The Jewish leaders had declared Jesus to be guilty. But Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, had to pass the final sentence. So, Jesus was brought in front of Pilate, who asked Him if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied, “Yes!”
Pilate asked Jesus whether He had heard the accusations against Him. He further asked if He knew on what charges He was brought there. Jesus remained silent. Pilate declared that he could not find anything wrong with Jesus.
But the crowd blamed that Jesus was trying to change the people of Judea with His teachings and that He had already started in Galilee. When Pilate discovered that Jesus was a Galilean, he sent Him to Herod who governed Galilee.
Herod had heard of Jesus’ miracles. He asked many questions, but Jesus remained silent. Finally, Herod was tired of trying to make Jesus speak. He found nothing to make any case against Him. So, Jesus was sent back to Pilate. Years of enmity between Herod and Pilate changed into friendship.
Pilate could not find anything against Jesus. He suggested that He might be flogged and then released. This made the Jewish priests very furious, as they wanted Jesus to be crucified.
On the day of the Passover (linked to the Christian holiday and celebration of freedom), it was a common custom that the Governor would release any prisoner chosen by the people. Pilate was hoping that the people would ask for Jesus to be released. But the priests had already told the people what to say.
The people demanded, “We want Barabbas to be released!” Barabbas was a dreaded prisoner. Pilate gave in to their demand. But before he went back inside his palace, he had washed his hands in a bowl of water and announced, “I am innocent of Jesus’ blood. Barabbas shall be released!”
Pilate handed Jesus over to the guards for crucifixion. The Roman soldiers whipped Jesus, put a purple robe on Him and led Him away. They made a crown of thorns and pressed it on His head, mocking Him, “Hail! King of the Jews!”
Jesus had to carry, His cross to Golgotha, meaning ‘place of the skull’. A huge crowd followed. They nailed Jesus to a cross between two criminals. Pilate wrote the title, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,’ in three languages, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. It was placed at the top of the cross.
The people gathered to see Jesus for the last time had started weeping. Among them were Jesus’ mother, Mary; and his closest disciple, John. Jesus looked at John and said, “John, Mary will now be your mother.” He looked at Mary and said, “Mother, John will be your son from now onwards.”
Jesus was thirsty. The soldiers gave Him some vinegar on a sponge. He took it. Before He died, Jesus prayed to the Lord, “Father, please forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
When Jesus died, the skies darkened, the curtain of the temple split into two. The earth shook, the rocks split and tombs broke open. To confirm His death, a soldier had his long javelin pierced Jesus’ side. Blood and water flowed out. John took Mary to his house and took care of her from that moment onwards.
Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea, was a follower of Jesus. He took Pilate’s permission to embalm and bury Jesus’ body. So, Joseph and his friend Nicodemus wrapped Jesus in a piece of clean cloth and took Him to a newly built tomb, not far away from Golgotha.
They anointed the body of Jesus with myrrh and wrapped Him in clean linen according to the Jewish custom. After everything was done, Joseph and Nicodemus closed the tomb with a huge boulder.
The Jewish leaders knew Jesus had promised that He would rise from death after three days. So, they requested Pilate to seal the tomb and guard it with soldiers. They wanted to make sure that none of Jesus’ disciples could try to steal his body.
Pilate agreed. The tomb was sealed and it remained under the watchful eyes of the guards, day and night.