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Jesus Christ Is Put to Death

Jesus Christ Is Put to Death

Jesus institutes a new observance; he is betrayed and impaled

AFTER three and a half years of preaching and teaching, Jesus knew that his time on earth was drawing to an end. The Jewish religious leaders were conspiring to kill him, but they feared an uproar among the people, who held him to be a prophet. Meanwhile, Satan influenced one of Jesus’ 12 apostles​—Judas Iscariot—​to turn traitor. The religious leaders offered Judas 30 silver coins to betray Jesus.

On his final night, Jesus gathered with his apostles to observe the Passover. After dismissing Judas, he instituted a new observance, the Lord’s Evening Meal. He took a loaf of bread, offered a prayer, and passed the bread to the remaining 11 apostles. “This means my body which is to be given in your behalf,” he said. “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” He did the same with a cup of wine, saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood.”​—Luke 22:19, 20.

Jesus had much to say to his apostles that night. He gave them a new commandment​—that they show unselfish love to one another. He said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) He urged them not to let their hearts be troubled by the tragic events that were about to unfold. Jesus prayed earnestly in their behalf. They sang praises together and went out into the night.

In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus kneeled and poured out his heart in prayer. Soon, an armed mob of soldiers, priests, and others arrived to arrest him. Judas approached and singled Jesus out by giving him a kiss. As the soldiers bound Jesus, the apostles fled.

Standing before the Jewish high court, Jesus identified himself as the Son of God. The court considered him guilty of blasphemy and liable to death. Jesus was then taken to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate. Although he found Jesus innocent of any crime, he turned Jesus over to the mob clamoring for his death.

Jesus was led to Golgotha, where Roman soldiers nailed him to a stake. Broad daylight miraculously turned to darkness. Later that afternoon, Jesus died, and a great earthquake occurred. His body was laid in a tomb cut into the rock. The next day, priests sealed the tomb and posted a guard at its entrance. Was Jesus to remain in that tomb? No. The greatest of all miracles was about to occur.

—Based on Matthew chapters 26 and 27; Mark chapters 14 and 15; Luke chapters 22 and 23; John chapters 12 to 19.

^ par. 15 For a discussion of the sacrificial value of Jesus’ death, see chapter 5 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach?