Reading for April 3rd – Luke 23

Shane L. Bishop

The only true accusation against Jesus is found in verse 5. Jesus did indeed stir people up all over Israel!

The Herod described here was one of Herod the Great’s three sons who succeeded him. He ruled Galilee. He is clearly so disappointed that Jesus fails to “perform” for him that he turns on Jesus.

Both Pilate and Herod would have almost certainly been staying at the Jerusalem palace of Herod the Great. The relationship between the Roman governor, Jewish King and High Priest was always tenuous.

The Jewish establishment could not pronounce a death sentence. They were expected to police themselves up to that point. Since the leaders wanted Jesus dead, the Romans were involved….reluctantly.

Any non-citizen under the dominion of the Roman Empire could be impressed into short service by a simple tap of a sword on a civilian shoulder. Jesus was nearly whipped to death and Simon of Cyrene (modern Libya) was called into service to carry the cross. It was a really bad and bloody gig to be called upon in such a way. Simon will never be forgotten because of it.

Jesus is followed to the cross by “multitudes.”

Jesus’ prayer of forgiveness for the people from the cross is most compelling and an example of a truly Christian prayer. Jesus is modeling what he taught in the Lord’s Prayer.

After a Jewish person died, their body was laid in a tomb to control odor as the body slowly decomposed inside its wrapping. Stones at the entrance kept dogs and other animals out that might make a mess of things. Jesus would have been wrapped in strips of cloth (swaddling clothes) as a baby; and in his death. Once decomposed, the skull and bones were placed in a box and the tomb was reused. Jews were not allowed to be around a dead body on the Sabbath. That is why the women waited until Sunday morning.

This model of Herod’s Palace is found at the Jerusalem museum.


Pontius Pilate is a man stuck between a rock and eternity. He recognized that Jesus of Nazareth had done nothing wrong. He certainly recognized that what Jesus was being accused of didn’t deserve the cross. However, Pilate didn’t have the fortitude to stand against the crowds. He didn’t have the fortitude to stand for one innocent man against a mob of angry people. When tough decisions come, will you stand for what’s right? For God, for Christ, and for the Bible?

*Adapted from the Life Application Bible Commentary of Luke