LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels
LESSON TWENTY THREE
THE PASSION WEEK
DURING THE NIGHT BEFORE HE WAS
And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the
twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from
the chief priests and elders of the people.
(48) Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying,
"Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him." (49)
Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!"
and kissed Him.
(50) But Jesus said to him, "Friend,
why have you come?"
they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. (51)
And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his
hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest,
and cut off his ear.
(52) But Jesus said to him, "Put
your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish
by the sword. (53) Or do you think that I cannot now
pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve
legions of angels? (54) How then could the
Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have
you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take
Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did
not seize Me. (56) But all this was done that the
Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.
And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the
twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from
the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. (44)
Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I
kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away safely."
(45) As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him
and said to Him, "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. (47)
And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the
servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
Jesus answered and said to them, "Have you
come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?
(49) I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you
did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled."
(50) Then they all forsook Him and fled.
|(51) Now a
certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown
around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him,
(52) and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.
(47) And while He was still speaking,
behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the
twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.
(48) But Jesus said to him, "Judas,
are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
(49) When those around Him saw what was
going to happen, they said to Him, "Lord, shall we strike with
the sword?" (50) And one of them struck the servant
of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
(51) But Jesus answered and said, "Permit
even this." And He touched his ear and healed him.
(52) Then Jesus said to the chief priests,
captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, "Have
you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
(53) When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not
try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of
... Jesus ... went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron,
where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.
(2) And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for
Jesus often met there with His disciples.
(3) Then Judas, having received a
detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and
Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
(4) Jesus therefore, knowing all things
that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom
are you seeking?"
(5) They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said to them, "I am He." And
Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. (6)
Now when He said to them, "I am He,"
they drew back and fell to the ground.
(7) Then He asked them again, "Whom
are you seeking?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
(8) Jesus answered, "I have told you
that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,"
(9) that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of
those whom You gave Me I have lost none."
(10) Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew
it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right
ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
(11) So Jesus said to Peter, "Put
your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My
Father has given Me?"
(12) Then the detachment of troops
and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and
We offer here the probable succession and time of day from now until the
death of Jesus on the cross.
The time of day is according to Westcott.
||The agony in the garden
||The conveyance to the high-priest's house
||The preliminary examination before Annas in the
presence of Caiaphas
||The examination before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin
at an irregular meeting
||The formal sentence of the Sanhedrin
||The first examination before Pilate at the palace
||The examination before Herod
||The scourging and first mockery by the soldiers at
Herod' s palace
||The sentence of Pilate
||The second mockery by the soldiers (Roman)
||The crucifixion, and the rejection of the
||The last charge
More than two hours had passed since from the lighted chamber he had
plunged into the night, and those hours had been very fully occupied. He
had gone to the High Priests and Pharisees, agitating them and hurrying
them on with his own passionate precipitancy and partly perhaps out of
genuine terror of Him with whom he had to deal.
Detachment of troops and officers
The Troops (speiran) - The Romans
Properly the "band" or "cohort" of Roman soldiers
from the Antonia.
It was probably, not the entire cohort (600 men) - but
the captain and the guards on duty.
The Officers (uperetas) - The Jews
The temple police sent from the Sanhedrin.
The Synoptists (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) speak of the entire body as (ochlos) a multitude, or
And both Matthew and Mark mentions the Band (speira) later in
the narrative (Mt. 27:27; Mk. 15:16).
It was a common custom to greet someone with a kiss on either or both
However, this was more than the ordinary greeting.
The word used
here is a compound verb that has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious
Meyer says, "Embraced and kissed."
The same word is used of the tender caressing of:
||The Lord's feet by the woman in the Pharisee's
||The father's embrace of the returned prodigal
||The farewell of the Ephesians elders to Paul
The suggested order of events during the arrest
||Judas rushes ahead and embraces
Jesus, kissing Him;
The fervent embrace and repeated kiss could stem from several
possibilities, 3 of which are mentioned here:
||Possibly Judas had gotten too
far ahead of the soldiers he had brought with him, and to
keep Jesus from escaping, he held onto Him in this manner.
||Possibly Judas wished, in the
shadows of the night, no mistake to be made in the arrest.
||It has been suggested by some
that Judas did not really think they would actually be able
to take Jesus, and that this was evidence that Judas still
||Jesus rebuffs Judas' embrace, cuts him short, and goes to meet the
band of soldiers
||Jesus asks them who they want,
they say "Jesus of Nazareth."
And He says, "I AM!" whereupon they are startled, stagger
back, and fall backwards upon the ground.
||While they are still on the ground,
Jesus asks them again whom they want, and again they say
"Jesus of Nazareth."
And again He says, "I AM!" And he tells them to allow
His disciples to go
||As the band arises from the ground,
Peter lunges in protection of his Lord, and in attempting to
split the skull of Malchus, he misses, and only
lances off his ear.
||Jesus rebukes Peter, commands
him to put up his sword, and heals Malchus' ear.
Jesus tells Peter that the sword of one impulsive disciple
(however good his intentions) was less than nothing in comparison
to the power that Jesus had at His disposal, had He wished to
||Jesus tells the band of soldiers that
they had the ability to take Him only because He was willing to
allow it so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,
and then the disciples fled into the night
More than twelve
A legion was a division of the Roman army
amounting to more than 6,000 men.
The number "twelve" was mentioned, perhaps, in
reference to the number of his apostles and himself.
Judas being away, but eleven disciples remained.
God could guard him, and each disciple, with a legion of
angels: that is, God could easily protect him, if he should
pray to him, and
if it was his will.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by
A certain young man
Mark relates the incident.
There is no definite means of knowing
who the youth may have been.
Conjecture has named Mark himself, John,
James the Just, Lazarus (brother of Mary and Martha), and some have even
suggested Saul of Tarsus!
The most reasonable, however, seems to be
The mention of the linen cloth suggests that he had, on hearing
some sudden report, rose out of bed and rushed out in his nightshirt, or
casting a loose sheet about him, hurried out of the house. It is not
reasonable to suppose that any of the disciples, or Lazarus from over a
mile away had ventured out in that condition.
THE PASSION WEEK
||26:57-66; Mark 14:53-64; Luke 22:54-56
||By the Temple Guards
||Matthew 26:67,68; Mark 14:65; Luke
||Before the Sanhedrin
||Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71
||Matthew 27:2-14; Mark 15:1-5; Luke 23:1-6;
||By Pilot to free Jesus
||By Herod's Soldiers
||Matthew 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; Luke
23:13-25; John 18:39-19:1
||By Pilot to free Jesus
||Mt 27:15-23; Mk
23:18; Jn 18:39,40
||By Pilate's wife
||By the people
||Mt 27:20-25; Mk 15:11-14;
||By the people
||By Roman Soldiers
||Matthew 21:27-30; Mark
15:16-19; John 19:1-3
||By Pilot to free Jesus
||By Pilot to free Jesus
||By the people
||By Roman Soldiers & probably the
Temple Guard, also this time the people possibly
|Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20
|(13) And they led Him away
to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was
high priest that year. (14) Now it was Caiaphas who
advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die
for the people.
(15) And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did
another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high
priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high
priest. (16) But Peter stood at the door outside.
Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went
out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
(17) Then the servant girl who kept the door said to
Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."
(18) Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of
coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves.
And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
(19) The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples
and His doctrine.
(20) Jesus answered him, "I spoke
openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the
temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said
nothing. (21) Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have
heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said."
(22) And when He had said these things, one of the
officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand,
saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?"
(23) Jesus answered him, "If I have
spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you
(24) Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high
If we treat the Gospels as we should treat any other authentic documents
recording all that the authors felt themselves commissioned to record, of
the crowded incidents in one terrible and tumultuous day and night, we
shall, with care and study, see how all that they tell us falls accurately
into its proper position in the general narrative, and shows:
||A six-fold trial
||A quadruple derision
||A double acquittal
||A twice-repeated condemnation
Reading the Gospels side by side, we soon perceive that of the three
successive trials He underwent at the hands of the Jews, we find:
|The first trial
||is related by John
|The second trial
||is related by Matthew and Mark
|The third trial
||before the Sanhedrin
||is related by Luke
There is nothing strange in this, since
|The first trial
|The second trial
|The third trial
||before the Sanhedrin
||the Actual and Formal decision of death
the three might, from a different point of view, have been regarded as the
most fatal and important of the three.
To Annas first
It is true that this Hanan, son of Seth, the Ananus of Josephus, and the
Annas of the Gospels, had only been the actual High Priest for seven years
(A.D. 7-14), and that, more than twenty years before this period, the
Procurator Valerius Gratus had deposed him. He had been succeeded first by Ismael Ben Phabi, then by his son Eleazar, then by his son-in-law,
It is probable that
Herod the Great had originally summoned him and his
family from Alexandria, as supple supporters of a distasteful tyranny. The
Jewish historian calls this Hanan the happiest man of his time, because he
died at an advanced old age, and because both he and five of his sons in
succession - not to mention his son-in-law - had enjoyed the shadow of the
High Priesthood; so that, in fact, for nearly half a
century he had practically wielded the sacerdotal power in Jerusalem.
In spite of his prosperity he seems to have left behind him but an evil
name, and we know enough of his character, even from the most unsuspected
sources, to recognize in him nothing better than an astute, tyrannous, worldly
Sadducee, invulnerable for all his 70 years, full of a serpentine
malice and meanness which utterly belied the meaning of his name (clement
or merciful) and engaged at this very moment in a dark, disorderly
conspiracy, for which even a worse man would have had cause to blush.
It is most remarkable that, although the
Pharisees undoubtedly were
actuated by a burning hatred against Jesus, and were even so eager for His
death as to be willing to co-operate with the aristocratic and priestly
Sadducees - yet, from the moment that the plot for His arrest and
condemnation had been matured, the Pharisees took so little part in it
that their name is not once directly mentioned in any event connected with
the arrest, the trial, the derisions, and the crucifixion. The Pharisees, as such, disappear; the
chief priests and
elders take their place.
It is, indeed, doubtful whether any of the more distinguished Pharisees
were members of the degraded "simulacrum" of authority that in those bad
days still arrogated to itself the title of a
Sanhedrin. If we may believe
not a few of the indications of the Talmud, that Sanhedrin was little
better than a close, irreligious, unpatriotic confederacy of monopolizing
and time-serving priests (the Boethusism, the Kamhits, the
family of Hanan, mostly of non-Palestinian origin) who were supported by
the government, but detested by the people, and of whom this bad
conspirator was the very life and soul.
Simon Peter followed Jesus
This is included in the section:
Peter's Denial of Christ
The high priest . . . asked Jesus
Annas is apparently meant.
This was not a trial, for the Sanhedrin had not been assembled;
rather it was a hearing to get evidence to submit to that body when it was
convened a few hours later.
The inquiry touched Jesus' disciples and doctrine. It is not
clear that Annas had in mind to prosecute the disciples. More likely he
hoped to get a confession that these men were being prepared for
revolutionary activity. Jesus ignored the matter. So far as
his teaching was concerned, he denied having given secret
instruction that might be construed as plotting against the authorities.
He had taught openly, in public places such as the synagogue and
temple. His teaching was not subversive.
Why do you ask me?
Jesus implied that the procedure was illegal.
There were no witnesses.
He was being made to implicate himself by his testimony.
One of the attending officers (others were in the courtyard)
thought the answer impudent and struck Jesus to make him more docile in
his attitude toward the high priest. When Christ pointed out the
injustice involved, neither the officer nor Annas could make a
defense of the procedure. There was nothing to do but to send the
captive to Caiaphas.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c)
1962 by Moody Press)
And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas
the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were
assembled. (58) But Peter followed Him at a distance
to the high priest's courtyard. And he went in and sat with the
servants to see the end.
Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought
false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, (60)
but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward,
they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
(61) and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy
the temple of God and to build it in three days.'"
And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer
nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" (63)
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to
Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are
the Christ, the Son of God!"
(64) Jesus said to him, "It is as
you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the
Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on
the clouds of heaven."
Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken
blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now
you have heard His blasphemy! (66) What do you
They answered and said, "He is deserving of death."
(67) Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others
struck Him with the palms of their hands, (68)
saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?"
And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were
assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes.
(54) But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the
courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and
warmed himself at the fire.
Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony
against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. (56)
For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies
did not agree.
(57) Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him,
saying, (58) "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this
temple made with hands, and within three days I will build
another made without hands.'" (59) But not even then
did their testimony agree.
And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus,
saying, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify
against You?" (61) But He kept silent and answered
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, "Are You the
Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
(62) Jesus said, "I am. And you will
see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and
coming with the clouds of heaven."
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "What further
need do we have of witnesses? (64) You have heard
the blasphemy! What do you think?"
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
(65) Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him,
and to beat Him, and to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers
struck Him with the palms of their hands.
Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high
priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance.
Caiaphas, like his father-in-law Annas, was a Sadducee - equally
astute and unscrupulous with Annas, but endowed with less force of
character and will.
They lead Him away
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition,
Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
|They led him away, led him in
|As a trophy of their victory; they led him as a lamb to the slaughter, and they led him
through the sheep-gate spoken of Nehemiah 3:1.
|They led him away to their masters that
|It was now about
midnight, and one would think they should have put him in ward (Lev
24:12), should have led him to some prison, till it was a proper time to
call a court; but he is hurried away immediately, not to the justices of peace, to be committed, but to the judges to be condemned; so extremely
violent was the prosecution, partly because they feared a rescue, which
they would thus not only leave no time for, but give a terror to; partly
because they greedily thirsted after Christ's blood, as the eagle that
hastens to the prey.
With him were assembled
In his house were all the chief priests, the elders and the
|Though the poor disciples could not watch for one hour
in sympathetic prayer,
|these nefarious plotters could watch all night in
their deadly malice.
It is clear that the priests were forced to change their tactics.
of trying, as Annas had done, to overawe and entangle Jesus with insidious
questions, and so to involve Him in a charge of secret apostasy,
they now tried to brand Him with the crime of public error.
But Peter followed Him
This is included in the next section:
Peter's Denial of Christ
But their testimonies did not agree
From their debasing themselves to "seek" witness against Him, we are led
to infer that these were bribed to bear false witness. But even in this
On the only charge they had, observe:
||Eager as His enemies were to find a
criminal matter against Him, they had to go back to the outset
of His ministry, His very
first visit to
Jerusalem, more than three years before this. In all
that He said and did after that, though ever increasing in
boldness, they could find nothing.
||Even then, they fix only on one
speech, of two or three words, which they dared to
adduce against Him.
||Further, they misinterpreted
and then misquoted His words.
He had not said that He would destroy the temple, but that
they would, and that He would raise it in three days.
Jameson, Fausset, & Brown says that they
were perfectly aware that His words referred to His death by their hands
and His resurrection by His own hand.
||And finally, they could not
even agree as to what He had said or meant.
Not only did their well-laid plans for arrest go astray, but also so did
their well-laid plans for accusation.
It is as you have said
According to Mark, Jesus said, "I AM" (with the emphatic 'ego eimi').
rest of His answer divides
into two parts:
Both were considered as a claim to Messiahship by the Jews, as the Old
Testament passages to which reference was made were looked upon as
||From Psalm 110:1
||"You shall see the Son of man sitting
at the right hand of power"
||Reference to Daniel 7:13
||"And coming with the clouds of heaven"
Swete also says:
"...The words of Jesus are also a solemn warning that His
position and that of His judges would one day be reversed, and they were a final but ineffectual summons to
repentance and faith."
I saw the dead, great and small, standing before God; and The Books
were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged
according to the things written in The Books, each according to the deeds
he had done. (TLB)
Jesus had not yet officially been declared guilty, and yet the
soldiers were permitted to mock Him and abuse Him.
|Here they mocked His claim to being a Prophet
Roman soldiers would mock His claim to being a King
Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard.
servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of
(70) But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not
know what you are saying."
And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him
and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with
Jesus of Nazareth."
(72) But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the
And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter,
"Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."
(74) Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not
know the Man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed. (75) And Peter
remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before
the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he
went out and wept bitterly.
Now as Peter was below in the courtyard,
the servant girls of the high priest came. (67) And
when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said,
"You also were with Jesus of Nazareth."
(68) But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor
understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch,
and a rooster crowed.
And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those
who stood by, "This is one of them." (70) But he
denied it again.
little later those who stood by said to Peter again, "Surely you
are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows
(71) Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this
Man of whom you speak!"
A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the
word that Jesus had said to him, "Before
the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times."
And when he thought about it, he wept.
Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard
and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire,
looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him."
(57) But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know
And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are
But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"
Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently
affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he
is a Galilean."
(60) But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
(61) And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter
remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before
the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
(62) So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now
that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus
into the courtyard of the high priest. (16) But
Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who
was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept
the door, and brought Peter in.
Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are
not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."
Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood
there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter
stood with them and warmed himself.
The reasons for Peter's failure here are many.
We offer 4 suggestions:
||"Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not
||"I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to
||"Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter
||But Peter followed Him at a distance.
As you watch Peter, you see him gradually moving into the place of
temptation and sin; and his actions parallel the description in Psalm
||(John 18:15, 16)
||Peter "walked in the counsel of the
|When he went into the high priest's courtyard
||Peter "stood with the sinners"
|When he warmed himself by the fire
||Peter "sat with the scornful"
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful. (NKJV)
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP
Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)
The "court" of the house is in the open space around which the house is
The outside of the building shows to the observer hardly anything
but blank walls.
The courts are sometimes laid out in beautiful gardens
containing various fruits and flowers; and some of the better homes have
two or three courts - some have even been known to have seven courts in one
The rooms of the house open into the court. In some houses this opening is
by means of doors; but in others the rooms are divided from the court by a
low partition only.
Peter was in the court of the palace, around which the house itself was
built, but yet outside of the rooms.
In this open court a fire was made, and here Peter was warming himself.
The rooms were elevated above the
court, with steps leading to them, and separated by a railing and pillars.
Thus Peter was
|In the MIDST
||of the courtyard
We do not know who the unnamed disciple was.
Some say it may have been Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, because they
were in a position to have known the high priest.
Others say it was the disciple John, because throughout his gospel, he
never refers to himself by his own name.
Wycliffe suggests he was known to the high priest through his mother and
Regardless of who it was, he was not only known to the high priest,
but to Peter and Jesus as well. In Peter's defense, let us note that
although this other disciple is not recorded as denying Jesus, neither
did he speak up in defense of his Lord any more than Peter did.
It is not probable that any danger resulted from its being known that he
was a follower of Jesus, or that any harm was intended on them
for this. The questions asked Peter were not asked by those in
authority, and his apprehensions which led to his denial were
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
The "gateway" is the passageway from the street to the court.
sometimes arched, and its floor usually inclines from the direction of the
A door opens from it into the court; but this door is so arranged
that it is not directly opposite to the gate which opens to the street. Thus, though both should be open at the same time, no one in passing
through the street would be able to look into the court. This was the
place to which Peter retreated.
He denied with an oath
An "oath" was an appeal to God to witness the truth of a statement or of
the binding character of a
promise. Oaths played a very important part not only in legal and state
affairs, but also in the dealings of every day life.
A number of formulas
were used in taking an oath, such as "the Lord be between thee
and me forever," and ''as the Lord lives" (which could very possibly be
what Peter said).
In ordinary cases the raising of the hand toward heaven
was part of the oath.
So we can supposed that it went something like this:
|Peter raised his hand toward heaven and said,
"As the Lord lives!
not His disciple!
I know not the man!"
His "speech" betrayed him because the Galileans had a more Syrian cast in
their dialect than did the Judeans.
The Galileans had a corrupt
pronunciation, frequently interchanging certain letters; and so
blending or dividing words as to render them unintelligible, or cause them
to convey a contrary sense.
He began to curse
||To invoke evil on
To "curse" signifies to wish curses on himself.
Peter thus declares
himself subject to the divine curse if he is not telling the truth when he
disclaims all acquaintance with Jesus.
The word for curse here is "anathematizo," the same used by Paul in
Galatians 1:8,9 when he calls the divine curse
down upon those who preached a different gospel than the true one.
||To take (or declare on) oath
To "swear" was similar to the "oath," but a little stronger.
swore "by the name of God" - or calling God to witness - that what he said
was true. "
Some have supposed there to be a difficulty in what the
Synoptists portrays Peter's denials to have been in the court of the house
of Caiaphas, while John portrays the denials to have been in the court of
the house of Annas.
The seeming difficulty dissolves when we realize that
Annas shared the Palace with Caiaphas, and although Jesus was taken first
to Annas, and then to "the house of Caiaphas" - Peter was all the while in
the same court.
We see here his sad decline
|In the Upper Room
Peter had boasted that he
would remain true to Christ
|In the Garden
He had gone to sleep when he should
have been praying
|During the Trial
||He denied that he knew the Lord
We also see that:
|In the Upper Room
||Peter fell into the snare of the
|In the Garden
||He yielded to the weakness of the flesh
|During the Trial
||He would surrender to the pressures of
THE PASSION WEEK
THE MORNING OF THE SIXTH DAY
THE DAY OF CRUCIFIXION
When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the
people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death.
Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a
consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council;
soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests
and scribes, came together and led Him into their council,
saying, (67) "If You are the Christ, tell us."
But He said to them, "If I tell you, you
will by no means believe. (68) And if I also ask
you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. (69)
Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power
(70) Then they all said, "Are You then the Son of God?"
So He said to them, "You rightly say that
(71) And they said, "What further testimony do we need?
For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth."
At last the miserable lingering hours were over, and the gray dawn
shuddered, and the morning blushed upon that memorable day.
They had begun this counsel the preceding evening.
But as it was contrary to all forms of law to proceed against a
person's life by night, they came together at the break of day,
pretending to conduct the business according to the forms of law.
Luke reports 2 questions asked by the Sanhedrin
|Are you the Christ (Messiah)?
||To incriminate Jesus to the
|Could have been viewed as a
confession of treason
|Are you the Son of God?
||To incriminate Jesus to the
|Could have been viewed as a
confession of blasphemy
This was the climax of the religious trial, and the key issue was,
"Is Jesus of Nazareth the Christ of God?"
They were sure His claims were false and that He was guilty of blasphemy,
and the penalty for blasphemy was death (Lev 24:10-16).
Jesus called Himself "Son of man," a
messianic title found in Daniel 7:13-14.
He also claimed to have the right to sit "on the right hand of
the power of God", a clear reference to Psalm 110:1, another
It was also this verse that He quoted earlier that week in His debate with
the religious leaders (Luke
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP
Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)
The LORD said to my Lord,
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." (NKJV)
|(3) Then Judas,
His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful
and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests
and elders, (4) saying, "I have sinned by betraying
And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"
(5) Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple
and departed, and went and hanged himself.
(6) But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said,
"It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are
the price of blood." (7) And they consulted together
and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.
(8) Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood
to this day.
(9) Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the
prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the
value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel
priced, (10) and gave them for the potter's field, as
the LORD directed me."
|(15) "Men and
brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy
Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas,
who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; (17)
for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."
(18) (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of
iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and
all his entrails gushed out. (19) And it became known
to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in
their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
(20) "For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
'Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';
Seeing that He had been condemned
Doubtless through all those hours Judas had been a secure spectator of all
that had occurred, and when the morning dawned upon that chilly night, and
he knew the decision of the Priests and of the Sanhedrin, and saw that
Jesus was now given over for crucifixion to the Roman Governor, then
he began fully to realize all that he had done.
Perhaps he had expected that, while he got the bribe, the Lord would
miraculously escape, as He had three times before.
Perhaps also Judas had thought that, in the light of the past few days'
events, and the fact that Jesus had recently been more explicitly saying
that He was the Messiah. That he could force Jesus, in the face of the
soldiers and the threat of death, to once and for all proclaim Himself
King of the Jews - the expected Messiah here to stay.
What a shock it was to Judas when he saw that not only was Jesus not going
to set up His physical kingdom, but also He was actually going to allow
Himself to be taken and killed.
The word for "remorseful," also translated "repented" is from "metamelomai" - to regret; to have deep
remorse at the consequence of the sin rather than a deep regret at the
cause of it.
It is never used of genuine repentance to God.
It is not lawful
Putting blood money into the treasury was unlawful but shedding that same
betrayed and innocent blood was justified in their own hypocritical eyes.
Thus Satan often deludes many by a false tenderness of conscience in
things indifferent; while envy, strife, and all manner of wickedness give
them no manner of trouble or disturbance of conscience.
Bought the potter's field
In such cases the Jewish law provided that the money was to be restored to
the donor; and if he insisted on giving it, that he should be induced to
spend it for something for the public good.
This explains the apparent
discrepancy between Matthew's account and that in
The money was
still considered to be Judas', and to have been applied by him to the
purchase of the potter's field.
Now Jesus stood before the governor.
governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
Jesus said to him, "It is as you say."
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He
(13) Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many
things they testify against You?" (14) But He answered
him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.
...and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to
Then Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
He answered and said to him, "It is as you
And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered
nothing. (4) Then Pilate asked Him again,
saying, "Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify
(5) But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate
Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate.
And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this fellow
perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar,
saying that He Himself is Christ, a King."
Then Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
He answered him and said, "It is as you say."
|(4) So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd,
"I find no fault in this Man."
But they were the more fierce, saying, "He stirs up the people,
teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this
(6) When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it
was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the
Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat
the Passover. (29) Pilate then went out to them and
said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?"
They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer,
we would not have delivered Him up to you."
(31) Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him
according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It
is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," (32)
that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke,
signifying by what death He would die.
(33) Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus,
and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
(34) Jesus answered him, "Are you
speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this
(35) Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the
chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"
(36) Jesus answered, "My kingdom is
not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants
would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but
now My kingdom is not from here."
Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"
Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a
king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come
into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone
who is of the truth hears My voice."
(38) Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them,
"I find no fault in Him at all.
Lest they should be defiled
One of the most ironic observations in all of Scripture is made
by the apostle John.
The Jewish leaders plotted to kill an innocent man, condemned him in
2 illegal trials by night, and paid false witnesses to bring untrue
charges against Him.
But now, in order to avoid ceremonial uncleanness, they would not
enter the Roman Praetorium!
How true were the words of Jesus in
|Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
|For you pay tithe of mint
and anise and cumin
|and have neglected the weightier
matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith
|These you ought to have done,
without leaving the others undone
|Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
|Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and
swallow a camel!
|For you cleanse the outside of the cup
|but inside they are full of extortion
|First cleanse the inside of the
cup and dish
|That the outside of them
may be clean also
"Suffered under Pontius Pilate" - so, in every creed of Christendom, is the
unhappy name of the Roman Procurator handed down to eternal execration.
Yet the object of introducing that name was not to point a moral,
but to fix an epoch.
In point of fact, of all the civil and ecclesiastical
rulers before whom Jesus was brought to judgment, Pilate was the least
guilty of malice and hatred.
He was the most anxious, if not to spare His
agony, at least to save His life.
What manner of man was this in whose hands were placed, by power from
above, the final destinies of the Savior's life? Of his origin, and of his
antecedents before A.D. 26, when he became the 6th Procurator of
little is known.
||In rank he belonged to the "ordo equester," (equestrian).
||He owed his appointment to the
influence of Sejanus (who was extremely
anti-Jewish, and who was, by this time, a condemned traitor). Sejanus had been
along, with his entire family, strangled and thrown down the "stairs of
mourning" into the Tiber River - and this triggered an imperial purge
throughout Roman politics that caused many to share the fate of Sejanus.
And Pontius Pilate lived in that shadow.
||His name "Pontius"
seems to point to a Samnite extraction.
||His cognomen "Pilatus"
(Javelin) pointed to a warlike ancestry.
The Judgment Hall
The "Praetorium" - the house where Pilate and his troops were lodged.
was so named from being the dwelling-place of the "praetor," or chief of
It was also the place where he held his court.
At Jerusalem Pilate occupied one of the two gorgeous palaces that had been
erected there by the lavish architectural extravagance of the first Herod.
It was situated in the
Upper City to the southwest of the Temple Hill, and
like the similar building at Caesarea, having passed from the use of the
provincial king to that of the Roman governor, was called Herod's
It was one of those luxurious abodes, "surpassing all description," which
were in accordance with the tendencies of the age, and of which Josephus
dwells with ecstasies of admiration.
A magnificent abode for a mere Roman governor! And yet the furious
fanaticism of the populace at Jerusalem made it a house so little
desirable, that neither Pilate nor his predecessors seem to have cared to
|Between its colossal wings of white
marble - called respectively Caesareum and Agrippeum, in the usual spirit
of Herodian flattery to the Imperial house - was an open space commanding a
noble view of Jerusalem, adorned with sculptured porticos and columns of
many-colored marble, paved with rich mosaics, varied with fountains and
reservoirs, and green promenades which furnished a delightful asylum to
flocks of doves.
|Externally it was a mass of lofty walls, and towers, and gleaming roofs,
large enough to accommodate a hundred guests, were adorned with gorgeous
furniture and vessels of gold and silver.
luxuries for more than the few weeks in the year they were required to be
there because of the crowds of visiting pilgrims.
In that kingly palace - such as in His days of freedom
Jesus had never trod
- began, in three distinct acts, the
fourth stage of that agitating scene which preceded the final agonies of
His judge was in His favor, and (however feeble the attempt may appear) he
did strive to deliver Him.
|It was unlike the idle inquisition of Annas
|It was unlike the extorted confession of Caiaphas
|It was unlike the illegal decision of the Sanhedrin
This last trial is full of passion and movement - it involves:
||A three fold change of scene (Pilate,
||A threefold accusation
||A threefold acquittal by the Romans
||A threefold rejection by the Jews
||A threefold warning to Pilate
||A threefold effort by Pilate to set Jesus free
What accusation do you bring against this man?
Pilate looked down from his dais.
Jesus was stationed directly in front of
the tribunal, with members of the Sanhedrin flanking him on both sides.
Ranging off to Pilate's right were the familiar faces of Annas, Caiaphas, Ananias, Zadok, Helcias, Eleazar, and Johathan. He guessed they would
constitute the chief accusers if, as they thought unlikely, it came to a
formal trial. Beyond the semicircle of these principals (including an
array of the leading Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, elders, and the temple
guard), ranged the vast and growing mass of spectators.
But only one face in this rising lake of humanity intrigued Pilate.
scrutinized the figure immediately in front of him and was a trifle
disappointed. In the past months he had heard so many reports about the
mysterious powers of Jesus that the man was becoming larger than life in
his imagination, and yet here he was, bound, unkempt, evidently powerless.
By this time the crowd had hushed to hear the governor's first statement.
Turning to the chief priests on his right, he asked in common Hellenistic
Greek, "What charge do you bring against this man?" The Jewish leaders
were thunderstruck, for this was the opening formula of a Roman trial, the
"interrogatio." They had expected only a license to kill, and to kill, not
by a Jewish method, but by one that they regarded as more horrible and
accursed. But Pilate was not going to endorse the action of the Sanhedrin;
instead, he was reopening the case and beginning his own judicial hearing!
"If he were not a criminal, we would not have brought him before you," they replied defiantly.
Stung by the insolent reply, Pilate retorted, "Very well, then, take him
out of this court and judge him according to your own law."
"That is not possible according to your law," said the Jews. "We are not
allowed to put anyone to death."
Note: - the date for the withdrawal of the right of capital punishment from
the Sanhedrin of 30 A.D. need not be considered precise, since the
"Jus gladii" may have been suspended when Judea became a Roman province rather
than first under Pilate's administration. Nevertheless, a literal reading
of the sources would indeed point to 30 A.D., which would indicate that
Pilate himself had been the one to remove this right from the Jews.
A trace of a smile warped Pilate's lips.
Were it not for the mass of observers and his own problems in Rome, he would have ended the hearing
then and there! Again he asked, "What charge do you bring against this
This time several of the chief priests prepared to act as the principal "accusatores" or prosecutors.
They presented a formal bill of indictment that opened the
case against Jesus:
|"We find this man guilty of:
||Subverting our nation
||Forbidding the payment of tribute to Tiberius Caesar
||Claiming that he is Messiah - a King."
It was a triple accusation, magnificently tailored to alarm a Roman
prefect, since the charges were thoroughly political. Of the religious
grounds on which the Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus there was not a word, since
the Judean authorities knew that Pilate would not likely put a man to
death for the purely theological offense of blasphemy.
He answered him not one word
When the prosecution rested its case, Pilate turned again to Jesus, who had
remained silent the whole time, and asked, "Have you
NOTHING to say in
your defense? Don't you hear all this evidence against you?"
remained silent. He supplied no defense, not even to a single charge.
Pilate was astonished at this conduct. In
his 7 years on the provincial bench, this had never happened.
defendants at his bar usually could hardly wait to launch their
counterattacks on the prosecution, and even the obviously guilty at least
pleaded some mitigating circumstance and sought leniency.
But Jesus was
making no defense.
And no advocate was pleading in his behalf.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth. (NKJV)
|(7) And as soon as he knew
that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod,
who was also in Jerusalem at that time. (8) Now when
Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a
long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him,
and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. (9) Then
he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.10
And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused
Him. (11) Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him
with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and
sent Him back to Pilate. (12) That very day Pilate and
Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been
at enmity with each other.
He sent Him to Herod
Tetrarch of Galilee, and son of
Herod the Great.
It may have gone something like this:
|"But Prefect, surely this isn't necessary. The crimes committed by
Hannosri took place also in Judea. You would certainly have the legal right -"
|"Thank you, noble Pontiff, but I need not be schooled on points of Roman
law. I believe it most appropriate to bind the defendant over to his own
tetrarch, particularly because your charges have religious implications within Jewish law that Herod Antipas
could adjudicate far better than I."
Pilate then announced officially:
|"This court takes no action in the case of Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshu
This tribunal Is adjourned."
Pilate stood up from his curule chair, walked off the dais, and entered
his palace with a sense of victory.
He was enormously pleased with
himself. The change of venue rid him of a sticky case involving a probably
innocent man whom it would have been wrong to convict, and yet dangerous
to acquit, in view of the Sanhedrin's
attitude. It was also a bit of diplomacy toward Herod Antipas, who could
not fail to recognize this as an olive branch in their perennial feud.
A gorgeous robe
The word is "lampran," literally "bright" or "brilliant."
It was most likely a white robe.
|(15) Now at the feast the
governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner
whom they wished. (16) And at that time they had a
notorious prisoner called Barabbas. (17) Therefore,
when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you
want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called
Christ?" (18) For he knew that they had handed
Him over because of envy.
(19) While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife
sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I
have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."
(20) But the chief priests and elders persuaded the
multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.
(21) The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the
two do you want me to release to you?"
They said, "Barabbas!"
(22) Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus
who is called Christ?"
They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!"
|(23) Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?"
But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!"
|(24) When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but
rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his
hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of
this just Person. You see to it."
(25) And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on
us and on our children."
(26) Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had
scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
(27) Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the
Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. (28)
And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. (29)
When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head,
and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him
and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (30)
Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the
|(31) And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him,
put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.
|(6) Now at the feast
he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they
requested. (7) And there was one named Barabbas, who
was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in
the rebellion. (8) Then the multitude, crying aloud,
began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.
(9) But Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to
release to you the King of the Jews?" (10) For he knew
that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
(11) But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he
should rather release Barabbas to them. (12) Pilate
answered and said to them again, "What then do you want me to do
with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?"
(13) So they cried out again, "Crucify Him!"
|(14) Then Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has He done?"
But they cried out all the more, "Crucify Him!"
|(15) So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released
Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged
Him, to be crucified.
(16) Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called
Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison.
(17) And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a
crown of thorns, put it on His head, (18) and began to
salute Him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (19) Then they
struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the
knee, they worshiped Him.
| (20) And
when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His
own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.
Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the
rulers, and the people, (14) said to them, "You have
brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And
indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no
fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;
(15) no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and
indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.
|(16) I will therefore
chastise Him and release Him" (17) (for it was necessary for
him to release one to them at the feast).
(18) And they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this
Man, and release to us Barabbas" -- (19) who had been
thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and
(20) Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again
called out to them. (21) But they shouted, saying,
"Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
|(22) Then he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil
has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will
therefore chastise Him and let Him go."
(23) But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices
that He be crucified.
| And the voices of these men
and of the chief priests prevailed. (24) So Pilate gave sentence that
it should be as they requested. (25) And he released
to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had
been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
|(39) "But you have a custom
that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you
therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
(40) Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but
Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.
|(19:1) So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. (2)
And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head,
and they put on Him a purple robe. (3) Then they said,
"Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands.
(4) Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I
am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault
(5) Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the
purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!"
(6) Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw
Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no
fault in Him."
(7) The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to
our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."
(8) Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the
more afraid, (9) and went again into the Praetorium,
and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no
(10) Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me?
Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to
(11) Jesus answered, "You could have
no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from
above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater
(12) From then on Pilate sought to release Him,
|but the Jews
cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's
friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."
(13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought
Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is
called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. (14) Now
it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth
hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
(15) But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him!
Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"
| 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified.
|Then they took Jesus
and led Him away.
And now, as Jesus stood once more before the perplexed Governor, began the
sixth, the last, the most agitating and agonizing phase of this terrible
Now came the golden opportunity for him to vindicate the
grandeur of his country's imperial justice, but at that point he wavered
and temporized. The dread of another insurrection haunted him like a
nightmare. After a full and fair inquiry he had found their prisoner
absolutely guiltless; he had sent Him to Herod; and
HEROD ALSO had come to
the conclusion that Jesus had committed no crime that deserved death. But
he was willing to go halfway - he would have Jesus publicly scourged, and
then let Him go.
The governor was accustomed...to release a prisoner
It is not known whether the custom here mentioned was of Jewish or of Gentile origin.
According to the Jewish scholar Maimonides, the Jews were in
the habit of punishing criminals at the three great feasts,
because there would then be a great multitude of the people to witness the
punishment than at other times.
If the custom were of Gentile origin, as many suppose, it is then a
question whether it was a Syrian or a Roman custom.
Grotius supposed that
the Romans introduced it in order to gain the good will of the Jews.
is, however, no historic mention of the practice aside from what we find
in the Gospels.
Bar-Abbas - "son of a (possibly distinguished) father;" perhaps
- "son of a rabbi."
The reading "Jesus Bar-Abbas" is as old as Origen, and
is highly possible.
"Whom do you want me to release?" Pilate asked, "Jesus Bar-Abbas or Jesus
Momentarily, the throng seemed to hold its breath.
controversial Jesus he had pitted one who was guilty beyond all
controversy, a notorious public enemy. Pilate had calculated that the
present hatred of Jesus
would be far outbalanced by public dread at having a murdering
insurrectionist turned loose in Jerusalem. Also, the people would never
want to forego the Bar-Abbas show trial.
A great, almost unified cry arose, "BAR-ABBAS! BAR-ABBAS!"
And the crowd
took up the name of the public enemy as a near war chant.
Loathing the innocent, they loved the guilty, and claimed
grace on behalf, not of Jesus of
Nazareth, but of a man who, in the fearful irony of circumstance, was also
called Jesus - who not only WAS what they
FALSELY said of Christ, but
also a robber and a murderer.
It was fitting that,
|They who preferred an abject Sadducee to their true
|And they who preferred an incestuous Idumaean to their Lord and King
|Should deliberately prefer a murderer to their
The Gospel of John records three major conversations held between Jesus
and an individual person who was being confronted with the truth and the
claims of the gospel.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible
Publishers. All rights reserved.)
||Nicodemus was a religious man who
sought Jesus in order to pursue his spiritual questions.
||The Samaritan woman
||The Samaritan woman in John 4 was
neither religious nor a skeptic but rather one who represented
worldliness in its most common form. Until she met Jesus, she was
indifferent to the spiritual, living a life of moral
||Pilate, however, is indicative of the
modern secularist. Hardened to that which would speak to his soul,
he was neither open nor inquisitive about the gospel.
The greater sin
The sin of the Jewish leaders was greater than the sin of Pilate
because, at the very least,
When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night, he said (John 3:2): "Rabbi,
they knew He was from God!
for no one can do these signs that You do
unless God is with him."
we know that
You are a teacher come from God;
Pilate sought to release Him
In all fairness to Pilate, it must be
noticed that he was the only one in all of Jerusalem that spoke in
defense of Jesus, and the only one who made any effort at all to
Where were the 12?
Where were the 70?
Where were the women who wept in gratitude as they washed His feet?
Where was Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead?
Where was Mary and Martha, two of His closest friends?
Where was Nicodemus?
Where were all those who had been healed, both physically and spiritually?
Where were those who had pledged their undying faith and allegiance to
It was Pilate alone who called Him
It was Pilate alone who called Him King!
A purple robe
||It was the custom of the Jewish nobility to wear
such white robes
||The nobility among the Romans wore purple for the
Both of them followed the custom of their own country, when, by way of
mocking Jesus as a king, they clothed Him in robes of state.
He took water, and washed his hands
It was a custom among the Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins,
to wash the hands in token of innocence, and to show that they were
pure from any imputed guilt. In case of an undiscovered murder,
the elders of that city which was nearest to the place where the
dead body was found, were required by the law, Deut 21:1-10,
to wash their hands over the victim which was offered to expiate the
crime, and thus make public protestation of their own innocence.
David says, "I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about
Your altar, O LORD" Psalm 26:6.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by
However, we are all guilty of the blood of
and only the blood of Jesus can wash away that guilt!
It was customary among the Romans to scourge a condemned criminal before
he was put to death.
Scourging among the Romans was a more severe
among the Jews.
The Roman scourge was made of cords or thongs of leather, and
especially of ox-hide.
There was one sort
with which slaves were beaten, the use of which was particularly dreadful. It was knotted with bones, or heavy, indented circles of bronze. Sometimes the thongs, two or three in number, terminated in hooks. Such an
instrument of torture was called "a scorpion."
There was no legal limit to the number of blows, as among the Jews; but
the unfortunate culprit, bound to a low pillar, so that his back was bent
and might more readily receive the heavy strokes, was beaten with
severity, and death was sometimes the result of this cruel punishment.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. (NKJV)
1 Peter 2:25
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having
died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you
were healed. (NKJV)
Pilate had received, probably before ever coming to Judea, a gift from
Tiberius himself - it was a gold ring
engraved with the image of Tiberius, signifying that Pilate was now
welcomed into the inner circle of "amici
Caesaris" or Caesar's Friends, an elite fraternity open only to senators
and equestrians high in imperial service.
Charges Brought Against Jesus
||Matthew 26:59,60; Mark 14:55
||By the Chief Priests, Scribes &
|By the False Witnesses
||That He said He would destroy the
||Even in this charge they did not agree
in their witness, nor was the Charge a true one
Reason For Sentence Of Death By The Jews
||Matthew 26:64-66; Mark 14:60-64
||All their cunning and
plotting gained them nothing
|They had only what they did by the words of
His own mouth
|The only words at this portion of the trial
that were true
Charges Brought Against Jesus Before Pilate
||Perverting the nation
||Forbidding paying tribute
||(Refusal to pay Taxes)
||Luke 23 :2
||Claiming to be a King
The first two were totally untrue, and the third was a half/truth.
Himself said, in answer to all three: "My kingdom is not of this
world." (John 18:36)
Judgments In Favor Of Jesus By Pilate
|I FIND NO FAULT (crime)
IN HIM AT ALL
||I HAVE FOUND NO FAULT IN THIS MAN
||NEITHER DID HEROD
||NOTHING DESERVING OF
DEATH HAS BEEN DONE BY HIM
||HE KNEW THAT FOR ENVY
THE CHIEF PRIEST HAD DELIVERED HIM
||HE CALLED JESUS A JUST
||I FIND NO FAULT IN HIM
||I FIND NO FAULT IN HIM
||PILATE SOUGHT TO
(End of Lesson Twenty Three)