Jesus' Life and Teaching: Jesus Is Tried, Denied, and Crucified
Christopher D. Hudson
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
For Jesus, this begins a long night of illegal trials.
The high priest, the chief priests, and Israel’s elders and teachers of the law—who normally don’t agree on much of anything—unite wholeheartedly in their opposition to Jesus. Even though the witnesses testifying against Jesus give inconsistent and conflicting testimony, the leaders decide Jesus is guilty of blasphemy and deserves to die.
Meanwhile, Peter faces his own ordeal. Despite his earlier pledge of absolute commitment to the Lord (even expressing a willingness to die for him), Peter denies three times having any involvement with Jesus or even knowing him.
Since the religious leaders lack legal authority to carry out an execution, they seek approval from the Roman government. The Roman governor of that region, Pontius Pilate, rejects their case for executing Jesus. When they persist, Pilate sends Jesus to King Herod Antipas. Herod welcomes the opportunity to interview Jesus—and maybe see a miracle. When Jesus won’t answer questions, Herod and his soldiers mock Jesus and send him back to Pilate. Pilate wants to free Jesus, but when a mob forms and threatens to riot, the Roman governor reluctantly sentences Christ to death.
The soldiers take Jesus away, strip him, mock him, beat and flog him. When they grow weary of ridiculing him, they crucify him between two common criminals. Some six gruesome hours later, Jesus is dead.