Luke 22:47-23:25 — Betrayal, Denial & Trial

47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? 53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”

54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. 64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” 65 And they said many other insulting things to him.

66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. 67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.”

Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68 and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”

He replied, “You say that I am.”

71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

1 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”

3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“You have said so,” Jesus replied.

4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”

6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.

13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death.

16-17 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18 With one voice they cried out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.


Points of Interest:

  • (v.52) “touched the man’s ear and healed him”—Jesus shows that he really is a child of God. He shows mercy even to the people who are trying to kill Him. (see Luke 6:35-36)
  • (v.54) “Peter followed at a distance”—Peter has just sworn that he will follow Jesus to prison and death. In the book of Acts, Peter does indeed follow Jesus to prison (Acts 4:3, for example); and church tradition tells us that he eventually follows Jesus to execution, perhaps even on a cross. Right now, though, the best he can muster is following at a distance—and he doesn’t even sustain that for very long.
  • (v.64) “Prophesy! Who hit you?”—they think they’re being clever, but they’re actually in the middle of fulfilling prophecies he has already given: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law” (9:22); and, “They will mock him, insult him, and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him” (18:32-33).
  • (v.69) “the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God”—Jesus is referring again to the Messianic prophecy from Daniel 7:13-14. It’s a concise, poetic way of saying, “Yes, I am the Messiah. Now that I’ve told you, you will kill me; but killing me will only end up leading to my exaltation and the establishment of my kingdom.” They might not catch all of it, but they understand enough to respond, “So, you’re saying you’re the Son of God, then?”
  • (v.1) “led him off to Pilate”—Pilate is the Roman governor. The council needs his approval to apply the death sentence.
  • (v.4) “I find no basis for a charge”—upon further examination, Pilate determines that Jesus is not a significant political threat. Luke is stressing the lack of legitimate charges against Jesus to clearly establish that Jesus is not a common criminal. For Luke’s readers, it would be quite scandalous that Jesus was crucified; it’s a form of death reserved for the lowest of the low.
  • (v.7) “he sent him to Herod”—Herod is probably in town for the feast. As a Galilean, Jesus is technically Herod’s citizen. But since the charges have to do with actions in Judea, Pilate has the right to try Jesus (IVP Bible Background Commentary 253); he’s just trying to pass off a difficult case.


Taking it home:

  • For you: Do you feel as if you’ve failed God in some significant way? Ask God for forgiveness. If Jesus’ treatment of Peter is any indication, He’s more than willing to give you another chance. God is rooting for you to succeed.
  • For your Six: Jesus healed the ear of one of the people who came to arrest him and kill him. Particularly if any of your Six have been hostile to Jesus; pray that He would draw them to Himself by showing them kindness in a way that they know is from Him.
  • For our church/ILTJ: Jesus chooses not to engage in arguments with His accusers. He seems to draw strength from the fact that He has nothing to hide. Pray that our church would be a place free from destructive secrets. Pray that we would not respond defensively to anyone falsely accusing us but be given Holy Spirit grace and peace in every situation.


Family/Household Option:

  • To Talk About: One of Jesus’ disciples cut off another man’s ear with his sword when they came to the garden to arrest Jesus. Jesus picked up the ear and put it back on the man’s head. This story always blows my mind. 1. Sometimes followers of Jesus mess up and do things they think are right, but they aren’t. 2. This man’s ear was cut off and then put back on! In spite of being eye-witnesses to such a miraculous healing, they arrested Him anyway? What a mess!
  • To Do: Put your hand over your right ear. Just close your eyes and imagine what it would have been like to be the man who experienced such a horrible and then beautiful thing happen to him. What do you think this man told his family about Jesus when He got home that night? Jesus always did right thing even in the hardest of times. Has there been a time when you had to do something hard but it was the right thing to do? Ask God to help you be a person who loves God and Others and does the right thing even when it’s a hard thing to do.