In contrast to Jesus’ popular support when He entered Jerusalem (11:8-10), now He was alone and rejected. Everyone, from the crowd to His own disciples, either turned against Him or deserted Him. Just as Jesus had predicted (10:33; 14:41), the humble Servant, the Son of God, was judged and condemned by sinners.
Did You Know...?
1. Kiss (14:44): A kiss on the cheek or hand was a common gesture of affection and reverence given to a rabbi by his disciples.
2. The one who cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest (14:47) was Simon Peter (cf. Jn 18:10). He was probably one of the disciples who took a sword with him in response to Jesus’ words during the Passover meal (cf. Lk 22:36-38; for what Jesus had meant, read the Luke Bible Study Guide, Lesson 29, Questions 16-17).
3. The young man who fled naked (14:51) is mentioned only in the gospel according to Mark, and is very likely to be Mark himself. Perhaps he was in such a hurry to warn Jesus about the crowd that he did not have time to get dressed properly (wearing only a sleeping garment). His linen garment suggests that he was from a wealthy family (more common garments were made of wool).
4. Sanhedrin (14:55): The 71-member Jewish high court, which originated from the council of Moses and the 70 elders (cf. Num 11:16-17). It was composed of chief priests, elders, and scribes, and was headed by the high priest. The Sanhedrin was given much authority in religious and civil affairs, including the power to sentence a person to death. However, it was required to submit the sentence to the Roman governor for approval and execution.
5. “Tore his clothes” (14:63): A sign of grief or shock; it became a formal judicial act of the high priest expressing the opinion that he has heard blasphemy, which was a capital crime according to Jewish laws.
6. Pilate (15:1): A Roman of the upper middle class and governor (“praetor”) of Judea and Samaria from A.D. 26-36. He commanded a cavalry of 120 and an infantry of 2,500-5,000. As the governor, he had the power to approve or reverse a capital sentence passed by the Sanhedrin.
7. Barabbas (15:7): An insurrectionist against the Romans, which probably made him a hero among the Jews.
8. Scourged/flogged (15:15): The Jews limited flogging to forty lashes, but the Romans were restricted by nothing but their strength and whim. Flogging was used to weaken a prisoner before crucifixion (although many did not survive the ordeal itself). The prisoner was stripped, tied to a post, and whipped. The leather whip, known as the “scorpion,” had sharp pieces of bone or lead, which reduced the flesh to a bloody pulp, often exposing the victim’s bones and innards.
9. Praetorium (15:16): The Roman governor’s residence, which also functioned as his headquarters.
10. Purple robe, crown of thorns (15:17): These were used to mock Jesus’ claim to be a king. The robe was probably an old military cloak, whose purple color suggested richness and royalty.
The crown was pressed into Jesus’ scalp (which has many blood vessels), which caused severe bleeding.
- The Multitude Arrests Jesus (14:43-52)
- The Sanhedrin Judges Jesus (14:53-65)
- Peter Denies Knowing Jesus (14:66-72)
- Pilate Judges Jesus (15:1-15)
- The Soldiers Mock Jesus (15:16-20)
List the characters that betrayed and/or rejected Jesus. How did they betray or reject Him?Hide Answer
1. Judas—betrayed Jesus for money (14:10-11); gave a signal to those who came to arrest Jesus (14:44)
2. Chief priests, scribes, elders—looked for an excuse to put Jesus to death (14:55, 64); spat at him, beat him, mocked (14:65); stirred up the crowd (15:11)
3. Arresting party—armed with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus (14:43)
4. Disciples—deserted Jesus and fled (14:50)
5. Young man—fled (14:51)
6. Witnesses in the Sanhedrin—testified falsely against Jesus (14:56-59)
7. High priest—condemned Jesus of blasphemy (14:63)
8. Peter—disowned Jesus three times (14:68, 70-71)
9. Pilate—ordered Jesus to be crucified and flogged to please the crowd (15:15)
10. Crowd—demanded that Jesus be crucified (15:13-14)
11. Soldiers—mocked Jesus (15:17-19)
What do you do when many people are against you? What can you learn from Jesus?
Why did the arresting party come armed with swords and clubs?Hide Answer
Weapons are common in a mob scene. Perhaps they expected resistance and wanted a show of force. Perhaps the chief priests and scribes had stirred up their thirst for blood.
Judas needed a signal to identify Jesus. What does this tell you about Jesus’ physical appearance?Hide Answer
It indicates that it was not easy to tell Jesus apart from His disciples. There was nothing in His physical appearance that identified Him as a leader, much less a king (Isa 53:2). He looked more like a common servant. Those who had never heard Jesus’ words or witnessed His power could not tell who He was.
What was Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ kiss?Hide Answer
Jesus accepted Judas’ kiss without question. He did not rebuke Judas or push him away. Jesus accepted Judas with love, as He had done when He washed His disciples’ (including Judas’) feet (Jn 13:1-17).
Have you ever felt betrayed? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ betrayal?
Why did Peter draw his sword?Hide Answer
Moments before, Peter had proclaimed that he would die with the Lord (14:31). Now he was ready to stand by his words. Peter took action to protect his Lord against the hostile crowd. Note that Peter asked for Jesus’ permission, but did not wait for an answer (Lk 22:49-50). He reacted to the situation without thinking.
What might have happened if Jesus had allowed His disciples to fight with swords?Hide Answer
There would have been serious repercussions on the early church. The disciples might have killed some of the men sent from the chief priests, or be killed. A riot might have resulted. The Roman government would’ve cracked down on the Jews, imprisoning and executing the remaining disciples. If these things had happened before the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they would not have been able to withstand the persecution, and the church would have been defeated even before she began.
Do you ever feel like you need to take immediate action? Compare this to Peter’s reaction? What would Jesus tell you? (cf. Mt 26:52; Lk 22:51; Jn 18:11).
Explain 14:48-49. Why did Jesus tell those who came to arrest Him these words? How do the words “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (14:49) explain why the crowd was arresting Him now?Hide Answer
Jesus first rebuked them for coming to arrest Him for no legitimate reason. They came with violent intent, even though Jesus never promoted rebellion or violence (He rebuked Peter for drawing his sword [Mt 26:52] and healed the servant of the high priest [Lk 22:51]). Jesus also pointed out the fact that they did not arrest Him when He was teaching every day in the temple courts. Perhaps it was because they had been amazed at His teaching (Mk 11:18). Perhaps they had been among the crowd who cheered Jesus when He entered Jerusalem!
The words “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” reminded the crowd that every event was under God’s control. Before the appointed time, no one could take Jesus by force or kill Him (Lk 4:28-30; Jn 7:43-44). Jesus could have asked the Father to send twelve legions of angels to fight for Him (Mt 26:53), but He did not. Instead, in order to fulfill God’s will, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa 53:7).
Who were the only ones mentioned who followed Jesus after He was arrested?Hide Answer
the young man who later fled naked (14:51); Peter, albeit “at a distance” (14:54).
What do the false testimonies tell you about the people’s understanding of Jesus?Hide Answer
They distorted Jesus’ teachings and accused Him of things He did not say (for example, about the temple [14:58; cf. Jn 2:19-22 for what Jesus really said]). It was obvious even to the accusers that their testimonies did not agree.
How did Jesus answer His accusers? What does this teach you about dealing with those who attack the true gospel?Hide Answer
Jesus remained silent. There was no need to refute the false testimonies because it was pointless. The Sanhedrin was looking for any excuse to put Him to death. The only time Jesus spoke was to testify to His divinity and prophesy his Second Coming.
Many people ask us questions regarding our faith because they earnestly seek the truth. There are others who have already made up their mind against the true gospel and are only trying to find faults in our faith. Often their arguments do not make sense. If a person only wants to argue, we do not have to fight back with words. We can listen and remain silent, as Jesus did. When necessary, we can point out what the Bible says. At all times, we must remember that only the Holy Spirit can give us spiritual wisdom to understand God’s words.
List common misconceptions about Jesus, Christianity, and the True Jesus Church.Hide Answer
“Jesus is a Jew and not a savior of mankind”; “Christians look down on other religions”; “The True Jesus Church is a cult.”
When someone says something false about your faith, how should you answer?Hide Answer
We must first have a clear understanding of biblical teachings. We have to know why we believe. When we share our faith, we do not have to argue or be condescending. Our job is to calmly and humbly show what the Bible says about our faith.
List the terms used to describe God in verses 14:61-62. Why were there so many?Hide Answer
Christ, Son of the Blessed One, Son of Man, Mighty One
The various terms show us a different aspect of God. Both the high priest and Jesus used different terms, which implies that they both had a profound understanding of God’s nature. However, the high priest’s knowledge did not help him. He did not believe what he saw, and ended up condemning the Savior.
Why did the high priest ask Jesus if He is the Christ?Hide Answer
Jesus had remained silent throughout the trial. The high priest wanted to force Him to say something self-incriminating. He knew Jesus would not deny that He is the Son of God. The high priest used that as an excuse to sentence Jesus to death. (The chief priests later piled on more charges before Pilate [15:3] because they knew Jesus would not contest them).
For what charge did the Sanhedrin sentence Jesus to death?Hide Answer
They condemned Jesus of blasphemy, based on His words that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He will come again from heaven. It is a sad irony that the sinners used God’s truth to condemn a sinless man.
Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to the false testimonies against Him?
Have you ever felt under-appreciated? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to how the people repay Him for His ministry?
Have you ever falsely accused or jumped to conclusions about a person? What were the consequences? How do you avoid making the same mistake again?
Contrast Peter when he drew his sword to protect Jesus to when he denied Jesus three times. How are we like Peter?Hide Answer
When confronted with a great opposition (men from the chief priests armed with swords and clubs), Peter was prepared to fight and maybe die a heroic death. However, when the commotion was over, he lost the passion. Now that Jesus was arrested, Peter was more interested in preserving his life.
Often, our faith is strong when we are under great persecution or trial because we realize that only God can help us. However, when all is calm, we relax our vigilance and give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27). Sometimes it is the small temptations that make us stumble.
When a stranger asks if you are a Christian or a True Jesus Church member, what is your reaction? How should you answer?
When Pilate asked, “What evil has [Jesus] done?” (15:14), what was the crowd’s answer?Hide Answer
They repeatedly cried out, “Crucify him!” (15:14)
What was on the mind of the crowd at this time? Why were the people so against Jesus?Hide Answer
The people wanted a savior who would overthrow the Roman government and restore the nation of Israel on earth. To them, the Bible promised them a mighty and glorious king (Isa 11:1-16). They were ignorant of the prophecies of the savior’s meek appearance and suffering (Isa 53:1-10).
Jesus looked pathetic in their eyes. He was not the king they had been waiting for. Furthermore, the chief priests stirred them up. As more people gathered against Jesus, disappointment turned into rage. In the end, they wanted to kill Jesus for not fulfilling their expectations. They would not listen to reason. Their desire for blood was so fierce that Pilate gave into their wishes (15).
How do we avoid being easily stirred up?Hide Answer
We must remember that we often see only part of the truth. If we make up our mind before we see the whole picture, then every little thing becomes “proof” that we are right. In that case, anything can trigger us to act out.
Jesus was sentenced to die, while a murderer (Barabbas) was set free. How is this an analogy of our salvation through Jesus Christ?Hide Answer
Like Barabbas, we are freed from our death sentence because Christ died in our place. We deserved to die because of our sins, but now have eternal life through Jesus Christ (Rom 6:23).
Why did the Roman soldiers mock Jesus?Hide Answer
The Roman soldiers despised Jesus first as a Jew and second for His unsubstantiated and ridiculous (in their minds) claim to be “the King of the Jews” (15:2,9,12). They were accustomed to torturing a convict (cf. Did You Know 8), and gave no second thoughts to amusing themselves at Jesus’ expense.
Have you ever bullied or made fun of someone? How did it affect that person and yourself?
What is the worst insult you have ever received? How does it compare to the soldiers’ mockery of Jesus? What is the Christian teaching on dealing with insults?Hide Answer
Jesus remained silent and did not fight back. In this, He showed us God’s infinite love. He set an example of “turning the other cheek” (Mt 5:38-42). We also need to have this non-retaliatory attitude when suffering for doing good (Rom 12:17-21; 1Pet 2:20-25). While this is a hard teaching to live by, we must never give up trying. The Holy Spirit will help us to love others like Jesus did.