Pilate 23 1Then they all took Jesus to Pilate 2and began to bring up charges against him. They said, “We found this man undermining our law and order, forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, setting himself up as Messiah–King.” 3Pilate asked him, “Is this true that you’re ‘King of the Jews’?” “Those are your words, not mine,” Jesus replied. 4Pilate told the high priests and the accompanying crowd, “I find nothing wrong here. He seems harmless enough to me.” 5But they were vehement. “He’s stirring up unrest among the people with his teaching, disturbing the peace everywhere, starting in Galilee and now all through Judea. He’s a dangerous man, endangering the peace.” 6When Pilate heard that, he asked, “So, he’s a Galilean?” 7Realizing that he properly came under Herod’s jurisdiction, he passed the buck to Herod, who just happened to be in Jerusalem for a few days. 8Herod was delighted when Jesus showed up. He had wanted for a long time to see him, he’d heard so much about him. He hoped to see him do something spectacular. 9He peppered him with questions. Jesus didn’t answer—not one word. 10But the high priests and religion scholars were right there, saying their piece, strident and shrill in their accusations. 11Mightily offended, Herod turned on Jesus. His soldiers joined in, taunting and jeering. Then they dressed him up in an elaborate king costume and sent him back to Pilate. 12That day Herod and Pilate became thick as thieves. Always before they had kept their distance. 13Then Pilate called in the high priests, rulers, and the others 14and said, “You brought this man to me as a disturber of the peace. I examined him in front of all of you and found there was nothing to your charge. 15And neither did Herod, for he has sent him back here with a clean bill of health. It’s clear that he’s done nothing wrong, let alone anything deserving death. 16I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.”17 18At that, the crowd went wild: “Kill him! Give us Barabbas!” 19(Barabbas had been thrown in prison for starting a riot in the city and for murder.)20Pilate still wanted to let Jesus go, and so spoke out again. 21But they kept shouting back, “Crucify! Crucify him!” 22He tried a third time. “But for what crime? I’ve found nothing in him deserving death. I’m going to warn him to watch his step and let him go.” 23But they kept at it, a shouting mob, demanding that he be crucified. And finally they shouted him down. 24Pilate caved in and gave them what they wanted. 25He released the man thrown in prison for rioting and murder, and gave them Jesus to do whatever they wanted. Skull Hill 26As they led him off, they made Simon, a man from Cyrene who happened to be coming in from the countryside, carry the cross behind Jesus. 27A huge crowd of people followed, along with women weeping and carrying on. 28At one point Jesus turned to the women and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves and for your children. 29The time is coming when they’ll say, ‘Lucky the women who never conceived! Lucky the wombs that never gave birth! Lucky the breasts that never gave milk!’ 30Then they’ll start calling to the mountains, ‘Fall down on us!’ calling to the hills, ‘Cover us up!’ 31If people do these things to a live, green tree, can you imagine what they’ll do with deadwood?” 32Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. 33When they got to the place called Skull Hill, they crucified him, along with the criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. 34Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.” Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. 35The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!” 36The soldiers also came up and poked fun at him, making a game of it. They toasted him with sour wine: 37“So you’re King of the Jews! Save yourself!” 38Printed over him was a sign: this is the king of the jews. 39One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” 40But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. 41We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” 43He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.” 44By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—45a total blackout. The Temple curtain split right down the middle. 46Jesus called loudly, “Father, I place my life in your hands!” Then he breathed his last. 47When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God: “This man was innocent! A good man, and innocent!” 48All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened, were overcome with grief and headed home. 49Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil. 50There was a man by the name of Joseph, a member of the Jewish High Council, a man of good heart and good character. 51He had not gone along with the plans and actions of the council. His hometown was the Jewish village of Arimathea. 52He lived in alert expectation of the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53Taking him down, he wrapped him in a linen shroud and placed him in a tomb chiseled into the rock, a tomb never yet used. 54It was the day before Sabbath, the Sabbath just about to begin. 55The women who had been companions of Jesus from Galilee followed along. They saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. 56Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About