The chief priests and elders bound Jesus and led him to Pilate. Judas tried to return the money, they wouldn’t take it, so he threw it down in the temple and he hung himself. They bought a field with the money, and that fulfilled the Bible. Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus didn’t answer the chief priests and elders, but in response to Pilate said, “You have said so.” He asked if Jesus heard what was testified against him. He didn’t answer and Pilate was amazed. Pilate released a prisoner during the feast each year – this year he offered to release Barabbas (a notorious prisoner) or Jesus who is called Christ. Pilate’s wife suffered in a dream because of Jesus, and he knew Jesus was innocent, but the chief priests and elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. Pilate asked what he should do with Jesus, they cried out to crucify Jesus repeatedly and a riot was beginning. Pilate washed his hands clean of Jesus’ innocent blood, the people shouted, “His blood be on us and our children!” Pilate released Barabbas and had Jesus scourged, and delivered Jesus to be crucified. The soldiers mocked Jesus, “Hail, King of the Jews!” clothing him with a scarlet robe and crown of thorns, striking him on the head with a reed. They made Simon of Cyrene help Jesus carry the cross. They went to Golgotha, divided Jesus’ garments, put a sign over Jesus’ head saying, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” The two robbers crucified with him mocked Jesus, and so did the chief priests, scribes, and elders. It became dark in the middle of the day. Jesus cried out, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachtnai?” meaning, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” He cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. The earth shook. Rocks were split. Tombs were opened. Many bodies of saints who had fallen asleep were raised. The Roman centurion with those who were with him saw all of this. They were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Many women were there, including Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and the mother of James and John. Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus, and the tomb was sealed by a great stone – Mary and Mary saw this. The chief priests and Pharisees gathered before Pilate and asked him to order that the tomb be made secure/guarded because Jesus taught he would rise from the dead, so they would ensure that Jesus’ body wouldn’t be stolen so they could claim He rose again. Pilate gave them soldiers to guard the tomb and make it as secure as they can. They sealed the stone and set the guard.
If you saw all of these events, could you deny that Jesus was the Son of God? If you saw these events in person could you deny that Jesus was raised from the dead? No. God has been kind to us to give us assurance that these events are true. First, by preserving four first hand witnesses to the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Second, by preserving the writings in the New Testament of those who witnessed these events and built their lives upon Jesus Christ. Third, by establishing His people in local churches. It is historically undeniable that the early church gathered because Christ was risen. There are extra-biblical accounts that this is the center of Christian union and identity. The extra-biblical accounts don’t necessarily embrace the truth of it, but they do record the effect of the event – the genesis of Christianity. Praise God that we can read this account in our language. Salvation has been accomplished in Christ’s death and resurrection. Praise God that we have hope in the face of God’s eternal wrath that we deserve. Will you put your hope in the God-man who was beaten, stripped naked, and bore the wrath of God for His people? Be found in Christ, turn from your sin and trust in Jesus Christ’s sufficient sacrifice.