Judged. Condemned. Mocked. Scourged. Sentenced.

Journey through Scripture

Jesus predicted His death three times. It was an accurate summary of what was to come.

‘We are going up to Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.’
Mark 10:33-34 NIVUK

Jesus knew what was coming and told his followers what to expect. He always included the hopeful promise of His resurrection in each of these predictions, too.

Below is a diagram illustrating the sequence of events from The Last Supper to Golgotha. Be sure to read the full scripture references of the two trials here >>.

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The Jewish authorities judged Jesus in an illegal trial with trumped-up charges. Caiaphas asked Jesus directly if He was the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One (God). Jesus answered directly in the affirmative with an “I am” statement followed by an allusion to Daniel 7:13, where Daniel prophesied the coming Ruler and Judge of all the earth at the end of the age. Jesus applied this reference to Himself. Caiaphas tore His garments and declared Jesus’ answer was blasphemy. All the Sanhedrin present sentenced Jesus to death.

Jesus was then dragged before Pilate to be judged according to Roman law. Pilate declared Jesus innocent of the Jewish authorities’ accusations. Pilate was convinced Jesus was innocent and saw through the accusations of the Jews. He tried several ways to avoid sentencing Jesus. The Jewish authorities and the crowds repeatedly called for Jesus’ blood. They claimed to have no king but Caesar and threatened Pilate with Rome’s disapproval if he did not sentence Jesus to death. Pilate sat on the stone judgment seat, conceded to their demands and handed Jesus over to be crucified.

From Gethsemane to Golgotha: A sequence of events >>

A deeper look at Scripture

Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures, in the prophets and Psalms, that He was God’s suffering servant who was wrongly judged, mistreated, and sentenced to death.

Most importantly, the religious and civil trial of Jesus gives us a vivid, detailed eyewitness account of the blind rejection of Jesus and His cruel treatment by the highest religious authorities in Israel and by the dominant earthly power at the time, Rome. It is a very ugly picture on all accounts.

Firstly, the violent hatred, malice and fear of the High Priest and Jewish authorities, who represented the nation of Israel, were directed at Jesus, and He was publicly rejected as the Messiah. The Jewish crowds endorsed this rejection by their murderous call for Jesus’ blood and their choice of Barrabas over Jesus to be freed.

Secondly, Pilate, as legal representative of the greatest Gentile power at the time, Rome, was guilty of Jesus’ death through his unethical, unjust and cowardly judgement of an innocent man. His soldiers also seized the opportunity to humiliate Jesus and treat Him with vicious brutality.

Can we lay the blame for Jesus’ death on these two parties?

Certainly not! The guilt for the death of our Lord Jesus can never be laid on any one nation, race, people, or individual. Sin was the cause of His death and all humankind, Jews and Gentiles, including you and me, have inherited the infection of sin and have come under its curse. Jews and Gentiles share in the guilt of Jesus’ death, but what is far more important is that God the Father delivered Jesus to death according to His set plan and foreknowledge so that both Jews and Gentiles can share equally in the fruits of redemption.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 
John 3:16 NIVUK

How does this apply to me?

  • Pilate washed his hands of the responsibility of sentencing Jesus to death.
    In what ways have you washed your hands of responsibility in the face of injustice, believing there was nothing you could do? Or preferred to keep silent to avoid trouble for yourself? What is the Christian response to injustice meant to be when we observe it in our own context?
  • Pilate gave in to the pressure from the Pharisees. He wanted to gain their favour because of his political ambitions and fear of Rome.
    Have you given in to the wrong peer pressure to gain favour or acceptance? How can you strengthen yourself against peer pressure and ensure that you stand for Jesus publicly and privately?
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