christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

luke 23, the trial and crucifixion

Read Luke 23 at Bible Gateway.

This chapter forms a chiastic structure with Luk 22:

Luk 22:1-23:54
1a) Luk 22:1-6, Judas went to the chief priests and elders to betray Him;
1b) Luk 22:7-13, His disciples prepare the Passover;
1c) Luk 22:14-38, Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples;
1d) Luk 22:39-46, Jesus suffers in the garden in agony of soul, shedding His blood;
1e) Luk 22:47-62, Judas betrays Jesus + Peter denies Jesus;
1f) Luk 22:63-71, The men who held Jesus mocked Him + the council: “If You are the Christ, tell us;”
1g) Luk 23:1, The whole multitude of the elders, chief priests, and scribes arose and led Him to Pilate;
central axis) Luk 23:2-25, The trial of Jesus before Pilate;
2g) Luk 23:26-34, The multitude of the people followed Him as they led Him to be crucified;
2f) Luk 23:35-39, The rulers, soldiers, and first thief mocked Jesus + “If You are the Christ, save Yourself;”
2e) Luk 23: 40-43, The second thief defends Jesus;
2d) Luk 23:44, Jesus suffers on the cross in agony of body, shedding His blood, from the sixth to the ninth hour;
2c) Luk 23:45-47, Jesus becomes the Passover Lamb of God at His death on the cross;
2b) Luk 23:48-56, The women who followed Him from Galilee prepare spices and fragrant oils;
2a) Luk 23:50-54, Joseph of Arimethea went to Pilate to receive His body and bury Him.

There are numerous smaller and overlapping chiastic structures within this larger one; for example this is why the 2b and 2a pair is not tidy and neat; there is a smaller structure beginning with Luk 23:48, which has the actions of the women as the bookends, and the action of Joseph of Arimethea as the central axis.

But the central axis of the larger structure is interesting. Luke is the only gospel writer who records that the chief priests and elders vehemently accuse Jesus three times, and Pilate vehemently declares three times, I find no fault in this Man. The overwhelming testimony of the Gentiles, from Pilate to the Roman centurion at His death, from the thief who justly deserved death, from the women who followed Him, and from the uneducated fishermen, even from Herod as he found nothing in Him either, was, This is a righteous Man. While the overwhelming testimony of the chief priests and the elders, was, Crucify Him.

It just seems to me, that those who have found power and comfort in this world’s system, and who have the praise of men, are those who are the most willing to pervert justice and turn a blind eye to the truth, in order to preserve their power, comfort, and praise. So let us guard our hearts with all diligence, knowing this in advance. And if we are of a humble station, let us praise God, because it is the meek who will inherit the earth in that Day.


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