The Passion Translation
Jesus before Pilate
23 The entire council stood at once and took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. 2 They accused him of false testimony, saying, “This man tells us not to pay our taxes to Caesar. And he proclaims himself to be Christ the King and Messiah. He’s a deceiver of our nation.”
3 Pilate asked Jesus, “Is this true? Are you their king and Messiah?”
Jesus answered, “It is true.”
4 Pilate turned to the high priests and to the gathered crowd and said, “This man has committed no crime. I find nothing wrong with him.”
5 But they yelled and demanded that Pilate do something, saying, “He has stirred up our nation, misleading people from the moment he began teaching in Galilee until he has come here to Jerusalem!”
Jesus before Herod
6–7 When Pilate heard the word Galilee, he asked if Jesus was a Galilean, and when they told him “yes,” Pilate saw a way out of his problem. He knew that Antipas,[a] son of Herod, ruled over Galilee, and he happened to be in Jerusalem at that time, so Pilate sent Jesus to Antipas.
8 When he saw Jesus, he was elated, for he had heard a great deal about his ministry and wanted Jesus to perform a miracle in front of him. 9 Antipas questioned him at length, but Jesus wouldn’t even answer him.
10–11 All the while the high priests and religious leaders stood by, accusing Jesus of wrongdoing, so that Antipas and his soldiers treated him with scorn and mocking. Antipas put an elegant purple robe on Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day, Antipas and Pilate healed their long-standing feud and they became good friends.
Jesus Sentenced to Death
13–14 Pilate gathered together the people, the high priests, and all the religious leaders of the nation.[b] He told them, “You have presented this man to me and charged him with stirring a rebellion among the people. I have examined him here in your presence and have put him on trial. My verdict is that none of your charges against him are true. I find no fault in him.[c] 15–16 Then I sent him to Antipas, son of Herod, who questioned him and found him not guilty. Since he has done nothing deserving of death, I have decided to punish him with a severe flogging and release him.” 17 For it was Pilate’s custom to honor the Jewish holiday by releasing a prisoner.[d]
18 When the crowd heard this, they went wild. Erupting with anger, they cried out, “No! Take this one away and release Barabbas!”[e] 19 For Barabbas had been thrown in prison for robbery[f] and murder.
20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, tried to convince them it was best to let Jesus go, 21 but they screamed out over and over, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”[g]
22 A third time, Pilate asked the crowd, “What evil crime has this man committed that I should have him crucified? I haven’t found one thing that warrants a death sentence! I will have him flogged severely and then release him.”
23 But the people and the high priests, shouting like a mob, screamed out at the top of their lungs, “No! Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Finally their shouts and screams succeeded. 24 Pilate caved in to the crowd and ordered that the will of the people be done. 25 Then he released the guilty murderer Barabbas, as they had insisted, and handed Jesus over to be crucified.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 As the guards led Jesus to be crucified, there was an African man in the crowd named Simon, from Libya.[h] He had just arrived from a rural village to keep the Feast of the Passover. The guards laid Jesus’ cross on Simon’s shoulders[i] and forced him to walk behind Jesus, carrying his cross.
27 Massive crowds gathered to follow Jesus, including a number of women, who were wailing with sorrow over him. 28 Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. You should be weeping for yourselves and your children. 29 The day is coming when it will not be the women with children who are blessed but those who are childless. Then you will say, ‘The barren women are the most fortunate! Those who have never given birth and never nursed a child—they are more fortunate than we, for they will never see their children put to death!’ 30 And the people will cry out for the mountains and hills to fall on top of them to hide them from all that is to come.[j] 31 For if this is what they do to the living Branch, what will they do with the dead ones?”
32 The guards led away two criminals with Jesus, to execute all three at the same time. 33 When they came to the place that is known as The Skull, the guards crucified Jesus, nailing him on the center cross between the two criminals. 34 While they were nailing Jesus to the cross, he prayed over and over,[k] “Father, forgive them,[l] for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
The soldiers, after they crucified him, gambled over his clothing.
35 A great crowd gathered to watch what was happening. The religious leaders sneered at Jesus and mocked him, saying, “Look at this man! What kind of ‘chosen Messiah’ is this? He pretended to save others, but he can’t even save himself!”
36 The soldiers joined in the mockery, offering Jesus a drink of vinegar.[m]
37–38 Over Jesus’ head on the cross was written an inscription in Greek, Latin, and Aramaic:[n] “This man is the king of all the Jews.” And all the soldiers laughed and scoffed at him, saying, “Hey! If you’re the king of Jews, why don’t you save yourself?”
39 One of the criminals hanging on the cross next to Jesus kept ridiculing him, saying, “What kind of Messiah are you? Save yourself and save us from this death!”
40 The criminal hanging on the other cross rebuked the man, saying, “Don’t you fear God? You’re about to die! 41 We deserve to be condemned. We’re just being repaid for what we’ve done. But this man—he’s done nothing wrong!”
42 Then he said, “I beg of you, Jesus, show me grace and take me with you into your everlasting kingdom!”
43 Jesus responded, “I promise you—this very day you will enter paradise with me.”
The Death of the Savior
44 It was now only midday, yet the whole world became dark for three hours as the light of the sun faded away.[o] 45 And suddenly in the temple the thick veil hanging in the Holy Place was ripped in two! 46 Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, I surrender my Spirit into your hands.”[p] And he took his last breath and died.
47 When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and glorified God. Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the righteous one.”[q]
48 The crowds that had gathered to observe this spectacle went back to their homes, overcome with deep sorrow[r] and devastated by what they had witnessed. 49 But standing off at a distance were some who truly knew Jesus, and the women who had followed him all the way from Galilee were keeping vigil.
50–51 There was also a member of the Jewish council named Joseph, from the village of Ramah,[s] a good-hearted, honorable man who was eager for God’s kingdom to appear. He had strongly disagreed with the decision of the council to crucify Jesus.[t] 52 He came before Pilate and asked permission to take the body of Jesus for a proper burial, and Pilate granted his request. 53 So he took the body from the cross, wrapped it in a winding sheet of linen, and placed it in a new, unused tomb chiseled out of solid rock. 54 It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was fast approaching.
55 The women who had been companions of Jesus from the beginning saw all this take place and carefully contemplated how the body was laid in the tomb. 56 Afterward they returned home and prepared fragrant spices and ointments and were planning to anoint his body after the Sabbath was completed, according to the commandments of the law.
- 23:6–7 “Antipas” is a nickname for Herod Antipater, son of Herod the Great. The Greek text reads simply “Herod.”
- 23:13–14 This group of religious leaders was known as the Jewish council of the Sanhedrin.
- 23:13–14 The phrase “I find no fault in him” is found in the Aramaic text.
- 23:17 Although many Greek manuscripts do not have this verse in the text, it is found in the Aramaic text.
- 23:18 There were two men, two sons. Barabbas means “son of a father.” Jesus was the Son of our heavenly Father. One was a son of Adam; the other was the Son of God.
- 23:19 Most Greek manuscripts have “for insurrection.” The Aramaic states “for robbery.”
- 23:21 Crucifixion was the cruelest form of execution, reserved for only the worst of criminals.
- 23:26 Or “from Cyrene,” which is present-day Tripoli, Libya.
- 23:26 By this time Jesus had been severely beaten and flogged, had gone days without sleep, and was carrying a heavy load.
- 23:30 See Hos. 10:8.
- 23:34 Or “he prayed intensely.”
- 23:34 The Greek text implies a repetitive action. He did not pray, “forgive me,” but “forgive them.” As the centurion crushed him to the ground and tied his arms to the crossbeam, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” When the spikes tore through each quivering palm, he prayed again, “Father, forgive them.” And when the soldiers parted his garments and gambled for the seamless robe, again Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Only heaven knows how many times he uttered that prayer. Many reliable Greek manuscripts omit this verse; however, it does fit with the Lukan theology of forgiveness (Luke 6:27–36) and the parallel passage in Acts 7:60.
- 23:36 See Ps. 69:21. It was likely Jesus had had nothing to drink since the night before.
- 23:37–38 Many Greek texts omit the mention of these three languages.
- 23:44 The darkening of the sun indicated that the “day of the Lord” had now come. See Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9.
- 23:46 See Ps. 31:5.
- 23:47 As translated from the Aramaic. The Greek is “innocent man.”
- 23:48 Literally “beating their breasts,” which is a figure of speech for deep sorrow.
- 23:50–51 As translated from the Aramaic. Ramah (formerly Ramathaim Zophim) was the village of Samuel, only a few miles from Jerusalem. The Greek is, “Joseph of Arimathea.”
- 23:50–51 One ancient Syriac manuscript adds here, “This man was one who did not take part with the mind of the devil.”