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Matthew 26:47-56
(47)  And while He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.
(48)  Now His betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him."  (49)  Immediately he went up to Jesus and said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
(50)  But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?"
Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him.  (51)  And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
(52)  But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.  (53)  Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?  (54)  How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
(55)  In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.  (56)  But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled."
Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

Mark 14:43-52
(43)  And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.  (44)  Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away safely."
(45)  As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, "Rabbi, Rabbi!" and kissed Him.
(46)  Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him.  (47)  And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
(48)  Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?  (49)  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled."
(50)  Then they all forsook Him and fled.
(51)  Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body. And the young men laid hold of him,  (52)  and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.
Luke 22:47-53
(47)  And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.  (48)  But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"
(49)  When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"  (50)  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
(51)  But Jesus answered and said, "Permit even this." And He touched his ear and healed him.
(52)  Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs?  (53)  When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness."
John 18:1-12
(1)  ... Jesus ... went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.  (2)  And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. 
(3)  Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 
(4)  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?"
(5)  They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.  (6)  Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.
(7)  Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?"
And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth."
(8)  Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,"  (9)  that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, "Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none."
(10)  Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
(11)  So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?"
(12)   Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.

We offer here the probable succession and time of day from now until the death of  Jesus on the cross.
The time of day is according to Westcott.

Approximate Time Event
1:00 AM The agony in the garden
1:00 AM The betrayal
1:00 AM The conveyance to the high-priest's house
2:00 AM The preliminary examination before Annas in the presence of Caiaphas
3:00 AM The examination before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin at an irregular meeting
5:00 AM The formal sentence of the Sanhedrin
5:00 AM The first examination before Pilate at the palace
5:30 AM The examination before Herod
5:30 AM The scourging and first mockery by the soldiers at Herod' s palace
6:30 AM The sentence of  Pilate
7:00 AM The second mockery by the soldiers (Roman)
9:00 AM The crucifixion, and the rejection of the stupefying drink
12:00 Noon The last charge
12:00-3:00 PM Darkness
3:00 PM The End

Judas came

More than two hours had passed since from the lighted chamber he had plunged into the night,  and those hours had been very fully occupied.  He had gone to the High Priests and Pharisees,  agitating them and hurrying them on with his own passionate precipitancy and partly perhaps out of genuine terror of  Him with whom he had to deal.

Detachment of  troops and officers

The Troops  (speiran) - The Romans
Properly the  "band"  or  "cohort"  of  Roman soldiers from the Antonia.
It was probably,  not the entire cohort (600 men) - but the captain and the guards on duty.

The Officers (uperetas) - The Jews
The temple police sent from the Sanhedrin.

The Synoptists (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) speak of the entire body as (ochlos) a multitude, or "rabble."
And both Matthew and Mark mentions the Band (speira) later in the narrative (Mt. 27:27;  Mk. 15:16).

Kissed Him

It was a common custom to greet someone with a kiss on either or both cheeks.
However,  this was more than the ordinary greeting.
The word used here is a compound verb that has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious salute.
Meyer says,  "Embraced and kissed."

The same word is used of  the tender caressing of:

Luke 7:38 The Lord's feet by the woman in the Pharisee's house
Luke 15:20 The father's embrace of the returned prodigal
Acts 20:37 The farewell of  the Ephesians elders to Paul

The suggested order of events during the arrest

1. Judas rushes ahead and embraces Jesus, kissing Him;
The fervent embrace and repeated kiss could stem from several possibilities, 3 of  which are mentioned here:
a. Possibly Judas had gotten too far ahead of the soldiers he had brought with him, and to keep Jesus from escaping, he held onto Him in this manner.
b. Possibly Judas wished, in the shadows of the night, no mistake to be made in the arrest.
c. It has been suggested by some that Judas did not really think they would actually be able to take Jesus, and that this was evidence that Judas still loved Him.
2. Jesus rebuffs Judas' embrace, cuts him short, and goes to meet the band of soldiers
3. Jesus asks them who they want,  they say  "Jesus of Nazareth."
And He says, "I AM!" whereupon they are startled, stagger back, and fall backwards upon the ground.
4. While they are still on the ground,  Jesus asks them again whom they want,  and again they say "Jesus of Nazareth."
And again He says, "I AM!"  And he tells them to allow His disciples to go
5. As the band arises from the ground,  Peter lunges in protection of his Lord,  and in attempting to split the skull of  Malchus,  he misses,  and only lances off his ear.
6. Jesus rebukes Peter,  commands him to put up his sword,  and heals Malchus' ear.
Jesus tells Peter that the sword of one impulsive disciple (however good his intentions) was less than nothing in comparison to the power that Jesus had at His disposal, had He wished to command it
7. Jesus tells the band of soldiers that they had the ability to take Him only because He was willing to allow it so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,  and then the disciples fled into the night

More than twelve legions

A legion was a division of  the Roman army amounting to more than 6,000 men.
The number "twelve" was mentioned,  perhaps,  in reference to the number of  his apostles and himself.
Judas being away,  but eleven disciples remained.
God could guard him,  and each disciple,  with a legion of  angels: that is,  God could easily protect him,  if he should pray to him,  and if it was his will.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

A certain young man

Only Mark relates the incident.
There is no definite means of knowing who the youth may have been.
Conjecture has named Mark himself,  John,  James the Just,  Lazarus (brother of Mary and Martha),  and some have even suggested Saul of Tarsus!
The most reasonable,  however,  seems to be Mark.
The mention of  the linen cloth suggests that he had, on hearing some sudden report,  rose out of bed and rushed out in his nightshirt, or casting a loose sheet about him,  hurried out of the house.  It is not reasonable to suppose that any of the disciples, or Lazarus from over a mile away had ventured out in that condition.


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1st Trial Before Annas John 18:12-24
2nd Trial Before Caiaphas 26:57-66;  Mark 14:53-64;  Luke 22:54-56
1st Derision By the Temple Guards Matthew 26:67,68; Mark 14:65; Luke 22:63-65
3rd Trial Before the Sanhedrin Matthew 27:1;  Mark 15:1;  Luke 22:66-71
4th Trial Before Pilate Matthew 27:2-14;  Mark 15:1-5;  Luke 23:1-6;  John 18:28-38
1st Warning By Jesus John 18:37
1st Effort By Pilot to free Jesus Luke 23:4;  John 18:38
5th Trial Before Herod Luke 23:7-12
2nd Derision By Herod's Soldiers Luke 23:11
6th Trial Before Pilate Matthew 27:15-26;  Mark 15:6-15;  Luke 23:13-25;  John 18:39-19:1
1st Acquittal By Pilot Luke 23:16
2nd Effort By Pilot to free Jesus Mt 27:15-23; Mk 15:6-14; Lk 23:18; Jn 18:39,40
2nd Warning By Pilate's wife Matthew 27:19
1st Rejection By the people Mt 27:20-25; Mk 15:11-14; Lk 23:18-21
2nd Acquittal By Pilot Luke 23:22
2nd Rejection By the people Matthew 27:25
1st Condemnation By Pilate Mt 27:25,26; Lk.23:25
3rd Derision By Roman Soldiers Matthew 21:27-30;   Mark 15:16-19;  John 19:1-3
3rd Effort By Pilot to free Jesus John 19:4-15
3rd Warning By Jesus John 19:11
4th Effort By Pilot to free Jesus John 19:12-14
3rd Rejection By the people John 19:14,15
2nd Condemnation By Pilate John 19:1
4th Derision By Roman Soldiers & probably the Temple Guard, also this time the people possibly
Matthew 27:31;  Mark 15:20

John 18:13-24
(13)  And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.  (14)  Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
(15)   And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.  (16)  But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.  (17)  Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."
(18)  Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
(19)  The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.
(20)  Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.  (21)  Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said."
(22)  And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?"
(23)  Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?"
(24)  Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

If we treat the Gospels as we should treat any other authentic documents recording all that the authors felt themselves commissioned to record,  of the crowded incidents in one terrible and tumultuous day and night,  we shall,  with care and study,  see how all that they tell us falls accurately into its proper position in the general narrative, and shows:

1. A six-fold trial
2. A quadruple derision
3. A double acquittal
4. A twice-repeated condemnation

Reading the Gospels side by side,  we soon perceive that of  the three successive trials He underwent at the hands of  the Jews, we find:

The first trial - before Annas - is related by John
The second trial - before Caiaphas - is related by Matthew and Mark
The third trial - before the Sanhedrin - is related by Luke

There is nothing strange in this, since

The first trial - before Annas - the Practical
The second trial - before Caiaphas - the Potential
The third trial - before the Sanhedrin - the Actual and Formal decision of death

Each of the three might,  from a different point of view,  have been regarded as the most fatal and important of the three.

To Annas first

It is true that this Hanan,  son of Seth,  the Ananus of  Josephus,  and the Annas of the Gospels,  had only been the actual High Priest for seven years (A.D. 7-14),  and that,  more than twenty years before this period,  the Procurator Valerius Gratus had deposed him.  He had been succeeded first by Ismael Ben Phabi,  then by his son Eleazar,  then by his son-in-law,  Joseph Caiaphas.

It is probable that Herod the Great had originally summoned him and his family from Alexandria,  as supple supporters of  a distasteful tyranny.  The Jewish historian calls this Hanan the happiest man of  his time,  because he died at an advanced old age,  and because both he and five of  his sons in succession - not to mention his son-in-law - had enjoyed the shadow of  the High Priesthood;  so that,  in fact,  for nearly half a century he had practically wielded the sacerdotal power in Jerusalem.

In spite of  his prosperity he seems to have left behind him but an evil name,  and we know enough of his character,  even from the most unsuspected sources,  to recognize in him nothing better than an astute,  tyrannous,  worldly Sadducee,  invulnerable for all his 70 years,  full of a serpentine malice and meanness which utterly belied the meaning of his name  (clement or merciful)  and engaged at this very moment in a dark,  disorderly conspiracy,  for which even a worse man would have had cause to blush.

It is most remarkable that,  although the Pharisees undoubtedly were actuated by a burning hatred against Jesus,  and were even so eager for His death as to be willing to co-operate with the aristocratic and priestly Sadducees - yet,  from the moment that the plot for His arrest and condemnation had been matured,  the Pharisees took so little part in it that their name is not once directly mentioned in any event connected with the arrest,  the trial,  the derisions,  and the crucifixion.  The Pharisees,  as such,  disappear;  the chief priests and elders take their place. 
It is,  indeed,  doubtful whether any of the more distinguished Pharisees were members of the degraded  "simulacrum"  of  authority that in those bad days still arrogated to itself the title of  a Sanhedrin.  If we may believe not a few of  the indications of  the Talmud,  that Sanhedrin was little better than a close,  irreligious,  unpatriotic confederacy of  monopolizing and time-serving priests  (the Boethusism, the Kamhits, the Phabis,  the family of Hanan,  mostly of  non-Palestinian origin)  who were supported by the government,  but detested by the people,  and of whom this bad conspirator was the very life and soul.

Simon Peter followed Jesus

This is included in the section: Peter's Denial of Christ

The high priest . . . asked Jesus

Annas is apparently meant.

This was not a trial,  for the Sanhedrin had not been assembled;  rather it was a hearing to get evidence to submit to that body when it was convened a few hours later.

The inquiry touched Jesus' disciples and doctrine.  It is not clear that Annas had in mind to prosecute the disciples. More likely he hoped to get a confession that these men were being prepared for revolutionary activity.  Jesus ignored the matter.  So far as his teaching was concerned,  he denied having given secret instruction that might be construed as plotting against the authorities.  He had taught openly,  in public places such as the synagogue and temple.  His teaching was not subversive.

Why do you ask me?

Jesus implied that the procedure was illegal.
There were no witnesses.
He was being made to implicate himself by his testimony.

One of the attending officers  (others were in the courtyard)  thought the answer impudent and struck Jesus to make him more docile in his attitude toward the high priest.  When Christ pointed out the injustice involved,  neither the officer nor Annas could make a defense of the procedure.  There was nothing to do but to send the captive to Caiaphas.
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


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Matthew 26:57-68
(57)   And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.  (58)  But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
(59)  Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,  (60)  but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward   (61)  and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'"
(62)  And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?"  (63)  But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!"
(64)  Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
(65)  Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!  (66)  What do you think?"
They answered and said, "He is deserving of death."
(67)  Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,  (68)  saying, "Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?"

Mark 14:53-65
(53)  And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes.  (54)  But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.
(55)  Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.  (56)  For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.
(57)  Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying,  (58)  "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.'"  (59)  But not even then did their testimony agree.
(60)  And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?"  (61)  But He kept silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
(62)  Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."
(63)  Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "What further need do we have of witnesses?  (64)  You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?"
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
(65)  Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.

Luke 22:54
(54)   Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest's house. But Peter followed at a distance.

Caiaphas,  like his father-in-law Annas, was a Sadducee - equally astute and unscrupulous with Annas,  but endowed with less force of character and will.

They lead Him away

They led him away,  led him in triumph
As a trophy of their victory; they  led him as a lamb to the slaughter, and they led him through the sheep-gate spoken of  Nehemiah 3:1.
They led him away to their masters that sent them.
It was now about midnight,  and one would think they should have put him in ward (Lev 24:12),  should have led him to some prison,  till it was a proper time to call a court;  but he is hurried away immediately,  not to the justices of  peace,  to be committed,  but to the judges to be condemned;  so extremely violent was the prosecution,  partly because they feared a rescue,  which they would thus not only leave no time for,  but give a terror to;  partly because they greedily thirsted after Christ's blood,  as the eagle that hastens to the prey.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

With him were assembled

In his house were all the chief priests, the elders and the scribes.

Though the poor disciples could not watch for one hour in sympathetic prayer,
these nefarious plotters could watch all night in their deadly malice.

It is clear that the priests were forced to change their tactics.
Instead of trying,  as Annas had done,  to overawe and entangle Jesus with insidious questions,  and so to involve Him in a charge of secret apostasy,  they now tried to brand Him with the crime of  public error.

But Peter followed Him

This is included in the next section: Peter's Denial of Christ

But their testimonies did not agree

From their debasing themselves to  "seek"  witness against Him,  we are led to infer that these were bribed to bear false witness.  But even in this they failed.

On the only charge they had, observe:

1. Eager as His enemies were to find a criminal matter against Him,  they had to go back to the outset of His ministry,  His very first visit to Jerusalem,  more than three years before this.  In all that He said and did after that,  though ever increasing in boldness,  they could find nothing.
2. Even then,  they fix only on one speech,  of  two or three words,  which they dared to adduce against Him.
3. Further,  they misinterpreted and then misquoted His words.
He had not said that He would destroy the temple,  but that they would,  and that He would raise it in three days.
Jameson, Fausset, & Brown says that they were perfectly aware that His words referred to His death by their hands and His resurrection by His own hand.
4. And finally,  they could not even agree as to what He had said or meant.

Not only did their well-laid plans for arrest go astray,  but also so did their well-laid plans for accusation.

It is as you have said

According to Mark,  Jesus said,  "I AM"  (with the emphatic 'ego eimi').
The rest of His answer divides into two parts:

1. From Psalm 110:1 "You shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power"
2. Reference to Daniel 7:13 "And coming with the clouds of heaven"
Both were considered as a claim to Messiahship by the Jews,  as the Old Testament passages to which reference was made were looked upon as Messianic.

Swete also says:
"...The words of  Jesus are also a solemn warning that His position and that of His judges would one day be reversed,  and they were a final but ineffectual summons to repentance and faith."

Revelation 20:12
I saw the dead, great and small, standing before God;  and The Books were opened,  including the Book of  Life. And the dead were judged according to the things written in The Books,  each according to the deeds he had done. (TLB)

Jesus had not yet officially been declared guilty,  and yet the soldiers were permitted to mock Him and abuse Him.

Here they mocked His claim to being a Prophet
Later the Roman soldiers would mock His claim to being a King


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Matthew 26:69-75
(69)   Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard.
And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."
(70)  But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."
(71)  And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
(72)  But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"
(73)  And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."
(74)  Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!"
Immediately a rooster crowed.  (75)  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.

Mark 14:66-72
(66)   Now as Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the servant girls of the high priest came.  (67)  And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth."
(68)  But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.
(69)  And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, "This is one of them."  (70)  But he denied it again.
And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, "Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it."
(71)  Then he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man of whom you speak!"
(72)  A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And when he thought about it, he wept.

Luke 22:55-62
(55)   Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 
(56)  And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, "This man was also with Him."
(57)  But he denied Him, saying, "Woman, I do not know Him."
(58)  And after a little while another saw him and said, "You also are of them."
But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"
(59)  Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, "Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean."
(60)  But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!"
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.  (61)  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."  (62)  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

John 18:15-18
(15)   And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.  (16)  But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. 
(17)  Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "You are not also one of this Man's disciples, are you?"
He said, "I am not."
(18)  Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

The reasons for Peter's failure here are many.
We offer 4 suggestions:

PRIDE Mark 14:29 "Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be."
SELF-CONFIDENCE Luke 22:33 "I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death."
COMPLACENCY Luke 22:46 "Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation."
HALF-HEARTEDNESS Matthew 26:58 But Peter followed Him at a distance.

As you watch Peter, you see him gradually moving into the place of temptation and sin;  and his actions parallel the description in Psalm 1:1

First (John 18:15, 16) Peter  "walked in the counsel of the ungodly"
When he went into the high priest's courtyard
Then (John 18:18) Peter  "stood with the sinners"
When he warmed himself  by the fire
Finally (Luke 22:55) Peter  "sat with the scornful"
When he sat among them

Psalm 1:1
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.     (NKJV)
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Peter's First Denial Peter denied Positively While Jesus was before Annas

The  "court"  of  the house is in the open space around which the house is built.
The outside of  the building shows to the observer hardly anything but blank walls.
The courts are sometimes laid out in beautiful gardens containing various fruits and flowers;  and some of the better homes have two or three courts - some have even been known to have seven courts in one house.
The rooms of the house open into the court.  In some houses this opening is by means of doors;  but in others the rooms are divided from the court by a low partition only.

Peter was in the court of  the palace,  around which the house itself was built,  but yet outside of the rooms.
In this open court a fire was made,  and here Peter was warming himself.
The rooms were elevated above the court,  with steps leading to them,  and separated by a railing and pillars.

Thus Peter was

IN the palace (John)
WITHOUT the rooms (Matthew)
BENEATH the rooms (Mark)
In the MIDST of  the courtyard (Luke)

Another disciple

We do not know who the unnamed disciple was.
Some say it may have been Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, because they were in a position to have known the high priest.
Others say it was the disciple John, because throughout his gospel, he never refers to himself  by his own name.
Wycliffe suggests he was known to the high priest through his mother and her family.

Regardless of  who it was, he was not only known to the high priest, but to Peter and Jesus as well.  In Peter's defense, let us note that although this other disciple is not recorded as denying Jesus, neither did he speak up in defense of  his Lord any more than Peter did.

It is not probable that any danger resulted from its being known that he was a follower of  Jesus,  or that any harm was intended on them for this.  The questions asked Peter were not asked by those in authority,  and his apprehensions which led to his denial were groundless.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Peter's Second Denial Peter denied Contemptuously While Jesus was before Caiaphas

The  "gateway"  is the passageway from the street to the court.
It is sometimes arched,  and its floor usually inclines from the direction of the street.
A door opens from it into the court;  but this door is so arranged that it is not directly opposite to the gate which opens to the street.  Thus, though both should be open at the same time,  no one in passing through the street would be able to look into the court.  This was the place to which Peter retreated.

He denied with an oath

hˇrkou Oath

An  "oath"  was an appeal to God to witness the truth of  a statement or of  the binding character of  a promise. Oaths played a very important part not only in legal and state affairs,  but also in the dealings of every day life.

A number of  formulas were used in taking an oath,  such as  "the Lord be between thee and me forever," and ''as the Lord lives"  (which could very possibly be what Peter said).

In ordinary cases the raising of the hand toward heaven was part of the oath.

So we can supposed that it went something like this:

Peter raised his hand toward heaven and said,
"As the Lord lives!
I am not His disciple!
I know not the man!"
Peter's Third Denial Peter denied Blasphemously While Jesus was before the Council

His  "speech"  betrayed him because the Galileans had a more Syrian cast in their dialect than did the Judeans.
The Galileans had a corrupt pronunciation,  frequently interchanging certain letters;  and so blending or dividing words as to render them unintelligible,  or cause them to convey a contrary sense.

He began to curse

katathematÝzein To invoke evil on

To  "curse"  signifies to wish curses on himself.
Peter thus declares himself subject to the divine curse if he is not telling the truth when he disclaims all acquaintance with Jesus.

The word for curse here is  "anathematizo,"  the same used by Paul in Galatians 1:8,9  when he calls the divine curse down upon those who preached a different gospel than the true one.

And swear

omn˙ein To take (or declare on) oath

To "swear"  was similar to the  "oath,"  but a little stronger.
He probably swore "by the name of God" - or calling God to witness - that what he said was true. "

Some have supposed there to be a difficulty in what the Synoptists portrays Peter's denials to have been in the court of  the house of Caiaphas,  while John portrays the denials to have been in the court of the house of Annas.
The seeming difficulty dissolves when we realize that Annas shared the Palace with Caiaphas,  and although Jesus was taken first to Annas,  and then to  "the house of Caiaphas" - Peter was all the while in the same court.

We see here his sad decline

In the Upper Room Peter had boasted  that he would remain true to Christ
In the Garden He had gone to sleep when he should have been praying
During the Trial He denied that he knew the Lord

We also see that:

In the Upper Room Peter fell into the snare of  the devil
In the Garden He yielded to the weakness of the flesh
During the Trial He would surrender to the pressures of the world

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Matthew 27:1
(1)   When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death.

Mark 15:1a
(1)   Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council;
Luke 22:66-71
(66)   As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying,  (67)  "If You are the Christ, tell us."
But He said to them, "If I tell you, you will by no means believe.  (68)  And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.  (69)  Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God."
(70)  Then they all said, "Are You then the Son of God?"
So He said to them, "You rightly say that I am."
(71)  And they said, "What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth."

At last the miserable lingering hours were over,  and the gray dawn shuddered,  and the morning blushed upon that memorable day.

They had begun this counsel the preceding evening.
But as it  was contrary to all forms of law to proceed against a person's life by night,  they came together at the break of day,  pretending to conduct the business according to the forms of law.

Luke reports 2 questions asked by the Sanhedrin

Are you the Christ (Messiah)? To incriminate Jesus to the Romans
Could have been viewed as a confession of  treason
Are you the Son of God? To incriminate Jesus to the multitudes
Could have been viewed as a confession of  blasphemy

This was the climax of the religious trial, and the key issue was,  "Is Jesus of Nazareth the Christ of God?"
They were sure His claims were false and that He was guilty of blasphemy, and the penalty for blasphemy was death  (Lev 24:10-16).

Jesus called Himself   "Son of man,"  a messianic title found in Daniel 7:13-14.
He also claimed to have the right to sit  "on the right hand of the power of God",  a clear reference to Psalm 110:1, another messianic passage.
It was also this verse that He quoted earlier that week in His debate with the religious leaders (Luke 20:41-44).
(from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright (c) 1989 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.)

Psalm 110:1
The LORD said to my Lord,
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."      (NKJV)


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Matthew 27:3-10
(3)  Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,  (4)  saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood."
And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"
(5)  Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.
(6)  But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood."  (7)  And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.  (8)  Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
(9)   Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,  (10)  and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."

Acts 1:16-20a
(15)  "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of  David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus;  (17)  for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry."
(18)  (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.  (19)  And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)
(20)   "For it is written in the Book of Psalms:
'Let his dwelling place be desolate,
And let no one live in it';

Seeing that He had been condemned

Doubtless through all those hours Judas had been a secure spectator of  all that had occurred,  and when the morning dawned upon that chilly night,  and he knew the decision of the Priests and of the Sanhedrin,  and saw that Jesus was now given over for crucifixion to the Roman Governor,  then he began fully to realize all that he had done.

Perhaps he had expected that,  while he got the bribe,  the Lord would miraculously escape,  as He had three times before.

Perhaps also Judas had thought that,  in the light of the past few days' events,  and the fact that Jesus had recently been more explicitly saying that He was the Messiah.  That he could force Jesus,  in the face of the soldiers and the threat of death,  to once and for all proclaim Himself King of the Jews - the expected Messiah here to stay.

What a shock it was to Judas when he saw that not only was Jesus not going to set up His physical kingdom,  but also He was actually going to allow Himself  to be taken and killed.

Was remorseful

The word for  "remorseful," also translated  "repented"  is from "metamelomai" - to regret;  to have deep remorse at the consequence of the sin rather than a deep regret at the cause of it.
It is never used of genuine repentance to God.

It is not lawful

Putting blood money into the treasury was unlawful but shedding that same betrayed and innocent blood was justified in their own hypocritical eyes.

Thus Satan often deludes many by a false tenderness of  conscience in things indifferent;  while envy,  strife,  and all manner of wickedness give them no manner of  trouble or disturbance of conscience.

Bought the potter's field

In such cases the Jewish law provided that the money was to be restored to the donor;  and if he insisted on giving it,  that he should be induced to spend it for something for the public good.
This explains the apparent discrepancy between Matthew's account and that in Acts 1:18.
The money was still considered to be Judas',  and to have been applied by him to the purchase of the potter's field.


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Matthew 27:11-14
(11)   Now Jesus stood before the governor.
And the governor asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
Jesus said to him, "It is as you say.
(12)  And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing.
(13)  Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?"  (14)  But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Mark 15:1b-5
(1)  ...and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. 
(2)  Then Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
He answered and said to him, "It is as you say."
(3)  And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing.   (4)  Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, "Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!"
(5)  But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.

Luke 23:1-6
(1)   Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. 
(2)   And they began to accuse Him, saying, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King."
(3)  Then Pilate asked Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
He answered him and said, "It is as you say."
(4)   So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no fault in this Man."
(5)   But they were the more fierce, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place."
(6)  When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean.

John 18:28-38
(28)  Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium,  and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.  (29)  Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?"
(30)  They answered and said to him, "If  He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you."
(31)  Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law."  Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,"  (32)  that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.
(33)  Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?"
(34)  Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?"
(35)  Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?"
(36)  Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
(37)  Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"
Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
(38)  Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?"
And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all.

Lest they should be defiled

One of the most ironic observations in all of  Scripture is made by the apostle John.
The Jewish leaders plotted to kill an innocent man, condemned him  in 2 illegal trials by night, and paid false witnesses to bring untrue charges against Him.
But now, in order to avoid ceremonial uncleanness, they would not enter the Roman Praetorium!

How true were the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:23-26

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin
and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith
These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!
Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish,
but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence
First cleanse the inside of the cup and dish
That the outside of them may be clean also


"Suffered under Pontius Pilate" - so,  in every creed of Christendom,  is the unhappy name of the Roman Procurator handed down to eternal execration.
Yet the object of  introducing that name was not to point a moral,  but to fix an epoch.
In point of  fact,  of all the civil and ecclesiastical rulers before whom Jesus was brought to judgment,  Pilate was the least guilty of malice and hatred.
He was the most anxious,  if not to spare His agony,  at least to save His life.

What manner of  man was this in whose hands were placed,  by power from above,  the final destinies of  the Savior's life?  Of his origin,  and of his antecedents before A.D. 26,  when he became the 6th Procurator of Judea, little is known.

1. In rank he belonged to the  "ordo equester,"  (equestrian).
2. He owed his appointment to the influence of  Sejanus (who was extremely anti-Jewish,  and who was,  by this time,  a condemned traitor).  Sejanus had been along,  with his entire family,  strangled and thrown down the  "stairs of mourning"  into the Tiber River - and this triggered an imperial purge throughout Roman politics that caused many to share the fate of Sejanus.
And Pontius Pilate lived in that shadow.
3. His name  "Pontius"  seems to point to a Samnite extraction.
4. His cognomen "Pilatus"  (Javelin)  pointed to a warlike ancestry.

The Judgment Hall

The "Praetorium" - the house where Pilate and his troops were lodged.
It was so named from being the dwelling-place of the "praetor,"  or chief of the province.
It was also the place where he held his court.

At Jerusalem Pilate occupied one of the two gorgeous palaces that had been erected there by the lavish architectural extravagance of the first Herod.  It was situated in the Upper City to the southwest of  the Temple Hill, and like the similar building at Caesarea,  having passed from the use of the provincial king to that of the Roman governor,  was called Herod's Praetorium.

It was one of those luxurious abodes,  "surpassing all description,"  which were in accordance with the tendencies of  the age,  and of which Josephus dwells with ecstasies of admiration.

Between its colossal wings of white marble - called respectively Caesareum and Agrippeum,  in the usual spirit of  Herodian flattery to the Imperial house - was an open space commanding a noble view of  Jerusalem,  adorned with sculptured porticos and columns of many-colored marble,  paved with rich mosaics,  varied with fountains and reservoirs,  and green promenades which furnished a delightful asylum to flocks of doves.
Externally it was a mass of lofty walls,  and towers,  and gleaming roofs,  large enough to accommodate a hundred guests,  were adorned with gorgeous furniture and vessels of gold and silver.
A magnificent abode for a mere Roman governor!  And yet the furious fanaticism of  the populace at Jerusalem made it a house so little desirable,  that neither Pilate nor his predecessors seem to have cared to enjoy its
luxuries for more than the few weeks in the year they were required to be there because of  the crowds of visiting pilgrims.

In that kingly palace - such as in His days of  freedom Jesus had never trod - began,  in three distinct acts,  the
fourth stage of  that agitating scene which preceded the final agonies of Christ.

It was unlike the idle inquisition of Annas
It was unlike the extorted confession of Caiaphas
It was unlike the illegal decision of the Sanhedrin
For here His judge was in His favor,  and  (however feeble the attempt may appear)  he did strive to deliver Him.

This last trial is full of  passion and movement - it involves:

1. A three fold change of scene  (Pilate,  Herod,  Pilate)
2. A threefold accusation
3. A threefold acquittal by the Romans
4. A threefold rejection by the Jews
5. A threefold warning to Pilate
6. A threefold effort by Pilate to set Jesus free

What accusation do you bring against this man?

Pilate looked down from his dais.
Jesus was stationed directly in front of the tribunal,  with members of the Sanhedrin flanking him on both sides. Ranging off  to Pilate's right were the familiar faces of Annas,  Caiaphas,  Ananias,  Zadok,  Helcias,  Eleazar,  and Johathan.   He guessed they would constitute the chief accusers if,  as they thought unlikely,  it came to a formal trial.  Beyond the semicircle of these principals  (including an array of the leading Pharisees,  Sadducees,  Scribes,  elders,  and the temple guard),  ranged the vast and growing mass of spectators.

But only one face in this rising lake of  humanity intrigued Pilate.
He scrutinized the figure immediately in front of  him and was a trifle disappointed.  In the past months he had heard so many reports about the mysterious powers of  Jesus that the man was becoming larger than life in his imagination,  and yet here he was,  bound,  unkempt,  evidently powerless.

By this time the crowd had hushed to hear the governor's first statement.
Turning to the chief priests on his right,  he asked in common Hellenistic Greek,  "What charge do you bring against this man?"   The Jewish leaders were thunderstruck,  for this was the opening formula of  a Roman trial,  the "interrogatio."  They had expected only a license to kill,  and to kill,  not by a Jewish method,  but by one that they regarded as more horrible and accursed.  But Pilate was not going to endorse the action of the Sanhedrin;  instead,  he was reopening the case and beginning his own judicial hearing!

"If  he were not a criminal,  we would not have brought him before you,"  they replied defiantly.
Stung by the insolent reply,  Pilate retorted,  "Very well,  then,  take him out of this court and judge him according to your own law."
"That is not possible according to your law,"  said the Jews.  "We are not allowed to put anyone to death."

Note: -  the date for the withdrawal of  the right of  capital punishment from the Sanhedrin of 30 A.D.  need not be considered precise,  since the  "Jus gladii"  may have been suspended when Judea became a Roman province rather than first under Pilate's administration.  Nevertheless,  a literal reading of  the sources would indeed point to 30 A.D.,  which would indicate that Pilate himself  had been the one to remove this right from the Jews.

A trace of  a smile warped Pilate's lips.
Were it not for the mass of  observers and his own problems in Rome,  he would have ended the hearing then and there!  Again he asked,  "What charge do you bring against this man?"

This time several of  the chief priests prepared to act as the principal  "accusatores"  or prosecutors.
They presented a formal bill of  indictment that opened the case against Jesus:

"We find this man guilty of:
1. Subverting our nation
2. Forbidding the payment of tribute to Tiberius Caesar
3. Claiming that he is Messiah - a King."

It was a triple accusation,  magnificently tailored to alarm a Roman prefect,  since the charges were thoroughly political.  Of  the religious grounds on which the Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus there was not a word,  since
the Judean authorities knew that Pilate would not likely put a man to death for the purely theological offense of blasphemy.

He answered him not one word

When the prosecution rested its case,  Pilate turned again to Jesus,  who had remained silent the whole time,  and asked,  "Have you NOTHING to say in your defense?  Don't you hear all this evidence against you?"
But Jesus remained silent.  He supplied no defense,  not even to a single charge.
Pilate was astonished at this conduct.  In his 7 years on the provincial bench,  this had never happened.
Innocent defendants at his bar usually could hardly wait to launch their counterattacks on the prosecution,  and even the obviously guilty at least pleaded some mitigating circumstance and sought leniency.
But Jesus was making no defense.
And no advocate was pleading in his behalf.

Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.       (NKJV)


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Luke 23:7-12
(7)  And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.  (8)  Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.  (9)  Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.  (11)  Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.  (12)  That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

He sent Him to Herod

This was Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee,  and son of  Herod the Great.

It may have gone something like this:

"But Prefect,  surely this isn't necessary.  The crimes committed by Yeshu Hannosri took place also in Judea.  You would certainly have the legal right -"
"Thank you,  noble Pontiff,  but I need not be schooled on points of Roman law.  I believe it most appropriate to bind the defendant over to his own tetrarch,  particularly because your charges have religious implications within Jewish law that Herod Antipas could adjudicate far better than I."

Pilate then announced officially:

"This court takes no action in the case of  Jesus of Nazareth (Yeshu Hannosri).
This tribunal Is adjourned."

Pilate stood up from his curule chair,  walked off the dais,  and entered his palace with a sense of victory.
He was enormously pleased with himself.  The change of  venue rid him of a sticky case involving a probably innocent man whom it would have been wrong to convict,  and yet dangerous to acquit,  in view of the Sanhedrin's
attitude.  It was also a bit of diplomacy toward Herod Antipas,  who could not fail to recognize this as an olive branch in their perennial feud.

A gorgeous robe

The word is  "lampran,"  literally  "bright"  or  "brilliant."
It was most likely a white robe.


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Matthew 27:15-31
(15)  Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished.  (16)  And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas.  (17)  Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"   (18)  For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy.
(19)  While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him."
(20)  But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus.  (21)  The governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?"
They said, "Barabbas!"
(22)  Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?"
They all said to him, "Let Him be crucified!"
(23)  Then the governor said, "Why, what evil has He done?"  But they cried out all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!"
(24)  When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it."
(25)  And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children."
(26)  Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
(27)  Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him.  (28)  And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him.  (29)  When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"  (30)  Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 
(31)  And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.

Mark 15:6-20
(6)   Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested.  (7)  And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.  (8)  Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.  (9)  But Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"  (10)  For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
(11)  But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.  (12)  Pilate answered and said to them again, "What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?"
(13)  So they cried out again, "Crucify Him!"
(14)  Then Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, "Crucify Him!"
(15)  So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.
(16)  Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison.  (17)  And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head,  (18)  and began to salute Him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"  (19)  Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. 
 (20)  And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.

Luke 23:13-25
(13)  Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people,  (14)  said to them, "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him;  (15)  no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 
(16)  I will therefore chastise Him and release Him"  (17) (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).
(18)  And they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas" --  (19)  who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.
(20)  Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them.  (21)  But they shouted, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
(22)  Then he said to them the third time, "Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go."
(23)  But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified.
 And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.   (24)  So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested.  (25)  And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

John 18:39-19:16
(39)  "But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
(40)  Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.
(19:1)  So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.  (2)  And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  (3)  Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands.
(4)  Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him."
(5)  Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!"
(6)   Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!"
Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him."
(7)  The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."
(8)  Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,  (9)  and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.
(10)  Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?"
(11)  Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
(12)  From then on Pilate sought to release Him,
but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."
(13)  When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.  (14)  Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"
(15)  But they cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!"
Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?"
The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar!"
 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified.
Then they took Jesus and led Him away.

And now,  as Jesus stood once more before the perplexed Governor,  began the sixth,  the last,  the most agitating and agonizing phase of  this terrible inquisition.

Now came the golden opportunity for him to vindicate the grandeur of his country's imperial justice,  but at that point he wavered and temporized.  The dread of another insurrection haunted him like a nightmare.  After a full and fair inquiry he had found their prisoner absolutely guiltless;  he had sent Him to Herod;  and HEROD ALSO had come to the conclusion that Jesus had committed no crime that deserved death.  But he was willing to go halfway - he would have Jesus publicly scourged,  and then let Him go.

The governor was accustomed...to release a prisoner

It is not known whether the custom here mentioned was of  Jewish or of  Gentile origin.
According to the Jewish scholar Maimonides,  the Jews were in the habit of  punishing criminals at the three great feasts,  because there would then be a great multitude of the people to witness the punishment than at other times.
If the custom were of  Gentile origin,  as many suppose,  it is then a question whether it was a Syrian or a Roman custom.
Grotius supposed that the Romans introduced it in order to gain the good will of the Jews.
There is,  however,  no historic mention of the practice aside from what we find in the Gospels.


Bar-Abbas - "son of a  (possibly distinguished) father;"  perhaps Bar-Rabban - "son of a rabbi."
The reading  "Jesus Bar-Abbas"  is as old as Origen,  and is highly possible.

"Whom do you want me to release?"  Pilate asked,  "Jesus Bar-Abbas  or  Jesus of  Nazareth?"

Momentarily,  the throng seemed to hold its breath.
Against the controversial Jesus he had pitted one who was guilty beyond all controversy,  a notorious public enemy. Pilate had calculated that the present hatred of Jesus would be far outbalanced by public dread at having a murdering insurrectionist turned loose in Jerusalem.  Also,  the people would never want to forego the Bar-Abbas show trial.

A great,  almost unified cry arose,  "BAR-ABBAS!  BAR-ABBAS!"
And the crowd took up the name of the public enemy as a near war chant.

Loathing the innocent,  they loved the guilty,  and claimed the procurator's grace on behalf,  not of  Jesus of 
Nazareth,  but of  a man who,  in the fearful irony of circumstance,  was also called Jesus - who not only WAS what they FALSELY said of Christ,  but also a robber and a murderer.

It was fitting that,

They who preferred an abject Sadducee to their true Priest
And they who preferred an incestuous Idumaean to their Lord and King
Should deliberately prefer a murderer to their Messiah

Jesus answered

The Gospel of John records three major conversations held between Jesus and an individual person who was being confronted with the truth and the claims of the gospel.

John 3 Nicodemus Nicodemus was a religious man who sought Jesus in order to pursue his spiritual questions.
John 4 The Samaritan woman The Samaritan woman in John 4 was neither religious nor a skeptic but rather one who represented worldliness in its most common form. Until she met Jesus, she was indifferent to the spiritual, living a life of moral self-indulgence.
John 19 Pilate Pilate, however, is indicative of the modern secularist. Hardened to that which would speak to his soul, he was neither open nor inquisitive about the gospel.
(from Holman Bible Handbook. (c) Copyright 1992 by Holman Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.)

The greater sin

The sin of the Jewish leaders was greater than the sin of Pilate because, at the very least,

they knew He was from God!

When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night, he said  (John 3:2): "Rabbi,

we know that You are a teacher come from God;

for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."

Pilate sought to release Him

In all fairness to Pilate, it must be noticed that he was the only one in all of  Jerusalem that spoke in defense of  Jesus, and the only one who made any effort at all to release Him.

Where were the 12?
Where were the 70?
Where were the women who wept in gratitude as they washed His feet?
Where was Lazarus whom He had raised from the dead?
Where was Mary and Martha, two of His closest friends?
Where was Nicodemus?
Where were all those who had been healed, both physically and spiritually?
Where were those who had pledged their undying faith and allegiance to Him?

It was Pilate alone who called Him Innocent!
It was Pilate alone who called Him King!

A purple robe

The Jews White Robe It was the custom of the Jewish nobility to wear such white robes
The Romans Purple Robe The nobility among the Romans wore purple for the most part

Both of them followed the custom of their own country,  when,  by way of mocking Jesus as a king,  they clothed Him in robes of state.

Matt 27:24

He took water, and washed his hands

It was a custom among the Hebrews,  Greeks,  and Latins,  to wash the hands in token of innocence,  and to show that they were pure from any imputed guilt.  In case of an undiscovered murder,  the elders of  that city which was nearest to the place where the dead body was found,  were required by the law,  Deut 21:1-10,  to wash their hands over the victim which was offered to expiate the crime,  and thus make public protestation of their own innocence.  David says,  "I will wash my hands in innocence; so I will go about Your altar, O LORD"  Psalm 26:6.
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

However, we are all guilty of  the blood of Jesus,
and only the blood of  Jesus can wash away that guilt!


It was customary among the Romans to scourge a condemned criminal before he was put to death.
Scourging among the Romans was a more severe punishment than among the Jews.

The Roman scourge was made of cords or thongs of leather,  and especially of ox-hide.
There was one sort with which slaves were beaten,  the use of which was particularly dreadful.  It was knotted with bones,  or heavy,  indented circles of bronze.  Sometimes the thongs,  two or three in number,  terminated in hooks. Such an instrument of  torture was called "a scorpion."

There was no legal limit to the number of blows,  as among the Jews;  but the unfortunate culprit,  bound to a low pillar,  so that his back was bent and might more readily receive the heavy strokes,  was beaten with merciless
severity,  and death was sometimes the result of this cruel punishment.

Isaiah 53:5
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.       (NKJV)

1 Peter 2:25
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins,  might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.      (NKJV)

Caesar's Friend

Pilate had received,  probably before ever coming to Judea,  a gift from Tiberius himself - it was a gold ring
engraved with the image of  Tiberius,  signifying that Pilate was now welcomed into the inner circle of  "amici
"  or  Caesar's Friends,  an elite fraternity open only to senators and equestrians high in imperial service.


Previous Section

Charges Brought Against Jesus

I Matthew 26:59,60; Mark 14:55 By the Chief  Priests, Scribes & Elders NONE
II Matthew 26:60,61;
Mk. 14:58
By the False Witnesses That He said He would destroy the temple
HOWEVER Mark 14:59 Even in this charge they did not agree in their witness, nor was the Charge a true one

Reason For Sentence  Of Death By The Jews

I Matthew 26:64-66; Mark 14:60-64 Blasphemy
HOWEVER All their cunning and plotting gained them nothing
They had only what they did by the words of His own mouth
The only words at this portion of the trial that were true

Charges Brought Against Jesus Before Pilate

I Luke 23:2 Perverting the nation (Political Subversion)
II Luke 23:2 Forbidding paying tribute (Refusal to pay Taxes)
III Luke 23 :2 Claiming to be a King (High Treason)

The first two were totally untrue,  and the third was a half/truth.
Jesus Himself said,  in answer to all three:  "My kingdom is not of this world."  (John 18:36)

Judgments In Favor Of Jesus By Pilate

I Luke 23:4;
John 18:38


(End of Lesson Twenty Three)



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