Luke 23:23

ESV But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.
NIV But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.
NASB But they were insistent, with loud voices, demanding that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
CSB But they kept up the pressure, demanding with loud voices that he be crucified, and their voices won out.
NLT But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed.
KJV And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
NKJV But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.

What does Luke 23:23 mean?

Pilate has tried to free Jesus using everything in his power. Of course, he's not used the simplest solution: his actual authority as governor to make a just decision. Jewish religious leaders and the crowd they have persuaded continue to insist Jesus should be crucified.

Who is the crowd? We don't know. Some say it is the same people who marched and sang praises about the Son of David while Jesus rode a donkey colt into Jerusalem (Luke 19:28–40). While some of them may have turned against Jesus, the current mob is more likely to be an assortment of people from Judea and throughout the Roman Empire who have come for Passover.

The hypocrisy in the crowd's words and actions is stunning. The chief priests, elders, and scribes insisted that Jesus was stirring up the people (Luke 23:5). Yet it is the chief priests who are doing so (Mark 15:11). crucifixion is a punishment meant to maintain order and security. But Jesus is not threatening a riot; the crowd is (Matthew 27:24). And it is not Jesus who is a threat to the Roman occupation of Jewish lands. It's Barabbas, a murderer who led an insurrection in Jerusalem. But the crowd wants Barabbas to be released (Luke 23:18–19).

Taken out of context, Luke's statement could be used to suggest that the crowd's shouts were the sole reason Jesus was crucified. This has led some to say, "the Jews killed Jesus." In truth, Pilate was responsible, too. Roman soldiers were the ones to nail Jesus to the cross. Jesus agreed to lay down His own life (John 10:17–18). God the Father sent God the Son to die for us (John 3:16). And He did so because He loves us and wants us to be redeemed and spend eternity with Him (Romans 6:23). Jesus died on the cross because of the reality of human sin and the love of God. Each of us is culpable, and each is invited to receive the grace of God extended to us that we may have true life in Jesus (John 10:10; Romans 5:5–12; Ephesians 2:1–10).

This verse is also a warning about less dramatic issues. How often do leaders convince us of something that isn't true? When we realize we are wrong, do we mourn the damage we have caused (Luke 23:48)? Or do we ignore the better evidence and go on to the next distraction? When faced with what looks like exactly what we'd like to hear, we would be wise to remember Proverbs 18:17: "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him."
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