Friday, AD33: Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion


After Jesus had finished praying in the garden of Gethsemene a great crowd came to arrest Him. In order to arrest Him, He had to be identified. Judas, a follower of Jesus betrayed him with a kiss and in doing so identified the one who was to be arrested. This would have taken place in the very early hours of Friday morning, while it was still dark and the speedy trial in the palace of Caiaphas would arrive at their predetermined conclusion before the people of the city woke.

Jesus put Himself forward as the one to be arrested, protecting His sheep with the words “I am He”. The Soldiers fall to the ground but Jesus tells them to go ahead with arresting Him. None of this takes Jesus by surprise and we see in the accounts of his arrest that he is the one who is in control. Even when Peter cut off Malchus’s ear, Jesus reaffirms that He will drink the cup the Father has given Him. Those who came to arrest Jesus would find that the use of force will be completely unnecessary, despite them having brought clubs as if they were arresting a robber.

The Jewish Trial of Jesus

When Jesus is brought to Annas it’s noted by John that the priesthood is shared (Luke 3:2). Caiaphas is the high Priest but Annas exercise a great deal of power. Jesus knows that his accusers are not at all concerned with what is true and Jesus refusal to answer is a means of frustration for Annas. When Jesus is questioned by Caiaphas (Matt 26:57, 59-68) asking Jesus to answer if He is the living God, if He is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus simply responds with the words “You have said so”. One of the main accusations they have against Jesus is in regards to what He spoke concerning destroying the Temple and raising it up again in three days. While Jesus was speaking about His life and resurrection, He also remains silent (Isa 53:7). With the outcome having been determined before the trial began, like a sheep before his shearers, Jesus remains silent. With everything that Jesus has spoken and all that which he did not, Caiaphas tears his robes and in doing so breaks the law of God, as the Son of God is on trial for Being who He is.

Peter’s denial

There is no doubt that the denial of Jesus affected Peter greatly. As a follower of Jesus, he walked on water, the first to call Jesus the Christ. He told Jesus that he would never leave Him and now he denies knowing Jesus three times, Just as Jesus said.

Trial before Pilate

The trial of Jesus is a mismatch of events; Pilate clearly doesn’t know what to do with an innocent man who the crowd want to crucify. Pilate knows that at this time a person is allowed to be released from imprisonment, so he brings forth Barabbas, which is interesting because Barabbas means “son of the father”. Like Simon bar Jonah – Simon son of Jonah. So as Pilate brings forth Jesus and Barabbas, the crowd are faced with two men, one of which they can ask to be released – so who would they choose? Will it be Barabbas, son-of-the-father small f, or Jesus Son of the Father big F – who will go free? Will it be God the son, the son of God the father – or Barabbas? The crowd shout out, give us Barabbas and crucify Jesus.

Pilate can find no wrong in Jesus –  This is repeated several times, I find no wrong in Jesus, I find no wrong in him, I find no wrong in him – so why not let him go? Pilate’s wife has a dream – telling her to have nothing to do with this innocent man, she mentions this to her husband but he takes no notice.

I don’t read a lot of poetry – but Myers and Masefield are great, John Masefield captures this moment of Pilate not listening to his wife amazingly in his poem “Good Friday” this is what he says – Pilate speaking to his wife – “now, listen, wife: whatever dream befalls, never again send word to me in court to interrupt a case. The Jews made sport of what you dreamed and what you bade me fear about this Jesus man. The law is clear. I must apply them, asking nothing more than the proved truth”

Pilate, seeing that he was getting nowhere with the Jews, took a bowl of water and washed his hands in front of the crowd – saying that he was innocent of this man’s blood. Pilate washes his hands of Jesus with the idea that all of this will be over and forgotten within a week.

Remembering the creed

I believe in God the Father, almighty, maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried – all over and forgotten with within a week – I don’t think so.

Golgotha and the crucifixion of Jesus

The Roman soldiers recognizing that Jesus is too weak to carry the cross, after His awful beatings which caused Him to lose so much blood, forced a man called Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross. The crown of thorns has already been placed on the head of Jesus in order to mock Him, but we see the king who rode into Jerusalem now on His way to be crucified.

The crucifixion of Jesus took place between two robbers and in this moment Jesus is numbered with His transgressors (Isaiah 53). Above Jesus, fixed to the cross was a sign which read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”. The Chief priests want it to read “This man said, I am the King of the Jews”, but Pilate having already given the people what they want will not do this as well.

The Cry of Jesus

From the cross Jesus spoke few words, He asks the Father to forgive the people for they know not what they do, He tells one of the robbers, that today he will be with Jesus in paradise, looking at John, He tells him to behold your mother. He cries “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani” that is “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, “I thirst”, “It is finished” and “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit”. A solider takes a spear and pierces Jesus’ side and the flow of blood and water came forth and Jesus is left without His legs being broken (Ps 34:20) and in proclaiming that this man is truly the Son of God (Zech 12:10) darkness soon after covers the land for approximately six hours.

The Burial of Jesus

Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Joseph took the body and wrapped Jesus in clean linen cloths and laid in Him a new tomb and a great stone was rolled in front of the entrance.

Video by Peter Crockett

By Daniel Ralph

Recent Posts