Monday, April 18, 2011

The Greatest Week in History

This single week is probably the greatest week in the history of the world! In this week Satan was defeated and God reconciled the world to Himself. What love our Lord showed his creation in this week in history. The following summary will attempt to capture the events that ultimately lead to the crucifixion.

Mark’s Gospel describes in great detail beginning in chapter 11. Jesus’ public entry into Jerusalem, with its messianic overtones (Mark 11: 1-11; Matt 21: 4-5, 7-11, 14-17; Luke 19: 35-44; John 12: 12-19), begins the conflict between the Jewish and Roman authorities[1]. The purpose of this grand entry into Jerusalem was to present Jesus to Israel as her Messiah. It should be noted that the Gospels mention the presence of the nation’s leaders (Matt 14: 15; Luke 19: 39; John 12: 19). None of the Gospel references is positive.

If Jesus’ entry wasn’t enough, the cleansing of the temple (Mark 11: 12-19) that Carson and Moo call a strike at the heart of Judaism forces the issue[2]. There is also Jesus being questioned about the appropriateness of paying taxes to a Gentile ruler (Mark 12: 13-17) and about the implications of the doctrine of the resurrection (Mark 12: 18-27)[3] among other incidents.

After His betrayal by Judas and arrest, Jesus was taken back through the Kidron Valley and up the Hinnom to the steps that lead up the hill toward Caiaphas’ house. Jesus was first brought before Annas where He was questioned. After being questioned (and slapped for His answers), Annas sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas (John 18: 12-14, 19-24). It should be noted that it was during this time that Peter denied Jesus (John 18: 15-18, 25-27).

Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas where the high priest and the Sanhedrin. During what actually amounted to a hearing, the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas sought to find testimony to put Jesus to death but could not (Mark 14: 55-65). Like other peoples in the Roman Empire, the Jews were granted a great deal of self-government but the Sanhedrin lacked one important power. The Sanhedrin did not have the authority to order an execution this Jesus was sent to Pilate.

It is on this morning that Judas attempted to repent by returning the thirty pieces of silver and tell the chief priests and elders he had betrayed innocent blood. This fell on deaf ears leading Judas to take his own life (Matt 27: 3-5).

Upon Jesus’ arrival before Pilate, He was asked if He was the King of the Jews? Jesus answered “Thou sayest” (Matt 27: 11; Mark 15: 2; Luke 23: 3). Jesus was sent to Herod who sent Him back to Pilate after Jesus did not perform a miracle. Herod also lacked the power to order Jesus be put to death.

After being returned to Pilate, Jesus was declared to be innocent of charges and would be whipped and released but the crowds called for the release of Barabbas. Ultimately, Pilate relented though he desired to release Jesus. All told, Jesus was actually involved in a total of six trials.

A number of illegal things took place during the “trial” of Jesus. First, the Gospels tell us that false testimony was given against Jesus (Matt 14: 57-58). Of course the testimony necessary to convict Jesus and condemn him to death would have to have been false as the Savior was perfect and incapable of committing sin. Additionally, Jesus was not allowed to present a real defense. Overall, the Sanhedrin had to ignore Deuteronomy 16: 18-20 in order to place Jesus on trial and convict him.

[1] Carson and Moo 2005(pp. 171)

[2] IBID (pp. 171)

[3] IBID (pp. 171)

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