ARREST, TRIAL, AND 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 worse.
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 Jesus.
'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 Jews.
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.