What does Luke 23:2 mean?
ESV: And they began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king."
NIV: 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."
NASB: And they began to bring charges against Him, saying, 'We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.'
CSB: They began to accuse him, saying, "We found this man misleading our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is the Messiah, a king."
NLT: They began to state their case: 'This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.'
KJV: And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.
NKJV: And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
Verse Commentary:
The Sanhedrin is bringing Jesus to Pilate. Jesus' popularity with the people is too great and they want Jesus dead. But they don't want to be personally responsible or the people who love Jesus may turn on them (Luke 22:2). Plus, they aren't legally allowed to execute someone (John 18:31). They have spent the night trying to find how they can blame Jesus for capital offenses against both the Mosaic and the Roman laws (John 18:19–24; Mark 14:53–65; Luke 22:66–71).

The charge that Jesus misleads the Jews is a vague introduction to the specific crimes Jesus' accusers say He commits against the Jews and Rome. The wording infers that Jesus' accusers are denouncing what they say Jesus is teaching: that Jews should not give tribute to Caesar and that He is the Christ and King of the Jews.

The charge that Jesus told the Jews they shouldn't pay taxes is absurdly false. Jesus specifically told them that they owe taxes to Caesar and so they should pay them (Luke 20:19–26). Considering the lengths the religious leaders went through to find credible witnesses for credible accusations against Jesus, it's confusing as to why they would claim this now (Mark 14:55–59). It's unlikely Pilate would know the charge is false, but it should catch his attention: as financial administrator of Judea and Samaria, Pilate is responsible for collecting those taxes and sending them to Rome.

The third charge is both true and significant. Jesus does claim to be the Christ (Mark 14:61–62). The Messiah is the Son of David, the King of the Jews (2 Samuel 7:12–16). The religious leaders can word this to claim that Jesus, by claiming to be king, is starting an insurrection against the emperor.
Verse Context:
Luke 23:1–5 records how the Jewish religious leaders take Jesus to Pilate after questioning Him for most of the night (Luke 22:54–71). The Sanhedrin tries to convince Pilate that Jesus is a threat to the empire because He claims to be king. Their accusations include half-truths and outright lies, but Pilate does not find Jesus guilty. When Pilate discovers Jesus is from Galilee, he sends Him to Herod Antipas who happens to be in town for the Passover. Matthew 27:11–14 and Mark 15:1–5 record much of the same information; John 18:28–38 includes a conversation Pilate has with Jesus.
Chapter Summary:
Luke 23 records the remaining trials, death, and burial of Jesus Christ. He is examined by the Roman governor and the local appointed King, neither of whom are interested in passing a death sentence. Local religious leaders incite the crowd, pressuring the governor, Pilate, to authorize crucifixion. Jesus accepts the faith of another condemned man and dies. Joseph of Arimathea asks for Jesus body and buries it in a tomb cut from rock.
Chapter Context:
Luke 23 records Jesus' civil trials, crucifixion, and burial. The members of the Sanhedrin have put Jesus through three trials in their attempt to convince Pilate He's a threat (Luke 22:47–71). Their case is weak, but their political influence is powerful enough to force Pilate's hand. Jesus is executed. Three days after Joseph of Arimathea buries Jesus, Jesus reappears on the road to Emmaus where He explains Messianic prophecies in Jewish Scriptures. After spending time with His followers, Jesus ascends into heaven (Luke 24) and the disciples build the church (Acts).
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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