We are reaching a critical juncture in the Life of Christ. Because Jesus was betrayed by Judas, officials are aware of His whereabouts, and are seeking to take Him in for questioning.
First: Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken – Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before being taken to Annas, the ex-High Priest… It is Friday, long before dawn, the day of Suffering; and this has become, for the Christian, the Day of the cross. It is in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken.
Judas knew of the garden, for He went there often with His Disciples, to which, Judas led the guards to seize in arresting Jesus. This is the betrayal by Judas (with a kiss), to which, Jesus needed no one to defend Him. The men that came with Judas fell to the ground upon meeting Him, but Jesus surrendered unto them, especially hoping that His friends were not harmed. The Disciples tried to fight; however, Jesus told them that if they practiced violence, they would also suffer violence. If Jesus wanted help, He would draw it supernaturally; however, this was not necessary as He was fulfilling Prophecy. The soldiers grabbed a person that followed Jesus, but he escaped. The Disciples fled once a fight broke out.
The Jewish trial comprised three stages:
- The preliminary examination by Annas
- The informal trial by the Sanhedrin, probably before dawn
- The formal trial after dawn
Jesus was taken and bound, being led to Annas first, and then to Caiaphas. Annas was the previous High Priest, and could give Him a preliminary examination, before His trial. Jesus noted that He spoke no evil, for they would have to give proof. Otherwise, why smite? Jesus noted that His teachings were known by many and they did not have any evil. Therefore, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas the High Priest next.
A gambit: It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet at night; however, they considered this an emergency.
Jesus was brought before Caiaphas, where he had called the Sanhedrin together to condemn Jesus immediately. They teased Him, telling Him to prophesy who struck Him in the face (as He was blindfolded during this encounter). Nonetheless, the leaders desired for Jesus to say something of blasphemous intent, so they could condemn Him to death. They were satisfied as Jesus said He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of man—to which, He was about to receive the Glorious Kingdom of God. They suddenly abused Jesus violently and condemned Him to death.
Peter denies Jesus Christ
Discussion of interpretation: At the Court of the High Priest’s residence, Friday, before dawn during the series of the trials, we are seeing the unfolding of Peter’s denial. There is something interesting here… Each of the four Gospels record three denials. But the details differ considerably, as must always be the case where in each narrative a few facts are selected out of many sayings and doings. John gives only the first of the three stages, Luke only the last, Matthew and Mark the second stage fully, and the third is mentioned briefly.
If Peter’s denials ran through all three (Luke says in verse 59 that there was an hour between his second and third denial), then not one of the four Gospels could give each of the denials precisely at the time of its occurrence, and so each Gospel merely throws them together. We attempt here yet another way: We bring them together in one section. There is no difficulty about the substantial fact of the denials, and we must be content with our inability to arrange all the circumstances into a complete program.
The story: Peter was in the courtyard while Jesus was being tested. A servant girl recognized Him as a Disciple, and asked if he had any association, to which he denied. A bit later, another person recognized him and told the people standing near, and again, he denies Christ; however, this time with an oath. About an hour later, some of the bystanders had approached Peter again, wondering if he was sure he wasn’t a follower… Peter denied emphatically. Soon, the cock would crow, signifying that Jesus was correct of what Peter would do. It reminded Peter of his folly, to which, Jesus saw Peter, and Peter was filled with grief and began weeping bitterly.
Jesus is then condemned by the Sanhedrin at the Residence of Caiaphas
It was a long night for Jesus, which included the Passover, the Lord’s Supper, the washing of the Disciples’ feet, the long discussion in the upper room, the walk to Gethsemane and the agonizing prayer time in the garden, the arrest, and then the questioning that contributed to the rough handling of Him at the high priest’s house.
Now that it was a new day, judgment could be passed to Jesus by legal sentence, to which He was made to stand before the Sanhedrin for a brief repeat of the investigation the previous night. The leaders could make a formal charge against Him to present to the Roman authorities, so they had to come up with something to convince the governor what He had done and why He needed execution.
Judas ends it for himself: Judas, the betrayer, “repented himself” and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the Chief Priests and Elders. Judas went out and hanged himself. He returned the thirty pieces of silver, and this was the money used to purchase Potter’s field where Judas was buried.
Jesus appears before Pilate
The process of the Roman Trial:
- The first appearance before the Roman Procurator Pilate
- The appearance before Herod Antipas, the native ruler of Galilee appointed by the Romans
- The final appearance before Pilate
The time here is Friday, early morning. Jesus is taken to Pilate the first time.
The Jewish leaders were attempting a formal charge against Jesus so they could convince the Roman governor of His deserving of execution. Bringing Jesus before Governor Pilate, they had to go to Jerusalem into his Praetorium. The Jewish leaders took Him to Pilate early in the morning to have Him dealt with before festivities started (again, as reviewed earlier to avoid a riot since Jesus was so remarkably influential).
The Jews charged Jesus with blasphemy, as He called Himself the Son of God; however, when they took Jesus to Pilate, they twisted the situation and the charge that not only did He claim to be God, but also to be above Caesar. Suggesting Him to be a political rebel, they tried to lead Him as a messianic uprising as if He would overthrow the Roman’s rule to set up an independent Jewish province. Pilate then attempts to dismiss the case, probably waiving Him as just an annoyance; however, the Jewish leader pressed upon their charges further.
Jesus then explains to Pilate the true picture that His Kingdom was not concerned with political power; therefore, He was not trying to create an uprising. Rather, it was a spiritual kingdom that was based upon truth. Pilate did not understand Jesus; however, he did understand enough to be convinced that Jesus was definitely not a political rebel, and thus, suspected that the Jews handed Him over for judgment because of jealousy of the remarkable following that Jesus created. He decided that Jesus should see Herod.
Now before Herod
Pilate soon learned that Jesus was from Galilee and that since he did not control relations in Galilee, he sent Jesus to the Galilean governor, Herod Antipas, who happened to be in town for the festivities as well. As Jesus came before Herod, He refused to speak to Herod (He was just silent the whole time), and did not attempt to defend Himself against the false accusations of the Jewish authorities; therefore, after mocking Him ridiculously and adorning Him with a gorgeous robe, Herod sent Him back to Pilate. Apparently, through this, Herod and Pilate became friends after having hostility for so long.
Again before Pilate
Herod returns Jesus to Pilate. The time is now Friday toward sunrise. John uses Roman time with the hour starting at 12 midnight and 12 noon, as is done today. However, the Synoptics use Hebrew reckoning, beginning with sunrise (6 am to 7 am being the first hour, etc.). This is apparent from the care with which the Gospels specify particular hours in relation to the crucifixion. Jesus was put on the cross at 9 am (“third hour,” Mark 15:25). Darkness was over the land from noon until 3 pm (“sixth till ninth hour,” Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34; Luke 23:44). Thus, the “sixth hour” mentioned in John 19:14 could not be Hebrew time (noon) but rather 6 am, “when morning was come,” according to Matthew 27:1-2.
The choice was: Free Barabbas or Acquit Jesus
Pilate slowly and reluctantly, and in fear, surrendered to the demand of the Sanhedrin for the crucifixion of Christ. He could not escape full legal and moral responsibility for his cowardly surrender to the Sanhedrin to keep his own office. Both the Pharisees and Sadducees unite in the demand for the Blood of Jesus. It is impossible to make a mere political issue out of it and to lay all the blame on the Sadducees, who feared a revolution. The Pharisees began the attack against Jesus on theological and ecclesiastical grounds. The Sadducees later joined the conspiracy against Christ. Judas was a mere tool of the Sanhedrin, who had his own resentments and grievances to avenge.
The time is Friday, between 6 and 9 am. The Roman soldiers mock Jesus, just as the Sanhedrin had done during the trial at the residence of the High Priest, Caiaphas.
Some soldiers were preparing for the crucifixion, and some in Pilate’s Praetorium were mocking Jesus as “King” and putting old soldiers’ clothes on Him. They adorned Him with a royal (scarlet colored) robe and a crown of thorns. They even hit Him over the head with a stick that was His “sceptre.” After that, they spat in His face and punched Him.
Then they shout at Him:
“HAIL! KING OF THE JEWS!”
Jesus is now prepared for His Crucifixion process, and we will be covering that in the next blog.
What can we learn during this process?
We must keep in mind to not be as the Disciples who fled, but be the people who continually follow Christ, even through troubles. We should be faithful in following Christ, because turning back is a sin (similar to those that put their hand to the plough, but look back are not fit for the Kingdom of heaven/God). Many evil people shut their eyes to the truth, and will not listen to reason, because of the wickedness in their hearts. Let us confess Christ’s Name, even in reproach, because He will confess us before the Father! No matter what we are to endure, as long as we do it for the Glory of God, nothing can stop us, for He will be with us to strengthen us the whole way through.
Wicked men must answer to the consequences of their evil deeds; therefore, it is always best to repent of your sins before you reap the consequences. This reminds us to bring more sinners to Christ so that hell does not have its way with them in death. His People must realize and begin thinking about Kingdom things rather than worldly things, so that we may be prepared and look forward to His Coming Kingdom!
Therefore, in the face of our accusers, as Jesus was in the face of accusers, we must stand firm and allow the Lord to lead us on what to say, what not to say, and how to work out a situation for His Will. Jesus knew He could speak to Pilate, but speaking to Herod was not going to be a good idea, as even though Jesus did not speak to him, he still mocked Jesus. The Lord knows when people will understand and when they will not, and He will lead us on what to say, for we have the Comforter and the Teacher to guide us. Christ did God’s Will so that He may obtain the joy, Glory, and completing of the purchase for us Eternal Life. We must do the same that we do God’s Will so that we may do it for the joy of the reward we will receive for Eternity!