Jesus before his death


 59.  His entry into Jerusalem

 60.  The fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world

  • Prophesies about the fall of Jerusalem
  • Prophesies abouy the enf of the world
  • The day and the time of the end of the world
  • Parables regarding the end of the world

 61.  The Last Supper

  • Preparing the first Easter
  • Judas leaves the table
  • The first communion
  • The washing of the disciples' feet
  • Predictions concerning Peter
  • John and the Easter message
  • The final prayer

 62.  A night on the Mount of Olives

 63.  The trial of Jesus of Nazareth

  • Jesus before the Sanhedrin
  • Jesus beforePontius Pilate
  • Jesus before Herod Antipas
  • Jesus before Pontius Pilata again





Ref. : Matt 21 - Mark 11 - Luke 19 (29-49) et John 12 (12-43)

It was (says John), only 2 days before Jesus' crucifixion. The day before, He had gone to see Lazarus, Mary and Martha, who were all healthy and content.

The prescence of Jesus on the Mount of Olives caused quite a stir in Jerusalem, where vast crowds had gathered to celebrate Passover. The crowds' excitement annoyed the Sanhedrin who were already plotting to kill Jesus at the first opportunity.

At first light, Jesus sent 2 disciples to a village nearby, (probably Bethany) to bring back a a young donkey. As Jesus had promised, they found the donkey at a bend in the road, near the door to a house. They said, "The Master hath need of him" and led the donkey to the Mount of Olives, where they laid some of their garments on the donkey's back. Jesus was lifted on to his back, and as the Scriptures had predicted, He rode slowly into the Holy City, descending the Mount of Olives towards the Temple.

(Zach. 9vs9 says "Jerusalem, daughter of Zion, here is your King coming riding on a tiny donkey".)

As befitted the arrival of a king, the crowd went delirious with joy, covering the road with their garments as a sign of respect and gratitude for all the miracles they had seen or heard. They cut down olive fronds, which they waved, singing

"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna to the Son of David, the King of Israel".

Several pilgrims asked:

Above, on the ramparts of Antonia, the Roman guards watched in amusement this peaceful procession. But the chiefs of the temple were shocked and grumbled amongst themselves:

They approached Jesus saying, "Keep your disciples quiet!" Jesus replied:

However, the pharisees did not push Him further, as they knew from His previous miracles that He would make "THE STONES SING"! Their hearts were closed, as Isaiah had predicted in ch. 6:

"The spirit of evil has made them blind and hardened their hearts, so that they neither see, hear nor understand the message."

A few leaders believed in Him, but because of the all-powerful pharisees they did not acknowledge for fear of dismissal from the synagogue. This was Jesus' only day of earthly glory. The people were happy and believed that the Messiah, their liberator from Roman rule, had arrived! But all their hope was shattered 2 days later, when they saw Jesus a prisoner, being crowned with thorns and publically whipped. The man who had performed all those miracles seemed incapable of saving Himself!

The crowd then favored Barabas, a revolutionary, who was supported by the pharisees and the Sanhedrin.

Nebuchadnesar, Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao…..all had their days of glory when the crowds shouted their praises; then their days of rejection, criticism and oblivion.

Such is man's glory!




1.  Prophesy of the destruction of Jerusalem

As Jesus left the temple, His disciples were amazed by the beauty of their temple.


The only vestige of the Temple: The Wall of Lamentations (and the Mosque of Omar).


Having been built at tremendous cost to the Jewish taxpayers, it was truly magnificent. A semi-century construction around the old temple of Zorobabel had transformed it into a temple even more magnificent than that built by Solomon on the same place.

There were grapes and vine leaves in fine gold leaf; elaborate chandeliers in silver. Stars of David shone in pure gold; silver censors sat beside both the perfumed altar of gold, copper and bronze and the sacrificial altar… They also restored (in the "Holy of Holies") the 2 great angels of gold made for Solomon, which had been stolen by Nebuchadnesor's soldiers. A lamp burned day and night to symbolise the presence of God.

The foundation and the walls were built of pale yellow stone, which the Jews brought from the mountainous regions around Judea and Samaria.

Only the eastern wall remains to this day, and at this wall, "the Wall of Lamentations", Jews come from come from all over the world to pray.

They are proud to still have this last remaining remnant of their temple, which they call "a crown on the head of their daughter", Mount Zion. And yet Jesus said to His disciples: (Matt. 24 v 2):

The disciples were shocked and surprised by this prediction, but they knew that this had also happened before the Jews' exodus to Babylon. Jesus started to weep as he envisaged the terrible destruction to come, (Matt. ch 23), saying:

Luke 21 v24. "They shall fall victim to the sword, be taken captive and Jerusalem trampled under the feet of other nations, until the times of the Gentiles shall be accomplished!"

At that time, Jerusalem had already been destroyed 14 times…

Amos 8. I shall send a famime over the land. This will not be a lack of food or water, but a thirst for the words of God.

They shall wander from one sea to another; from East to West,
searching for God's words, and will not find them.

Hosea 10. The high places where Israel has sinned will be destroyed. Pine trees and brambles will grow over their altars. All their fortresses will be destroyed. When the dawn comes, this will be the fate of the king of Israel!


2.  Prophesies about the end of the world

Matt. 24. You will hear much talk of war, but do not be troubled because "these things are inevitable". But this will not be the end of the world.

One nation will rise up against another; and one kingdom against another. There will be famines and earthquakes. False prophets will appear and deceive many people, and because iniquity will grow, most people will continue to sin. However, those who PERSEVERE to the END will be SAVED.

Luke 21 "There will be signs from the stars, the sun and the moon; there will be great suffering; the nations will not be able to bear the noise of the sea and the waves. Men's sould will be consumed with fear of what is coming on earth, because the power of the heavens will be shaken. When these things come to pass, stand up and hold your heads high, because your deliverance is at hand."

Matthiew 24 v 30 . "The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. The nations of the Earth shall mourn and see the Son of Man come in glory on the clouds of heaven. His angels will call upon the devoted from every corner of the world with the sound of their trumpet.


3.  The event of the Day of Judgement ?

Mark 13 vs 32 and Matt. 24 vs. 36. No-one knows the hour or the day, neither the angels in the sky, nor the Son of God, but only GOD

Luke 21 vs 34. Take care not to be taken up with excess of food and drink and the worry of life. Deliverance will not come to them!

Matt. 25 On that day, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, He will separate the righteous from the wicked. Thus the king will say to those who are on his right:


4.  Parables about the end of the world :


61.  The Last Supper


The Last Supper - School of Novgorod - 15th century


Luc 22 Several days before Easter Judas Iscariot met the members of the Sanhedrin to discuss how to arrest Jesus. They were overjoyed and agreed to give Judas 30 deniers. He was to find an opportunity to dekiver Him to them when there was no-one around.


1.  Preparation of the Last Supper

(Luke 22) Jesus told Peter and John:

(Notice the authority with which Jesus gave His predictions.)


2.  Judas leaves the Table

Jesus invited all the disciples to partake of the last Passover meal. But first He sent away the traitor to let him know the time had come for him to acomplish his betrayal.

John 13 v 21. Jesus sat at the table with the twelve, but He was troubled in spirit. The Lord asked for quiet, then said:


3.  The First Communion

Luke 22 v 19, Mark 14 v 22, and Matt. 26 v 26.

While they ate, Jesus broke some bread and after thanking God for this gift, He said:


4.  Washing the Disciples' feet

The Master was not often as serious and sad at the same time! It was as if He were going to read His own will; the disciples felt something important was about to happen. The disciples began to discuss among themeselves as to whom would be greatest in the Eternal Kingdom. Jesus saw they didn't understand what He wanted to teach them by sharing the Bread and Wine, so He started to teach them about humility.

He then arose from the table to show them by example. He removed His clothes, took a cloth and, with a bowl of water, began to wash the feet of the disciples. At that time, it was the custom to wash both hands and feet before sitting down to a meal; there were jars of water at the doorway to the house.

As Jesus and His disciples often visited the houses of the very poor, they didn't always observe the Jewish ritual washing. The pharisees saw this and criticised them for this. To which Jesus replied:

Washing the feet of amopther person was a way of honouring a guest and also a sign of humility by the host. Thus, when Jesus kneeled before Simon Peter, the latter was angry and protested:

But Jesus did not smile at this…He only asked Peter if he understood the lesson He was giving?


5.  Predictions about Peter

John (13 v.33) "My children, I have only a short time left to be with you. You will look for me, yet you will not be able to follow my; where I shall go. Simon asked "Lord, where are you going?"


6.  John and the PASSOVER/EASTER Message

John is the only evangelist who does not mention the words spoken by Jesus at the FIRST COMMUNION, because by the time he wrote his Gospel the sharing of the Bread and Wine were already included in Christian ritual.

"As my Father has loved me, I shall love you also. Live in my love, and love one another as I have loved you".

"In this way, all will know you are my disciples: that you love one another. I tell you these things so that my joy will be in you and your joy will be complete."

"Those who love me will do as I ask.

If someone loves me, he will keep my word and My Father shall love him.

We go to Him and make our dwelling in Him."

"I leave you my peace, that your heart will not be troubled. You will know the tribulations of the world, but I have overcome them."

"I am telling you of these things before they happen. I will not leave you orphaned; I shall return."

"I came from the Father into the world, and now I return to my Father….."


The Last Supper of Jaume Serra - National Museum of Palermo


7.  The Priestly Prayer

(John 17) "The Father glorifies His Son. Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, so that He can grant "Life Eternal" to all those whom THOU hast given Him. Through Eternal Life, they will know THOU to be the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom THOU hast sent."

"I do not pray for the world, but for those whom thou HAST given to me. I pray for those who believe in me and THY words, for THY words are truth, just as THOU , the Father are in me, and I am in THOU. Thus they will be with US and the world will believe that THOU hast sent me."

"Because THOU hast loved me since the beginning of the world, I glorified you on earth, and I completed the work THOU sent me to do. Now glorify me with THINE own glory, which THOU hast given me."

The master turned towards His disciples (John 14 v 30). "I shall speak no more to you, because *The Prince of the Earth* (the spirit of evil) comes. There is no evil in me."

"If you belong to the world, the world loves its own, but because you are not of this world, the world hates you. But know that the world hated me before you. So that the world may know that I love my Father, and I will do His will, let us rise and leave here….."




Ref. Matthew 26 (36-57), Mark 14 (32-53), Luke 22 (35-54) and John 18 (1-12)

Jesus' last meal with the eleven disciples is over. They sang some chants, then the Master led them to the Mount of Olives.


The Garden of Olives near Jerusalem


Jesus had often spent the night in the 'olive garden', which was at that tive of the year full of flowers and the natural fragrancesof the hundred-year old olive trees. They also admired the higher slopes of this garden which dominated the holy city, whose lights seemed to rival the stars in the sky. But that evening, Jesus was sad and His thoughts dwelt on both past and future. He left eight of His disciples sitting on the ancient stone benches where pilgrims usually rested during the day, and took Peter, James and John with Him into the small garden of Gethsemene. There He wandered off from his three disciples, asking them to pray during the night for Him.

Simon, who sensed something was about to happen, hid two swords under his coat as a precaution.

Sometimes we would like to know our future, but perhaps it is due to divine providence that we do not know our future troubles or the hour of our death, as Jesus did!

In fact, that night Jesus, the man whom the wind and the sea obeyed, experienced such anguish that the doctor, Luke, recalled to Peter that he saw drops of blood run down his Master's face and fall onto the ground……. Fortunately God sent an angel to help Him.

Three times, He prayed to God:- "Father, take this cup from me."

Later that night the three disciples, who had drunk copiously of the local heavy wine could notstay awake. Suddenly Jesus woke them and said:

"Could you not stay awake with me for even one hour? Stay awake and pray; although I know the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."



At that moment they saw many soldiers bearing torches walking up the hill towards them. All the disciples drew close to the Master to protect Him.

But what could they do against a cohort of 600 armed men, not counting the temple guards and servants?….At their head, Judas Iscariot led them to the Master and pretended to salute Him by giving Him a kiss. Jesus, knowing this was the sign arranged between Judas and the soldiers to make sure they took the right man, said,

But Peter did not hear this and lifting his tunic, he took one of the swords and cut off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the High Priest Caiphus.

The soldiers seized Peter, but Jesus intervened. He touched the ear which hung bleeding from Malchus head and suddenly the servant was healed! Then turning towards Peter He said:

Jesus addressed the chief priests (Matt. ch 26 v.55) thus:

"You are runnging me down as if I were a brigand, with swords and clubs. However, I have lived among you freely for a long time , teaching in the temple and you didn't take me then."

Then all the disciples deserted Him, disappearing into the night.

Mark tells us that a young man (perhaps Mark?) whom they wakened, before Jesus' arrest only had the time to cover himself with a sheet before fleeing . As he was near the Master the soliers tried to catch him but he slipped out of the sheet and escaped unclothed (Mark 14v.52).

John says that the Roman cohort, the tribune and the ushers from the temple seized Jesus. They bound Him up so He could not escape and took Him before the SANHEDRIN which was meeting at night expressly for this special trial.




1.  Jesus before the Sanhedrin

Jesus was taken in the middle of the night from the Mount of Olives to the special session of the Sanhedrin. It was Anne and Caiphus, her son-in-law, who presided. When two thirds of the members were present in the chamber; (all of Jesus ' worst enemies were there) they started the debate.

These 'handpicked' concillors must act quickly and condemn Jesus before the world learned of it.

Caiphus, the 'infallible monarch' was in full ceremonail dress and swore to tell the truth as magistrate. They debated motives for condemning Jesus, but none were sufficient to merit capital punishment. Even the two interrogators for the conspirators could not make Jesus confess to anything worthy of punishment. Finally, Caiphus asked Jesus (Matt. 26 v.63),

Leviticus 24 v.15. He who blasphemes against the Eternal will be punished by death, whether they be of this land or strangers.

At this the king excliamed,

Outside, in the courtyard reserved for the servants of the members of the Sanhedrin,women and men warmed themselvesbefore a great fire of wood. Peter had entered despite his fears, but during the events that followed he felt as if he wre truly in a nest of vipers!

A servant passing by looked at him and said

A second servant insisted:

Before the cock crows twice,. you will have denied me three times (Mark 14 v. 72). Peter fled form the courtyard and wept bitterly.

However, another saying from his Master consoled him (Luke 22 v.31),


2.  Jesus before the Roman Governor

Although the Sanhedrin had condemed Jesus to death, they had to present this judgement to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Usually Pilate lived in Caesarea, but he had come to Jerusalem to watch the Jews in the Holy City during Passover. He stayed in his palace which Herod the Great had built for himself in the highest part of the city.

At sunrise, the Jews brought Jesus before Pilate' they remained autside the palace door so they would not come into contact whith a pagan polytheist and thus be defiled. (If they were defiled, they would not be allowed to celebrate Passover….

Therefore, the governor had to come outside in order to ask the Jews what he should do with the prisoner? They said, "We have judged him and according to our Law he should be put to death."

Pilate went into his anteroom and called for Jesus to be brought in. He asked,

To which Jesus replied:

And Pilate reflected on his own life and on the way justice was served at the time. He sighed to himself and lifting his eyes to the sky, where the sun was rising, mused:

Then he left and declared to the Jews who waited outside impatiently:

These words made Pilate think. He knew that Herod Antipas, the Tetrarchm, governor of Galilee, was in the Holy City for the annual celebration, so he called a tribune and told him to take Jesus under guard to Herod.


3.  Jesus before Herod Antipas

Several years had passed since Herod had ordered John the Baptist's murder. He was still very interested in meeting Jesus and if possible seeing a 'miracle' for himself.

He asked Jesus many questions, but Jesus did not reply at all remembering that His interlocator had killed his cousin.

Herod treated Jesus with scorn, but he did not want to order a second murder, so he sent Jesus,clad in a white robe (the clothing signifying innocence) back to the Roman Procurator. And since that day we are told by (Luke ch 23 v.12), Herod and Pilate became friends.


4. Jesus taken before Pontius Pilate once again

Luke (23 v.13) So Pilate reassembled the magistrates before the people and declared:

"You have brought this man to me accusing him of inciting people to revolt. I have questioned him but cannot find any fault in himnor did Herod Antipas. This man does not deserve the death penalty.

Matthew tells us that at passover, the governor usually released a prisoner. He asked the people to choose whom he should release,

Thus Pilate stood on the balcony overlooking the courtyard of his palace and addressed the Jews assembled there:

The crowd, who were being encouraged by the members of the Sanhedrin shouted vociferously "Barabbas".

Pilate was very annoyed but he commanded the soldiers to give Jesus 39 lashings; the fortieth was forbidden by Jewish Law, in the superstitious belief that the fortieth blow would be fatal.

The cohort of 600 men completely surrounded the prisoner during the beating. Then they countedout 39 lashings which badly lacerated Jesus' back.

Then the pagan soldiers, who were mostly foreign legionnaires, mocked him by placing a crown of thorns on his head and a purple cloak around his shoulders. Then they spit on Him.

Suddenly, an order resounded in the room and everyone made way for the governor, who had come to look for Jesus. For the third time, Pilate declared Jesus INNOCENT and hoped that the crowd would take pity on Him when they saw Him in this state. He made Jesus turn around to show the crowd His bleeding back, covered with lacerations. In the silence he added:

Whereupon the majority, speared on by the Sanhedrin shouted:

To which Pilate responded:

According to John, Pilate wanted to let Jesus go, but the crowd repeated:

Although the Jews hated the Romans, Pilate was able to show the people that he was murdering an innocent man. If necessary the Jews would use blackmail.

They threatened to denounce Pilate to the governor of Syria, claiming that he was not loyal to Tiberius Caesar. (At that time they were searching for those who were suspected of being taken part in a recent plot against the emperor.)

According to John 19 v8, Pilate was suddenly 'overcome with fear'. However, before delivering jesus to the unruly crowd demanding death, he asked for water in which he washed his hands before them all saying:

The people replied: "Let His blood fall on us and on our children".

One could say that the blood 'fell' on the Jewish people for two thousand years and also over most of the world.

But Pilate was discouraged and after much argument he delivered Jesus to them to be crucified.


Lamb of God - Grunewald - Retable of Issenheim

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