The enemies of Jesus were determined
to get rid of him in some way: they spied on him all
the time, trying to get information to use against him,
but all they really did was show themselves to be very
poor leaders and worshippers of God. At last they offered
a reward to any person who could help them to arrest
Jesus knew that He would be
arrested in the end and he made his arrangements so
that he would not be arrested before he was ready and
the time was right. The plans he had for the week were
kept secret. However, on of his own disciples made up
his mind to give information to the Jews to help them
arrest Jesus. This disciple was Judas Iscariot. We are
told that he looked after the money which was given
to the disciples to buy food, but he was a thief. Jesus
knew this but had still chosen Judas as a disciple.
In exchange for giving the Jewish leaders information
on where to find Jesus, Judas received thirty pieces
At the end of the week it was
time for the Passover Feast & the twelve disciples
gathered together with Jesus for the last time - for
the Last Supper (
14 v 12-17 ). Jesus told His disciples that
one of them would betray him - they were very upset
14 v 18-21 ). Soon afterwards, Judas went
out - straight to the rulers. Later that night, when
Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane with the
rest of the disciples, Judas led a group of Temple Guards
to Jesus. He had given them a sign that he would kiss
Jesus to show that he was the person to arrest (being
night time they would not be able to see who was who).
Jesus was arrested and taken to the High Priest's house
14 v 32-53 ).
The Supreme Court of the Jews - the Council
or Sanhedrin - was made up of chief priests, elders
and doctors of the law, and it was presided over by
the High Priest. Even under Roman rule, the Council
had full power over religious matters. They decided
that Jesus was worthy of death on a false charge of
blasphemy and they bound him and took him to the Roman
Governor, Pontius Pilate, to carry out the sentence.
Pilate soon saw that there was no wrong in Jesus and
that the Jews had brought Him to trial because they
were jealous, and so he tried to find some way of releasing
Jesus. Each year at the Passover Festival Pilate freed
one prisoner, chosen by the Jews. When the people arrived
to ask for this annual favour Pilate tried to persuade
them to ask for Jesus: the chief priests, however, went
among the crowd and persuaded them to ask for Barabbas
(a murderer) to be freed instead of Jesus (
15 v 1-15 ).
After he had been beaten and laughed at
by the Roman soldiers, Jesus was taken out to be crucified
(9am). At mid-day the sky became dark and for three
hours the whole land was covered in darkness. At the
end of that time Jesus died: immediately there was a
great earthquake and the large curtain in the Temple,
separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place,
was torn in two from top to bottom. Many of those standing
round, including the Roman centurion, were convinced
that Jesus was truly the Son of God when they saw these
things and how Jesus died.
When the soldiers were sure that Jesus
was dead, Joseph of Arimathaea (a Jewish Councillor
AND a disciple of Jesus) brought a linen sheet, took
Jesus' body down from the cross, and wrapped him in
it. He put the body in a rock tomb and rolled the stone
across the entrance. Some of the women, including Mary
Magdalene, watched and saw where Jesus' body was placed
15 v 42-47 ). The Jews arranged for
a guard of soldiers to remain at the tomb.
As soon as the Sabbath was over, Mary
Magdalene and some of the other women brought spices
to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the Sunday morning
they went to the tomb and saw that the stone had already
been rolled back ... and the tomb was empty! The linen
cloth was still there, but the body had gone.
While they gazed into the tomb, they saw
an angel who spoke to them and said, "Don't be
afraid, I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified,
but he is not here, he is risen. Go, tell his disciples
and Peter that he is going to Galilee to meet you."
The women hurried off, and in their bewilderment
and fear simply told the disciples that the tomb was
empty. Peter and John immediately set off and raced
to the tomb and Mary followed also, puzzled and sad.
Peter & John went into the open tomb and found it
just as the women had said.
Mary remained behind, weeping as she stood
outside the tomb. Turning round, she saw someone whom
she thought must be the gardener. "Woman, why are
you weeping?", he asked. "Oh sir," she
replied, "if you have carried him away, tell me
where you have put him so that I can look after him."
But without knowing, Mary was speaking to Jesus himself,
who then spoke gently to her, calling her by name. "Master!",
she cried with joy.
For forty days, which is nearly six weeks,
Jesus appeared to individuals and to groups of his disciples
and sometimes to all he eleven disciples together. He
gave them many proofs that he was alive: showing them
his hands, his feet and the spear wound in his side;
and he ate with them on several occasions too. So their
bewilderment and disbelief at first, soon vanished and
they were convinced of the reality of the resurrection
of Jesus: they knew that he was alive, risen from the
dead and that all he had taught about the coming Kingdom
of God would soon come to pass.
Jesus was then taken up into the clouds
and hidden from their sight - he had ascended to heaven
1 v 1-11 ).