The Trial of Jesus – Reflections on the Four Gospels

Today is Good Friday, when Christians remember the betrayal, trial, and unjust execution of Christ. I reread the accounts of the trial this morning and wanted to share some details I had not remembered or perhaps even noticed before.

For those who may be unfamiliar with the story—the events begin in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem. Jesus knows His death is imminent. He prays for strength in the Garden, while His disciples fall asleep. That same night, His absent disciple Judas reappears with a group of armed men and turns Him over to them. Jesus is led away to be tried before the religious elite, Herod the Jewish tetrarch, and finally Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea. The religious leaders want His blood but they have no legal authority to execute someone, so they bring Jesus to the Romans with false accusations, shifting the focus of their accusations from blasphemy, which is irrelevant to the Romans, to political rebellion. After many misgivings, Pilate eventually bends to the will of the mob and agrees to crucify Jesus—death by slow torture and humiliation by public nakedness. Infamously, Pilate ends the trial by washing his hands, in a symbol to claim his own innocence.

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