Thank you for joining me today on this special week in our faith! Maybe you are still learning about Christianity and want to know what all the craze is about this week for us, well I am glad you joined in for this. Today, I am going to give a recount, through scripture and historical records, of what happened the last 30 hours before Christ died on the cross for our sins.
The year is 30 AD, around 14 Nisan in the Jewish calendar, or 6 April in the modern American calendar. It is a Thursday night like most others, save it is the night of the Passover feast. Jesus has been in Jerusalem for only 5 days since His arrival on Sunday. Christ has spent the day ministering to the people of Jerusalem and the day draws close to an end when one of his 12 apostles leaves his side to entreat the Chief Jewish priests. Please join me in reading Matthew 26:14-16:
14Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, ‘What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?’ And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. (King James Version)
Here we have Judas named as the assailant that is to betray Christ for 30 pieces of silver. One of Christ’s most loyal followers and he still betrays Christ for a relatively small price. It is estimated that each silver piece would be worth $20 today, so in total, Judas betrays one of his most beloved friends for $600. Granted with that amount he could do a lot of good in that time, he still settles for a pitiful amount to betray a friend. The answer as to why Judas actually turns to betray Jesus is found in Luke 22:3-6:
Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5 And they were glad and covenanted to give him money. 6 And he promised and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. (KJV)
So, Judas is possessed by Satan to covenant against the Son of God. He is lost to his ignorance and blinded by Satan’s grip on him.
After the covenant of betrayal, Peter and John inquire as to where they should partake of the Passover Feast. As we read in Luke 22:7-14
Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
This feast that they are about to partake in is what will later be referred to as the Lord’s Supper or the Last Supper and is where we get act of Communion from. The significance of the Lord’s Supper is beyond measure. It helps us see that Jesus is God as He demonstrates his omniscient and omnipresent capabilities by revealing that He knows the actions of Judas and the future actions of Peter. This revelation of His abilities helps to ferment in the minds of His apostles that He is the One true God and the Son of God. Let’s continue reading on: Luke 22:15-24:
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. 24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (KJV)
Here we see the apostles choosing once again to ignore what Christ has revealed to them, something we all do. I know I have done this in my life before, but here Christ literally tells them that this is His last meal and they ignore that and go on about who among them will betray Him and who is the greatest apostle amongst them. To which Christ replies in His usual parable mannerisms: Luke 22:25-30:
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. 27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (KJV)
In one of Christ’s last parables before the crucifixion He talks of servitude above all. Reminding them that the Son of God came not to be served but to serve. Christ truly lived out each commandment He gave unto His apostles, letting no hint of hypocrisy into His life or ministry. Then Jesus gets personal with His address and singles out His most trusted apostle Simon-Peter, Luke 22:31-34
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (KJV)
Following Christ’s foreboding words to Peter, they leave for the Garden of Gethsemane. Once there, Christ separates Himself from the apostles and makes a prayer on our behalf. This prayer would become known as the Prayer of Intercession. John 17:1-26:
1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
The prayer of intercession is one of the most overlooked parts of Christ’s ministry, and is probably one of the most important, second to the sacrifice He makes on the cross. This prayer shows us exactly why Christ came to earth and lived the life He did when He didn’t have to. In this prayer, He secures our salvation and opportunity to go to Heaven, without His prayer here to make us one spirit with His, there would be no way we could have our sins forgiven without our own sacrifice. But when Christ takes our sins here from out spirits, He enables himself to carry our sins to hell and sets us free from eternal damnation. Following this passionate prayer, Christ asks for the strength to enact the will of His father. And then His final hours begin with a kiss of betrayal from Judas. Matthew 26: 47-56
47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. 51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. (KJV)
To finish the events of Maundy Thursday, Christ is taken to the house of the High Priest of the Sanhedrin and Peter denies Christ thrice before the cock announces the new day and the beginning of Good Friday. And in the midnight hours, an illegal trail began by the Sanhedrin to convict Jesus Christ of blasphemy. Two false witnesses are brought forward and bring forward their fictitious and construed stories of Christ’s ministry. The priests ask what Jesus has to say, in which He simply replies “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” (Matthew 22:64 KJV). As the priests strike and mock Christ, Peter sits outside and is forced to confess whether or not he knew Jesus, to which he denies any association with Christ 3 times. As the priests finish their beatings and mocking they take Christ to Pilate, the military governor from Rome. Matthew 27:11-26
11 And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. 12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee? 14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly. 15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? 18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him. 19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him. 20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. 24 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. 25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. 26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. (KJV)
It was custom to flog a prisoner before crucifixion. Here is a description of what is believed what happened to Christ during his:
Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar against this pretender who allegedly claimed to be the King of the Jews. Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful the Romans would have made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter, but the Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes. The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs.
At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles. The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. Flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.
After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, and almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds once more begin to bleed. (Dr. C. Truman Davis, 2018)
This is all before the painful event of the crucifixion. The amount of suffering there kills most humans before they even get to the cross. Following this beating, Christ carried the cross to Mount Calvary a staggering 650 yard journey with a 75 lbs weight affixed to His back. Pushing his muscles beyond the point of failure, Christ is recorded to have stumbled 3 times before the Centurion loses his patience and orders a denizen to help Christ with the weight. And around 9 am they reach the site of the main posts for the crucifixion. Mark 15:25-39
25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him. 33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. (KJV)
It is 3 pm at the time of his death, and, upon Christ’s death, the veil in the temple is torn, meaning that there is no longer anything between man and God. That Christ’s sacrifice was enough to cover our sins, offered up as the ultimate sacrificial lamb. God, the Son died to take our sins to hell and pay the price that we all deserve to pay. And that is where I leave you today, as the apostles were, left with questions, an unfinished story that the answers were already revealed, all you have to do is believe with all of your heart and profess that which is true, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He lived, and died to take away your sins, that you may have ever lasting life.
For additional events during the Holy Week in a timeline format please see this website:
Davis, C. T. (2018, March 29). A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Retrieved March 30, 2018, from https://www1.cbn.com/medical-view-of-the-crucifixion-of-jesus-christ