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1 And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him vnto Pilate.

2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow peruerting the nation, and forbidding to giue tribute to Cesar, saying, that he himselfe is Christ a king.

3 And Pilate asked him, saying, Art thou the king of the Iewes? And he answered him, & said, Thou sayest it.

4 Then saide Pilate to the chiefe Priests, and to the people, I finde no fault in this man.

5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth vp the people, teaching thorowout all Iurie, beginning from Galilee to this place.

6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilean.

7 And assoone as he knew that hee belonged vnto Herods iurisdiction, hee sent him to Herode, who himselfe also was at Hierusalem at that time.

8 And when Herode saw Iesus, he was exceeding glad, for hee was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him, and hee hoped to haue seene some miracle done by him.

9 Then he questioned with him in many words, but he answered him nothing.

10 And the chiefe Priests and Scribes stood, and vehemently accused him.

11 And Herod with his men of warre set him at naught, and mocked him, and arayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him againe to Pilate.

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together; for before, they were at enmitie betweene themselues.

13 And Pilate, when hee had called together the chiefe Priests, and the rulers, and the people,

14 Said vnto them, Ye haue brought this man vnto me, as one that peruerteth the people, and behold, I hauing examined him before you, haue found no fault in this man, touching those things whereof ye accuse him.

15 No, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him, and loe, nothing worthy of death is done vnto him.

16 I will therefore chastise him, and release him.

17 For of necessitie hee must release one vnto them at the Feast.

18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release vnto vs Barabbas,

19 Who for a certaine sedition made in the citie, and for murder, was cast in prison.

20 Pilate therefore willing to release Iesus, spake againe to them:

21 But they cried, saying, Crucifie him, crucifie him.

22 And hee said vnto them the third time, Why, what euill hath he done? I haue found no cause of death in him, I will therefore chastise him, & let him goe.

23 And they were instant with loud voyces, requiring that he might be crucified: and the voyces of them, and of the chiefe Priests preuailed.

24 And Pilate gaue sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released vnto them, him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired, but he deliuered Iesus to their will.

26 And as they led him away, they laid hold vpon one Simon a Cyrenian, comming out of the countrey, and on him they laid the crosse, that hee might beare it after Iesus.

27 And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed & lamented him.

28 But Iesus turning vnto them, said, Daughters of Hierusalem, weepe not for me, but weepe for your selues, and for your children.

29 For beholde, the dayes are comming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that neuer bare, and the paps which neuer gaue sucke.

30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountaines, Fall on vs, and to the hils, Couer vs.

31 For if they doe these things in a green tree, what shalbe done in the drie?

32 And there were also two other malefactors led with him, to bee put to death.

33 And when they were come to the place which is called Caluarie, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

34 Then said Iesus, Father, forgiue them, for they know not what they doe: And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

35 And the people stood beholding, & the rulers also with them derided him, saying, Hee saued others, let him saue himselfe, if he be Christ, þe chosen of God.

36 And the souldiers also mocked him, comming to him, and offering him vineger,

37 And saying, If thou be the king of the Iewes, saue thy selfe.

38 And a superscription also was written ouer him in letters of Greeke, and Latin, & Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE IEWES.

39 And one of þe malefactors, which were hanged, railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, saue thy selfe and vs.

40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, Doest not thou feare God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

41 And we indeed iustly; for we receiue the due reward of our deeds, but this man hath done nothing amisse.

42 And he said vnto Iesus, Lord, remember me when thou commest into thy kingdome.

43 And Iesus said vnto him, Uerily, I say vnto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

44 And it was about the sixt houre, and there was a darkenesse ouer all the earth, vntill the ninth houre.

45 And the Sunne was darkened, and the vaile of the temple was rent in the mids.

46 And when Iesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: And hauing said thus, he gaue vp the ghost.

47 Now when the Centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.

49 And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood a farre off, beholding these things.

50 And behold, there was a man named Ioseph, a counseller, and hee was a good man, and a iust.

51 (The same had not consented to the counsell and deede of them) he was of Arimathea, a city of the Iewes (who also himselfe waited for the kingdome of God.)

52 This man went vnto Pilate, and begged the body of Iesus.

53 And he tooke it downe, and wrapped it in linnen, and layd it in a Sepulchre that was hewen in stone, wherein neuer man before was layd.

54 And that day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the Sepulchre, and how his body was layd.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments, and rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandement.

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Commentary for Luke 23

Christ before Pilate. (1-5) Christ before Herod. (6-12) Barabbas preferred to Christ. (13-25) Christ speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem. (26-31) The crucifixion, The repentant malefactor. (32-43) The death of Christ. (44-49) The burial of Christ. (50-56)1-5 Pilate well understood the difference between armed forces and our Lord's followers. But instead of being softened by Pilate's declaration of his innocence, and considering whether they were not bringing the guilt of innocent blood upon themselves, the Jews were the more angry. The Lord brings his designs to a glorious end, even by means of those who follow the devices of their own hearts. Thus all parties joined, so as to prove the innocence of Jesus, who was the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

6-12 Herod had heard many things of Jesus in Galilee, and out of curiosity longed to see him. The poorest beggar that asked a miracle for the relief of his necessity, was never denied; but this proud prince, who asked for a miracle only to gratify his curiosity, is refused. He might have seen Christ and his wondrous works in Galilee, and would not, therefore it is justly said, Now he would see them, and shall not. Herod sent Christ again to Pilate: the friendships of wicked men are often formed by union in wickedness. They agree in little, except in enmity to God, and contempt of Christ.

13-25 The fear of man brings many into this snare, that they will do an unjust thing, against their consciences, rather than get into trouble. Pilate declares Jesus innocent, and has a mind to release him; yet, to please the people, he would punish him as an evil-doer. If no fault be found in him, why chastise him? Pilate yielded at length; he had not courage to go against so strong a stream. He delivered Jesus to their will, to be crucified.

26-31 We have here the blessed Jesus, the Lamb of God, led as a lamb to the slaughter, to the sacrifice. Though many reproached and reviled him, yet some pitied him. But the death of Christ was his victory and triumph over his enemies: it was our deliverance, the purchase of eternal life for us. Therefore weep not for him, but let us weep for our own sins, and the sins of our children, which caused his death; and weep for fear of the miseries we shall bring upon ourselves, if we slight his love, and reject his grace. If God delivered him up to such sufferings as these, because he was made a sacrifice for sin, what will he do with sinners themselves, who make themselves a dry tree, a corrupt and wicked generation, and good for nothing! The bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus should make us stand in awe of the justice of God. The best saints, compared with Christ, are dry trees; if he suffer, why may not they expect to suffer? And what then shall the damnation of sinners be! Even the sufferings of Christ preach terror to obstinate transgressors.

32-43 As soon as Christ was fastened to the cross, he prayed for those who crucified him. The great thing he died to purchase and procure for us, is the forgiveness of sin. This he prays for. Jesus was crucified between two thieves; in them were shown the different effects the cross of Christ would have upon the children of men in the preaching the gospel. One malefactor was hardened to the last. No troubles of themselves will change a wicked heart. The other was softened at the last: he was snatched as a brand out of the burning, and made a monument of Divine mercy. This gives no encouragement to any to put off repentance to their death-beds, or to hope that they shall then find mercy. It is certain that true repentance is never too late; but it is as certain that late repentance is seldom true. None can be sure they shall have time to repent at death, but every man may be sure he cannot have the advantages this penitent thief had. We shall see the case to be singular, if we observe the uncommon effects of God's grace upon this man. He reproved the other for railing on Christ. He owned that he deserved what was done to him. He believed Jesus to have suffered wrongfully. Observe his faith in this prayer. Christ was in the depth of disgrace, suffering as a deceiver, and not delivered by his Father. He made this profession before the wonders were displayed which put honour on Christ's sufferings, and startled the centurion. He believed in a life to come, and desired to be happy in that life; not like the other thief, to be only saved from the cross. Observe his humility in this prayer. All his request is, Lord, remember me; quite referring it to Jesus in what way to remember him. Thus he was humbled in true repentance, and he brought forth all the fruits for repentance his circumstances would admit. Christ upon the cross, is gracious like Christ upon the throne. Though he was in the greatest struggle and agony, yet he had pity for a poor penitent. By this act of grace we are to understand that Jesus Christ died to open the kingdom of heaven to all penitent, obedient believers. It is a single instance in Scripture; it should teach us to despair of none, and that none should despair of themselves; but lest it should be abused, it is contrasted with the awful state of the other thief, who died hardened in unbelief, though a crucified Saviour was so near him. Be sure that in general men die as they live.

44-49 We have here the death of Christ magnified by the wonders that attended it, and his death explained by the words with which he breathed out his soul. He was willing to offer himself. Let us seek to glorify God by true repentance and conversion; by protesting against those who crucify the Saviour; by a sober, righteous, and godly life; and by employing our talents in the service of Him who died for us and rose again.

50-56 Many, though they do not make any show in outward profession, yet, like Joseph of Arimathea, will be far more ready to do real service, when there is occasion, than others who make a greater noise. Christ was buried in haste, because the sabbath drew on. Weeping must not hinder sowing. Though they were in tears for the death of their Lord, yet they must prepare to keep holy the sabbath. When the sabbath draws on, there must be preparation. Our worldly affairs must be so ordered, that they may not hinder us from our sabbath work; and our holy affections so stirred up, that they may carry us on in it. In whatever business we engage, or however our hearts may be affected, let us never fail to get ready for, and to keep holy, the day of sacred rest, which is the Lord's day.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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