Today is FRIDAY of Passion Week. Jesus has been in the custody of His captors since last evening. Things had gone from agonizing, divine prayer, to wretched, human pandemonium. Harmonizing the Gospels, we try our best to trace the Savior’s last hours.
Luke 22 states the mob which came for Him was led by the “chief priests and officers of the Temple and elders.” (v-52) He was physically bound (John 18:12) and taken to the house of Annas. Annas was the Father-in-law to the High Priest Caiaphas. He had perhaps served as High Priest himself in the past. The office was one now granted by Roman authorities to those who had the money to buy it, and who could make a case for their being appointed as politically expedient for Rome. Annas questioned Jesus about His disciples and His teaching (John 18:19). Jesus replied that He had always spoken openly – and any of those who heard Him could recount what He had taught. At this, one of the Temple police slapped Jesus. “Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.” (John 18:23-24 (ESV))
They led Jesus away to Caiaphas where the elders and the scribes had already gathered. they feebly attempted to build a case against Him using false witnesses. It failed. “But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?” (Matthew 26:63-68 (ESV))
It is during this episode that Peter denies Him three times. Thinking themselves secure in their charge of blasphemy against Him, they tied Him up again, and led Him to Pilate, the Governor.
Judas – seeing at last what he had done was going to lead to – tries to return his blood money, and then takes his own life.
Pilate tries to rid himself of the whole mess as quickly as possible. His exchange with Jesus finds the Savior telling Pilate that He is indeed “King” – but His kingdom is not of this world. There are more false charges. Perplexed, when Pilate heard Jesus had come from Galilee, he tries to off-load the situation onto Herod Antipas – who had jurisdiction over Galilee.
Herod had heard about Jesus, and was intrigued. He was hoping he might see Jesus do some sort of miracle perhaps. But all the while Jesus’ accusers continued to cavil against Him in front of Herod – Jesus continued to remain silent. In exasperation, Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate. Herod wants nothing to do with Him either.
Pilate finds no joy in seeing Jesus returned. He knows Jesus isn’t guilty of anything and that the Jewish leadership is just jealous. Pilate’s wife sends a note to him saying she’d had a disturbing dream about this man Jesus – and to stay away from all of this. Pilate tries once and again to strike a compromise. He has Jesus flogged and beaten, hoping that will satisfy the Jew’s bloodthirst short of actually killing Him without just cause. Jesus is horrifically beaten and mocked. He is crowned with thorns. Pilate washes his hands. But pushed again and again – Pilate succumbs – Luke 23:25 (ESV) “He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.”
What is your will concerning Jesus?
Will you have Him as your Lord and Savior or no?
He is crucified, between two thieves.
Matthew 27:50 (ESV) And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.