Easter Passion: Arrest, Trial, & Sentence


After the Passover supper, Jesus took his disciples to a
place called Gethsemane, Jesus waited to pray quietly
before the coming troubles. But his friends were so
miserable at what was happening that they could not
concentrate. They huddle together, waiting for Jesus, and
fell asleep.

Jesus prayed on his own, pleading with God to find another way
to deal with people's wrongdoing.

Worse than torture and death was the thought of having to be
parted from his Father God, while he took the punishment for all
the wrongdoings of the world. The pain of that would be much

 Sweating with agony at the thought, Jesus finished his prayer, 'If
my death is the only way, then I will do what you want.'

The Trap As Jesus went to wake his disciples he could hear a
crowd approaching, a figure stepped out of the shadows. 'Jesus!'
cried Judas, giving him his usual bear-hug and kiss on the cheek.
It was a signal. Seconds later a large group of soldiers grabbed

'Why all this secrecy?' Jesus asked the priests and elders, who
now took charge. 'Why swords and clubs, as though I were an
outlaw? I've been in the temple every day and you didn't try to
arrest me!'

The next few minutes were chaos. The disciples fled into the
darkness. Only Peter followed, well hidden, as the prisoner was
hustled back into Jerusalem, to the High Priest's own house, to
face a series of hurried unofficial trials through the night, for fear
that those who supported Jesus might start a riot.

Trial 1 Jesus was first questioned about his teaching by Annas,
the High Priest's father-in-law. Jesus replies, 'I have always been
open, teaching in the synagogues and in the temple. Why don't
you ask my followers what I taught?' A soldier hit Jesus across
the face for speaking so boldly to the High Priest.

 Trial 2 Annas then sent Jesus to Caiaphas the High Priest, and
the Sanhedrin council. Two witnesses said that they had heard
Jesus say he would destroy the temple and build it again in three
days! But they could not make their stories agree. When
questioned about this, Jesus would not reply.

Caiaphas decided on the direct approach. 'In the name of the
living God,' he said, 'I now put you on oath; tell us if you are the
Messiah, the son of God.'

'I am," Jesus replied, 'and you will all see the son of Man seated
on the right of the almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!'

A ripple of excitement went around the group of elders. The
prisoner had committed 'blasphemy' (a crime against God) in front
of the court! Anyone who blasphemed should be stoned to death,
but the Romans would not allow the Jews to execute anyone. If
they wanted Jesus dead, he must be tried by the Romans.

As the trial ended, the temple guards were allowed to humiliate
Jesus, beating him and spitting on him.

Trial 3 Jesus was brought to the Roman Governor
(Procurator) of Judea, Pontius Pilate. This time the Jews
accused Jesus of treason against Rome - by telling people
not to pay taxes to Caesar and claiming to be King of the

Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you the King of the Jews?'

Jesus replied, 'My kingdom does not belong to this world; if
my kingdom belonged to this world, my followers would
fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish
authorities. No, My kingdom does not belong here!

'Are you a king, then?1 asked Pilate.

"You say that I am a king,1 said Jesus.

"I was born and came into the world for this one purpose, to
speak about the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth listens
to me.1

Pilate was not convinced that Jesus deserved to die. He
heard Jesus as a Galilean, so he tried to get out of
sentencing him by sending him to Herod Antipas, ruler of
Galilee, who was in Jerusalem for the Passover.

Trial 4 Herod was keen to meet Jesus. He had heard
amazing things about the preacher and hoped to see
him do a miracle. Jesus remained completely silent,
refusing to answer a single question.

Disappointed, Herod sent him back to Pilate - after
another beating.

Trial 5 Back in the
Roman court, Pilate
tried again to free
Jesus. It was usual
for one political
prisoner to be
released at the
Passover Festival.

Pilate offered
Jesus. but the
crowd shouted for
Barabbas, a well-
known rebel leader.

Finally, as the crowd appeared to be near to rioting,
Pilate agreed to the death sentence for Jesus. But he
ordered a slave to bring a bowl of water into the
courtroom. In front of them all, he washed his hands, to
show that he did not approve of the sentence.

Condemned man Once the sentence was given, Je-
sus as flogged (tied to a pillar and
beaten with leather whips which had
pieces of metal at the end). Then he
was handed over to the army.

The soldiers had heard that Jesus was supposed to
be king of the Jews. They dressed him up in a purple robe, made a crown from some thorny branches,
and bowed mockingly before him.