Trial & Crucifixion of Jesus-Parallel Passages


Map of Jerusalem Retracing Christ's last footsteps on earth: Here is a map of "Passion Week". Here is another similar map of Jesus' Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion) Hint: Locate the "Upper Room" (found on left side of picture) in the diagram and then follow the arrows which retrace the footsteps of the Messiah, steps which had been foreordained in eternity past "by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23+, cp Acts 4:27-28+) taking Him from the Upper Room to the excruciating agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the tragic betrayal by a friend resulting in His unfair arrest, leading to 6 unjust trials (see table below) which culminate in the central event in all eternity, Christ on the Cross on Calvary. The numbers below correlate with the numbers on the map with the arrows on the lines signifying the direction of Jesus' movement) 

(1) Jesus left the Upper Room (see left side of picture just below Caiaphas' Residence) and walked with disciples out of the city, across the Kidron Valley and up to the Mount of Olives and  from there to the nearby Garden of Gethsemane (see right upper side of picture)

(2) He was arrested in the Garden and taken back into the city, first to an informal "trial" before Annas (who apparently lived next to Caiaphas) and then to Caiaphas' Residence (the location is an approximation) where the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin) were gathered.

(3). After His first night time "trial" before the Sanhedrin at Caiaphas’ residence, Jesus was tried at daybreak before the Sanhedrin, probably at the Temple (see Herod's Temple) as shown in the diagram above.

(4) Jesus is taken from the trial before the Sanhedrin

(5) Next, he was taken to Pontius Pilate (admittedly this is difficult to follow on the map above)

(6), Pilate sent Jesus to the palace of Herod Antipas (location uncertain). Herod Antipas returned Jesus to Pilate (admittedly this is difficult to follow on the map above)

(7), Pilate handed over Jesus for scourging (possibly at Fortress of Antonia but this is not depicted on the map) and then delivered over for crucifixion at Golgotha (note there are two possible locations - The "Traditional Golgotha" and "Gordon's Calvary")




See also Detailed Discussion of 3 Religious Trials

~1-3 AM)
      Jn 18:12-14,19-24

(Nighttime -
~1-3 AM)
Mt 26:57-68 Mk 14:53-65 Lk 22:54, 63-65  

~5 AM)
Mt 27:1 Mk 15:1 Lk 22:66-71  


Mt 27:2, 11-14 Mk 15:1-5 Lk 23:1-5 Jn 18:28-38
Herod Antipas
    Lk 23:6-12  
Mt 27:15-26 Mk 15:6-15 Lk 23:13-25 Jn 18:39-19:16

Parallel Passages - The following table is an attempt to line up parallel passages from the 4 Gospel accounts on the same row and to identify the passages found only in one Gospel with yellow highlighting. In some cases it is difficult to state with certainty which passage in a particular Gospel comes next in time sequence. If you see a passage you do not think fits in the sequence please send an email with your explanation.


Approximate Time: 6:00 AM

Mt 27:1 Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death;

Mk 15:1 Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation. 

Lk 22:66 When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying. 


    Lk 22:67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” 70 And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, Yes, I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”



(Approximate Time 6:30 AM)
Mt 27:2 and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. (N1) Mk 15:1b and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. Lk 23:1 Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate

Jn 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas INTO the Praetorium,

      Jn 18:28b and it was early; and they themselves DID NOT ENTER into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.


Note 1 on "delivered Him to Pilate" - Delivered is paradidomi which means to give one over to the power or authority of another. This was a clear fulfillment of prophecies by Jesus Himself Who had predicted "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day...Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered (paradidomi) into the hands of men." (Lk 9:22, 44+, Lk 18:32+)


MacArthur's comments on Mark help establish the timing of the events of the three phases of the religious trial on Friday morning - 

Having taken Jesus prisoner about 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning, the Jewish religious heads brought Him to the house of the high priest where He was first questioned by Annas (Described only in John 18:19-24)(ED: RELIGIOUS TRIAL #1) and then tried before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:55-65)(ED: RELIGIOUS TRIAL #2). When the council (Sanhedrin) failed to produce consistent testimony against Jesus, they resorted to accusations of blasphemy and subsequently condemned Him to death. The trial before Caiaphas likely ended about 3:00 a.m., at the time when Peter’s denials also ended (cf. Mk 14:66-72, Lk 22:56-62). For the next couple hours, Jesus would have been held prisoner by the Temple police, who continued to mock and mistreat Him (cf.  Mk 14:65). At daybreak, near 5:00 a.m., the Sanhedrin reconvened (ED: RELIGIOUS TRIAL #3). (See context in Mark 9-16 MacArthur New Testament Commentary and Next page)


Recall that the Gospel of John is the only Gospel to describe the first religious trial of Jesus before Annas (Jn 18:12-14,19-23). After Annas interrogated Jesus he "sent Him bound to Caiphas the high priest" (Jn 18:24) which would lead to the second and third religious trials, neither of which are described by John. 

John has just described Peter's denial in John 18:25-27. John does not describe Jesus' trial before Caiaphas nor before the Sanhedrin but only mentions that Annas had Jesus bound and taken to Caiaphas the high priest .(Jn 18:24) For the details of Jesus' first nighttime trial before Caiaphas see Mt 26:57-68, Mk 14:53-65 and Lk 22:54, 63-65+. While all 3 Synoptic Gospels mention Jesus' third religious trial before the Sanhedrin in the morning (Mt 27:1, Mk 15:1, Lk 22:66), only Luke gives us the details of the third trial (Lk 22:67-71+). 

John 18:28: On Passover the Jewish leaders had ceremonially cleansed themselves in preparation for the meal they would eat that Friday evening. We have explained how Jesus and His disciples could eat the Passover meal on Thursday evening and these leaders could eat the Passover meal on Friday (See explanation in notes on Luke 22:7). Since the Mishnah declared all Gentile homes unclean, the Jews would not enter Pilate's residence, but they could enter the courtyard and not be defiled. What hypocrites! They fastidiously avoided any external ceremonial defilement, but cared nothing about internal defilement in their own hearts! Notice that Jesus went into the Praetorium of Pilate but the Jews remain outside.  As D A Carson says "The Jews take elaborate precautions to avoid ritual contamination in order to eat the Passover, at the very same time they are busy manipulating the judicial system to secure the death of him who alone is the true Passover." (The Gospel According to John - Pillar).

The Praetorium (Pix 1, Pix 2) describes the headquarters of the commanding officer of a Roman military camp or a Roman military governor's headquarters (in this case Pilate) and is derived from "Praetor (Latin, "leader") was originally the title of the highest-ranking civil servant in the Roman Republic, but later became a position directly below the rank of consul." (Wikipedia) The Praetorium was formerly the headquarters or barracks of a Roman camp; however, in the provinces as well as in Rome, praetorium came to be used in reference to the governor’s or emperor’s official residences. The Romans accommodated themselves with such buildings by seizing and appropriating the palaces of conquered royalty of the local area. The Praetorium was also the location of PIlate's judgment seat (Mt 27:19, Jn 19:13)

Notice that John records Jesus appearing before Pilate early, which is most likely around 6-7 AM (DAYBREAK WOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT 5 AM, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN WHEN THE SANHEDRIN CONVENED THEIR OSTENSIBLY "LEGAL" TRIAL OF JESUS. AFTER THEIR SPEEDY VERDICT JESUS WAS TAKEN TO PILATE.). Roman officials would normally begin their work at day break so that they could be finished by 10-11 AM. On this fateful day Pilate would accomplish his "business"  before 9 AM so that there would time for Jesus to die on the Cross (Ref). 

Matthew 27:3-10

The episode describing what happened to Judas is recorded only by Matthew.

Mt 27:3 Then (THIS TIME PHRASE MARKS SEQUENCE - so the following transpires sometime in the early morning. Although not clearly stated in Scripture, it appears that after his betrayal of Jesus, Judas followed Jesus to three mock trials before Annas and Caiaphas including the third mock religious trial at daybreak.) when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse (metamellomai - SORROW BUT NOT A GODLY SORROW LEADING TO REPENTANCE - 2 Cor 7:10, 11+)  and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” (THE TORMENT OF A GUILTY CONSCIENCE - THEY CLEARLY COULD NOT USE JUDAS AS A WITNESS!) But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the Temple sanctuary (naos = THE HOLY PLACE WHERE ONLY PRIESTS COULD ENTER! THUS JUDAS FORCED THE PRIESTS TO TAKE BACK THEIR "BLOOD MONEY!") and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. (SEE RELATED NOTES ON HOW JUDAS DIED IN Acts 1:16-20+) 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 And they conferred together and with the money bought the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers. 8 For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel; 10 AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”

MacArthur on remorse versus repentance - True biblical repentance is not psychological, emotional human remorse, seeking merely to relieve stress and improve one’s circumstances. Though it inevitably produces the fruit of a changed life (cf. Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8; Acts 26:20), it is not behavioral, but spiritual. The sorrow of the world—remorse, wounded pride, self-pity, unfulfilled hopes—has no healing power, no transforming, saving, or redeeming capability. It produces guilt, shame, resentment, anguish, despair, depression, hopelessness, even, as in the case of Judas (Matt. 27:3-5), death. (See context in 2 Corinthians MacArthur New Testament Commentary) See also 2 Cor 7:10, 11+

Related Resources on Judas:

Parallel passages and with yellow highlighting signifying truth found only in this Gospel. In some cases it is difficult to state with certainty which passage in a particular Gospel comes next in time sequence. If you see a passage you do not think fits in the sequence please send an email with your explanation.  From a cursory glance at the table below, it should be apparent that in order to get a complete account of Jesus before Pilate, one must read John's account. 



(Approximate Time - 6:30 AM)

Mt 27:1 Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; 2 and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor. (N2)

Mk 15:1+ Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.




John 18:28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early;




Jn 18:28b and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium, so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. (N1)









Jn 18:29 Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this Man?” (N1) (see pix)

30 They answered and said to him, “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.”

31 So Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.” The Jews said to him, “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” 32 to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die, (N3)



Lk 23:2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man (#1) misleading our nation (#2) and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, (#3) and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”



Mt 27:11 Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.

Mk 15:2+ Pilate questioned Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him, “It is as you say.

Lk 23:3+ So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, It is as you say.

Jn 18:33 Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” (N4)




Jn 18:34 Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me? 35 Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” (N536 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth (Jn 14:6, cf gospel). Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice (cf Jn 10:27, 8:31-32).38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (Pix)




Lk 23:4+ Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, I find no guilt in this man.

Jn 18:38b And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in Him. (N6)

Mt 27:12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer .
13 Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”
14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed. (N7)

Mk 15:3+ The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly (Imperf-repeatedly).
Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, “Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!”
5 But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.

Lk 23:5+ But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”



(Only in Luke)
(Approximate Time 7:00 AM)




Lk 23:6 When Pilate heard it, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time....

Lk 23:8+ Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. 9 And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. 11 And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate.  (THIS LEADS TO THE THIRD CIVIL TRIAL BELOW) 12 Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.



(Approximate Time: 7:30 AM)


Luke 23:13-16+ Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 “Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” (See Note)




Note 1 - John 18:28 says the Jews "themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled." When the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate, it seems clear that Jesus Himself was taken inside the Praetorium to face Pilate, while the Jews remained outside. Then when Pilate went out to them he formally commenced the legal proceedings (the first civil trial) as he asked "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" (see pix) (Jn 18:29). It is interesting that the Jews did not at first give a specific accusation declaring "If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.” (Jn 18:30) They mistakenly presumed this would be sufficient for Pilate to condemn Jesus to death. For after all Pilate would have had to give the order for a Roman cohort to go with the Jews to arrest Jesus (Jn 18:3). Probably to their shock Pilate told them to judge Him (Jn 18:31). Of course their problem was they wanted Him dead and had no authority to carry out capital punishment. Therefore they came up with three accusations calculated to force Pilate to condemn Jesus to death, for high treason and insurrection. Pilate was a weak man of fickle character but he was still smart enough to discern that the reason the Jews had delivered Jesus into his hand was because of envy! (Mt 27:18). So the Jews in essence forced Pilate's hand with their triple accusation in Lk 23:2. 

How tragically deceived (and hypocritical) were these "religious" Jewish leaders who regarded ceremonial defilement a much more serious matter than moral defilement! (cf Lk 11:39+)

THOUGHT - Are we not often like them, maintaining a "spiritual" exterior, while at the same time internally harboring unclean thoughts, unrepentant sins, etc? O Lord, acquit us of hidden faults and keep us from presumptive sins, lest they come to rule over us. Amen (Ps 19:12-13). 

Augustine - O impious blindness! They would be defiled, forsooth, by a dwelling which was another's, and not be defiled by a crime which was their own. They feared to be defiled by the praetorium of an alien judge, and feared not to be defiled by the blood of an innocent brother.

Matthew Poole  "Nothing is more common than for persons overzealous about rituals to be remiss about morals."

John Trapp - “Putrid hypocrisy! they stand upon legal defilements, and care not to defile their consciences with innocent blood. What is this, but to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel?”

Note 3 on to fulfill the word of Jesus (Jn 18:32) - Specifically Jesus had predicted "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (Jn 12:32) In John's Gospel the Greek word lifted up (hupsoo) always refers to the cross (Jn 3:14; 8:28, 12:34, Mt 20:19, cf OT prophecy in Ps 22:16). On the cross He became a curse (Dt 21:23, Gal 3:13). Notice also that Pilate's response in John 18:31 (for them to "take Him yourselves...") forces the Jews to offer up the three specific charges recorded only in Lk 23:2. 

Note 4 - John 18:33 on “Are You the King of the Jews?” - First note that Pilate "entered again into the Praetorium" from which he had come out initially to address the Jews. Now Pilate goes back inside apparently this time taking Jesus with him. In the Greek text, the "You" is emphatic and so more literally it reads "You, are You the King of the Jews?" Clearly of the 3 Jewish accusations against Jesus (recorded only in Luke 23:2), the one that aroused Pilate's attention was the statement that Jesus claimed to be a King. Pilate's question is recorded in all four Gospels (Mt 27:11, Mk 15:2, Lk 23:3). Note also that this is the FIRST question Pilate asked Jesus. And while the synoptic Gospels all record Jesus' answer as "It is as you say," John adds a more lengthy interchange in Jn 18:34-38a. In sum this extended discourse (1) is found only in John's Gospel, (2) occurs in private within Pilate's residence, the Praetorium, and (3) represents Jesus' explanation to Pilate that He is not a King in the usual sense that Pilate might expect of a typical earthly king. In view of this revelation, Pilate interpreted Jesus as no threat to the Roman empire and for that reason found no guilt in Him. (Jn 18:38b, Lk 23:4).

MacArthur adds that "Jesus could not answer Pilate's question with an unqualified "Yes" or "No" without first defining exactly what His kingship entails. His counter question, "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" was intended to clarify the issue (I.E., TO CLARIFY PILATE'S QUESTION). If Pilate was saying this on his own initiative, he would be asking if Jesus was a king in the political sense (and hence a threat to Rome). Jesus' answer in that case would be "no," He was not a king in the sense of a military or political leader. He had earlier rejected the crowd's attempt to make Him such a king (Jn 6:15). But neither could the Lord deny that as the Messiah He was Israel's true king. (See context in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

James Stalker adds that Jesus "desired to learn in what sense the question was asked—whether from the standpoint of a Roman or from that of the Jews; because of course His answer would be different according as He was asked whether He was a king as a Roman would understand the word or according as it was understood by the Jews....Jesus at once proceeded, however, to answer Pilate’s question on both sides, both on the Roman political and then on the Jewish religious side. First, He answered negatively, “My kingdom is not of this world!” He was no rival of the Roman emperor....It was not a kingdom of force and arms and worldly glory He had in view....Yet, even in making this denial, Jesus had used the words, “My kingdom.” And Pilate broke in, “Art Thou a king then?” “Yes,” replied Jesus; “to this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. This was His kingdom—the realm of Truth. It differs widely from that of Caesar. Caesar’s empire is over the bodies of men; this is over their hearts. The strength of Caesar’s empire is in soldiers, arms, citadels and navies; the strength of this kingdom is in principles, sentiments, ideas. The benefit secured by Caesar to the citizens is external security for their persons and properties; the blessings of Christ’s kingdom are peace of conscience and joy in the Holy Ghost  (ED: "ETERNAL SECURITY!"). The empire of Caesar, vast as it was, yet was circumscribed; the kingdom of Christ is without limits, and is destined to be established in every land. Cæsar’s empire, like every other earthly kingdom, had its day and passed out of existence; but the kingdom of Truth shall last for evermore.”(THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST: A DEVOTIONAL HISTORY OF OUR LORD'S PASSION - see III)

Stalker - In the silence, then, of this interior hall He (Jesus) and Pilate stood face to face—He in the prisoner’s lonely place, Pilate in the place of power. Yet how strangely, as we now look back at the scene, are the places reversed! It is Pilate who is going to be tried—Pilate and Rome, which he represented. All that morning Pilate was being judged and exposed; and ever since he has stood in the pillory of history with the centuries gazing at him. In the old pictures of the Child Christ by the great masters a halo proceeds from the Babe that lights up the surrounding figuraes, sometimes with dazzling effect. And it is true that on all who approached Christ, when He was in the world, there fell a light in which both the good and the evil in them were revealed. It was a search-light, that penetrated into every corner and exposed every wrinkle. Men were judged as they came near Him. Is it not so still? We never show so entirely what is in us as by the way in which we are affected by Christ. We are judging ourselves and passing sentence on ourselves for eternity by the way in which we deal with Him.

Note 5 on what have You done? - The Roman laws allowed the accused to be questioned in detail. So while Pilate understands why the Jewish leaders had delivered Him over (i.e., envy - Mt 27:18), he is uncertain what Jesus has done to stir up such anger and hostility.

Note 6 on I find no guilt in HimMacArthur explains that "In this context, "find" represented a judicial verdict. Pilate acquitted Jesus of any civil or criminal wrongdoing. In modern parlance, He threw the case out of court for lack of evidence. He exercised "summary judgment." (Ibid)


Note 7 - Mt 27:12-14 (parallel with Mk 15:3-5, Lk 23:5) - Although Matthew and Mark do not record Pilate's first not guilty verdict against Jesus, they do record a barrage of repeated accusations against Jesus in an attempt to force Pilate to reverse his verdict.  In stark contrast to the angry lying accusations of the Jews, Jesus is majestically silent! And Pilate's reaction was that he was amazed (thaumazo)! Pilate is marveling that the Jews are falsely accusing Him of crimes that would warrant the death penalty and yet He offered no self-defense! In truth, He did not have to because Pilate had already declared Him not guilty (Lk 23:4, Jn 18:38). In His silence Jesus fulfilled OT prophecies

Isaiah 42:1-2  “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.  2 “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street. 

Isaiah 53:7+ He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. 

Comment: In Acts 8:32+ Luke records the last part of Isaiah's passage “HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH." This was a portion of the passages of Scripture the Ethiopian Eunuch was reading which led to his salvation as Phillip preached Jesus to him beginning with Isaiah's prophecy (Acts 8:34, 35+)


Luke begins to describe the sixth and final phase of the illegal trial of Jesus in Lk 23:13-16, a description that is unique to Luke's Gospel (like the previous section on the trial before Herod - Lk 23:6-12). Herod has just sent Jesus back to Pilate and Pilate summons the religious leaders (had they dispersed after Jesus was sent to Herod?) and gives his second not guilty verdict, this time adding that Herod also found Him not guilty. 

Note on the sequence of events - From the preceding chart, note that Pilate went out of the Praetorium to meet the Jews and hear their initial accusation against Jesus (Jn 18:29-30), which was not convincing. This prompted Pilate to tell the Jews to take Him...and judge Him according to your law (Jn 18:31-32). Pilate's response in turn prompted the Jews to present 3 specific accusations against Jesus (recorded only in Lk 23:2). Upon hearing their charges Pilate went into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus for questioning (Jn 18:33). The accusation that aroused Pilate's concern was that Jesus was a King and so he focuses his question on whether Jesus was "the King of the Jews" (Mt 27:11, Mk 15:2, Lk 23:3, Jn 18:33). Jesus' full reply is recorded only by John (Jn 18:34-38). Apparently Pilate reaches his conclusion that Jesus is not guilty of this charge (nor the other two charges). At this point he goes back outside to announce his verdict (Jn 18:38a), telling the Jews Jesus is not guilty. While it is not clearly stated, it is implied from comparing the four accounts that Pilate brought Jesus with him, so that the Jews could see Him when they heard the verdict against Him. Not surprisingly, Pilate's first not guilty verdict stirred up the Jews to begin to make more accusations against Jesus (Mt 27:12, Mk 15:3, Lk 23:5), Who remained silent. Note the fact that Jesus did not answer (Mt 27:12) supports that Jesus was before His accusers (i.e., outside the Praetorium or at the very least at the entrance to the Praetorium where the Jews could see Him and level their charges against Him). 

From the chart below note that Luke provides a much briefer account of Barabbas compared with Mark 15:6-11 (and Mt 27:15-18, 20-25). Only Matthew records the message of Pilate's wife (Mt 27:19). While Luke does mention Barabbas' crimes (Lk 23:19), he does not explain the custom  of releasing a prisoner which is described by Mark (Mk 15:6) and Matthew (Mt 27:15).

Color Legend - 

  • Pilate's words.
  • Jew's words.
  • Barabbas


Mt  27:15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. 
16 At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”  
18 For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over.

Mk 15:6+ Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested. 
The man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection.
8 The crowd went up and began asking (present tense) him to do as he had been accustomed to do for them. 
9 Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?
10 For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 

Lk 23:17 [Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.]









Jn 18:39 But you have a custom that I release someone for you at the Passover; Do you wish then that I release for you the King of the Jews?

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” (Picture)


20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. 21 But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas .” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?They all *said, “Crucify Him!23 And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!”  24 When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.25  And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. 
12 Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
13 They shouted back, “Crucify Him!
14 But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!

Lk 23:18 But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder. 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again. 
21 but they kept on calling out, saying, Crucify, Crucify Him!
22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.

Jn 18:40 So they cried out again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” Now Barabbas was a robber.” Jn 19


26 Then he released Barabbas ("son of Abba"!) for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

15 Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 

23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted.

John 19:1 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.



The warning dream of Pilate's wife (? Procla or Procula) is not found in any other Gospel. She had the message of her dream sent to Pilate who seated on the judgment seat (bema - SAME WORD USED OF THE PLACE BEFORE WHICH EVERY BELIEVER MUST STAND SOME DAY - 2 Cor 5:10+) at "The Pavement" (Gabbatha) (See picture). Both Romans and Greeks viewed dreams as an important way their false gods spoke (e.g., viewing them as "omens"), albeit in this case the dream may have originated from the true and living God (but we cannot be dogmatic, cf warning in a dream in Mt 2:12). Whatever the content of the dream was, it was sufficient to convince Pilate's wife that Jesus was righteous and presumably innocent. One can only imagine PIlate's thoughts (and fears) at that moment. Notice that Pilate's wife does not say release Jesus, but have nothing to do with Him, something he was already actively trying to do! This pagan woman dreaming of Jesus does raise the question Is God giving people in closed countries dreams and visions to bring them to faith in Christ? (see discussion) (See also Christian dream interpretation? Are our dreams from God?)

Can you imagine the pressure intensifying on Pilate to release or to condemn Jesus? Apparently while Pilate was being warned, the chief priests were persuading the crowd to ask for Barabbas' ("son of Abba"!) life and Jesus death! (Mt 27:20)

John MacArthur comments on PIlate ritually washing his hands in Mt 27:24 - It was ironic, and doubtlessly intentional, that the governor chose a Jewish ritual to depict his renunciation of responsibility for Jesus' fate. If the ruling elders of a city were not able to determine the identity of a murderer, the Mosaic law provided that they could publicly wash their hands, pray to God, and thereby absolve themselves of any guilt regarding their inability to render justice (Dt 21:6,7). Using a modified form of that Jewish ceremony which he had heard of, Pilate proclaimed he was innocent of this innocent Man's blood. Doubtlessly with a tone of both dismay and disgust, the governor then said, "See to that yourselves." And when he gave them what they wanted, the people gave him what he wanted. If he would permit Jesus' death, they would assume all blame. "His blood be on us and on our children!" they shouted. That declaration did not, of course, absolve Pilate of guilt, but it did proclaim for all time the people's acknowledgment of their own guilt. They soon forgot that assumption of guilt, however, and not many months later the Sanhedrin self-righteously rebuked the apostles for holding them accountable for Christ's blood (Acts 5:28). The multitude of perhaps several thousand Jews who stood outside the Praetorium made their verdict in behalf of all Israel. It was that verdict, acknowledged by all the other unbelieving Jews through their silence, that caused the branch of Israel to be broken off the tree of God's redemptive blessing (Ro 11:17). It is no wonder that since that fearful day, as a nation and as individuals, unredeemed Jews have been under the chastening hand of God. (See context ni Matthew 24-28 MacArthur New Testament Commentary and next page)


Mark 15:8 records that the Jews were asking Pilate to release a prisoner as was the custom at the Passover (cf Jn 18:39, Mt 27:15). John MacArthur comments that "Each year, the governor would grant amnesty to one sentenced criminal of the people’s choice as a way to cultivate goodwill and to demonstrate Rome’s mercy. Pilate thought the crowd would select Jesus, thereby solving his dilemma." (See context in Mark 9-16 MacArthur New Testament Commentary) (As an aside, this "tradition" is not recorded in any extra-Biblical source.) This "tradition" gave Pilate another opportunity to avoid executing an innocent Man and so he asked the Jews if they would like him to release the King of the Jews (Mk 15:9), Jesus Who is called Christ (Messiah) (Mt 27:17). 


John 18:39 - King of the Jews - Pilate is mocking the Jewish leaders for he knew they had vehemently rejected Jesus as their King. Another consideration (but only speculative) is that Pilate hoped to play off the sympathies of those in the crowd who had proclaimed Him as King in His triumphal entry.

John 18:40 calls Barabbas ("son of Abba"!) a robber which is the Greek word lestes a word that describes one who steals openly and with violence in contrast to a thief or kleptes who steals primarily by stealth. Judas was a thief (kleptes - John 12:6) but was not violent, while Barabbas was a robber (lestes) who "had committed murder" (Mk 15:7). It is also notable that the word lestes is used to describe the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus (Mt 27:38, 44, Mk 15:27). The irony is that Luke had just used the word lestes  when Jesus was arrested in the Garden and had addressed "the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him," asking “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber (lestes)?." (Lk 22:52+) In fact it was the Jewish leaders who had made the Temple Court of the Gentiles into a robber's (lestes) den (Lk 19:46+), and who now compounded their sin by asking Pilate to release the real robber Barabbas and crucify the innocent Jesus!

Fruchtenbaum summarizes Pilate's attempts to release Jesus - 

Once again Pilate attempted to release Yeshua. He offered the people a choice between Yeshua and Barabbas  ("son of Abba"!). This is recorded in Mark 15:6–10. Pilate attempted to have the Messiah released by offering the crowd a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. The irony of the situation must not be missed! Barabbas was guilty of the very crime of which Jesus was accused: sedition or rebelling against Rome. Furthermore, we know from other contemporary sources that the entire name of the guilty one was Jesus Barabbas. The name Barabbas means “son of the father.” So the prisoner who was going to be released was “Jesus, son of the father.” But the Lord Jesus, the Son of the Father, was being accused of sedition and would die on the other’s behalf.

At this point in the proceedings, Pilate received a message from his wife. We find this recorded in Matthew 27:17–19:

When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him up. And while he was sitting on the judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have you nothing to do with that righteous man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

According to tradition, Pilate’s wife’s name was Claudia. She apparently was more sensitive to spiritual things and had received a troubling dream concerning the person of Jesus. In this dream, He was clearly revealed as a righteous man. She also had a sense of impending doom that if Pilate gave in and condemned Jesus to death, dire consequences would result upon the family. Apparently, she had already gone through a night of suffering, realizing that the decision Pilate would make would determine their destiny also.

After Pilate received the warning from his wife, he gave the people the choice between Yeshua and Barabbas  ("son of Abba"!). This is recorded in Matthew 27:20–22: Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. But the governor answered and said unto them, Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate said unto them, What then shall I do unto Jesus who is called Christ? They all say, Let him be crucified.

The Jewish leaders in the meantime had moved through the crowd, inciting the people to ask for Barabbas’ release and to demand the Crucifixion of Yeshua (Mt 27:20). Pilate’s second attempt to have Yeshua released was foiled.

Pilate attempted a third time to release Jesus. We see this in John 19:1–6. Pilate’s third attempt in verse 1 was another compromise, for he had Jesus scourged. Pilate’s apparent hope was that when the people saw Jesus after His scourging, they would be sympathetic toward Him and would call for His release. (Ibid)

The following table attempts to line up parallel passages on the same row and identify the passages found only in one Gospel with yellow highlighting. In some cases it is difficult to state with certainty which passage in a particular Gospel comes next in time sequence. 

Color Legend: 

  • Jesus' words
  • Pilate's words.
  • Jew's words.
  • Barabbas.
  • Crucify.
  • Scourge


Mt 27:26 Then he released Barabbas ("son of Abba"!) for them;

Mk 15:15+Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas ("son of Abba"!) for them,

Lk 23:24-25+ And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.



Mt 27:26b but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified

Mk 15:15b+and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified 


Jn 19:1 Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him


Mt 27:27-30 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head.

Mk 15:16-19+ The soldiers took Him away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium), and they called together the whole Roman cohort. 17 They dressed Him up in purple, and after twisting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him; 18 and they began to acclaim Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They kept beating His head with a reed, and spitting on Him, and kneeling and bowing before Him. 


Jn 19:2-3 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; 3 and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face.








John 19:4-15 Pilate came out again and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him.” 5 Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold, the Man!6 So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!” Pilate said to them, “Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God.” 8 Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; 9 and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”  13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 


Matthew 27:31 After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify. Him.

Mark 15:20 And they led Him out to crucify.Him. 

Lk 23:25b+ but he delivered Jesus to their will.

John 19:16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified. 


Note the "reed" (kalamos) in Mt 27:29, 30 (cf Mk 15:19) used to first to mock Jesus as a "scepter" then used like a "rod" to repeatedly "beat (imperfect tense - over and over) Him on the head". Note that kalamos is not just a flimsy "reed" (like in Mt 11:7) for this Greek word was also used of a fishing rod and a rod or shaft for an arrow. These uses give us some idea of the force of the blows from the strong Roman soldiers -- while they were not a blow from a club, they were also not blows from a flimsy reed. If they were like a fishing pole in size and tensile strength, they would have been of sufficient thickness to cause significant pain, bruising and welt formation on our Lord's holy head! (cf Isaiah 53:4-5) You can begin to imagine His holy face with the sweat intermingled with blood, bruises and red welts! And He did it for YOU and for ME! (cf Isaiah 53:6, 12). Let that thought sink in the next time you are tempted to sin! It might cause you to pause and pass on that sin! Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a Friend. Amen. Oh, how He loves you and me (pause, play, pray, praise Him)! (cf 1 Jn 4:19) Also remember that while they were beating Jesus on the head, there was a crown of thorns, the points of which were undoubtedly being driven deep into the relatively thin skin covering His calvarium forcing the points of the thorns to pierce down to the nerve (think pain!) and vessel rich periosteum (pix, pix2) covering the bones of His skull!  

Dr William Edwards describes the Medical Aspects of Scourging - As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim’s back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues.7 Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.2,7,25 Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock.12 The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross. (Read the entire article)


Note that many of the details in Jn 19:1-15 are NOT found in the other Gospels. As noted Luke has no description of the scourging or mocking of Jesus by the soldiers. As alluded to elsewhere in the notes, the scourging of Jesus was considered to be the preparation of a criminal who was to be crucified. There as some writers (D A Carson) who think that Jesus may have experienced two times of scourging, the first a milder form in an attempt to appease the Jews and a severe form in preparation for the Cross. 

TIMING OF EVENTS - THIRD HOUR, SIXTH HOUR, NINTH HOUR - John 19:14 indicates that the events surrounding Jesus' trials before Pilate occurred about (i.e., it is not an exact, specific time but an approximation) the "sixth hour" which has created some confusion because Mk 15:25+ says "It was the third hour when they crucified Him." How could Jesus have appeared before Pilate at the "sixth hour" and be crucified at the "third hour?" Given the fact that the Bible never contradicts itself (critics use this passage to say that Scripture contradicts itself), the most logical explanation is that the these times reflect Jewish and Roman methods of calculating time. Mark (Mk 15:33+) and Luke (Lk 23:44+) both record that darkness was on the land from the sixth to the ninth hour, Jesus yielding up His Spirit at the ninth hour, which would have been 3 PM, the time when lambs were being sacrificed for the Passover (cf Jn 1:29+, 1 Cor 5:7) The apparent time discrepancy between John's sixth hour and Mark's third hour is explained below (not every scholar agrees with this explanation):

Gotquestions - Answering the question of how long Jesus was on the cross is complicated by the fact that two systems of marking time are used in the Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the Jewish system of marking time. John uses the Roman system. Using the Jewish system, Mark says, “They crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him” (Mk 15:24-25ESV). According to this, Christ’s crucifixion began at 9:00 A.M. Also using the Jewish system of marking time, Matthew says that “from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour” (Mt 27:45ESV). That is, the darkness lasted from 12:00 noon to 3:00 P.M. This was Jesus’ final three hours on the cross. At the end of that time, “when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit” (Mt 27:50). After that a Roman soldier made sure of His death (John 19:34), and Jesus’ body was taken down. Jesus had been on the cross from approximately 9:00 A.M. until 3:00 P.M., a total of six hours. John adds the detail that Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate was taking place, according to Roman time, “about the sixth hour” (Jn 19:14ESV). Since the Romans started counting their hours at midnight, the “sixth hour” would start at 6:00 A.M. 

So, using the Roman system (Ed: John):

  • about the sixth hour = about 6:00 A.M. Jesus is sentenced by Pilate.

Then, using the Jewish system:

  • the third hour = 9:00 A.M. The crucifixion began. (Mk 15:25)
  • the sixth hour = 12:00 P.M. (noon). Darkness began. (Mk 15:33, Lk 23:44)
  • the ninth hour = 3:00 P.M. Jesus died. (Ed: Darkness ends. Mk 15:33. Jesus yields up His Spirit, Mt 27:45, 46-49, 50, Lk 23:44, 45, 46, cf Mk 15:34, 35-39).

Putting it all together, Jesus’ trial ended about 6:00 A.M. His crucifixion began about three hours later, and He died about six hours after that. (Gotquestions)

Comment: I would add that Mark 15:33+ "When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour."  Using the Jewish method of reckoning of time which began at sunrise which occurs at about 6:00 AM, the sixth hour is noon 

John Grassmick - Using the Jewish method of counting hours from sunrise (and sunset) Mark alone recorded that Jesus' crucifixion took place at the third hour, that is, 9 a.m. This seems to conflict with the time reference "the sixth hour" in John 19:14. But John probably used the Roman (modern) method of counting hours from midnight (and noon); thus he put Jesus' trial before Pilate at "about the sixth hour," that is, approximately 6 a.m. The interval between 6 and 9 a.m. was filled with the soldiers' mockery (cf. Mk 15:16-20), Pilate's verdict on the two robbers (cf. Mk 15:27), and preparations for the crucifixions. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

John MacArthur - Mark notes that it was the third hour (or 9:00 a.m.; the Jewish method of reckoning the hours of the day began about 6:00 a.m.) when they crucified Him. The statement in John 19:14, that it was “about the sixth hour” when Pilate sentenced Jesus earlier that morning, does not contradict what Mark says here. John was using the Roman method of reckoning time, which began counting hours at midnight. Consequently, the sixth hour in John’s gospel referred to 6:00 a.m., three hours before Jesus was nailed to the cross. (See context in Mark 9-16 MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Pilate came out of his Praetorium three times to address the Jewish crowd - John 18:29, John 18:38, John 19:4 (See also previous note). The third time Pilate brought Jesus with him, which was AFTER He had been scourged and beaten and crowned with a crown of thorns. One can only imagine His appearance. Perhaps Pilate hoped to elicit some pity from the crowd but if so it was to no avail. In Jn 19:4 Pilate pronounces his SECOND "not guilty" verdict.

Henry Morris on John 19:12 (compare Mt 27:19) - Pilate desperately wanted to release Jesus because of his superstitious fear of what the gods might do if he executed one of their own. His immediate fear of what Caesar would do to him in the present world, however, soon outweighed his fear of any future world.

The Crown of Thorns - MacDonald writes that the "Thorns are a symbol of the curse which sin brought to mankind (Ge 3:17-19+). Here we have a picture of the Lord Jesus bearing the curse of our sins (Galatians 3:13+), so that we might wear a crown of glory. The purple robe was also used in mockery. Purple was the color of royalty. But again it reminds us of how our sins were placed on Jesus in order that we might be clothed with the robe of God's righteousness (2 Cor 5:21+). How solemn it is to think of the eternal Son of God being slapped by the hands of His creatures! Mouths which He formed are now being used to mock Him!"

Wiersbe - The scourge was a leather whip, knotted and weighted with pieces of metal or bone; and many a prisoner never survived the whipping. It pains us to think that the sinless Son of God was subjected to such cruelty. He was innocent, yet He was treated as though He were guilty; and He did it for us....Sin had brought thorns and thistles into the world (Ge 3:17-19+), so it was only fitting that the Creator wear a crown of thorns as He bore the sins of the world on the cross. The very metal He had created and placed in the ground was used to make nails to pound through His hands and feet. (Ibid)

Crown of Thorns

QUESTION: What is the meaning and significance of the crown of thorns?

ANSWER: After Jesus’ sham trials and subsequent flogging, and before He was crucified, the Roman soldiers “twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said” (Matthew 27:29; see also John 19:2-5). While a crown of thorns would be exceedingly painful, the crown of thorns was more about mockery than it was about pain. Here was the “King of the Jews” being beaten, spit upon, and insulted by presumably low-level Roman soldiers. The crown of thorns was the finalizing of their mockery, taking a symbol of royalty and majesty, a crown, and turning it into something painful and degrading.

For Christians, the crown of thorns is a reminder of two things: (1) Jesus was, and is, indeed a king. One day, the entire universe will bow to Jesus as the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). What the Roman soldiers meant as a mockery, was in fact a picture of Christ’s two roles, first of suffering servant (Isaiah 53), and second of conquering Messiah-King (Revelation 19). (2) Jesus was willing to endure the pain, the insults, and the shame, all on our account. The crown of thorns, and the suffering that went with it, are long gone, and Jesus has now received the crown of which He is worthy. “But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9, emphasis added).

There is further symbolism embodied in the crown of thorns. When Adam and Eve sinned, bringing evil and a curse upon the world, part of the curse upon humanity was “…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…” (Genesis 3:17-18+, emphasis added). The Roman soldiers unknowingly took an object of the curse and fashioned it into a crown for the one who would deliver us from that curse. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13+). Christ, in His perfect atoning sacrifice, has delivered us from the curse of sin, of which a thorn is a symbol. While intended to be a mockery, the crown of thorns was, in fact, an excellent symbol of who Jesus is and what He came to accomplish. (



Play song Via Dolorosa

 NOTEWords in bold & yellow highlight unique to that Gospel

Mt 27:31-32 After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.  32 As they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross.

Mk 15:20-22+ After they had mocked Him, they took the purple robe off Him and put His own garments on Him. And they led Him out to crucify Him.  21 They pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross.

Lk 23:26-29+ When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.

Jn 19:16-17a So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.  17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross,

Lk 23:27-32+ And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 “For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 “Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’ 31 “For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Lk 23:32+ Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.


QUESTION -  Who was Simon of Cyrene?

ANSWER - Simon of Cyrene is mentioned in three of the four Gospels as the man impelled by the Roman soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross out of Jerusalem. His place of origin has led many to wonder if he was of African descent (and therefore black), or if he was simply born there as were many others of Greek, Roman, and Jewish descent.

Cyrene was situated in modern-day Libya, on the northern coast of the African continent. Settled by the Greeks in 630 B.C. and later infused with a significant Jewish population, Cyrene was the capital of the Roman district of Cyrenaica at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. By then, Cyrene was home to a large number of Greek-speaking, or Hellenistic, Jews.

Many Jews from Cyrene had returned to their native Israel and were part of a community in Jerusalem called the Synagogue of the Freedmen comprising Jews from many other provinces including Alexandria (Egypt), Cilicia and Asia (Acts 6:9). Luke records men from Cyrene being among those converted at Pentecost (Acts 2:10). After the martyrdom of Stephen (Acts 7), believers from Cyrene were among the first to be scattered by the persecution in Jerusalem; arriving in Antioch, they preached to the Gentiles there (Acts 11:20). These believers were instrumental in the formation of the church at Antioch, where, for the first time, “the disciples were called Christians” (Acts 11:26).

Simon of Cyrene is mentioned in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Matthew only records his name and place of origin (27:32), but Mark and Luke say that he was “on his way in from the country” (Luke 23:26). Mark, uncharacteristically, provides the most information about Simon, adding that he was “the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:21), men obviously well known to Mark’s readers. It is speculated that the Rufus mentioned here may be the same man Paul greets in his letter to Rome, whom he calls “chosen in the Lord” and whose mother “has been a mother to me, too” (Romans 16:13). Paul’s knowledge of Rufus’s family indicates that at some point they lived further east.

So does any of this indicate whether Simon was black? Ultimately, we don’t know for sure. There is always the possibility that Simon was an African who converted to Judaism, or that he was of mixed descent. However, considering that people of Jewish lineage lived throughout the Roman Empire, it is also possible that Simon of Cyrene was

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Mt 27:33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull,

Mk 15:22+ Then they *brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull

Lk 23:33+ When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. (cf Mk 15:27, Mt 27:38, Jn 19:18)

Jn 19:17b the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
Mt 27:34 they gave Him wine to drink mixed with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.   Mk 15:23+They tried to give Him wine mixed with myrrh; but He did not take it.    
    Lk 23:34a+ But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (1st Word from Cross)  

Mt 27:35-36 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. (N)

Mk 15:24 And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take.



Lk 23:34b+ And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. Jn 19:23-24 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. 24 So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture (Ps 22:18): “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” (N)
  Mk 15:25 It was the third hour (9 AM) when they crucified Him (N)    
Mt 27:37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  38 At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left. Mk 15:26+ The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  27 They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 28 [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”]

Lk 23:38+ Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 


Jn 19:18-19 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

John 19:20-22 Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”  (N)

Mt 27:39 And those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads (Ps 22:7) 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Mt 27:41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 “HE TRUSTS IN GOD; LET GOD RESCUE Him now, IF HE DELIGHTS IN HIM; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”


Mk 15:29+ Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”

Mk 15:31+ In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. 32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!


Lk 23:35a+ And the people stood by, looking on.





Lk 23:35b+ And even the rulers were sneering (ekmukterizo imperf tense - over and over) at Him (Ps 22:7), saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.

Lk 23:36+ The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine (ED: Presumably a different mocking than Mt 27:27-31), 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”

Mt 27:44 The robbers who had been crucified with Him were also insulting Him with the same words.  Mk 15:32b+ Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

Note: Something Supernatural happened to one criminal who initially was insulting Jesus!

    Lk 23:39-43+  One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him,Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (2nd Word from Cross or here)  
      Jn 19:25-27 Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He *said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!(3rd Word from Cross)  From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (N)
Mt 27:45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour.

Mk 15:33+ When the sixth hour came (NOON), darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.


Lk 23:44-45+ It was now about the sixth hour (noon), and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour (3PM), 45 because the sun was obscured (N); and the veil of the temple was torn in two.  
Mt 27:46-49 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (4th Word from Cross - fulfills Ps 22:1) 47  And some of those who were standing there, when they heard it, began saying, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48 Immediately one of them ran, and taking a sponge, he filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink. 49 But the rest of them said, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to save Him.” Mk 15:34+ At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which is translated, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? (4th Word from Cross - fulfills Ps 22:1)  35  When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” 36  Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.”  






Jn 19:28-30 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture,  (Ps 69:21) said, “I am thirsty. (5th Word from Cross or Here) 29 A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.

      Jn 19:30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” (Paid In Full - see tetelestai) (6th Word from Cross or Here)
Mt 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up (aphiemi) His spirit. Mk 15:37+ And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. Lk 23:46+ And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT. (Fulfills Ps 31:5)(7th Word from Cross) Having said this, He breathed His last. (N) Jn 19:30b And He bowed His head and gave up (paradidomi) His spirit.


Mt 27:51a And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; 

Mk 15:38+ And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.


Note: Luke places the tearing of the veil before Jesus gives up His spirit. Matthew and Mark would seem to be more chronologically accurate  
Mt 27:51b-53 and the earth shook and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.      
      Jn 19:31-37 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day) (Dt 21:22, 23), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken (crurifragium), and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he (APOSTLE JOHN) who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” (Ps 34:20, cf Ex 12:46+, Nu 9:12+) 37 And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.” (Ps 22:16,17 Zec 12:10+ Rev 1:7+N)
Mt 27:54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” 

Mk 15:39+ When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”  


Lk 23:47-49+ Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.”(righteous - see N)


    Lk 23:48+ And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. (N)  
Mt 27:55-56 Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. (Lk 8:1-3+56 Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. Mk 15:40-41+ There were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. 41  When He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him (Lk 8:1-3+); and there were many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem. Lk 23:49+ And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.  


Mt 27:57-60 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph (Fulfills Isa 53:9+), who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, (See note, cf Isa 53:9+) which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mk 15:42-45+ When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Lk 23:50-54+ And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; 52 this man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. 54 It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. (NB: Jesus' Body buried on day before the Sabbath began - the first of 3 days before resurrection). Jn 19:38-42 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.
Mt 27:61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the grave.   Mk 15:47+ Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid. Lk 23:55-56 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.   

N - Mark 15:25 third hour.  "The third hour" means the third hour after sunrise, using the usual Jewish nomenclature at the time, making it about 9:00 a.m. Many years later, John, writing mainly for Gentile readers, used the Roman nomenclature, commenting that Jesus was before Pilate at "about the sixth hour" (John 19:14). Since the Roman day started at midnight, this would have been about 6:00 a.m. (Henry Morris) 

 These actions were in precise fulfillment of an unlikely prophecy given a thousand years before (see Psalm 22:17-18). It is one of the few events in the life of Christ recorded in all four Gospels. (Henry Morris) 

 Jesus was providing here for His mother, not for John as some have thought. John's own mother was also there at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:56). (Henry Morris)

 This volitional death of Jesus before His legs could be broken (John 19:31-33) was in fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 34:19,20. Also, Jesus was fulfilling the symbolism of the sacrificial Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), the bones of which were not to be broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12).

 Lk 23:36 - "I COMMIT MY SPIRIT" - Commit is in middle voice indicating Jesus initiated this act and participated in the completion of it! He was in control of His life even at the end of His life. Compare Mt 27:50 where yielded is aphiemi in the active voice signifying volitional choice. 

  Why keeping watch? After all He was fastened to the Cross? This was to prevent someone from rescuing Jesus from the cross. “Men were known to have lived after being taken down from a cross.” (Carson)

 Jn 19:22 - Why the title over Jesus on the Cross? "“The written charge (or titulus) was normally carried before a criminal on the way to execution, or hung around his neck, and would then be fixed to the cross, thus reinforcing the deterrent effect of the punishment.” (France)

 Lk 23:45 - Was this a Solar Eclipse? - Since Passover occurred at full moon, this darkness could not have been a solar eclipse. It was clearly supernatural in its timing - (Wycliffe Bible Commentary) "Solar eclipses happen only at the new moon phase, when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun. During a solar eclipse, the Moon casts a shadow on Earth, and blocks or partially blocks our view of the Sun." (NASA Science)

 John 19:31 Day of preparation...High Day - Day of preparation was the day before the Passover, during which all leaven was to be disposed of and all ceremonial cleansing was to be finished. "High day" means that the regular Sabbath and the Passover were the same day, making the one day especially important. The request to remove the corpses was based on Deut. 21:22-23, as dead bodies hanging on a tree would defile the land! What irony, for it was their entire life that was defiled by their rejection of the Messiah. These hypocrites are ever worried about the Law and about externals, never admitting they had a far more urgent internal need for cleansing (circumcision) of their hard hearts! The Jews had seem many crucifixions by the Romans (up to 30,000 some report) and knew the Romans would let the bodies decay on the crosses in some cases.  Breaking a crucified victims legs preventing them from breathing (inspiring) and without adequate oxygen death wouleThe ESV Study Bible 

Luke 23:47+ Centurion...praising God...this Man was innocent." - The word innocent is dikaios which is used 74v in NT and almost always is translated righteous as do some of the translations (HCSB, NIV, KJV). 

 Luke 23:48+ Beating their breasts is clearly a sign of grief and mourning  and is the exact phrase (tupto stethos) used to describe the penitent tax collector in Lk 18:13+ who "was beating his breast (tupto tethos), saying "God, be merciful to me, the sinner." Luke's description does not go that far, but one cannot help but wonder whether some of these were also present at Peter's Pentecostal sermon, having had their hearts "tenderized" by witnessing the drama of Jesus' crucifixion.

 Mt 27:60 Own new tomb - "his own new tomb.  There is more here than meets the eye. Joseph was a rich man who lived in Arimathea, so why would he build a new tomb in Jerusalem, especially one in the rock on a hillside close to Golgotha within easy earshot of the cries of crucified criminals? It could hardly have been planned for himself; all indications point to his having prepared it ahead of time to receive the body of Jesus (Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)." (Henry Morris)

QUESTION - Why did Jesus say “Father, forgive them” on the cross?

ANSWER - Jesus’ words “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” are found in Luke 23:34. Jesus looked down from the cross upon a scene that must have been distressing to Him. The Roman soldiers were gambling for His clothing (John 19:23–24); the criminals on the crosses to either side of Him were reviling Him (Matthew 27:44); the religious leaders were mocking Him (Matthew 27:41–43); and the crowd was blaspheming Him (Matthew 27:39). Surrounded by this most unworthy lot, Jesus prayed for them. “Father, forgive them” is a prayer of unmatched mercy and love. 

Even in His agony, Jesus’ concern was for the forgiveness of those who counted themselves among His enemies. He asked the Father to forgive the thieves on the cross who jeered at Him. He asked the Father to forgive the Roman soldiers who had mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him, yanked out His beard, whipped Him, put a crown of thorns on His head, and nailed Him to the cross. Jesus asked forgiveness for the angry mob that had mocked Him and called for His crucifixion (Mark 15:29–30).

It is important to note that Jesus’ prayer, “Father, forgive them,” does not mean that everyone was forgiven, unilaterally, without repentance and faith. It does mean that Jesus was willing to forgive them—forgiveness was, in fact, the reason He was on the cross. The words “Father, forgive them” show the merciful heart of God.

Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them,” because He was fulfilling Old Testament prophecy: “He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). From the cross, Jesus interceded for sinners. Today, risen and glorified, Jesus remains the “one mediator between God and mankind” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them,” because He was putting into practice the principle He had taught in the Sermon on the Mount: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44). Jesus, the persecuted, prayed for His persecutors.

Coupled with the willingness of Jesus to forgive His tormentors is the fact that they did not know what they were doing (Luke 23:34). The sinners who put Jesus on the cross were ignorant of the true import of their actions. The soldiers personally held no ill will toward Him. They were simply following orders. This was how they normally treated condemned men, and they believed that He truly deserved it. They didn’t know that they were killing the Son of God (see 1 Corinthians 2:8). The mob didn’t really know whom they were trying to destroy. The Jewish leaders had deceived them into believing that Jesus was a fake and a troublemaker (Acts 3:17). In praying “Father, forgive them,” Jesus revealed His infinite mercy; He still loved them and would forgive them if only they would humble themselves and repent (Matthew 18:14; 2 Peter 3:9).

Jesus’ prayer “Father, forgive them” was answered in the lives of many people. The Roman centurion at the foot of the cross, upon seeing how Jesus died, exclaimed, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39). One of the two thieves crucified with Jesus exercised faith in Christ, who promised him paradise (Luke 23:39–43). A member of the Sanhedrin publicly aligned himself with Jesus (John 19:39). And, a little over a month later, three thousand people in Jerusalem were saved in one day as the church began (Acts 2:41).

On the cross Jesus provided forgiveness for all those who would ever believe in Him (Matthew 20:28). Jesus paid the penalty for the sins that we commit in our ignorance, and even the ones we’ve committed deliberately. When we are born again, we, too, become an answer to Jesus’ prayer “Father, forgive them.”

QUESTION - What was the significance of the temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died? - SEE VIDEO

ANSWER -  During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16). 

Solomon’s temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. An early Jewish tradition says that the veil was about four inches thick, but the Bible does not confirm that measurement. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen.

The size and thickness of the veil make the events occurring at the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross so much more momentous. “And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:50-51a).

So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile.

When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with human hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:8-9 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13).

In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.” Here we see the image of Jesus’ flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us.

The profound significance of the tearing of the veil is explained in glorious detail in Hebrews. The things of the temple were shadows of things to come, and they all ultimately point us to Jesus Christ. He was the veil to the Holy of Holies, and through His death the faithful now have free access to God.

The veil in the temple was a constant reminder that sin renders humanity unfit for the presence of God. The fact that the sin offering was offered annually and countless other sacrifices repeated daily showed graphically that sin could not truly be atoned for or erased by mere animal sacrifices. Jesus Christ, through His death, has removed the barriers between God and man, and now we may approach Him with confidence and boldness (Hebrews 4:14-16)

QUESTION -  Why did Jesus say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

ANSWER - “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, KJV). This cry is a fulfillment of Psalm 22:1, one of many parallels between that psalm and the specific events of the crucifixion. It is difficult to understand in what sense Jesus was “forsaken” by God. It is certain that God approved His work. It is certain that Jesus was innocent. He had done nothing to forfeit the favor of God. As God’s own Son—holy, harmless, undefiled, and obedient—God still loved Him. In none of these senses could God have forsaken Him. 

The prophet Isaiah says this about the Messiah: “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5). Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He was made a sin-offering, and He died in our place, on our account, that He might bring us near to God. It was this, doubtless, that intensified His sufferings and part of why Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It was the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin, in some unexplained way, that Jesus experienced in that terrible hour. The suffering He endured was due to us, and it is that suffering by which we can be saved from eternal death.

In those awful moments, as evil men were allowed to do whatever they wanted to Jesus, our Lord expressed His feelings of abandonment. God placed the sins of the world on His Son, and Jesus for a time felt the desolation of being unconscious of His Father’s presence. It was at this time that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

There is another possible reason for Jesus to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It could be that Jesus’ intent in quoting Psalm 22:1 was to point His hearers to that psalm. When they read Psalm 22, they would no doubt see the many fulfilled prophecies included in that song of David. Even while experiencing the agony of the cross, Jesus was teaching the crowds and proving yet again that He was the Messiah who fulfilled the









Father forgive them

    Lk 23:34  

Today you shall be
with Me in Paradise

    Lk 23:43  

Woman, behold, your son!
Behold, your mother!

      Jn 19:26-27


Mt 27:46 Mk 15:34    

I am thirsty

      Jn 19:28

It is finished!

      Jn 19:30+


    Lk 23:46  

James Stalker's devotional thoughts on the "Seven Sayings" chapter # to go to the article (e.g., 14)

  • 14.   THE FIRST WORD FROM THE CROSS    Luke 23:34.
  • 15.   THE SECOND WORD FROM THE CROSS    Luke 23:39–43.
  • 16.   THE THIRD WORD FROM THE CROSS    John 19:25–27.
  • 17.    THE FOURTH WORD FROM THE CROSS  Matt. 27:46–9; Mark 15:34–6.
  • 18.   THE FIFTH WORD FROM THE CROSS    John 19:28.
  • 19.   THE SIXTH WORD FROM THE CROSS    John 19:30.
  • 20.   THE SEVENTH WORD FROM THE CROSS   Luke 23:46.

SEE ALSO -  What were the seven last words of Jesus Christ on the cross and what do they mean? |


Compiled by Darrell Bock 

1. Luke does not mention Golgotha by name (Mark 15:22 = Mt. 27:33).
2. Luke does not mention the offer of drugged wine (Mark 15:23 = Mt. 27:34).
3. Luke 23:33 uses a different term for the criminals (κακοῦργος, as opposed to λῃστής in Mark 15:27 = Mt. 27:38) and mentions them at a different point in his narrative.
4. Luke 23:34 uniquely records Jesus’ prayer to forgive the sin of his executioners.
5. Luke does not mention the time that the crucifixion began (Mark 15:25), although he and Mark mention the time that it became dark (Luke 23:44 = Mark 15:33).
6. Luke 23:35 briefly refers to spectators, but does not supply the contents of their mocking: taunts about Jesus’ saying that he would destroy the temple and raise it up in three days (Mark 15:29–30 = Mt. 27:39–40). (Luke exhibits a similar silence at Jesus’ trial.)
7. Luke 23:35 speaks only of the rulers and does not name the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 15:31 = Mt. 27:41).
8. Luke 23:35 mentions that the rulers mock Jesus with reference to being the Chosen One, rather than calling him the King of Israel (Mark 15:32 = Mt. 27:42).
9. Luke does not mention the rulers’ other taunts (Mark. 15:32 = Mt. 27:42–43).
10. Luke 23:36 mentions the offer of wine vinegar at a different point in the narrative (Mark 15:36 = Mt. 27:48).
11. In Luke 23:36 the soldiers mock Jesus about being King of the Jews.
12. Luke 23:38 records the inscription over Jesus at a different point in the narrative (Mark 15:26 = Mt. 27:37).
13. Luke 23:39–43 uniquely records Jesus’ discussion with the two thieves.
14. Luke 23:45 uniquely has a second reference to darkness.
15. Luke 23:45 mentions the tearing of the temple veil at a different point in the narrative (Mark 15:38 = Matt. 27:51). (ED: LUKE ALSO ADDS WORDS "IN TWO")
16. Luke neither mentions nor records the content of Jesus’ first cry from the cross (Mark 15:34 = Mt. 27:46, using Ps. 22:1.
17. Luke does not include the crowd’s mention of Elijah (Mark 15:35–36 = Mt. 27:47, 49).
18. Luke 23:46 uniquely records the content of Jesus’ second cry from the cross, using Ps. 31:5.
19. Luke does not record the earthquake that took place when Jesus died or the subsequent resurrection of many saints (Matt. 27:51–53).
20. Luke 23:47 quotes the centurion as declaring Jesus’ innocence instead of his divine sonship (Mark 15:39 = Matt. 27:54).
21.  Luke 23:48 uniquely records the crowd watching and mourning.
22.  Luke 23:49 uniquely mentions that the disciples watched from a distance.
23. Luke 23:49 mentions that the women were present, but does not identify them other than to note that they are from Galilee (Mark 15:40–41 = Mt. 27:55–56). (See Luke  2 Volumes Baker Exegetical Commentary)