In the morning, on Friday of the Passion Week, Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod Antipas (Matt 27:1-30; Mark 15:1-19; Luke 22:66-23:25; John 18:28-19:16). Then probably around 9:00am, Jesus was taken to the cross and died in the afternoon later that day (Matt 27:31-60; Mark 15:20-46; Luke 23:26-54; John 19:16-42).
Trials of Jesus
Pontius Pilate was the 5th governor of Judea and appointed by Emperor Tiberius in A.D. 26. He held the post until A.D. 37. Unlike some of the other trials Jesus participated in, Pilate had a measurable amount of respect for Jesus.
Pilate wanted to know why Jesus has been brought to Him. He believed that Jesus’ needed to appear before a Jewish court and receive a Jewish punishment. But the crowds wanted capital punishment, which was forbidden by the Mishnah during the Passover festival.
Not wanting to needlessly anger the crow any more, Pilate began interrogating Jesus by asking Him if He was King of the Jews. Since Pilate knew Jesus wasn’t a political king, Jesus sought to explain what type of King He is. He shared with Pilate He has no connection with the world. There were and are many earthly kings and Jesus wasn’t one of them. Pilate was right that He saw nothing in Jesus making Him look like a political ruler or king trying to overthrow Rome, but he was wrong in failing to see the real kingdom Jesus was speaking of.
Pilate realized he wasn’t going to get very far in dialoguing with Jesus so he proclaimed his innocence. With an innocent Jesus being brought to his consideration, Pilate essentially has 2 options.
- Pilate can save his own soul. He could do the right thing. He could have stood by his testimony of Jesus’ innocence, released Him, endured the likely rebellion of the Jews and possibly endured the criticism of Tiberius Caesar – the Emperor. And by doing the right thing, he would also receive the praise of Jesus’ disciples.
- Or Pilate could save his own neck. In other words, he could keep his relationship with the Emperor intact, give in to the wishes of the Jews and have Jesus crucified. He could crucify the innocent Jesus, which would, no doubt, give him a healthier relationship with the people he governed and the Emperor would be pleased to see that authority given more respect, as it would be a direct demonstration of how Rome was viewed in the world.
At this point Pilate tried to send Jesus to Herod. He sent Him to Herod because Herod oversaw the region of Galilee, which was where Jesus was from. During this brief trial, Jesus encounters further mocking and more beating in front of Herod and then He was sent back to Pilate.
The arrangement Pilate made with the Jewish crowd was to release a prisoner in exchange of for crucifixion with Jesus. The crowd chose the rebellious thief Barabbas.
Jesus was taken from Pilate, scourged, anointed with a crown of thorns, given a purple robe (mocking His so-called royalty), and was sent off to be crucified.
Crucifixion of Jesus
Jesus was placed on a cross between two other criminals.
Crucifixions were reserved only for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries and the vilest of criminals. Romans were never crucified, because they saw it as too cruel of a punishment for their own people. It was designed to maximize the amount of physically torture for as long as possible. And depending on the form of scourging you received, a prisoner could last anywhere from 3 hours to 3 days on the cross.
On the cross and before He died, Jesus made a series of statements. First, He asked the Father why He was forsaken, expressing the level of suffering He had experienced thus far.
Second, He asked for the Father to forgive His persecutors, expressing His compassion and love for those who were hating Him,
Third, He told the thief on the cross that he would be with Him in Paradise, expressing His gifting of salvation even to a man who exercised faith in his final hours.
Fourth, He presented his mother to the Apostle John, expressing His desire for John to care for His mother when He left this earth.
Fifth, He said he was thirsty, expressing His humanity.
Sixth, He said it was finished, expressing the finality of what the cross atoned for.
Seventh, and finally, He committed His Spirit to the Father, expressed the finality of his life.
Following his death, His body was taken to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.