Luke 23


Luke 23:1-56


A little background--We learned at the end of chapter 22 that the high priests and Elders asked Jesus if he was the Son of God, to which Jesus replied, "You say that I am." Because of this statement, they determined that there was no more evidence of blasphemy they needed to bring him before Pilate to have him Killed. So when Pilate asks Jesus in Chapter 23 if he is “King of the Jews” Jesus says, "You have said so." Jesus uses other peoples' words to show himself to them. Pilate doesn't want to deal with it, and take the blame for innocent bloodshed, so he sends him to Herod--the local king of the Galilee region.
If we pay close attention, we see that throughout this chapter Jesus turns everything upside-down; those in high position are made low, and Jesus lifts up those who are lowly. It is interesting that way back in Luke 9:7-9 Herod “had heard about all (Jesus’) miracles” & had been wondering who this “Jesus” was and “was trying to see him”… but couldn’t. The King of the region, could not get an appointment with Jesus, but hungry crowds and “nobodies” could. Clearly, Herod did not want to see him for salvation, but because he wanted “a show". Then when Jesus didn't give him a show, he made his own show out of him by ridiculing him & dressing him up (v. 11) and sending him back to Pilate. Interestingly, through this act of humiliation, Pilate & Herod became friends. In verses12-25, even in his trial & death, Jesus makes the lowly more powerful than the governor and the King of the land. Both Pilate & Herod are pressured into making decisions they don't want to make. In the end, they are powerless. The whole chapter is filled with irony: governors and kings are lead by their subjects,a convicted insurrectionist and murderer is let go free (vs.18-21), a strong carpenter is too weak to carry his own wood (v.26),and what is meant to be a joke and a banner of ridicule--"King of the Jews" over Jesus’ head, is fully true! The final Irony—The King of Kings and Lord of Lord--the very Savior of the World is rejected by the VERY ones He came to Save!!


No wonder we are suffering in this life...we are becoming more like Jesus in the fellowship of His suffering. We can take heart, and know we are in good company as Jesus has said, “If the world hates you,keep in mind that it hated me first. The apostle Paul states, “For when I am weak, then I am strong in 1 Corinthian 12:10. And in Romans 5:3-4 Paul tells us we should “glory in our sufferings,because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope. That hope is what I need to lean on when I am feeling beaten, or sad, or tired…the Hope that does not disappoint.


God thank you for this study even though I had NO time for it. Thank you for how you encouraged--are encouraging me today in it. It seems so weird that just knowing how you suffered encourages me. I feel like a weight is beginning to lift. I feel hope this morning because I spent time with you. Thank you God, my Savior. I love you.

6 comments (Add your own)

1. Dan McClure wrote:
Such great observations and application Karen, thank you. I love how Jesus lifts the lowly.

Mon, February 2, 2015 @ 1:08 PM

2. Stephanie Ramirez wrote:
Thank you for what you shared Karen. I have felt a lot of pain and sadness lately in my life so knowing how Jesus suffered makes me sad but also reminds me that He truly understands, that is encouraging to me.
I have to say that in God's amazing ways, He brought me to this blog yesterday. I probably should be aware of it but I wasn't. I have a hard time studying the bible on my own, so this blog is such a blessing, and definitely something I need right now... Tim reminded me of that in his teaching last Sunday.

Tue, February 3, 2015 @ 7:30 AM

3. Phil Payne wrote:
Luke 23: THEME: Who will stand with me?

There are several interwoven themes in this rich chapter.
(A) To the Skeptics: The confrontation with Jesus exposed the corrupt hearts of The Jewish leaders, Pilate and Herod.
The Jewish leaders descent into moral depravity is rapid. First, they narrowly use a standard of the law to justify execution of Jesus, who is the Truth of God. Having chosen to condemn the Truth, they next boldly lie to Pilate – saying Jesus had forbidden payment of taxes to Caesar. (Lk 23:2). Finally, they reject all moral authority by embracing a murderer and anarchist (“Barabbas”).

APPLICATION: Have I rejected any of God’s truth, as revealed by the Spirit or scripture, when that truth called for my repentance? Has such rebellion hardened by heart or blinded my understanding? Have I entered a slippery slope leading to greater sin?

Pilate does what is expedient to preserve the peace as he forsakes his own standard of office by knowingly condemning the innocent and releasing a violent traitor who had led a revolt against Rome.

APPLICATION: Do I compromise Christian truth by adjusting my words or behavior to “get along” with family / friends / coworkers who have rejected Jesus or Biblical values?

To Herod, Jesus was another magician, a curiosity , or perhaps someone with whom to discuss theology. He had no interest in Jesus the Christ, or Jesus the man. Jesus recognized Herod’s heart and remained silent.

APPLICATION: Do I demand that Jesus prove His love for me through circumstantial favors? Do I love him only because of the blessings I get? Am I more interested in arguing about Jesus than knowing Jesus?

(B) To the Sincere Inquirer - These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ and have certainty about the faith. (see also Luke 1.4)

1. In the trial before the COUNCIL Jesus identified himself with the “Son of Man”, the Messianic figure seen in Daniel’s vision [ Daniel 7:13. When the council then asks – are you then the the Son of God – he answers “So you say. I AM”. In this statement “I AM”, he answers, “Yes, I am indeed” – and the council promptly rejects this claim, treating the words as blasphemy. His assertion of deity was well understood, Later, when he is mocked at Calvary, the mockers say “Since you claim to be the Christ, save yourself ..” Other prophetic references (Psalm 22, Psalm 69, Isaiah 53) are fulfilled by events described here.

APPLICATION: Have I studied these Hebrew messianic prophecies well enough, perhaps memorized them, so that I can explain how Jesus’ crucifixion fulfilled them?

2. The centurion’s story. He was an officer, the leader of a crew that crucified Jesus. He must have felt very awkward, for this was no ordinary execution. He had heard say Jesus was not guilty of any deed unto death, but ordered the centurion to crucify him nonetheless. . He had led the soldiers and Jesus through the street of Jerusalem and heard Jesus’ brave words to the women – “weep not for me”. He had heard Jesus forgive and promise salvation to the repentant thief who was crucified alongside. He had hear Jesus forgive him, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He stood beneath the the darkened sky , which was no ordinary eclipse; was shaken by the great earthquake (Matt 27:55) and noted that Jesus died very early, as crucifixions went, WHEN he “gave up his spirit”. Then he believed in Him. (Matt 27:55, Luke 23:47).

APPLICATION: Do I recognize that the enemies of our faith may themselves have tremendous moral/ spiritual conflict and be ripe for salvation?

(C) To the Church: I stand with you, will you stand with me?

1. The suffering of Christ was sustained by prior commitment of himself to the Father at Gethsemane. He knew the father’s plan was for his crucifixion, so he did nothing to resist that. “When He was reviled, He did not revile in return when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly.” ( 1 Peter 3:21-23)

2. Jesus has already suffered in ways that are similar to the afflictions in my life – abandoned by friends, beaten, mocked, scourged, unjustly condemned, humiliated, even abandoned by his Parent – so he understands and can sympathize with my suffering. (see Hebrews 4:15-16)

3. The scripture has these eyewitness accounts of trials before the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod because there were people who stood with Jesus and later told the story. We know John (one of the 12) was acquainted with the High Priest (John 18:15), and his account of the trials is more detailed than we find in Luke or Matthew. We also know that Joseph of Arimathea was among the whole council that visited Pilate. It is likely that both of these men were there.

Do I really know – in the depths of my spirit – that Jesus loved me enough to suffer the same kinds of afflictions I have known?

How do I stand with those in the church who today are outcast, punished, imprisoned, or martyred because of their faith in Jesus? Do I pray for their strength to overcome, as Jesus asked the disciples at Gethsemane to pray for His strength to endure the cross? Do I share my resources for those who have lost homes or livelihood because of persecution?

Tue, February 3, 2015 @ 3:22 PM

4. Monique Gardner wrote:
Pilate and Herod found no fault with Jesus but were unwilling to follow their convictions. They wanted favor with men rather than with God.
The people would rather free a murderer than Jesus so Jesus was crucified instead of him and ultimately instead of me.

Application: How often am I afraid to share the good news because I'm afraid my friends or family will mock me? My sins condemned me to death but Jesus took my place and went to the cross.

Tue, February 3, 2015 @ 10:30 PM

5. Rob Schulze wrote:
Karen... thank you for sharing your heart and insight around suffering. It's hard for us in Silicon Valley to grasp that suffering is normative for disciples being disciplined and conformed into our Lord's character. Hmm... disciples disciplined... I've never make the connection to how similar those two words are!

Wed, February 4, 2015 @ 6:03 AM

6. Amy Hernandez wrote:
Thank you Karen and everyone who contributed to the blogs and commented with so many helpful insights, experiences, and prayers. Every single statement truly enriched my study and subsequently how I live my life. Phil, Karen, and all who've commented here have given me a lot to consider and apply to my life.

Something else I learned in this study is that this Herod was the son of Herod the Great (who wanted to kill Jesus as an infant). He also put John the Baptist to death. Though he and his father had killed innocents before, even he could not find reason to sentence Jesus to death (perhaps not wanting the liability, as some have concluded, but still notable that he was so hesitant).

Also, it's been said/preached before that Jesus sent Jesus to death. He knew saying "I Am" (the name of Almighty God) would be the ultimate blasphemy. The council was already breaking its own rules with an unfair trial held at night, and instead of calling them out for injustice, Jesus did what he came to do.

I am sometimes one to want to fight so much for fairness and justice, sometimes for myself if I've been misjudged, but that is not really what the Lord wants me to do. He wants me to seek after and submit to Him first and foremost. It's not about me, but His greater purpose.

Thu, February 5, 2015 @ 11:41 PM

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