Betrayal. Denial. Trial. Verdict. You can read the story HERE from the Gospel of John chapters 18 & 19.
Betrayal. As Jesus shared a meal with his disciples, he announced to the group that one of them would betray him. Judas left the meal early, shortly after Jesus uttered those words. He rounded up a large contingent of soldiers and others to arrest Jesus. He found Jesus and the disciples in one of their favorite places to retreat and pray, the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.
When Judas and the others approached Jesus, Jesus asked them who they were looking for. “Jesus of Nazareth,” was their reply. Jesus’ response stunned them and literally knocked them to the ground. He simply said, “I AM.” With these words, Jesus was equating Himself with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who had revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush as “I AM.”
Judas was not betraying just a man. He was betraying God Himself.
Denial. Peter, with sword drawn, tried to defend Jesus. Taking a swing at the soldiers (probably aiming for the head), he cut off the ear of one man. Jesus, full of compassion even in that moment, miraculously reattached the ear and brought healing.
The procession led Jesus to the home of the high priest. Peter was far behind, stopping to warm himself near the fire pits. People recognized him as one of the followers of Jesus, asking him three different times whether or not he was one of Jesus’ disciples. Three times he denied it. Then the rooster crowd, just as Jesus had predicted to Peter.
Peter’s denial showed the frailty of the disciples in that moment. Praise God we know the end of the story, that later Jesus forgave Peter and fully restored him as a friend, follower and spiritual leader.
Trial. Jesus endured mock trials before the religious leaders and Roman authorities. He stood before Herod and Pilate. From the perspective of the Jewish leaders, he was being accused of blasphemy because He claimed to be God. From the Roman perspective He was being accused of treason because He claimed to be a king.
Jesus kept His composure during the trials even as He was being falsely accused, lied about, and beaten. Pilate attempted to let Jesus go but he did not have the courage to do so. He caved to the pressure of those who wanted Jesus put to death. He did not realize when he said to Jesus, “What is truth?” that he was speaking to the Person who is The Truth. After questioning, flogging and mocking Jesus, Pilate condemned Jesus to death.
Verdict. The verdict declared by Pilate was, “Guilty.” But it was not just Pilate’s verdict that put Jesus on the cross. Jesus went to the cross because of my sin and yours. Jesus went to the cross to fulfill the will of God and the plan of God. Jesus was condemned to death so that our sin would be paid for and salvation would be possible.
Hebrews 10:10, 14
10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.
14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified.
The verdict for Jesus was death. He was beaten and abused, tortured and humiliated, all so that our sin could be atoned for. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of life is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus loved you so much that He willingly went to the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.
Thank you, Jesus!