LOOK at the terrible thing that is happening! Jesus is being killed. They have put him on a stake. Nails are driven into his hands and feet. Why would anybody want to do this to Jesus?
It is because some persons hate Jesus. Do you know who they are? One of them is the wicked angel Satan the Devil. He is the one who was able to get Adam and Eve to disobey Jehovah. And Satan is the one who got the enemies of Jesus to commit this terrible crime.
Even before Jesus is nailed here on the stake, his enemies do mean things to him. Remember how they came to the garden of Geth·semʹa·ne and took him away? Who were those enemies? Yes, they were the religious leaders. Well, let’s see what happens next.
When Jesus is taken by the religious leaders, his apostles run away. They leave Jesus alone with his enemies, because they become afraid. But the apostles Peter and John do not go very far away. They follow along to see what happens to Jesus.
The priests take Jesus to the old man Anʹnas, who used to be the high priest. The crowd does not stay here long. They next take Jesus to the house of Caʹia·phas, who is now the high priest. Many religious leaders have gathered at his house.
Here at the house of Caʹia·phas they have a trial. People are brought in to tell lies about Jesus. The religious leaders all say: ‘Jesus should be put to death.’ Then they spit in his face, and hit him with their fists.
While all of this is going on, Peter is outside in the yard. It is a cold night, and so the people make a fire. While they are warming themselves around the fire, a servant girl looks at Peter, and says: ‘This man also was with Jesus.’
‘No, I wasn’t!’ Peter answers.
Three times people say to Peter that he was with Jesus. But each time Peter says it is not true. The third time Peter says this, Jesus turns and looks at him. Peter feels very sorry for telling these lies, and he goes away and weeps.
As the sun starts to come up on Friday morning, the priests take Jesus to their big meeting place, the Sanʹhe·drin hall. Here they talk over what they are going to do with him. They take him to Pontius Pilate, the ruler of the district of Ju·deʹa.
‘This is a bad man,’ the priests tell Pilate. ‘He should be killed.’ After asking Jesus questions, Pilate says: ‘I can’t see that he has done anything wrong.’ Then Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Anʹti·pas. Herod is the ruler of Galʹi·lee, but he is staying in Jerusalem. Herod can’t see that Jesus has done anything wrong either, so he sends him back to Pilate.
Pilate wants to let Jesus go. But Jesus’ enemies want another prisoner to be let go instead. This man is the robber Bar·abʹbas. It is now about noon when Pilate brings Jesus outside. He says to the people: ‘See! Your king!’ But the chief priests yell: ‘Take him away! Kill him! Kill him!’ So Pilate lets Bar·abʹbas go free, and they take Jesus away to be killed.
Early Friday afternoon Jesus is nailed to a stake. You can’t see them in the picture, but on each side of Jesus a criminal is also being put to death on a stake. Shortly before Jesus dies, one of the criminals says to him: ‘Remember me when you get into your kingdom.’ And Jesus answers: ‘I promise you that you will be with me in Paradise.’
Isn’t that a wonderful promise? Do you know what paradise Jesus is talking about? Where was the paradise that God made at the beginning? Yes, on earth. And when Jesus rules as king in heaven, he will bring this man back to life to enjoy the new Paradise on earth. Can’t we be happy about that?