Contemporary English Version
Pilate Questions Jesus
23 Everyone in the council got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. 2 They started accusing him and said, “We caught this man trying to get our people to riot and to stop paying taxes to the Emperor. He also claims that he is the Messiah, our king.”
3 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Those are your words,” Jesus answered.
4 Pilate told the chief priests and the crowd, “I don’t find him guilty of anything.”
5 But they all kept on saying, “He has been teaching and causing trouble all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has now come all the way here.”
Jesus Is Brought before Herod
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked, “Is this man from Galilee?” 7 After Pilate learned that Jesus came from the region ruled by Herod,[a] he sent him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time.
8 For a long time Herod had wanted to see Jesus and was very happy because he finally had this chance. He had heard many things about Jesus and hoped to see him work a miracle.
9 Herod asked him a lot of questions, but Jesus did not answer. 10 Then the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses stood up and accused him of all kinds of bad things.
11 Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus and insulted him. They put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12 That same day Herod and Pilate became friends, even though they had been enemies before this.
The Death Sentence
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people. 14 He told them, “You brought Jesus to me and said he was a troublemaker. But I have questioned him here in front of you, and I have not found him guilty of anything that you say he has done. 15 Herod didn’t find him guilty either and sent him back. This man doesn’t deserve to be put to death! 16-17 I will just have him beaten with a whip and set free.”[b]
18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Kill Jesus! Give us Barabbas!” 19 Now Barabbas was in jail because he had started a riot in the city and had murdered someone.
20 Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he spoke again to the crowds. 21 But they kept shouting, “Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross!”
22 Pilate spoke to them a third time, “But what crime has he done? I have not found him guilty of anything for which he should be put to death. I will have him beaten with a whip and set free.”
23 The people kept on shouting as loud as they could for Jesus to be put to death. 24 Finally, Pilate gave in. 25 He freed the man who was in jail for rioting and murder, because he was the one the crowd wanted to be set free. Then Pilate handed Jesus over for them to do what they wanted with him.
Jesus Is Nailed to a Cross
26 As Jesus was being led away, some soldiers grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Simon. He was coming in from the fields, but they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
27 A large crowd was following Jesus, and in the crowd a lot of women were crying and weeping for him. 28 Jesus turned to the women and said:
Women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me! Cry for yourselves and for your children. 29 Someday people will say, “Women who never had children are really fortunate!” 30 At that time everyone will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” They will say to the hills, “Hide us!” 31 If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry?[c]
32 Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. 33 When the soldiers came to the place called “The Skull,”[d] they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus.
34-35 Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing.”[e]
While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, “He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God’s chosen Messiah!”
36 The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine. 37 They said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”
38 Above him was a sign that said, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us!”
40 But the other criminal told the first one off, “Don’t you fear God? Aren’t you getting the same punishment as this man? 41 We got what was coming to us, but he didn’t do anything wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into power!”
43 Jesus replied, “I promise that today you will be with me in paradise.”[f]
The Death of Jesus
44 Around noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45 The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple[g] split down the middle. 46 Jesus shouted, “Father, I put myself in your hands!” Then he died.
47 When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Jesus must really have been a good man!”
48 A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. 49 All of Jesus' close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched.
Jesus Is Buried
50-51 There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God’s kingdom to come. He was also a member of the council, but he did not agree with what they had decided.
52 Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 53 He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. 54 It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin.[h]
55 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus' body was placed in the tomb. 56 Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands.
Jesus Is Alive
24 Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared. 2 When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, 3 they went in. But they did not find the body of the Lord[i] Jesus, 4 and they did not know what to think.
Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were afraid and bowed to the ground. But the men said, “Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive? 6 Jesus isn’t here! He has been raised from death. Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 7 ’The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross. But three days later he will rise to life.’ “ 8 Then they remembered what Jesus had said.
9-10 Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women were the ones who had gone to the tomb. When they returned, they told the eleven apostles and the others what had happened. 11 The apostles thought it was all nonsense, and they would not believe.
12 But Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he returned, wondering what had happened.[j]
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
13 That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, 15 Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. 16 But they did not know who he was.
17 Jesus asked them, “What were you talking about as you walked along?”
The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. 18 Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, “Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn’t know what was happening there these last few days?”
19 “What do you mean?” Jesus asked.
Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. 20 Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. 21 We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.
22 Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, 23 but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24 Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn’t see Jesus either.
25 Then Jesus asked the two disciples, “Why can’t you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? 26 Didn’t you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?” 27 Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.[k]
28 When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. 29 They begged him, “Stay with us! It’s already late, and the sun is going down.” So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.
30 After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. 31 At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. 32 They said to each other, “When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn’t it warm our hearts?” 33 So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.
The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. 34 And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. 35 Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread.
What Jesus' Followers Must Do
36 While Jesus' disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37 They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.
38 But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39 Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, “Do you have something to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 He took it and ate it as they watched.
44 Jesus said to them, “While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms[l] had to happen.”
45 Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them:
The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47 They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48 you must tell everything that has happened. 49 I will send you the one my Father has promised,[m] but you must stay in the city until you are given power from heaven.
Jesus Returns to Heaven
50 Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. 51 As he was doing this, he left and was taken up to heaven.[n] 52 After his disciples had worshiped him,[o] they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. 53 They spent their time in the temple, praising God.
- 23.7 Herod: Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.
- 23.16,17 set free: Some manuscripts add, “Pilate said this, because at every Passover he was supposed to set one prisoner free for the Jewish people.”
- 23.31 If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry: This saying probably means, “If this can happen to an innocent person, what do you think will happen to one who is guilty?”
- 23.33 “The Skull” : The place was probably given this name because it was near a large rock in the shape of a human skull.
- 23.34,35 Jesus said, “Father, forgive these people! They don’t know what they’re doing.” : These words are not in some manuscripts.
- 23.43 paradise: In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, this word is used for the Garden of Eden. In New Testament times it was sometimes used for the place where God’s people are happy and at rest, as they wait for the final judgment.
- 23.45 curtain in the temple: There were two curtains in the temple. One was at the entrance, and the other separated the holy place from the most holy place that the Jewish people thought of as God’s home on earth. The second curtain is probably the one which is meant.
- 23.54 the Sabbath was about to begin: The Sabbath begins at sunset on Friday.
- 24.3 the Lord: These words are not in some manuscripts.
- 24.12 what had happened: Verse 12 is not in some manuscripts.
- 24.27 the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets: See the note at 16.16.
- 24.44 Psalms: The Jewish Scriptures were made up of three parts: (1) the Law of Moses, (2) the Books of the Prophets, (3) and the Writings, which included the Psalms. Sometimes the Scriptures were just called the Law or the Law (of Moses) and the Books of the Prophets.
- 24.49 the one my Father has promised: Jesus means the Holy Spirit.
- 24.51 and was taken up to heaven: These words are not in some manuscripts.
- 24.52 After his disciples had worshiped him: These words are not in some manuscripts.