Welcome to Part 3 in this week’s series on the events in the life of Jesus during his last Passover week illustrated with my coloring book style drawings created for the Generations of Grace Sunday school curriculum.
During the Last Supper that Christ had with his disciples, Peter made the bold statement to Jesus, “Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended.” (Matthew 26:33) Up to that point, the disciples probably hadn’t experienced too much persecution for their newfound faith in Christ. Jesus replied to Peter, “Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.” (Matt. 26:34) Jesus knew what was to come, The prophecy outlined in Isaiah 53:7 said about the Messiah that:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
After Jesus’ arrest, He was eventually brought before Caiaphas (the high priest) who held a closed religious trial late that night without first charging Christ with a crime and without following the legal proceedings of the day. Many false witnesses were brought forth that could not pin anything on Jesus, and all the while He stood there in silence as the Isaiah prophecy stated. Caiaphas eventually asked Jesus, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matt. 26:63) Jesus responded in verse 64, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Jesus accepted the claim that He was God come in the flesh as the Messiah would claim. Caiaphas charged Jesus with blasphemy.
While Christ’s illegal trial was taking place, Peter was outside keeping to himself most likely waiting to see what was happening with Jesus. He certainly was fearful of what might happen to a follower of Christ on that night. Matthew 26:69-75 recounts how Peter denied that he knew Jesus three times to random inquiries from strangers. A rooster crowed after the third denial, thus fulfilling Jesus’ suppertime prophesy of Peter’s impending behavior.
Israel was under the control of the Romans at this time. Caiaphas’ trial did not have the authority, being under the Roman government, to measure out capital punishment. In the morning, the Jews took Jesus before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate who, after reviewing Christ’s case, said in John 18:38, “I find in him no fault at all.”
It was customary to grant freedom to one prisoner as a part of the Passover celebration. Pilate was all ready to release Jesus, but the people wanted Jesus’ blood. Also in captivity was an infamous prisoner named Barabbas. Pilate said, “Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17) The people unanimously chose the evil Barabbas, and demanded that Christ be crucified (Matthew 27:21-23).
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.’ Then answered all the people, and said, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children.’ Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.” – Matthew 27:24-26
While today, Good Friday, is the day that is observed for Christ’s death on the cross, I will post that part of the events tomorrow.