(1) THE STORY OF JESUS
Matthew, Mark, Luke, John rearranged by Subject & in Date order
Parts 25-35 bring together all the relevant verses from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - in that order.
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Part 25 - THE LAST SUPPER
(Matthew 26:17-29; Mark 14:12-25; Luke 22:7-30; John 13:1-30; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Matthew 26:17-29 - (Judas has now agreed to betray Jesus.....) On the first day of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus with the question, "Where do you want us to make our preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
"Go into the city," Jesus replied, "to a certain man there and say to him, 'The Master says, "My time is near. I am going to keep the Passover with my disciples at your house (traditionally the Upper Room of the house of Mary, mother of John Mark who later wrote Mark's Gospel)."" The disciples did as Jesus had instructed them and prepared the Passover. Then late in the evening he took his place at table with the twelve and during the meal he said, "I tell you plainly that one of you is going to betray me." They were deeply distressed at this and each began to say to him in turn, "Surely, Lord, I am not the one?" And his answer was, "The man who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the man who will betray me. It is true that the Son of Man will follow the road foretold by the scriptures, but alas for the man through whom he is betrayed! It would be better for that man if had never been born." And Judas, who actually betrayed him, said, "Master, am I the one?"
"As you say!" replied Jesus.
The Body and Blood of Christ - Jesus now institutes the most important, mysterious and holy act of worship of the Christian church - Communion, the Holy Eucharist, Holy Communion, Mass, taking Bread and Wine, the Lord's Supper .... in which the believer in Christ receives his body and blood -
In the middle of the meal Jesus took a loaf and after blessing it he broke it into pieces and gave it to the disciples. "Take and eat this," he said, "it is my body." Then he took a cup and after thanking God, he gave it to them with the words, "Drink this, all of you, for it is my blood, the blood of the new agreement shed to set many free from their sins. I tell you I will drink no more wine until I drink it fresh with you in my Father's kingdom."
Mark 14:12-25 - On the first day of unleavened bread (again, as Judas prepares to betray Jesus), the day when the Passover was sacrificed, Jesus' disciples said, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
Jesus sent off two of them (Peter and John) with these instructions, "Go into the town and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him and say to the owner of the house to which he goes, 'The Master says, where is the room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upstairs room all ready with the furnishings that we need. That is the place where you are to make our preparations."
So the disciples set off and went into the town, found everything as he had told them, and prepared for the Passover.
The last supper together: the mysterious bread and wine
Late in the evening he arrived with the twelve. And while they were sitting there, right in the middle of the meal, Jesus remarked, "Believe me, one of you is going to betray me - someone who is now having his supper with me."
This shocked and distressed them and one after another they began to say to him, "Surely, I'm not the one?"
"It is one of the twelve," Jesus told them, "a man who is dipping his hand into the dish with me. It is true that the Son of Man will follow the road foretold by the scriptures, but alas for the man through whom he is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
And while they were still eating Jesus took a loaf, blessed it and broke it and gave it to them with the words, "Take this, it is my body."
Then he took a cup, and after thanking God, he gave it to them, and they drank from it, and he said to them "This is my blood which is shed for many in the new agreement. I tell you truly I will drink no more wine until the day comes when I drink it fresh in the kingdom of God!"
Luke 22:7-30 - Then (as in Matthew and Mark) the day of unleavened bread arrived, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed and Jesus sent off Peter and John with the words, "Go and make all the preparations for us to eat the Passover."
"Where would you like us to do this?" they asked.
And he replied, "Listen, just as you're going into the city a man carrying a jug of water will meet you. Follow him to the house he is making for. Then say to the owner of the house, 'The Master has this message for you - which is the room where my disciples and I may eat the Passover?' And he will take you upstairs and show you a large room furnished for our needs. Make all the preparations there."
So they went off and found everything exactly as he had told them it would be, and they made the Passover preparations.
Then, when the time came, he took his seat at table with the apostles, and spoke to them, "With all my heart I have longed to eat this Passover with you before the time comes for me to suffer. Believe me, I shall not eat the Passover again until all that it means is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."
Then taking a cup from them he thanked God, and said, "Take this and share it amongst yourselves, for I tell you I shall drink no more wine until the kingdom of God comes."
The mysterious words which were remembered later
Then he took a loaf and after thanking God he broke it and gave it to them, with these words, "This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me."
So too, he gave them a cup after supper with the words, "This cup is the new agreement made in my own blood which is shed for you. Yet the hand of the man who is betraying me lies with mine at this moment on the table. The Son of Man goes on his appointed way: yet alas for the man by whom he is betrayed!"
Jesus again teaches humility
And at this they began to debate among themselves as to which of them would do this thing.
And then a dispute arose among them as to who should be considered the most important.
But Jesus said to them, "Among the heathen it is their kings who lord it over them, and their rulers are given the title of 'benefactors.' But it must not be so with you! Your greatest man must become like a junior and your leader must be a servant. Who is the greater, the man who sits down to dinner or the man who serves him? Obviously, the man who sits down to dinner - yet I am the one who is the servant among you. But you are the men who have stood by me in all that I have gone through, and as surely as my Father has given me my kingdom, so I give you the right to eat and drink at my table in that kingdom. Yes, you will sit on thrones and rule the twelve tribes of Israel!
John 13:1-30 - Before the festival of the Passover began, Jesus realised that the time had come for him to leave this world and return to the Father. He had loved those who were his own in this world and he loved them to the end. By supper-time, the devil had already put the thought of betraying Jesus in the mind of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son. Jesus, with the full knowledge that the Father had put everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from the supper-table, took off his outer clothes, picked up a towel and fastened it round his waist. Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel around his waist.
So he came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, are you going to wash my feet?"
"You do not realise now what I am doing," replied Jesus, "but later on you will understand."
Then Peter said to him, "You must never wash my feet!"
"Unless you let me wash you, Peter," replied Jesus, "you cannot share my lot."
"Then," returned Simon Peter, "please - not just my feet but my hands and my face as well!"
"The man who has bathed," returned Jesus, "only needs to wash his feet to be clean all over. And you are clean - though not all of you."
(For Jesus knew his betrayer and that is why he said, "though not all of you".)
When Jesus had washed their feet and put on his clothes, he sat down and spoke to them, "Do you realise what I have just done to you? You call me 'teacher' and 'Lord' and you are quite right, for I am your teacher and your Lord. But if I, your teacher and Lord, have washed your feet, you must be ready to wash one another's feet. I have given you this as an example so that you may do as I have done. Believe me, the servant is not greater than his master and the messenger is not greater than the man who sent him. Once you have realised these things, you will find your happiness in doing them.
Jesus foretells his betrayal
"I am not speaking about all of you - I know the men I have chosen. But let this scripture be fulfilled - 'He who eats bread with me has lifted up his heal against me'.
From now onwards, I shall tell you about things before they happen, so that when they do happen, you may believe that I am the one I claim to be. I tell you truly that anyone who accepts my messenger will be accepting me, and anyone who accepts me will be accepting the one who sent me."
After Jesus had said this, he was clearly in anguish of soul, and he added solemnly, "I tell you plainly, one of you is going to betray me."
At this the disciples stared at each other, completely mystified as to whom he could mean. And it happened that one of them who Jesus loved (traditionally the apostle John), was sitting very close to him. So Simon Peter nodded to this man and said, "Tell us who he means."
He simply leaned forward on Jesus' shoulder, and asked, "Lord, who is it?"
And Jesus answered, "It is the one I am going to give this piece of bread to, after I have dipped it in the dish."
Then he took a piece of bread, dipped it in the dish and gave it to Simon's son, Judas Iscariot. After he had taken the piece of bread, Satan entered his heart. Then Jesus said to him, "Be quick about your business!"
No one else at table knew what he meant in telling him this. Indeed, some of them thought that, since Judas had charge of the purse, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the festival, or that he should give something to the poor. So Judas took the piece of bread and went out quickly - into the night.
1 Corinthians 11:23-25 - In one of the few direct references to the Gospel story in the rest of the New Testament, the apostle Paul gives a personal account of the instructions for the Lord's Supper given to him by Jesus:
The teaching I (Paul) gave you was given me personally by the Lord himself, and it was this: the Lord Jesus, in the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and said, "Take, eat, this is my body which is being broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." Similarly, when supper was ended, he took the cup saying, "This cup is the new agreement in my blood: do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."
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Part 26 - THE LAST NIGHT CONTINUED AND THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE
(Matthew 26:30-46; Mark 14:26-42; Luke 22:31-46; John 13:31-38; 18:1-2)
Matthew 26:30-46 - Then (after the Last Supper) they sang a hymn together and went out to the Mount of Olives. There Jesus said to them, "Tonight every one of you will lose his faith in me. For the scripture says, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered'. But after I have risen I shall go before you into Galilee!"
At this Peter exclaimed, "Even if everyone should lose his faith in you, I never will!"
"I tell you, Peter," replied Jesus, "that tonight, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times."
"Even if it means dying with you I will never disown you," said Peter. And all the disciples made the same protest.
The prayer in Gethsemane
Then Jesus came with the disciples to a place called Gethsemane and said to them, "Sit down here while I go over there and pray." Then he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to be in terrible distress and misery. "My heart is nearly breaking," he told them, "stay here and keep watch with me." Then he walked on a little way and fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me - yet it must not be what I want, but what you want."
Then he came back to the disciples and found them fast asleep. He spoke to Peter, "Couldn't you three keep awake with me for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak." Then he went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to pass from me without my drinking it, then your will must be done." And he came and found them asleep again, for they could not keep their eyes open. So he left them and went away again and prayed for the third time using the same words as before. Then he came back to his disciples and spoke to them, "Are you still going to sleep and take your ease? In a moment you will see the Son of Man betrayed into the hands of evil men. Wake up, let us be going! Look, here comes my betrayer (Judas Iscariot)!"
Mark 14:26-42 - Then (after the Last Supper) they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
"Every one of you will lose your faith in me," Jesus told them, "As the scripture says: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered'. Yet after I have risen, I shall go before you into Galilee!"
Peter's bold word - and Jesus' reply
Then Peter said to him, "Even if everyone should lose faith, I never will."
Believe me, Peter," returned Jesus, "this very night before the cock crows twice, you will disown me three times."
But Peter protested violently, "Even if it means dying with you, I will never disown you!" And they all made the same protest.
The last desperate prayer in Gethsemane
Then they arrived at a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to the disciples, "Sit down here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be horror-stricken and desperately depressed.
"My heart is nearly breaking," he told them. "Stay here and keep watch for me."
Then he walked forward a little way and flung himself on the ground, praying that, if it were possible, he might not have to face the ordeal.
"Dear Father," he said, "all things are possible to you. Please - let me not have to drink this cup! Yet it is not what I want but what you want."
Then he came and found them fast asleep. He spoke to Peter, "Are you asleep, Simon? Couldn't you manage to watch for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak."
Then he went away again and prayed in the same words, and once more he came and found them asleep. they could not keep their eyes open and they did not know what to say for themselves. When he came back for the third time, he said "Are you still going to sleep and take your ease? All right - the moment has come: now you are going to see the Son of Man betrayed into the hands of evil men! Get up, let us be going! Look, here comes my betrayer!"
Luke 22:31-46 - (As Jesus concludes the Last Supper and teaches about humility, he continues ....) "Oh Simon, Simon, do you know that Satan has asked to have you all to sift like wheat? - but I have prayed for you that you may not lose your faith. Yes, when you have turned back to me, you must strengthen these brothers of yours."
Peter said to him, "Lord, I am ready to go to prison or even to die with you!"
"I tell you, Peter," returned Jesus, "before the cock crows today you will deny three times that you know me!"
Jesus tells his disciples that the crisis has arrived
Then he continued to tell all, "That time when I sent you out without any purse or wallet or shoes - did you find you needed anything?"
"No, not a thing," they replied.
"But now," Jesus continued, "if you have a purse or wallet, take it with you, and if you have no sword, sell your coat and buy one! For I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me - 'And he was numbered with the transgressors'. So comes the end of what they wrote about me."
Then the disciples said, "Lord, look, here are two swords."
And Jesus returned, "That is enough."
- The reference to swords is at odds with Jesus' usual teaching. He may have been referring to the disciples need to be as strong and determined in spiritual battle as the sword-armed soldier is in his earthly fight. "That is enough" should probably read, "that is enough of such talk" -
Then he went out of the city and up on to the Mount of Olives, as he had often done before, with the disciples following him. And when he reached his usual place, he said to them, "Pray that you may not have to face temptation!"
Then he went off by himself, about a stone's throw away, and falling on his knees, prayed in these words - "Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me - but it is not my will, but yours, that must be done."
And an angel from Heaven appeared, strengthening him. He was in agony and prayed even more intensely so that his sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground. Then he got to his feet from his prayer and walking back to his disciples, he found them sleeping through sheer grief.
"Why are you sleeping?" he said to them. "You must get up and go on praying that you may not have to face temptation." (A crowd of people now arrive led by Judas Iscariot.)
John 13:31-38 - When he (Judas Iscariot who had been present during the Last Supper) had gone, Jesus spoke, "Now comes the glory of the Son of Man, and the glory of God in him! If God is glorified through him then God will glorify the Son of Man - and that without delay. Oh, my children, I am with you such a short time! You will look for me and I have to tell you as I told the Jews, 'Where I am going, you cannot follow.' Now I am giving you a new command - love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you must love one another. This is how all men will know that you are my disciples, because you have such love for one another."
Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"
"I am going," replied Jesus, "where you cannot follow now, though you will follow me later."
"Lord, why can't I follow you now? said Peter. "I would lay down my life for you!"
"Would you lay down your life for me?" replied Jesus. "Believe me, you will disown me three times before the cock crows!"
John's account of the Last Supper continues in chapters 14-17 with Jesus speaking about God and the Holy Spirit, union with himself, the future, and praying for his present and future disciples. These chapters are included in 17 under "Followers of Jesus; their relationship with him; and what following Jesus means".
The Last Night concludes in John's Gospel with the first two verses of chapter 18:
John 18:1-2 - When Jesus had spoken these words (chapters 14-17), he went out with his disciples across the Cedron valley to a place where there was a garden, and they went into it together. Judas who betrayed him knew the place, for Jesus often met his disciples there. (Judas Iscariot shortly arrives.)
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Part 27 - JESUS IS BETRAYED AND ARRESTED
(Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-54a; John 18:3-12)
Matthew 26:47-56 - And while the words were still on his lips ("Look, here comes my betrayer!"), Judas, one of the twelve appeared (in the Garden of Gethsemane) with a great crowd armed with swords and staves, sent by the chief priests and Jewish elders. (The traitor himself had given them a sign, "The one I kiss will be the man. Get him!")
Without any hesitation he walked up to Jesus. "Greetings, Master!" he cried and kissed him affectionately. "Judas, my friend," replied Jesus, "why are you here?"
Then the others came up, seized hold of Jesus and held him. Suddenly one of Jesus' disciples (Simon Peter according to John's account) drew his sword, slashed at the High Priest's servant (whose name was Malchus) and cut off his ear. At this Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its proper place. All those who take the sword die by the sword. Do you imagine that I could not appeal to my Father, and he would at once send more than twelve legions of angels to defend me? But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled which say that all this must take place?" And then Jesus spoke to the crowds around him: "So you've come out with your swords and staves to capture me like a bandit, have you? Day after day I sat teaching in the Temple and you never laid a finger on me. But all this is happening as the prophets said it would." And at this point all the disciples deserted him and made their escape.
Mark 14:43-52 - And indeed, while the words ("here comes my betrayer!) were still on his lips, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived with a mob armed with swords and staves, sent by the chief priests and scribes and elders. The betrayer had given them a sign; he had said, "The one I kiss will be the man. Get hold of him and you can take him away without any trouble." So he walked straight up to Jesus, cried, "Master!" and kissed him affectionately. And so they got hold of him and held him. Somebody present drew his sword and struck at the High Priest's servant, slashing off his ear. Then Jesus spoke to them "So you've come out with your swords and staves to capture me like a bandit, have you? Day after day I was with you in the Temple, teaching, and you never laid a finger on me. But the scriptures must be fulfilled."
Then all the disciples deserted him and made their escape. There happened to be a young man among Jesus' followers who wore nothing but a linen shirt. They seized him, but he left the shirt in their hands and took to his heels stark naked (traditionally the young John Mark, author of this Gospel who would vividly remember such a small yet personal detail).
Luke 22:47-54a - While he was still speaking (to his disciples about temptation as he prayed) a crowd of people arrived, led by the man called Judas, one of the twelve. He stepped up to Jesus to kiss him.
"Judas, would you betray the son of Man with a kiss?" said Jesus to him.
And the disciples, seeing what was going to happen, cried, "Lord, shall we use our swords?"
And one of them did slash at the High Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus retorted, "That will do!"
And he touched his ear and healed him. Then he spoke to the chief priests, Temple officers and elders who were there to arrest him, "So you have come out with your swords and staves as if I were a bandit. Day after day I was with you in the Temple and you never laid a finger on me - but this is your hour and the power of darkness is yours!"
Then they arrested him .......
John 18:3-12 - So Judas (knowing the place where Jesus had gone) fetched the guard and the officers which the chief priests and Pharisees had provided for him, and came to the place with torches and lanterns and weapons. Jesus, fully realising all that was going to happen to him, went forward and said to them, "Who are you looking for?"
"Jesus of Nazareth," they answered.
"I am the man," said Jesus. (Judas who was betraying him was standing there with the others.)
When he said to them, "I am the man", they retreated and fell to the ground. So Jesus asked them again, "Who are you looking for?"
And again they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
"I have told you that I am the man," replied Jesus. "If I am the man you are looking for, let these others go." (Thus fulfilling his previous words, "I have not lost one of those whom you gave me.")
At this, Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and slashed at the High Priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.) But Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword back into its sheath. Am I not to drink the cup the Father has given me?"
Then the guard, with their captain and the Jewish officers, took hold of Jesus and tied his hands together .....
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After his arrest Jesus appears before three separate authorities:
(1) Annas still a "chief priest", and the Sanhedrin of which Caiaphas is the High Priest;
(2) Pontius Pilate, Roman procurator of Judea and Samaria; and
(3) Herod Antipas, Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea visiting Jerusalem at that time.
Pontius Pilate actually sentences Jesus to death by crucifixion
Part 28 - JESUS IS TRIED BEFORE THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES; PETER BETRAYS HIM
(Matthew 26:57-27:2; Mark 14:53-15:1; Luke 22:54b-23:1; John 18:13-28)
Matthew 26:57-27:2 - The men (servants of the High Priest, and members of the armed crowd ....) who had seized Jesus took him off to Caiaphas the High Priest in whose house the scribes and elders were assembled. Peter followed him at a safe distance right up to the High Priest's courtyard. Then he went inside and sat down with the servants and waited to see the end.
Meanwhile the chief priests and the whole council did all they could to find false evidence against Jesus to get him condemned to death. They failed completely. Even after a number of perjurers came forward they still failed. In the end two of these stood up and said, "This man said, 'I can pull down the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'"
Then the High Priest rose to his feet and addressed Jesus, "Have you no answer? What about the evidence of these men against you?" But Jesus was silent. Then the High Priest said to him, "I command you by the living God, to tell us on your oath if you are Christ, the Son of God." Jesus said to him, "I am. Yes, and I tell you that in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven."
At this the High Priest tore his robes and cried, "That was blasphemy! Where is the need for further witnesses? Look, you've heard the blasphemy - what's your verdict now?" And they replied, "he deserves to die."
Then they spat in his face and knocked him about, and some slapped him, crying, "Prophesy, you Christ, who was that who hit you?"
Peter disowns his master
All this time Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a maidservant came up to him and said, "Weren't you with Jesus, the man from Galilee?" But he denied it before them all, saying "I don't know what you're talking about." Then when he had gone out into the porch, another maid caught sight of him and said to those who were there, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." And again he denied it with an oath - "I don't know the man"! A few minutes later those who were standing about came up to Peter and said to him, "You certainly are one of them, you know; it's obvious from your accent." At that he began to curse and swear - "I tell you I don't know the man!" Immediately the cock crew, and the words of Jesus came back into Peter's mind - "Before the cock crows you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
(Chapter 27 ....) When the morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people met in council to decide how they could get Jesus executed. Then they marched him off with his hands tied, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
Mark 14:53-15:1 - So they (members of the armed crowd) marched Jesus away to the High Priest in whose presence all the chief priests and elders and scribes had assembled. (Peter followed him at a safe distance, right up to the High Priest's courtyard. There he sat in the firelight with the servants, keeping himself warm.) Meanwhile, the chief priests and the whole council were trying to find some evidence against Jesus which would warrant the death penalty. But they failed completely. There were plenty of people ready to give false testimony against him, but their evidence was contradictory. Then some more perjurers stood up and said, "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this Temple that was built by human hands and in three days I will build another made without human aid.'"
But even so their evidence conflicted. So the High Priest himself got up and took the centre of the floor.
"Have you no answer to make?" he asked Jesus. "What about all this evidence against you?"
But Jesus remained silent and offered no reply. Again the High Priest asked him, "Are you Christ, Son of the blessed one?"
And Jesus said, "I am! Yes, you will all see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, coming in the clouds of heaven."
Then the High Priest tore his robes and cried, "Why do we still need witnesses? You heard the blasphemy; what is your opinion now?"
And their verdict was that he deserved to die. Then some of them began to spit at him. They blindfolded him and then slapped him, saying, "Now prophesy who hit you!"
Even the servants who took him away slapped his face.
Peter, in fear, disowns his master
In the meantime, while Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the High Priest's maids came and saw him warming himself. She looked closely at him, and said, "You were with the Nazarene too - with Jesus!"
But he denied it, saying, "I don't understand. I don't know what you're talking about." And he walked out into the gateway, and a cock crew.
Again the maid who had noticed him began to say to the men standing there, "This man is one of them!"
But he denied it again. A few minutes later the bystanders themselves said to Peter, "You certainly are one of them. Why, you're a Galilean!"
But he started to curse and swear, "I tell you I don't know the man you're talking about!"
Immediately the cock crew for the second time, and back into Peter's mind came the words of Jesus, "Before the cock crows twice, you will disown me three times."
And he broke down and wept.
Jesus before Pilate
(Chapter 15 ....) The moment daylight came the chief priests called together a meeting of elders, scribes and members of the whole council, bound Jesus and took him off and handed him over to Pilate.
Luke 22:54b-23:1 - (After arresting Jesus, the armed crowd and the Temple officers ....) marched him off to the High Priest's house. Peter followed at a distance, and sat down among some people who had lighted a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting round it. A maid-servant saw him sitting there in the firelight, peered into his face, and said "This man was with him too."
But he denied it and said, "I don't know him, girl!"
A few minutes later someone else noticed Peter, and said, "You're one of these men too."
But Peter said, "Man, I am not!".
Then about an hour later someone else insisted, "I am convinced this fellow was with him. Why, he is a Galilean!"
"Man," returned Peter, "I don't know what you're talking about."
And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crew. The Lord turned his head and looked straight at Peter, and into his mind flashed the words that the Lord had said to him ... "You will disown me three times before the cock crows today." And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Then the men who held Jesus made a great game of knocking him about. And they blindfolded him and asked him, "Now prophet, guess who hit you that time!" And that was only the beginning of the way they insulted him.
In the early morning Jesus is formally interrogated
Then when daylight came, the assembly of the elders of the people, which included both chief priests and scribes, met and marched him off to their own council. There they asked him, "If you really are Christ, tell us!"
"If I tell you, you will never believe me, and if I ask you a question, you will not answer me. But from now on the Son of Man will take his seat at the right hand of almighty God."
Then they all said, "So you are the Son of God then?"
"You are right; I am," Jesus told them.
Then they said, "Why do we need to call any more witnesses, for we ourselves have heard this thing from his own lips?"
Jesus is taken before Pilate and Herod
(Chapter 23 ....) Then they rose up in a body and took him off to Pilate .....
John 18:13-28 - .... (the guard) led him (Jesus) off to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year. Caiaphas was the man who advised the Jews, "that it would be a good thing that one man should die for the sake of the people." Behind Jesus followed Simon Peter, and one other disciple who was known personally to the High Priest (most likely the apostle John, author of this Gospel). He went in with Jesus into the High Priest's courtyard, but Peter was left standing at the door outside. So this other disciple, who was acquainted with the High Priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter inside. The young woman at the door remarked to Peter, "Are you one of this man's disciples, too?"
"No, I am not," retorted Peter.
In the courtyard, the servants and officers stood around a charcoal fire which they had made, for it was cold. They were warming themselves, and Peter stood there with them, keeping himself warm.
Meanwhile the High Priest interrogated Jesus about his disciples and about his own teaching.
"I have always spoken quite openly to the world," replied Jesus. "I have always taught in the synagogue or in the Temple where all the Jews meet together, and I have said nothing in secret. Why do you question me? Why not question those who have heard me about what I said to them? Obviously they are the ones who know what I actually said."
As he said this, one of those present, an officer, slapped Jesus with his open hand, remarking, "Is that the way for you to answer the High Priest?"
"If I have said anything wrong," Jesus said to him, "you must give evidence about it, but if what I said was true, why do you strike me?
Then Annas sent him, with his hands still tied, to the High Priest Caiaphas.
In the meantime Simon Peter was still standing, keeping himself warm. Some of them said to him, "Surely you too are one of his disciples, aren't you?"
And he denied it and said, "No, I am not."
Then one of the High Priest's servants, a relation of the man (Malchus) whose ear Peter had cut off, remarked, "Didn't I see you in the garden with him?"
And again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crew.
Jesus is taken before the Roman authority
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas' presence into the (Roman) palace (of Pontius Pilate). It was now early morning and the Jews themselves did not go into the palace, for fear that they would be contaminated and would not be able to eat the Passover.
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Part 29 - JUDAS ISCARIOT COMMITS SUICIDE
(Matthew 27:3-10; Acts 1:18-19)
Matthew 27:3-10 - Then (as Jesus was being handed over to Pilate) Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that he was condemned and in his remorse returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and elders, with the words, "I was wrong - I have betrayed an innocent man to death."
"And what has that got to do with us?" they replied. "That's your affair."
And Judas flung down the silver in the Temple and went outside and hanged himself. But the chief priests picked up the money and said, "It is not legal to put this into the Temple treasury. It is, after all, blood-money." So, after a further consultation, they purchased with it the Potter's Field to be a burial-ground for foreigners, which is why it is called "the Field of Blood" to this day. And so the words of Jeremiah the prophet came true: 'And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord directed them'.
Acts 1:18-19 - (After his crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus ascends to heaven. The disciples meet to choose a successor to Judas Iscariot, and his fate is briefly described by Luke in his Acts of the Apostles ....) This man (Judas) had bought a piece of land with the proceeds of his infamy, but his body swelled up and his intestines burst. This fact became well known to all the residents of Jerusalem so that the piece of land came to be called in their (Aramaic) language Akeldama, which means "the field of blood".
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Part 30 - JESUS BEFORE THE ROMAN PONTIUS PILATE; THE SENTENCE
(Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:2-25; John 18:29-19:16a)
- In Luke's account Jesus is also taken before Herod Antipas, Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea:
Matthew 27:11-26 - Meanwhile (as Judas Iscariot was committing suicide) Jesus stood in front of the governor (Pilate), who asked him, "Well, you - are you the King of the Jews?"
"Yes, I am," replied Jesus.
But while the chief priests and elders were making their accusations, he made no reply at all. So Pilate said to him, "Can you not hear the evidence they're bringing against you?" And to the governor's amazement, Jesus did not answer a single one of their accusations.
Now it was the custom at festival-time for the governor to release any prisoner whom the people chose. And it happened that at this time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas (possibly a Zealot, one of the groups dedicated to the violent overthrow of Roman rule. He was a "Sicarii" or dagger-man arrested for insurrection and murder). So when they assembled to make the usual request, Pilate said to them, "Which one do you want me to set free, Barabbas or Jesus called Christ?" For he knew very well that the latter had been handed over to him through sheer malice. And indeed while he was actually sitting on the Bench his wife sent a message to him - "Don't have anything to do with that man! I went through agonies dreaming about him last night!" But the chief priests and elders persuaded the mob to ask for Barabbas and demand Jesus' execution. Then the governor spoke to them, "Which of these two are you asking me to release?"
"Barabbas!" they cried. "Then what am I to do with Jesus who is called Christ?" asked Pilate.
"Have him crucified!" they all cried. At this Pilate said, "Why, what is his crime?" But their voices rose to a roar, "Have him crucified!" When Pilate realised that nothing more could be done but that there would soon be a riot, he took a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I take no responsibility for the death of this man. You must see to that yourselves."
To this the whole crowd replied, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" Whereupon Pilate released Barabbas for them, but he had Jesus flogged and handed over for crucifixion.
Mark 15:2-15 - (Jesus has been taken to Pilate by the chief priests and members of the Sanhedrin .....) Pilate asked him straight out, "Well, you - are you the king of the Jews?"
"Yes, I am," he replied.
The chief priests brought many accusations. So Pilate questioned him again, "Have you nothing to say? Listen to all their accusations!"
But Jesus made no further answer - to Pilate's astonishment.
Now it was Pilate's custom at festival-time to release a prisoner - anyone they asked for. There was in the prison at the time, with some other rioters who had committed murder in a recent outbreak, a man called Barabbas. The crowd surged forward and began to demand that Pilate should do what he usually did for them. So he spoke to them, "Do you want me to set free the king of the Jews for you?"
For he knew perfectly well that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him through sheer malice. But the chief priests worked upon the crowd to get them to demand Barabbas' release instead. So Pilate addressed them once more, "Then what am I to do with the man whom you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted back, "Crucify him!"
But Pilate replied, "Why, what crime has he committed?"
But their voices rose to a roar, "Crucify him!"
And as Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd, he set Barabbas free for them, and after having Jesus flogged handed him over to be crucified.
Luke 23:2-25 - (Members of the Sanhedrin have taken Jesus before Pilate and .....) began their accusation in these words, "Here is this man whom we found corrupting our people, and telling them that it is wrong to pay taxes to Caesar, claiming that he himself is Christ, a king."
But Pilate addressed his question to Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"
"Yes, I am," he replied.
Then Pilate spoke to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find nothing criminal about this man."
But they pressed their charge, saying, "He's a trouble-maker among the people. He teaches through the whole of Judea, all the way from Galilee to this place."
- Only Lukes Gospel reports that Jesus also appears before Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea:
When Pilate heard this, he enquired whether the man were a Galilean, and when he discovered that he came under Herod's jurisdiction (as tetrarch of Galilee), he passed him on to Herod who happened to be in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was delighted, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time. He had heard a lot about Jesus and was hoping to see him perform a miracle. He questioned him very thoroughly, but Jesus gave him absolutely no reply, though the chief priests and scribes stood there making the most violent accusations. So Herod joined his own soldiers in scoffing and jeering at Jesus. Finally, they dressed him up in a gorgeous cloak, and sent him back to Pilate. On that day Herod and Pilate became firm friends, though previously they had been at daggers drawn.
Pilate declares Jesus' innocence
Then Pilate summoned the chief priests, the officials and the people and addressed them in these words. "You have brought this man to me as a mischief-maker among the people, and I want you to realise that, after examining him in your presence, I have found nothing criminal about him, in spite of all your accusations. And neither has Herod, for he has sent him back to us. Obviously, then, he has done nothing to deserve the death penalty. I propose, therefore, to teach him a sharp lesson and let him go."
But they all yelled as one man, "Take this man away! We want Barabbas set free!" (Barabbas was a man who had been put in prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.) But Pilate wanted to set Jesus free and he called out to them again, but they shouted back at him, "Crucify, crucify him!"
Then he spoke to them, for a third time, "What is his crime, then? I have found nothing in him that deserves execution; I am going to teach him a lesson and let him go."
But they shouted him down, yelling their demand that he should be crucified.
Their shouting won the day, and Pilate pronounced the official decision that their request should be granted. He released the man for whom they asked, the man who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and surrendered Jesus to their demands.
John 18:29-19:16a - (Jesus has been taken to the Roman palace and the Jewish authorities wait outside for religious reasons because of the approaching Passover ......) So Pilate walked out to them and said, "What is the charge that you are bringing against this man?"
"If he were not an evil-doer, we should not have handed him over to you," they replied.
To which Pilate retorted, "Then take him yourselves and judge him according to your law."
"We are not allowed to put a man to death," replied the Jews (thus fulfilling Christ's prophecy of the method of his own death).
So Pilate went back into the Palace and called Jesus to him. "Are you the king of the Jews?" he asked.
"Are you asking this of your own accord," replied Jesus, "or have other people spoken to you about me?"
"Do you think I am a Jew?" replied Pilate. "It's your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What have you done, anyway?"
"My kingdom is not founded in this world - if it were, my servants would have fought to prevent my being handed over to the Jews. But in fact my kingdom is not founded on all this!"
"So you are a king, are you?" returned Pilate.
"Indeed I am a king," Jesus replied; "the reason for my birth and the reason for my coming into the world is to witness to the truth. Every man who loves truth recognises my voice."
To which Pilate retorted, "What is 'truth'?" and went straight out again to the Jews and said: "I find nothing criminal about him at all. But I have an arrangement with you to set one prisoner free at Passover time. Do you wish me then to set free for you the 'king of the Jews'?"
At this, they shouted out again, "No, not this man, but Barabbas!"
Barabbas was a bandit.
Pilate's vain efforts to save Jesus
(Chapter 19 ....) Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged, and the soldiers twisted thorn-twigs into a crown and put it on his head, threw a purple robe around him and kept coming into his presence, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And then they slapped him with their open hands.
Then Pilate went outside again and said to them, "Look, I bring him out before you here, to show that I find nothing criminal about him at all."
And at this Jesus came outside too, wearing the thorn crown and the purple robe.
"Look," said Pilate, "here's the man!"
The sight of him made the chief priests and Jewish officials shout at the top of their voices, "Crucify! Crucify!"
"You take him and crucify him," retorted Pilate. "He's no criminal as far as I can see!"
The Jews answered him, "We have a Law, and according to that Law, he must die, for he made himself out to be Son of God!"
When Pilate heard them say this, he became much more uneasy, and returned to the palace again and spoke to Jesus, "Where do you come from?"
But Jesus gave him no reply. So Pilate said to him, "Won't you speak to me? Don't you realise that I have the power to set you free, and I have the power to have you crucified?"
"You have no power at all against me," replied Jesus, "except what was given to you from above. And for that reason the one who handed me over to you is even more guilty than you are."
From that moment, Pilate tried hard to set him free but the Jews were shouting, "If you set this man free, you are no friend of Caesar! Anyone who makes himself out to be a king is anti-Caesar!"
When Pilate heard this, he led Jesus outside and sat down upon the Judgment-seat in the place called the Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). It was preparation day of the Passover and it was now getting on towards midday. Pilate said to the Jews, "Look, here's your king!"
At which they yelled, "Take him away, take him away, crucify him!"
"Am I to crucify your king?" Pilate asked them.
"Caesar is our king and no one else," replied the chief priests. And at this Pilate handed Jesus over to them for crucifixion.
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Part 31 - JESUS IS ILL-TREATED AND TORTURED
(Matthew 26:67-68; 27:26b-31; Mark 14:64b-65; 15:15b-20; Luke 22:63-65; John 19:1-3)
Matthew 26:67-68; 27:26b-31 - (Jesus is being questioned before Caiaphas the high priest.....) Then they (some of the men present - not necessarily members of the Sanhedrin) spat in his face and knocked him about, and some slapped him, crying, "Prophesy, you Christ, who was that who hit you?"
(Verse 27:26b) .... he (Pilate, after releasing Barabbas and sentencing Jesus) had Jesus flogged and handed over for crucifixion.
Then the (Roman) governor's soldiers took Jesus into the governor's palace and collected the whole guard around him. There they stripped him and put a scarlet cloak upon him. They twisted some thorn-twigs into a crown and put it on his head and put a stick into his right hand. They bowed low before him and jeered at him with the words, "Hail, your majesty, king of the Jews!" Then they spat on him, took the stick and hit him on the head with it. And when they had finished their fun, they stripped the cloak off again, put his own clothes upon him and led him off for crucifixion.
Mark 14:64b-65; 15:15b-20 - And their verdict (the high priest and council) was that he deserved to die. Then some of them began to spit at him. They blindfolded him and then slapped him saying, "Now prophesy who hit you!"
Even the servants who took him away slapped his face.
(Pilate releases Barabbas and sentences Jesus, and, verse 15:15b ....) after having Jesus flogged handed him over to be crucified.
Then the (Roman) soldiers marched him away inside the courtyard of the governor's residence and called their whole company together. They dressed Jesus in a purple robe, and twisting some thorn twigs into a crown, they put it on his head. Then they began to greet him, "Hail, your majesty - king of the Jews!"
They hit him on the head with a stick and spat at him, and then bowed low before him on bended knee. And when they had finished their fun with him, they took off the purple cloak and dressed him again in his own clothes. Then they led him outside to crucify him.
Luke 22:63-65 - Then the men who held Jesus made a great game of knocking him about. And they blindfolded him and asked him, "Now, prophet, guess who hit you that time!" And that was only the beginning of the way they insulted him.
John 19:1-3 - Then Pilate (during the trial and before sentence is passed) took Jesus and had him flogged, and the soldiers twisted thorn-twigs into a crown and put it on his head, threw a purple robe around him and kept coming into his presence, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And then they slapped him with their open hands.
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Part 32 - HIS CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH
(Matthew 27:32-50; Mark 15:21-37; Luke 23:26-46; John 19:16b-30)
Matthew 27:32-50 - On their way out of the city they (the Roman soldiers) met a man called Simon, a native of Cyrene in Africa, and they compelled him to carry Jesus' cross.
Then when they came to a place called Golgotha (Aramaic and Hebrew for "skull"; in Latin, "calvaria" or "Calvary" - which means Skull Hill) they offered him a drink of wine mixed with some bitter drug (or vinegar mixed with gall or myrrh in other versions of the New Testament), but when he had tasted it he refused to drink. And when they had nailed him to the cross they shared out his clothes by drawing lots.
Then they sat down to keep guard over him. And over his head they put a placard with the charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Now two bandits (robbers or thieves, and possibly Zealots) were crucified with Jesus at the same time, one on either side of him. The passers-by nodded knowingly and called out to him, in mockery, "Hi, you who could pull down the Temple and build it up again in three days - why don't you save yourself? If you are the Son of God, step down from the cross!" The chief priests also joined the scribes and elders in jeering at him, saying, "He saved others, but he can't save himself! If this is the king of Israel, why doesn't he come down from the cross now, and we'll believe him! He trusted in God ... let God rescue him if He will have anything to do with him! For he said, 'I am God's son'." Even the bandits who were crucified with him hurled abuse at him.
Then from midday until three o'clock darkness spread over the whole countryside, and then Jesus cried with a loud voice, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
Some of those who were standing there heard these words which Jesus spoke in Aramaic - Eli (or Eloi), Eli lama sabachthani?, and said, "This man is calling for Elijah!" And one of them ran off and fetched a sponge, soaked it in vinegar and put it on a long stick and held it up for him to drink. But the others said, "Let him alone! Let's see if Elijah will come and save him." But Jesus gave one more great cry, and died.
Mark 15:21-37 - They compelled Simon, a native of Cyrene in Africa, who was on his way from the fields at the time, to carry Jesus' cross.
They took him to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill) and they offered him some drugged wine, but he would not take it. Then they crucified him, and shared out his garments, drawing lots to see what each of them would get. It was about nine o'clock in the morning when they nailed him to the cross. Over his head the placard of his crime read, "THE KING OF THE JEWS." They also crucified two bandits at the same time, one on each side of him. And the passers-by jeered at him, shaking their heads in mockery, saying, "Hi, you! You could destroy the Temple and build it up again in three days, why not come down from the cross and save yourself?"
The chief priests also made fun of him among themselves and the scribes, and said, "He saved others, he cannot save himself. If only this Christ, the king of Israel, would come down now from the cross, we should see it and believe!"
And even the men who were crucified with him hurled abuse at him.
At midday darkness spread over the whole countryside and lasted until three o'clock in the afternoon, and at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'
Some of the bystanders heard these words which Jesus spoke in Aramaic - Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?, and said, "Listen, he's calling for Elijah!"
One man ran off and soaked a sponge in vinegar, put it on a stick, and held it up for Jesus to drink, calling out, "Let him alone! Let's see if Elijah will come and take him down!"
But Jesus let out a great cry, and died.
Luke 23:26-46 - And as they were marching him (Jesus) away, they caught hold of Simon, a native of Cyrene in Africa, who was on his way home from the fields, and put the cross on his back for him to carry behind Jesus.
On the way to the cross
A huge crowd of people followed him, including women who wrung their hands and wept for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, "Women of Jerusalem, do not shed your tears for me, but for yourselves and for your children! For the days are coming when men will say, 'Lucky are the women who are childless - the bodies which have never borne, and the breasts which have never given nourishment.' Then men will begin 'to say to the mountains, Fall on us! and to the hills, Cover us!' For if this is what men do when the wood is green, what will they do when it is seasoned?"
Jesus is crucified with two criminals
Two criminals were also led out with him for execution, and when they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him with the criminals, one on either side of him. But Jesus himself was saying, "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing."
Then they shared out his clothes by casting lots.
The people stood and stared while their rulers continued to scoff, saying, "He saved other people, let's see him save himself, if he is really God's Christ - his chosen!"
The soldiers also mocked him by coming up and presenting sour wine to him, saying, "If you are the king of the Jews, why not save yourself?" For there was a placard over his head which read, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals hanging there covered him with abuse, and said, "Aren't you Christ? Why don't you save yourself - and us?"
But the other one checked him with the words, "Aren't you afraid of God even when you're getting the same punishment as he is? And it's fair enough for us, for we've only got what we deserve, but this man never did anything wrong in his life."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
And Jesus answered, "I tell you truly, this day you will be with me in paradise."
The darkness, and the death of Jesus
It was now about midday, but darkness came over the whole countryside until three in the afternoon, for there was an eclipse of the sun. The veil in the Temple sanctuary was split in two. Then Jesus gave a great cry and said, "Father, 'into your hands I commend my spirit.'"
And with these words, he died.
John 19:16b-30 - So they (the Roman soldiers) took Jesus and he went out carrying the cross himself, to a place called Skull Hill (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they crucified him, and two others, one on either side of him with Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a placard written out and put on the cross, reading, JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. This placard was read by many of the Jews because the place where Jesus was crucified was quite near Jerusalem, and it was written in Hebrew as well as in Latin and Greek. So the chief priests said to Pilate, "You should not write 'The King of the Jews', but 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'"
To which Pilate retorted, "Indeed? What I have written, I have written."
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes between them, taking a quarter-share each. There remained his shirt, which was seamless - woven in one piece from the top to the bottom. So they said to each other, "Don't let us tear it; let's draw lots and see who gets it."
This happened to fulfil the scripture which says - 'They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots'.
Jesus provides for his mother from the cross
While the soldiers were doing this, Jesus' mother was standing near the cross with her sister, and with them Mary, the wife of Clopas and Mary of Magdala. Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved (probably the apostle John, author of this Gospel) standing by her side, and said to her, "Look, there is your son!" And then he said to the disciple, "And there is your mother!"
And from that time the disciple took Mary into his own home.
After this, Jesus realising that everything was now completed said (fulfilling the saying of scripture), "I am thirsty."
There was a bowl of sour wine standing there. So they soaked a sponge in the wine, put it on a spear, and pushed it up towards his mouth. When Jesus had taken it, he cried, "It is finished!" His head fell forward, and he died.
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Part 33 - SUPERNATURAL EVENTS AS JESUS DIES
(Matthew 27:45,51-53; Mark 15:33,38; Luke 23:44-45)
Matthew 27:45,51-53 - Then from midday until three o'clock (when Jesus died) darkness spread over the whole countryside ......
(Jesus dies .... Verse 51 ....) And the sanctuary curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The ground shook, rocks split and graves were opened. (A number of bodies of holy men who were asleep in death rose again. They left their graves after Jesus' resurrection and entered the holy city and appeared to many people.)
Mark 15:33,38 - At midday darkness spread over the whole countryside and lasted until three o'clock in the afternoon (when Jesus died) ....
(As Jesus dies .... Verse 38 ....) The curtain of the Temple sanctuary was split in two from top to the bottom.
Luke 23:44-45 - It was now about midday, but darkness came over the whole countryside until three in the afternoon, for there was an eclipse of the sun. The veil in the Temple sanctuary was split in two (.... as Jesus died).
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Part 34 - SOME OF THE PEOPLE PRESENT
(Matthew 27:54-56; Mark 15:39-41; Luke 23:47-49; John 19:25-26a)
- The identity of all the women has not been completely solved:
Matthew 27:54-56 - When the (Roman) centurion and his company who were keeping guard over Jesus saw the earthquake and all that was happening they were terrified. "Indeed he was the son of God!" they said.
There were many women at the scene watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to minister to his needs. Among them was:
(1) Mary of Magdala (or Mary Magdalene),
(2) Mary the mother of James (possibly the apostle James the Younger, son of Alphaeus) and Joseph (or Joses), and
(3) The mother (probably Salome) of Zebedee's sons (the apostles James and John).
Mark 15:39-41 - And when the centurion who stood in front of Jesus saw how he died, he said, "This man was certainly a son of God!"
There were some women there looking on from a distance, among them (using the number order from Matthew above):
(1) Mary of Magdala,
(2) Mary the mother of the younger James and Joses (or Joseph), and
(3) Salome (probably the wife of Zebedee).
These were the women who used to follow Jesus as he went about in Galilee and look after him. And there were many other women there who had come up to Jerusalem with them.
Luke 23:47-49 - When the centurion saw what had happened, he exclaimed reverently, "That was indeed a good man!"
And the whole crowd who had collected for the spectacle, when they saw what had happened, went home in deep distress. And those who had known him, as well as the women who had followed him from Galilee, remained standing at a distance and saw all this happen.
John 19:25-26a - Jesus' mother (Mary) was standing near the cross with her sister, and with them (again using the number order from Matthew)
(2) Mary, the wife of Clopas (possibly also Alphaeus in Aramaic and thus the parents of James the Younger and Joseph) and
(1) Mary of Magdala.
(3) (John appears not to have listed his own mother Salome, the wife of Zebedee, unless she happens to be the "sister of Mary" mother of Jesus. In this case John and James would be his cousins) -
Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved (the apostle John again) standing by her side ......
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Part 35 - HIS BURIAL
(Matthew 27:57-66; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:31-42)
Matthew 27:57-66 - That evening, Joseph, a wealthy man from Arimathaea, who was himself a disciple of Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave orders for the body to be handed over to him. So Joseph took it, wrapped it in clean linen and placed it in his own new tomb which had been hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the doorway of the tomb and went away. But Mary from Magdala and the other Mary (the mother of the apostle James the Younger) remained there, sitting in front of the tomb.
Next day (the Saturday), which was the day after the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees went in a body to Pilate and said, "Sir, we have remembered that while this impostor was alive, he said, 'After three days I shall rise again.' Will you give the order then to have the grave closely guarded until the third day, so that there can be no chance of his disciples' coming and stealing the body and telling people that he has risen from the dead? We should then be faced with a worse fraud than the first one."
"You have a guard," Pilate told them. "Go and make it as safe as you think necessary." And they went and made the grave secure, putting a seal on the stone and leaving the soldiers on guard.
Mark 15:42-47 - When the evening came, because it was the day of preparation, that is the day before the Sabbath, Joseph from Arimathaea, a distinguished member of the council, who himself prepared to accept the kingdom of God, went boldly into Pilate's presence and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that he should be dead already and he sent for the centurion and asked whether he had been dead long. On hearing the centurion's report, he gave Joseph the body of Jesus. So Joseph brought a linen winding-sheet, took Jesus down and wrapped him in it, and then put him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the solid rock, rolling a stone over the entrance to it. Mary of Magdala and Mary the mother of Joses (or Joseph, brother of the apostle James the Younger) were looking on and saw where he was laid.
Luke 23:50-56 - Now there was a man called Joseph, a member of the Jewish council. He was a good and just man, and had neither agreed with their plan nor voted for their decision. He came from the Jewish city of Arimathaea and was awaiting the kingdom of God. He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. He took it down and wrapped it in linen and placed it in a rock-hewn tomb which had not been used before.
It was now the day of the preparation and the Sabbath was beginning to dawn, so the women who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph, noted the tomb and the position of the body, and then went home to prepare spices and perfumes. On the Sabbath they rested, in obedience to the commandment.
John 19:31-42 - As it was the day of preparation for the Passover, the Jews wanted to avoid the bodies being left on the crosses over the Sabbath (for that was a particularly important Sabbath), and they requested Pilate to have the men's legs broken and the bodies removed. So the soldiers went and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to him, they saw that he was already dead and they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there was an outrush of blood and water. And the man who saw this (the apostle John) is our witness: his evidence is true. (He is certain that he is speaking the truth, so that you may believe as well.) For this happened to fulfil the scripture, 'Not one of his bones shall be broken.' And again another scripture says - 'They shall look on him whom they pierced.'
After it was all over, Joseph (who came from Arimathaea and was a disciple of Jesus, though secretly for fear of the Jews) requested Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took his body down. Nicodemus also, the man who had come to him at the beginning by night (John 3:1-21), arrived bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. So they took his body and wound it round with linen strips with the spices, according to the Jewish custom of preparing a body for burial. In the place where he was crucified, there was a garden containing a new tomb in which nobody had yet been laid. Because it was the preparation day and because the tomb was conveniently near, they laid Jesus in this tomb.
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The life and ministry of Jesus on earth is over - tortured to death on a Roman cross and consigned to the grave. Everything he did, no matter how wonderful or wise - his miracles, his parables, the Sermon on the Mount - mark him as a superb teacher, a miracle-worker, a man of unsurpassed personality, but still a man. And sometimes, almost a madman from his seemingly more outrageous statements and claims.
In evidence of failure, his followers are desolate, mostly scattered and without hope. The few that remain prepare to give him a proper burial. There seems nothing left to suggest the birth, 2,000 years ago of a life and world-changing religion that claims to be unique, to come directly from the creator God of the universe, and which is offered freely to all the people of Earth and perhaps beyond.
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J.B.Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English", 1962 edition, published by HarperCollins, is presented here with the kind permission of Mrs Vera Phillips and the J.B.Phillips estate