The Friday we call "Good" is actually the worst. It is the best and worst day in history that tells of the best and worst death in history. This is part of an entire study I have doing since Wednesday, March 21. I have published nothing so far but this. Perhaps I will put more out from the rest of the study but for now, I at least give you this.
*Disclaimer: notes from classes at WOL have been used in looking through these events. I have also in some areas (mostly dialogue but also some interaction) used my creative license. There also are no pictures so as not to distract from the story written.
The drama of yesterday begins to rush forward at this point. Technically it would have been late last night, but still. At the current hour of the day (7:47AM) Jesus would be nearing the final sentencing from Pilate and the impending trek to Golgotha.
But I'm getting ahead of myself since I have not gone through the events from last night yet.
This is the day things certainly get overwhelming. There is SO MUCH written because there are so many events taking place in these hours. From sundown Thursday (Jewish Friday starts) till sundown Friday (Shabbat beginning) we go from Gethsemane to Golgotha with some stops in between.
Prior to arriving in the Garden, Jesus gives a small sermon to the 11. He prays for them. He uses His time with them as He always has - with urgent intentions. He ministers to them and tries desperately to speak to their hearts that they might grasp the weight of what is coming. He is trying to prepare them for what is to come. They listen, but may not truly hear. They may hear but not yet truly comprehend everything that is happening. To them, it's just another Passover, another walk with Jesus, another evening spent in prayer before they retire to the borrowed beds in Bethany. They go, they enter the garden, they "split" as Jesus pulls the inner 3 with Him. They fall asleep.
What truly is the big deal about this Garden??
Gethsemane's literal translated meaning is "oil press". Intriguing that an oil press would be where Jesus goes to pray as He is under the pressure and weight of the task that lies before Him. Certainly He will be in full understanding of what it is like to be an olive in a press, crushed, bruised, squeezed; brutalized that from His crushing might flow the stream of life. Oil was highly valued, as the blood of Christ would soon be. In fact, that night as He prayed, Jesus felt the first effects of the pressing - He sweated, like great drops of blood, as He lifted His voice in earnest to His God, pleading God's will that this cup might pass from Him.
It was private. It was secluded. It was peaceful. There would be less threat of distraction and intrusion. It afforded Jesus more time before the impending death. Perhaps, Judas having left before the other 11 with Jesus, the band of wicked men were led back to the upper room. Finding it empty, Judas factored in that the Lord likely went to pray or made a trek back towards Bethany. So, as Jesus has made a pattern to be found, Judas leads them to Gethsemane. Jesus then may have made the decision to hike to the Garden that He might "have that time" in which Judas rerouted to Him to pray to God.
In this prayer time, Jesus is alone. His 11 are asleep and 1 is spitefully against Him. Coming now to seek his opportunity. No one stays awake with Him. However, He is also not alone. God is there. At this point in time God is still with Jesus. He has not yet forsaken His Son. Jesus prays and God listens. An angel is sent to minister to and strengthen Jesus. Upon the departure of the angel, Jesus seeks His inner 3 and finds them asleep. He wakes them and returns to pray. He will repeat this once more before Judas and the band arrive.
Upon the wrapping up of Jesus' third prayer to the Father, the sounds of footsteps and the bobbing of lights appears. There is a tense hush of harsh whispers and the rage of the mob charges the air. Jesus gathers His 11 from their sleep. They are likely groggy and it adds to the confusion. Yet, I imagine pretty quickly, they begin to see what is happening here as Judas leads the men toward Jesus.
The kiss that betrays. The kiss that identifies. The kiss that greets. Judas makes his move and steps aside. He has done what he was paid to do and he now steps aside to allow the men to apprehend Jesus. As the men make their moves toward Jesus, Peter swings his sword - aggressively, groggily, hastily, clumsily (he is after all a fisherman and not a swordsman) - in attempt to protect his Lord. He has sworn his allegiance mutliple times in the last hours and over the last years. This man is not to be touched without a fight. How dare these men come here and think they have the right to apprehend this man, Jesus, the LORD! Absolutely not! So, he unsheathes the sword he has carried and extends his arm wildly. The scream of pain blisters the air. The hands of the wounded man however go not to neck nor arm nor even face, but to the ear. Of all things to have relieved the man of, it would be an ear. In the flickering shadow, Jesus speaks to Peter never once removing His eyes from Malchus who stands bleeding and in pain before Him. "Put your sword away, Peter. He who lives by violence and death will surely be overcome by the same. Do you think Me powerless in this moment? Do you doubt my authority and My Father's strength? If I wish, I could call upon 72,000 angels and do you think I, the Son of God, would be denied that claim? But if I were to do so, how then would Scripture come to be completed? THIS is purposed, Peter. Put your sword away."
He then takes and lays His hand upon Malchus. Where the ear had been, it now is again. Jesus had made this man whole once again. At this time, you can see the forced boldness of each man trembling slightly in fear. Here is the man with the power to do miracles. Hastily, as He lays a hand on Malchus' ear, they rush toward Him and bind Him, forcing Him to come with them.
The disciples, in confusion and fear are unsure what to do now. They've been instructed not to fight back. They've been told this must happen. In disbelief they are watching the Man they thought to be the Messiah being taken away by a mob of armed men. What are they to do? How do they proceed? What is the next step? Will they too be apprehended if they stay here? They begin to flee! Hesitantly at first but after the first couple scurry off, the remaining join. Judas likely the fastest of all, sprinting for all he's worth out of the Garden. Peter perhaps next. Running like a mad man. Confused and still slightly stung by the rebuke. Yet as He runs, He pulls to a stop and turns around. This is His Messiah, he cannot leave Him! He turns around to head back and collides with John. The other disciples run past but Peter and John turn and follow at a distance.
Jesus is taken to Annas - former high priest, father-in-law to the Caiaphas (current high priest). This trial that takes place in his home against Jesus is illegal.
- It was held in private rather than in a public place like the Temple or another place where witnesses might be brought with ease
- It was held at night, making it still more difficult to bring witnesses
- It was held with undue haste
- False witnesses were sought and bribed
- The witnesses were not warned about results of perjury
- Attempts were made to force Jesus to witness against Himself
- Upon being found "innocent" through the shoddy testimonies of the false witnesses, Jesus was not released but held.
- Execution was carried out immediately (no time to find support of witness statements against the accused).
This was not a trial but a condemnation. The verdict was decided before Jesus arrived, now they just had to find the people to affirm that verdict that they might sentence Him to the death they were seeking for Him.
All of this being done, there still was insufficient evidence against Jesus to warrant death. So the trap comes set, "Are You the Messiah, the Son of God?"
"You have said it"
And begin the onset of hyperbolic grief over the "blasphemous" words of this audacious Man! Commence mockery and beatings from those present. A period of waiting and further plotting begins. How do we get this man on the cross?
Meanwhile, back in the courtyard is our impulsive Peter. He has been found and identified several times by people near the fire. When his allegiance and relationship to Jesus is questioned, he recoils. "Me?! Who me? Simon??? Do I know Him?! That Jesus? The guy that says He's the Messiah? NO! No, not me. You must have me mixed up with someone else. I am surely not with that guy! He's....whooo, heh heh...He's a little crazy. No, I'm not with Him".
After several encounters, Peter has denied His relationship and allegiance to Jesus. At that time, as the rooster is crowing, the doors of the house open. A band emerges. Jesus is there. Peter's breath catches in his chest. The rooster's crow pierces the air a second time as Jesus' gaze pierces Peter's heart. The words of foretelling coming crashing in on Peter's head! The world stands still. Time freezes in this moment. The crow paused, the look frozen, the noises of the courtyard muted, the words of Jesus crashing like thunder in Peter's ears, "You will deny me thrice before the rooster crows".
Before Peter even realizes it, his feet are rushing out of the courtyard. His heart rent in two. Tears are pouring from his eyes. His "What have I done?" gasped through clenched teeth, "Oh, Jesus! What have I done?!" catapulted toward the air as his body plummets to the hard stone beneath him. Peter is undone.
Jesus is being taken to the Procurator for trying that he might be executed. With cries of blasphemy, surely Pilate will not be moved. But this Man has just claimed to be the Son of God. To be a King! He is certainly a threat to Caesar. Yes, let's take this Man to Pilate and cry "treason". Surely, he will have to act.
Pilate finds no issues with Jesus but can also not appease the crowd. As a peacekeeper he cannot risk a riot. So what is he to do. "Galilee". He hears the word Galilee and the cry of this Man being Galilean, perfect. This Man is of no concern for Galilee is the worry of Herod Antipas, the tetrarch. He is sent.
Silent before Herod, Jesus aggravates nothing more. Herod falls into the mockery and sends Jesus back to Pilate with nothing new. More attempts to please. What if I petition to free this Man as the Passover prisoner. That will surely help.
The crowds scream not for Jesus bur for Barabbas. They demand the revolutionary to be freed instead of this seemingly innocent man.
Becoming exasperated, feeling the weight of condemning this innocent man and the added stress of his wife's words to have nothing to do with Him, Pilate seeks a way to apease the screaming mobs outside. It is far too early to have to deal with matters like this.
Jesus is sent then to be flogged. Perhaps the blood-lust in their eyes will be sated with torture. Presenting the now scourged, bleeding, hardly recognizable Man to the crowds, he asks for permission to release. The cacophony of anger rings out, "crucify Him!". Beasts. Not even a Roman would demand the crucifixion of an innocent. He finds no fault in Jesus yet this crowd will not shut up. "You are no friend of Caesar!" At the risk of being turned over himself to Caesar as treasonous, Pilate washes his hands of Jesus and turns Him over to the demands of the people. The soldiers further His abuse and torture.
Too weak to carry the 75 pound crossbeam, Jesus staggers along the pathway to Golgotha behind the mass of soldiers and beside the Cyrenian carrying His crossbeam. At the spot, the crossbeam is fixed. Jesus is pushed down and held fast. A nail is pushed against His flesh. Jesus denies the narcotics to dull the pain. His wounds are screaming. Air touching nerves is causing His body to feel as though it's burning. The cool metal tingles on His wrist. In the next second a searing shot of pain bursts through His wrist, firing down His arm. The sensation explodes in His brain and His mouth releases and agonizing scream. The sound of metal on metal splits the air. Each drop of the hammer, a crushing blow to the ones watching in agony.
The cross is lifted and dropped into its hole. The weight of Jesus sags as the cross settles. His lungs weaken, His voice is raw. The ripping of His wrists is answered by more of a whimper in pain than a cry. Hanging there His lungs are being crushed. Every attempt to breathe requires a slight lift of the body to open the lungs more. Every lift requires strength He doesn't have from legs that are throbbing. Scourging, beating, walking, nails. An agonizingly long 6 hours awaits.
Jesus speaks as only He can. He is approaching hell. He cries out for God to forgive those acting in ignorance. His cries are coming out in mumbled speech. The mocking abounds. The thief on the cross is saved that day. Jesus gives charge to John that he is to take Mary in.
Hell comes. Jesus has become sin and for the first time (and the last) in human history, God forsakes a man. This is hell. Jesus no longer has fellowship because Himself, who has never sinned and knew it not, has now become it.
Thirst overwhelms Him. He croaks out for a drink. A bitter wine is given. It is just enough acrid liquid to wet His mouth for a real roar, "tetelestai!" The account is paid in full. All accounts. It has been taken care of. The debt no longer exists.
Finally, He bows His head and commits His spirit into the Father's hands. Death has taken Him. The earth has been growing dark and eerie. Now the storm awakens. Earthquake and thunder, rain and storm. Hell has come. God has died. Man has been forsaken.
Jesus is pierced to ensure His death and then hastily removed from the cross. Two members of the Sandhedrin and several women receive His body (not disciples or family mind you, save His mother). They wrap Him and take Him to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. All of this is done in haste with both the storm overhead and Shabbat on its way. They lay the blood soaked shroud full of Jesus' flesh but void of His spirit in the tomb to return to it after Shabbat that it might be properly cared for.
***Bruce Scott includes notes by Drs. William D. Edwards, MD; Wesley J Gabel, MDiv; Floyd E. Hosmer, MS, AMI
These notes detail the crucifixion processes. They're hard to read, harder to stomach, harder yet to fathom, but necessary, I think. They're real.