This being the 3rd year of my doing a study on Jesus’ crucifixion, I wanted to dig deeper than the obvious. We read the passages every year for Holy Week and Easter, but we really don’t take the time to unpack it. There’s so much more to Jesus’ trial and crucifixion than meets the eye! Let’s dig in…
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
Very early in the morning the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law—the entire high council (Sanhedrin)—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.
2 Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
3 Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, 4 and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” 5 But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.
6 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner—anyone the people requested. 7 One of the prisoners at that time was Barabbas, a revolutionary who had committed murder in an uprising. 8 The crowd went to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner as usual.
9 “Would you like me to release to you this ‘King of the Jews’?” Pilate asked. 10 (For he realized by now that the leading priests had arrested Jesus out of envy.) 11 But at this point the leading priests stirred up the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas instead of Jesus. 12 Pilate asked them, “Then what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”
13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
14 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
15 So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 22 And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 23 They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries (thieves or criminals) were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.Mark 15:1-32 NLT
Mark’s account of the crucifixion is like the Reader’s Digest Version — concise, condensed version — that doesn’t miss the important points, but eliminates a lot of the details. You can check out the other versions of the crucifixion story in these studies…
Talk about Politically Charged!
This whole trial was very political and complicated. The Sanhedrin — the Jewish council — didn’t have the authority to sentence someone to capital punishment. So, they had to manipulate both Pilate and the crowd to get what they wanted.
The plot was a long time in developing. It started back in Mark 3 when the Pharisees met with the Herodians to plot Jesus’ destruction. They had a dilemma — how do they get Pilate, who didn’t care one bit about Jewish law and issues, to kill Jesus? Pilate just wanted order and peace in the Roman province of Judea. It didn’t matter to him who Jesus was, only that He couldn’t rival Caesar — the “divine” Roman Emperor.
It was a planted, political crowd, very similar to what goes on today. The chief priests got them going, yet Pilate saw right through them — they were envious of Jesus. It was NOT the same crowd that came with Jesus shouting, “Hosanna” on Palm Sunday. These people were there for the show. They didn’t or couldn’t have cared for Jesus.
The chief priests however, heard what Jesus said, saw what He did, and knew the prophecies. Yet, as Pastor Dan Hickling comments…
In contrast to the crowd, this group had thoroughly examined what Jesus had taught. In fact, they so understood the implications of what He was saying that they set the wheels in motion to have Jesus arrested, tried, and executed. There was no misunderstanding that Jesus proclaimed to be the Son of God, the promised Messiah who would restore all things. They connected these dots alright, but the problem was they didn’t believe He was who He said He was.
Why? Although He validated His identity with miracles and wisdom, He failed to meet their expectations of what the Messiah should look like, sound like, and act like. And as diverse as this group was from the general population, notice their response to Jesus is essentially the same: they ridicule Him.Pastor Dan Hickling, The Gospel of Mark (Part Seven):
What Jesus Went Through for Us
Danny Saavedra explains…
While He seemed to lose His case, as evidenced by the treatment He received afterward, the truth is He wasn’t actually the One on trial to begin with. His accusers were actually the ones on trial. And friends, in the same way, every one of us will be held to account for what we do with Jesus. Our surrender to Him or rejection of Him will be the thing that will determine our eternity!
He was beaten, scorned, and crucified in your place for your sins so you can have freedom from sin and death!Danny Saavedra, The Gospel of Mark (Part Seven):
Mocking and Shame
Where the other Gospels focus more on the pain Jesus suffered, Mark focuses on the mocking and shaming. The soldiers made fun of the “King of the Jews”. They dressed Him in a purple robe and gave Him a reed to hold like a scepter. Then they took that same reed and hit Him with it. The scepter showed the kings authority. Therefore, they beat Him with His own authority.
Simon of Cyrene was probably a Jew from the area of Libya who came with his sons for the Passover. When Jesus started falling and having a hard time carrying the cross (which Mark doesn’t go into detail), the soldiers recruit Simon to carry it.
3 Hours of Darkness
Bible Prophecy Fulfilled
Besides clearly fulfilling Isaiah 52 and 53, the events of this day fulfilled some other Psalms. Both of these were written by David circa 979 BC.
You know of my shame, scorn, and disgrace.Psalm 69: 19-21 NLT
You see all that my enemies are doing.
20 Their insults have broken my heart,
and I am in despair.
If only one person would show some pity;
if only one would turn and comfort me.
21 But instead, they give me poison for food;
they offer me sour wine for my thirst.
1 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Why are you so far away when I groan for help?
2 Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer.
Every night I lift my voice, but I find no relief.
3 Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 Our ancestors trusted in you,
and you rescued them.
5 They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you and were never disgraced.
6 But I am a worm and not a man.
I am scorned and despised by all!
7 Everyone who sees me mocks me.
They sneer and shake their heads, saying,
8 “Is this the one who relies on the Lord?
Then let the Lord save him!
If the Lord loves him so much,
let the Lord rescue him!”
9 Yet you brought me safely from my mother’s womb
and led me to trust you at my mother’s breast.
10 I was thrust into your arms at my birth.
You have been my God from the moment I was born.
11 Do not stay so far from me,
for trouble is near,
and no one else can help me.
12 My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls;
fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
13 Like lions they open their jaws against me,
roaring and tearing into their prey.
14 My life is poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax,
melting within me.
15 My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have laid me in the dust and left me for dead.
16 My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs;
an evil gang closes in on me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
My enemies stare at me and gloat.
18 They divide my garments among themselves
and throw dice for my clothing.
19 O Lord, do not stay far away!
You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
20 Save me from the sword;
spare my precious life from these dogs.
21 Snatch me from the lion’s jaws
and from the horns of these wild oxen.
22 I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise you among your assembled people.
23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear him!
Honor him, all you descendants of Jacob!
Show him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy.
He has not turned his back on them,
but has listened to their cries for help.
25 I will praise you in the great assembly.
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who worship you.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
27 The whole earth will acknowledge the Lord and return to him.
All the families of the nations will bow down before him.
28 For royal power belongs to the Lord.
He rules all the nations.
29 Let the rich of the earth feast and worship.Psalm 22 NLT
Bow before him, all who are mortal,
all whose lives will end as dust.
30 Our children will also serve him.
Future generations will hear about the wonders of the Lord.
31 His righteous acts will be told to those not yet born.
They will hear about everything he has done.
Jesus was abandoned and forsaken so that we could be forgiven. He took on all of our sins — yours and mine, past, present and future — so we wouldn’t be damned, so we wouldn’t perish. It’s so we could have ETERNAL LIFE.
Finally, Jesus didn’t suffer through mocking, beating, shaming, and the excruciating torture of the cross so that we could have RELIGION!
He went through all that so that you wouldn’t have to go through it. Additionally, He wants to have a relationship with YOU.
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.