23:1 Then 1 the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus 2 before Pilate. 3 23:2 They 4 began to accuse 5 him, saying, “We found this man subverting 6 our nation, forbidding 7 us to pay the tribute tax 8 to Caesar 9 and claiming that he himself is Christ, 10 a king.” 23:3 So 11 Pilate asked Jesus, 12 “Are you the king 13 of the Jews?” He replied, “You say so.” 14 23:4 Then 15 Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation 16 against this man.”
1 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
2 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 sn Pilate was the Roman prefect (procurator) in charge of collecting taxes and keeping the peace. His immediate superior was the Roman governor (proconsul) of Syria, although the exact nature of this administrative relationship is unknown. Pilate’s relations with the Jews had been rocky (v. 12). Here he is especially sensitive to them.
4 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
5 sn They began to accuse him. There were three charges: (1) disturbing Jewish peace; (2) fomenting rebellion through advocating not paying taxes (a lie – 20:20-26); and (3) claiming to be a political threat to Rome, by claiming to be a king, an allusion to Jesus’ messianic claims. The second and third charges were a direct challenge to Roman authority. Pilate would be forced to do something about them.
6 tn On the use of the term διαστρέφω (diastrefw) here, see L&N 31.71 and 88.264.
sn Subverting our nation was a summary charge, as Jesus “subverted” the nation by making false claims of a political nature, as the next two detailed charges show.
7 tn Grk “and forbidding.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated to suggest to the English reader that this and the following charge are specifics, while the previous charge was a summary one. See the note on the word “misleading” earlier in this verse.
8 tn This was a “poll tax.” L&N 57.182 states this was “a payment made by the people of one nation to another, with the implication that this is a symbol of submission and dependence – ‘tribute tax.’”
9 tn Or “to the emperor” (“Caesar” is a title for the Roman emperor).
10 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”
sn See the note on Christ in 2:11.
11 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the charges brought in the previous verse.
12 tn Grk “him”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
13 sn “Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate was interested only in the third charge, because of its political implications of sedition against Rome.
14 sn The reply “You say so” is somewhat enigmatic, like Jesus’ earlier reply to the Jewish leadership in 22:70.
15 tn Here δέ (de) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
16 tn Grk “find no cause.”
sn Pilate’s statement “I find no reason for an accusation” is the first of several remarks in Luke 23 that Jesus is innocent or of efforts to release him (vv. 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 22).
17 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of the crowd’s cries prevailing.
18 sn Finally Pilate gave in. He decided crucifying one Galilean teacher was better than facing a riot. Justice lost out in the process, because he did not follow his own verdict.
19 tn Although some translations render ἐπέκρινεν (epekrinen) here as “passed sentence” or “gave his verdict,” the point in context is not that Pilate sentenced Jesus to death here, but that finally, although convinced of Jesus’ innocence, he gave in to the crowd’s incessant demand to crucify an innocent man.