Christian Resource Centre


Published / updated: 18 March 2009 | Author: Dele Oke

The Arrest, trial and Crucifixion

The arrest

Jesus led his disciples to the Mount of Olives called Gethsemane. There he pours out his heart burden to God, while the disciples, unaware of the pending events to unfold slumber nearby (Matthew 26:36; Mark 14:32, Mark 14: 32-42, Luke 22: 39-46, Matthew 26:36-46).

Why did Jesus not stay with all the disciples at this point, tell them directly about his soon arrest, and vitalise their weary bodies into serious prayer?

Sometimes burdens cannot be shared. It takes you alone with God. Others cannot always understand the things God has spoken to your heart. If you share it with them they will only quench it out of ignorance. If Jesus had taken the steps I had earlier proposed the disciples almost certainly would have become a greater hindrance to his progress to the cross. (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31-33).

Things moved very quickly after this. The mob arrived to arrest Jesus. Judas was their guide. He came not to identify Jesus for they already knew what he looked like. His role was probably to locate where Jesus would be. He was part of the inner crowd. In the enemy's hands Judas was a crucial tool - a type of laser-guided weapon (Matthew 26:48-49; Mark 14:44-45, Luke 22:47-48, Mark 14:49).

The same weapon is still used today. Churches, ministries and organisations have split because of the activities of a few undiscerning brethren providing inroads for the enemy. In some cases this could even be the leader of the group.

To their credit, the disciples put up resistance to the arrest. Futile action in light of the fact that this was to have been. The power of darkness was having its hour ((Luke 22:50; John 18:10, Matthew 26:54; Mark 14:49; John 18:9Luke 22:53).

The trial

Jesus is then led away. His trial is to start in the night. Talk about the power of darkness. Right from the moment Judas walked out into the night, darkness has been operating (Matthew 26:57; Mark 14:53; Luke 22:54; John 18:13-14, John 13:30).

Peter followed timidly behind the mob taking Jesus away. Don't look down on Peter though. Most of us are timidly following behind Jesus today - too shy to identify with him in public (Matthew 26:58; Mark 14:54; Luke 22:55; John 18:15).

A scrutiny of the four gospels reveals that the sequence of Jesus trial went something like:

A scrutiny of the four gospels reveals that the sequence of Jesus trial went something like:

1. Annas, an ex-high priest and influential figure, subjects Jesus to interrogation (John 18: 19-23).

2. Annas then passes Jesus over to Caiaphas, the current ruling high priest. Caiaphas subjects Jesus to further interrogation. Jesus never denies who he is but rather he confirms it (Matthew 26:59-66; Mark 14:55-64; John 18:24).

3. Meanwhile Peter is denying him outside. What a contrast. Thank God we have a High Priest who is capable and able to defend us. If Jesus could stand up before his intended executors for us, we should have abundant confidence that he now stands up for us before our Father in heaven (Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22: 56-62; John 18:25-27, Hebrews 4: 14-16).

4. Jesus is beaten and mocked by his captors (Matthew 26:67-68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-65) and by dawn brought again to face the Sanhedrin - a council of the high priest, elders and scribes. They pronounce him guilty as charged but still need to take him to Pilate as they do not have the necessary authority to carry out the death sentence (Matthew 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66-71; John 18:28).

5. In the morning Jesus is whisked over to Pilate, the Roman appointed governor of Judea (Matthew 27:2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1; John 18:28). His second trial begins.

6. Pilate sends Jesus to Herod, a ruler over the region of Galilee and Perea, an area within Judea. Herod mocks Jesus and sends him back to Pilate (Luke 23: 8-12).

7. On his return Pilate attempts to release Jesus, as he is now certain of his innocence. Pilate's plan backfires and Barabbas, a revolutionary and murder, goes free in Jesus place. Before you gasp in horror remember Jesus took your place as well as Barabbas. Barabbas release was not coincidental. Nothing was going to get Jesus free at this point. Not even a stern warning from Pilate's wife who had a frightening dream that night about the innocence of Jesus (Matthew 27: 11-26, Mark 15: 2-15, Luke 23:2-3, John 18:29: 19-16).

Jesus is finally scourged, mocked and sentenced to death by crucifixion (John 19:16; Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:25).


Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Read the account yourself in Matthew 27:32-44; Mark 15:21-32; John 19:17-27 and Luke 23:26-43. Try and put the whole story together and conclude the passion events. Ponder the implications and lessons as you go along.

Jesus words on the cross

The gospels record the seven words Jesus spoke on the cross. Here they are

1. Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).
The death of Jesus on the cross opens the door for God's forgiveness. The cross is all about forgiveness and God's love. No wonder that these are the first words Jesus spoke on the cross.

2. I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in paradise (Luke 24:43).
Jesus' act of love on the cross means we now have access to God. Not just now but even after this physical body dies.

3. Women here is your son, ... here is your mother (John 19:26 - 27).
The love of God should be shared among Christians now on earth. We are one family and should treat each other as such.

4. My God, my God why have you forsaken me (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15: 34, Psalm 22:1)
On the cross Jesus felt the separation that sin brings. The general conception that Jesus was separated from the father while he bore our sins does not stand the test of scripture.
Read 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 Timothy 3:14-16, Psalm 139: 7 - 9.

"that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV).

You cannot separate Jesus from God (John 10:30). God was in Jesus reconciling the world to himself. What love?

5. I am thirsty (John 19:20)
Jesus suffered thirst on the cross. His flesh had been stretched to the limit. This cry of Jesus gives us a clue to the agony he underwent for you and me.

6. It is finished (John 19:30).
Having paid the price Jesus declared it is finished. The price for our salvation; physical and spiritual wellbeing had be settled.

7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46).
Jesus then went where all saints should - into the hands of God.

Supernatural signs of the cross

God had no intention of allowing Christ's death go unnoticed. The Bible records several supernatural incidents that occurred such as:

1. The darkening of the sun - Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44
2. The tearing of the veil - Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45
3. The earth quake - Matthew 27:51
4. The raising of the dead - Matthew 27: 52 - 53
5. Conversion of the centurion - Matthew 27:54; Mark 15:39

The above incidents were a dramatic illustration of what God was doing.

The darkening of the sun was a reflection of how sin affected God's creation.

The tearing of the veil was the evidence of the access being granted into the presence of God that Jesus death had accomplished.

The earthquake and rising of the dead was a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality. The power of death had been broken and the centurion was the first of many men (and women) to be raised from the death of isolation from God into the light of his salvation.

God was speaking through these phenomena and he still is today. Are you listening?

Fulfilled prophecies

The death of Jesus on the cross was a fulfilment of several Old Testament prophecies.

- His divided garments - Psalm 22:18
- His crucifixion with two criminals - Isaiah 53:12
- He is mocked (Ps 22:7; 70:3) taunted (Ps 42:10) and offered wine (Ps 69:21; Proverbs 31:6)
- He is acclaimed as the Righteous One Isaiah 53:11
- He is maltreatment - Isaiah 52:13-15; 53:10-12

All the above is only a summary of the passion. Much more can be said.
I leave it to you to do further meditation.

God bless

March 2004