The Judas kiss
A crowd suddenly arrived while Jesus was speaking. Jesus’ disciple Judas was leading them. He knew where Jesus would be because he often met there with his disciples. Judas lead priests, scribes, and elders from the Temple, along with soldiers carrying lanterns, torches, swords and clubs.
Judas had given them a sign, saying “The one I kiss is the one you want to arrest.” Judas immediately went up to
Jesus and said “Teacher!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, are you here to betray me with a kiss? Do what you have come to do.”
Jesus, knowing what was about to happen, said to the crowd “Who are you looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered.
“I am.” Jesus responded.
Judas was standing with the accusers at this point. When Jesus admitted he was the one they were looking for, they all fell to the ground.
Again he asked them “Who are you looking for?”
“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
“I’ve already told you I am. Since you are looking for just me, let these others go.” This fulfilled Jesus’ words when he said “I have not lost a single person that God has given me.”
Then the Temple authorities and soldiers seized him to arrest him.
One of the disciples asked “Lord, should we attack them with their swords?” Without waiting for an answer, Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off the right ear of the high priest’s slave, whose name was Malchus.
Jesus said “No more violence! Put your sword away! Everyone who takes up the sword will die in the same way. Do you not think that I can call on my Father who will immediately provide me with more than a dozen legions of angels? The Scriptures must be fulfilled that say it has to happen this way. I must drink the cup which my Father has given me.”
Jesus then touched the slave’s ear and healed him.
Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said “Have you come with weapons to arrest me like I’m a criminal? I used to teach every day in the Temple – you could have arrested me there. Yet all of this happened so that the words of the prophets would be fulfilled. But this is your time, and a time when darkness reigns.”
Then all of his disciples ran away.
A young man who was following Jesus was there, wearing just a linen cloth. The crowd tried to grab him as he ran away, but he slipped away naked, leaving his cloth behind.
MT 26:47-56, MK 14:43-52, LK 22:47-53, JN 17:1-11
Jesus taken to the high priest
The civil and religious authorities tied Jesus up and led him first to Annas. He was the high priest Caiaphas’ father-in-law. Caiaphas had told the Jews that it would be a good idea if one man should die for everyone.
Jesus was asked there about his followers and what he taught them.
Jesus said “Many people know what I’ve taught, because I have regularly taught in the synagogue and the Temple complex, where all the Jews gather. I’ve not taught anything secretly. Why are you questioning me? Question the people who have listened to me – they know.”
A Temple policeman slapped Jesus after he said this, demanding “Is that the way to speak to the high priest?”
“If I have spoken falsely, then prove it. If not, then why hit me?” Jesus asked.
Then Annas had Jesus tied up and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.
Jesus was taken to see the high priest Caiaphas. The chief priests, elders, and scribes were waiting there. Peter was following not far behind so he could see what happened.
MT 26:57-58, MK 14:53-54, LK 22:54
Jesus faces the Sanhedrin
The chief priests and scribes assembled at daybreak to bring Jesus before the Sanhedrin. They were trying to gather testimony against Jesus so they could sentence him to death, but they had no success. There were many people who brought false testimony against Jesus, but their accounts did not agree.
Two men stood up and testified against him, saying “He said that he could demolish this sanctuary of God which was built with human hands, and build another in three days, not using human hands.”
Then the high priest stood up in front of everyone and asked Jesus “Don’t you have something to say about what these men have testified against you?” But Jesus said nothing.
The high priest demanded “I place you under the oath of God, are you the Messiah?”
Jesus said, “No matter what I tell you, you won’t believe me. If I ask you, you won’t answer.”
Then they asked “Are you the Son of God? Tell us!”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied, adding “and from this point onwards, every one of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power of God, and arriving with the heavenly clouds.”
The high priest tore his robes, saying “We don’t need to hear from any other witnesses, since he spoke this blasphemy to us himself. What is your decision?”
They unanimously decided that he deserved to be put to death. Some of them spit on Jesus’ face. They then blindfolded and beat him, mocking him by saying “Prophesy to us now! Who hit you?” The Temple police slapped him as well.
MT 26:59-68, MK 14:55-65, LK 22:63-71
Peter denies that he knows Jesus
Meanwhile, Peter and another disciple were following Jesus at a distance. The other disciple was acquainted with the high priest, so he followed Jesus all the way into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter stayed outside by the door, standing by himself. The other disciple spoke to the slave girl who was the doorkeeper and he brought Peter into the courtyard.
The slaves and Temple guards lit a charcoal fire in the courtyard below to warm themselves up. Peter was sitting around the fire with them.
When the slave girl who had let him in took at look at him in the firelight, she said “You were with him, that Jesus of Nazareth.”
But Peter denied it, saying “I was not, I don’t know him! I don’t know what you are talking about!” Then he walked closer to the doorway.
A little later, another person saw him and said to those nearby, “He’s one of his disciples!”
“I don’t know him!” Peter exclaimed.
About an hour later, a relative of Malchus, the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said “Weren’t you in the garden with him? Your accent is Galilean, so surely you are one of them.”
Then Peter started to curse and make oaths to swear that what he was saying was true, saying “I don’t even know who you are talking about!”
Right then, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed, and Peter remembered that the Lord had said “Truly, you will deny that you know me three times before the rooster crows this very day!”
He went outside and wept bitterly.
MT 26:69-75, MK 14:66-72, LK 22:55-62, JN 18:15-18 and 18:25-27
Judas hangs himself
Judas was filled with remorse at what he had done when he learned that Jesus had been sentenced to death. He returned the 30 silver pieces to the chief priests and elders.
“I have sinned by betraying an innocent man,” he said.
“So? How does that concern us? That is your problem!” they retorted.
He threw the silver into the Temple sanctuary and left. He hung himself that very hour.
The chief priests gathered up the coins and said “It is against the Law to put this money with the Temple offerings because it is blood money.” After some discussion, they decided to buy a potter’s field to turn it into a burial place for foreigners who died in the city. It is because of this that this cemetery is called “The Field of Blood” even now.
This fulfilled the words of the prophet Jeremiah when he said – “They took the thirty silver pieces, the price the sons of Israel set for Him, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord ordered me.”
Jesus faces Herod
When Pilate heard the people say the word “Galilee,” he asked if Jesus was a Galilean. They said he was, so Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas because that was his jurisdiction and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem then.
Herod was thrilled to see Jesus. He had heard a lot about him and had wanted to see him for a long time. He hoped to see him perform a miracle. He kept asking Jesus questions but he would not answer. The chief priests and scribes stood there, angrily accusing Jesus.
Then Herod and his soldiers began to treat Jesus with contempt by mocking him and dressing him in a purple robe.
Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate that same day. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other from that point – previously they had been enemies.
Jesus faces Pilate
As soon as the sun rose, the chief priests, elders, scribes and the entire Sanhedrin met, plotting to find a way to execute Jesus. They bound him and led him out to hand him over to Pilate, the governor of that area. They did not enter Pilate’s headquarters because they would have become ritually unclean and thus unable to eat the Passover meal.
Pilate came out of his headquarters to speak to them. He asked them “What do you accuse this man of?” They answered “He has been dividing our nation, telling people to not pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he is the Messiah, our king. We wouldn’t have brought him to you if he weren’t a criminal.”
Pilate replied “You should take him back and judge him by your own Law.”
“Our Law doesn’t allow us to sentence anyone to crucifixion,” they replied. In saying this, they fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy as to how he would be killed.
Pilate then went into his headquarters, summoned Jesus, and asked him “Are you their King?”
Jesus answered, “You have said the truth. Are you asking me for yourself if I am the Messiah, or have others said it to you?”
“I’m not Jewish, am I?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and the chief priests brought you to me. What have you done to warrant that?”
“My kingdom is not an earthly one. If it was, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But actually, my kingdom is not of this world.”
“Then you are a king?” Pilate persisted.
“You say that I am.” Jesus answered. “This is why I was born, why I came into this world – to speak the truth.
Everyone who is truthful listens to what I have to say.”
“What does ‘truth’ mean?” asked Pilate.
Pilate then told the Jewish authorities that he found no reason to press charges against Jesus.
The Jewish authorities began to accuse Jesus of many things, saying that he riled people up through his teachings, all throughout Judea, from Galilee to here.
Jesus did not answer their accusations.
Pilate said to Jesus “Don’t you hear all that they are accusing you of? Aren’t you going to say anything?” And Jesus still would not defend himself. Pilate was stunned.
MT 27:1-2 and 11-14, MK 15-1-5, LK 23:1-5, JN 18:28-38a
Jesus or Barabbas
It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was around nine in the morning by this point. While Pilate was presiding over the court, his wife sent him a message saying “Leave that righteous man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night!” Pilate knew that the Jewish authorities had brought Jesus to him because they were jealous of how popular he was with the people.
Pilate called together the Jewish authorities and said “You have brought this man to me saying that he leads people astray. But after examining him, I have found that there’s no evidence to charge him with any crime that you have accused him of. Herod hasn’t found anything either, because he returned him back here. Therefore I will have him flogged to discipline him and then release him to you.”
The chief priests and Temple police shouted “No! Crucify him!”
Pilate replied “Crucify him yourself, because I find no reason to charge him.”
The Jewish religious leaders responded “He has to die because of our Law, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
Pilate was even more afraid when he heard this. He went back inside his headquarters and asked Jesus “Where are you from?” But Jesus did not answer. Pilate said “You won’t answer? Don’t you know I have the power of life and death over you?”
Jesus answered “You have no authority over me at all except that which is given to you from heaven. This is why the greater guilt is upon the One who handed me over to you.” Pilate was even more desperate to release Jesus after hearing this.
There was a custom for the governor to release a prisoner to the Jews during the Passover festival. The chief priests agitated the crowds to demand for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a notorious criminal who had been thrown into prison for taking part in a rebellion and murder.
Pilate wanted to release Jesus, so he brought him outside for the crowds to see. He sat on the judge’s bench in a place called Gabbatha (The Stone Pavement) and asked the crowds “Of the two of them, who do you want me to release to you, the man called Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
“Barabbas!” they shouted, adding “If you release Jesus, you oppose Caesar! He said he was our king! Only Caesar is our king!”
Pilate then asked “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
With one voice they answered “Crucify him!”
Pilate asked “Why? What is his crime? Should I crucify your king?”
But the crowds and the chief priests shouted even louder “Caesar is our king! Take this man away! Crucify him!”
Pilate saw that he wasn’t making any progress with the crowds, and in fact a riot had started. He took a bowl of water and washed his hands before them, saying “I am innocent of any guilt concerning this righteous man. This is your concern now!”
The mob answered “His blood will be upon us and our children forever!”
Pilate yielded to their voices and released Barabbas to them. After having Jesus flogged, he released him to them, to be crucified as they demanded.
MT 27:15-26, MK 15:6-15, LK 23:13-25, JN 18:38b-40 and 19:6-16
Mocked by the military
Then the soldiers led Jesus into the courtyard of Pilate’s headquarters, summoning the entire regiment to join them. They put a royal purple robe on him and made a crown for him by twisting together thorny vines and put it on his head. They placed a reed in his right hand to serve as a scepter. They kept coming up to him and mocking him by kneeling down before him or saluting him and saying “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they took the reed from his hand and began to repeatedly beat him on the head with it. They were also slapping his face and spitting on him. Then they stripped the purple robe off, put his own clothes back on him, and then led him out to be crucified.
MT 27:27-31, MK 15:16-20, JN 19:1-3
On the way to the cross
There was a Cyrenian man named Simon who was coming in from the country. He was the father of Rufus and Alexander. He was passing by as the soldiers were taking Jesus to the crucifixion site. They grabbed him and forced him to carry Jesus’ cross by laying it across him.
MT 27:32, MK 15:21, LK 23:26
There were many women wailing with grief in the large crowd that was following Jesus. He turned to them and said “Don’t weep for me, daughters of Jerusalem. Weep for yourselves and for your children. The days are coming when people will say that those who never bore children are fortunate. They will call out to the mountains, saying ‘Fall on us!’, and begging the hills to bury them. For if they do things like this when the tree is green, what will they do when it is dry?”