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1. To acquaint student with the significant events of the trial and crucifixion.
2. To describe some of the illegalities of the trials.
3. To examine the significance of Christ's deaths

Content of Lecture

I. The Trial (Mark 14:53-15:41)

A. There were six parts to Jesus' trial, three stages in a religious court and three stages before a Roman count Jesus was tried before Annas, the former high priest, Caiaphas, the current high priest, and the Sanhedrin. He was charged in these "ecclesiastical" trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah (14:60-64). It was at this time before dawn that Peter denied even knowing Jesus and left the courtyard a shattered men. (DQ2)

B. The trials before Jewish authorities - The religious trials of Jesus showed the degree to which the Jewish leaders hated Him because they carelessly disregarded many of their own laws. There were several illegalities involved in these trials from the perspective of Jewish law No trial was to be held during feast time. Each member of the court was to vote individually to convict or acquit; Jesus was convicted by acclamation If the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out; only a few hours passed before Jesus was placed on the cross. The Jews had no authority to execute anyone. No trial was to be held at night; this trial was held before dawn. The accused was to be given counsel or representation; Jesus had none. The accused was not to be asked self-incriminating questions; Jesus was asked if He was the Christ. (DQ3)

C. Trials before Roman Authorities -

1. Jesus' first trial before Pilate - Jesus was beaten and taken to Pilate, the Roman ruler of Jerusalem. This began the civil trials of Christ. The charges brought against Him were very different from the charges in His religious trials. He was charged with inciting people to riot, forbidding the people to pay their taxes, and claiming to be King. Pilate found no reason to kill Jesus. Pilate, not wanting to have a riot on his hands and not wanting to kill an innocent man, tried to find a way out of the mess by sending Jesus to Herod (Luke 23).

2. Jesus before Antipas - As the secular ruler over Galilee, Jesus was under the authority of Antipas since he was from Nazareth. Herod had Jesus ridiculed but, wanting to avoid the political liability, sent Jesus back to Pilate.

3. Jesus' Last Trial Before Pilate - Pilate tried to appease the animosity of the Jews by having Jesus scourged. The Roman scourge is a terrible whipping. The Jews believed forty Lashes would kill a man, so they would only strike him thirty-nine times. The Romans only limited their scourges to the stamina of the one wielding the whip and the survival of the man receiving the lashes.

In a final effort to have Jesus released Pilate offered to let a prisoner go to indicate Rome's goodwill toward the Jews during the Passover season. He offered them a choice between Jesus and Barrabas, a known murderer and robber. They chose to release Barrabas.

II. Friday - The Crucifixion

A. Jesus was taken to Golgotha (in Hebrew, "place of the skull"; Latin, "Calvary") and hung on the cross about 9 a m. Death by crucifixion usually came in two or three days as the result of exposure (hypothermia) or asphyxiation. Jesus would be dead by 3 p.m., only six hours. His condition by the time he was placed on the cross ensured a quick death. Several Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled at the cross (Psalm 22).

Traditional scholarship maintains that Jesus was crucifixion on Friday. Others insist on Thursday because it allows for a more literal understanding of the passage which states that Jesus would be in the tomb for three days.

John's Gospel, perhaps emphasizing the role of Jesus as God's sacrificial Lamb implies that Jesus was crucified at the same time the Passover lamb was slain on Thursday.

B. John, if he was the beloved disciple (John 19:26), would be the only apostle mentioned as being present at the crucifixion. Jesus gave him the responsibility of caring for Mary, His mother. Most of the statements Jesus made from the cross dealt with the needs of others and not His own.

C. From noon to 3 p.m., Darkess came over the land. Matthew's account even says that at the moment of Jesus' death there were earthquakes, tombs were opened, and dead people walked the streets of Jerusalem. The Temple veil was torn in two from top to bottom. (DQ5) Christianity makes note of this as being an indication that God was now accessible to all and no priest was necessary for one seeing God. Direct access was now available because of the cross. The individual seeker could act as ho own priest.

III. The Burial (Mark 15:4247)

A body on the cross would have desecrated the Passover so the Jewish religious leaders went to Pilate, demanding that prisoners be dead by 6 p.m. The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves hanging beside Him to hasten their deaths. Jesus had already died, but to make sure one of the Roman guards pierced His side. When Jesus' death was verified, Joseph of Arimathea requested Jesus' body in order to bury it properly. Nicodemuus accompanied Joseph according to John 19:39. Joseph used his own tomb to accommodate Jesus' body.


1. Read Hester, Chapter 10 or Gundry, pp. 193-199

2. Read Matthew 28 and Luke 24


TN1 To get a complete picture of the trials, read Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 18-19.



DQ2 How could a man who walked with Jesus for three years deny Him in His time of need?

DQ3 Why were Jewish authorities so intent upon having Jesus condemned? When Jesus was accused before Pilate, the charge said He claimed to be King. Was it significant that Pilate was never asked to consider the original Jewish charge that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy?

DQ4 Why would the crowd prefer to have Barrabas released rather than Jesus? Can you explain why Pilate allowed Jesus to be executed when he had determined Christ's innocence? Should Pilate have taken a firmer hand in this situation and not allowed the religious leaders to influence him so greatly?

DQ5 What is the significance of the veil in the Temple being torn from top to bottom?

DQ6 Why does Christianity place such great emphasis upon Jesus' death? Why is Jesus described by John the Baptist as the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29)


Updated Thursday, February 24, 2000

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