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Luke 23 Reading Guide

Dig In:

Passage: Luke 23

Dig Deeper:

Chapter Summary

  • v1-25 - Jesus is kicked around from one jurisdiction to another like a political football. Leaders wanted to appease the crowd, but at the same time they didn't want the responsibility of convicting and innocent man to death. Luke records some awesome ironies in this passage:

    • Jesus' death will result in true peace between God & man (Romans 5:1), but these kangaroo courts end up bringing peace between Herod & Pilate (v12). So many people are content for a little bit of superficial peace that results from being somewhat near Jesus, but like Herod & Pilate, they reject the ultimate Peace that comes from truly knowing and trusting Christ.

    • Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would "proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners (Is 61:1)," yet at the end of v25, it's the insurrectionist Bar-Abbas (whose name means 'son of man') who is given freedom while Jesus is led away (v26).

  • v26-49 - Notice a few things about the four things Luke records Jesus saying during His crucifixion:

    • 3 out of the 4 sayings have the comfort and well being of those around Jesus as the primary subject. Even as Jesus is in physical and spiritual agony, His concern is for the people He came to save.

    • 2 out of the 4 are direct quotations from scripture. Once again we see how scripture reading, memorization and meditation have been a huge part of Jesus' life which gave Him the strength to persevere until the end.

    • 3 out of the 4 point forward to the forgiveness that's possible because of Christ's sacrifice (v34), the ability for forgiven sinners to live in paradise (v43), and the fact that our Father sovereignly cares for His children, and that nothing can separate us from Him (v46).

  • v50-55 - Jesus' body is taken by a member of the Establishment who had "not consented to their decision and action (v51)." Imagine the guilt he felt at this point for not speaking up more loudly (none of the gospels record his dissent). The women who had been such an integral part of Jesus' ministry saw where He had been laid, but the final irony that Luke records in this chapter is that they set aside their desire to properly bury Jesus in order to meet the righteous requirement of the law (v56), when Jesus had just fulfilled that righteousness on their behalf.

Old Testament Reference -

  • Jesus quotes two Old Testament passages: Hosea 10:8 and Psalm 31:5. Remember to read the verses surrounding each, since Jesus had them in mind even though He didn't quote them directly.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions.

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: This chapter records two prayers which Jesus spoke from the cross to God the Father. What were these two prayers?

  2. Choose one single word to describe each of the characters in this passage. Share your choices using the comment box!

    • Pilate

    • Herod

    • Bar-Abbas

    • Simon of Cyrene (v26)

    • The first criminal

    • The second criminal

    • The centurion

    • Jesus

    • Joseph of Arimathea

    • The women Questions taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father who can always be trusted (v46)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for strength to recognize who Jesus truly is as the centurion did (v47)



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