The bull of St Luke


The Passion according to Luke: chapter 23

Reading Plan

We could call this the Roman chapter in the Passion story, Pilate being mentioned at the beginning and at the end, verses 1 and 52. However, the chapter divisions made many centuries ago may reflect a division which is more appropriate for St Mark's Gospel: Lk 23,1 = Mk 15,1. This is the result of the traditional style of reading which harmonises the Gospels.

When we had our overview of the whole passion story earlier, we saw how the story as a whole unfolds. Luke tells us of four different hearings of Jesus before various authorities.

We also saw how the various hearings about Jesus began with the new day in 22,66. 23,1 therefore acts as a transition verse from Jewish to Roman hearings. It is not opening a new stage in the story. The conclusion therefore is that we need to read the various hearings together: 22,66-23,25. Altogether the four hearings form the one trial of Jesus.

With that in mind, we can draw up our reading plan for this chapter. This is straightforward. As the new day (22,66) unfolds, the trial ends in verse 25 when Jesus is handed over. Then there is the beginning of another stage in verse 44 where there is a note of the time. The day then ends in verses 54-56 as the sabbath rest begins.

We have three pages therefore for our reading of this chapter:

We can now come to our reading of the trial of Jesus (22,66-23,25).