Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate.
Lu 23:1-5. Jesus before Pilate.
(See on Mr 15:1-5; and Joh 18:28-19:22.)
And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answered him and said, Thou sayest it.
Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man.
And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place.
When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean.
Lu 23:6-12. Jesus before Herod.
(See Mr 15:6.)
And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.
7. sent him to Herod—hoping thus to escape the dilemma of an unjust condemnation or an unpopular release.
at Jerusalem … at that time—to keep the passover.
And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
8. some miracle—Fine sport thou expectedst, as the Philistines with Samson (Jud 16:25), O coarse, crafty, cruel tyrant! But thou hast been baulked before (see on Lu 13:31-33), and shalt be again.
Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.
9. answered … nothing—(See Mt 7:6).
And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him.
10. stood and vehemently accused him—no doubt both of treason before the king, and of blasphemy, for the king was a Jew.
And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate.
11. his men of war—his bodyguard.
set him at naught, &c.—stung with disappointment at His refusal to amuse him with miracles or answer any of his questions.
gorgeous robe—bright robe. If this mean (as sometimes) of shining white, this being the royal color among the Jews, it may have been in derision of His claim to be "King of the Jews." But if so, "He in reality honored Him, as did Pilate with His true title blazoned on the cross" [Bengel].
sent him again to Pilate—instead of releasing him as he ought, having established nothing against Him (Lu 23:14, 15). "Thus he implicated himself with Pilate in all the guilt of His condemnation, and with him accordingly he is classed" (Ac 4:27) [Bengel].
at enmity—perhaps about some point of disputed jurisdiction, which this exchange of the Prisoner might tend to heal.
And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people,
Lu 23:13-38. Jesus Again before Pilate—Delivered Up—Led Away to Be Crucified.
(See on Mr 15:6-15; and Joh 19:2-17).
Said unto them, Ye have brought this man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined him before you, have found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him:
No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him.
I will therefore chastise him, and release him.
(For of necessity he must release one unto them at the feast.)
And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:
(Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.)
Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them.
But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.
26. Cyrenian—of Cyrene, in Libya, on the north coast of Africa, where were many Jews who had a synagogue at Jerusalem (Ac 6:9, and see Ac 2:10). He was "the father of Alexander and Rufus" (Mr 15:21), probably better known afterwards than himself, as disciples. (See Ro 16:13).
out of the country—and casually drawn into that part of the crowd.
laid the cross—"Him they compel to bear His cross," (Mt 27:32)—sweet compulsion, if it issued in him or his sons voluntarily "taking up their cross!" It would appear that our Lord had first to bear His own cross (Joh 19:17), but being from exhaustion unable to proceed, it was laid on another to bear it "after Him."
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.
27-31. women—not the precious Galilean women (Lu 23:49), but part of the crowd.
But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
28. not for me, &c.—noble spirit of compassion, rising above His own dread endurances, in tender commiseration of sufferings yet in the distance and far lighter, but without His supports and consolations!
For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.
30. mountains … hills, &c.—(Ho 10:8), flying hither and thither as they did in despair for shelter, during the siege; a very slight premonition of cries of another and more awful kind (Isa 2:10, 19, 21; Re 6:16, 17).
For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?
31. green tree—that naturally resists the fire.
the dry—that attracts the fire, being its proper fuel. The proverb here plainly means: "If such sufferings alight upon the innocent One, the very Lamb of God, what must be in store for those who are provoking the flames?"
And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
Lu 23:32-38, 44-46. Crucifixion and Death of the Lord Jesus.
(See on Joh 19:17-30).
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
Lu 23:39-43. The Two Thieves.
39. railed on him—catching up the universal derision, but with a turn of his own. Jesus, "reviled, reviles not again"; but another voice from the cross shall nobly wipe out this dishonor and turn it to the unspeakable glory of the dying Redeemer.
But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
40. Dost not thou—"thou" is emphatic: "Let others jeer, but dost thou?"
fear God—Hast thou no fear of meeting Him so soon as thy righteous Judge? Thou art within an hour or two of eternity, and dost thou spend it in reckless disregard of coming judgment?
in the same condemnation—He has been condemned to die, but is it better with thee? Doth even a common lot kindle no sympathy in thy breast?
And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
41. we … justly, &c.—He owns the worst of his crimes and deserts, and would fain shame his fellow into the same.
nothing amiss—literally, "out of place"; hence "unnatural"; a striking term here. Our Lord was not charged with ordinary crime, but only with laying claim to office and honors which amounted to blasphemy. The charge of treason had not even a show of truth, as Pilate told His enemies. In this defense then there seems more than meets the eye. "He made Himself the promised Messiah, the Son of God; but in this He 'did nothing amiss'; He ate with publicans and sinners, and bade all the weary and heavy laden come and rest under His wing; but in this He 'did nothing amiss': He claimed to be Lord of the Kingdom of God, to shut it at will, but also to open it at pleasure even to such as we are; but in this He 'did nothing amiss!'" Does His next speech imply less than this? Observe: (1) His frank confession and genuine self-condemnation. (2) His astonishment and horror at the very different state of his fellow's mind. (3) His anxiety to bring him to a better mind while yet there was hope. (4) His noble testimony, not only to the innocence of Jesus, but to all that this implied of the rightfulness of His claims.
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
42. said unto Jesus, &c.—Observe here (1) The "kingdom" referred to was one beyond the grave; for it is inconceivable that he should have expected Him to come down from the cross to erect any temporal kingdom. (2) This he calls Christ's own (Thy) kingdom. (3) As such, he sees in Christ the absolute right to dispose of that kingdom to whom He pleased. (4) He does not presume to ask a place in that kingdom, though that is what he means, but with a humility quite affecting, just says, "Lord, remember me when," &c. Yet was there mighty faith in that word. If Christ will but "think upon him" (Ne 5:19), at that august moment when He "cometh into His kingdom," it will do. "Only assure me that then Thou wilt not forget such a wretch as I, that once hung by Thy side, and I am content." Now contrast with this bright act of faith the darkness even of the apostles' minds, who could hardly be got to believe that their Master would die at all, who now were almost despairing of Him, and who when dead had almost buried their hopes in His grave. Consider, too, the man's previous disadvantages and bad life. And then mark how his faith comes out—not in protestations, "Lord, I cannot doubt, I am firmly persuaded that Thou art Lord of a kingdom, that death cannot disannul Thy title nor impede the assumption of it in due time," &c.—but as having no shadow of doubt, and rising above it as a question altogether, he just says, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest," &c. Was ever faith like this exhibited upon earth? It looks as if the brightest crown had been reserved for the Saviour's head at His darkest moment!
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
43. Jesus said, &c.—The dying Redeemer speaks as if He Himself viewed it in this light. It was a "song in the night." It ministered cheer to His spirit in the midnight gloom that now enwrapt it.
Verily I say unto thee—"Since thou speakest as to the king, with kingly authority speak I to thee."
To-day—"Thou art prepared for a long delay before I come into My kingdom, but not a day's delay shall there be for thee; thou shalt not be parted from Me even for a moment, but together we shall go, and with Me, ere this day expire, shalt thou be in Paradise" (future bliss, 2Co 12:4; Re 2:7). Learn (1) How "One is taken and another left"; (2) How easily divine teaching can raise the rudest and worst above the best instructed and most devoted servants of Christ; (3) How presumption and despair on a death hour are equally discountenanced here, the one in the impenitent thief, the other in his penitent fellow.
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
Lu 23:47-56. Signs and Circumstances Following His Death—His Burial.
(See on Mt 27:51-56; Mt 27:62-66; and Joh 19:31-42).
And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.
And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counseller; and he was a good man, and a just:
(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.