 This all happened on the day before the Jewish day of rest. It was nearly time for the Jewish day of rest to begin.

23:54For the Jews, the end of a day was when the sun went down, at about six o'clock in the evening. Then the next day began.

Jesus becomes alive again

55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph. They saw the place where the hole in the rock was. They also saw Joseph put Jesus' body into the empty hole. 56 Then they returned to the house where they were staying in Jerusalem. They prepared spices and oil that had a beautiful smell. On the Jewish day of rest they obeyed God's Law and they did not work.