(Study Outline sourced from “The System Bible Study” – “The Book of Life” [Zondervan])
THE CAPTURE, CONDEMNATION, AND CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST (Thursday Night, Friday, and Saturday of Passion Week)
1. The Betrayal, Arrest, And Desertion Of Jesus
The sequence of events in the Garden:
Our Lord had often met with His disciples in this secluded area of the garden, so, although they were not hiding, Judas knew where they were; “Now Judas… knew the place. Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers…”. John does not record the actual betrayal of Judas as described by the other Gospel writers, but it is inferred .
John also reveals the fact that as God, “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him…” faced the crowd and asked them who it was that they had come to arrest; and upon their response He answered “I am he” at which they all “fell to the ground” , indicating that as God He could have defended Himself yet He chose to submit to the will of His Father and allow them to arrest Him.
The other writers record that Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss and the men came forward and arrested Jesus which brought about a reaction from the disciples of defending Jesus by the use of their swords . Our Lord Jesus then immediately puts an end to this defence by stating “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” , but the Scriptures regarding our Lord had to be fulfilled so it had to be accomplished in that way. The ear of the high priest’s servant that had been severed was restored by our Lord. Our Lord’s command to Peter was, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” .
Our Lord then responds to the arresting soldiers who had come with swords and clubs, “Am I leading a rebellion… that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?” , He had been in their midst and in the Temple courts every day for the week and by His teaching they should have understood that He was not a rebel (or terrorist in modern terms); “But this is your hour– when darkness reigns.” . This was our Lord Jesus’ appointed time that had been foretold by prophetic writings, the time when the forces of evil and Satan himself would do everything that they could to defeat God’s plan of salvation for mankind. “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.” .
2. The Assessment Of Jesus By Annas
The soldiers then arrested Jesus, constrained Him, and brought Him to Annas. Annas was the ex-high priest and father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the current high priest; “the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.”
Upon being questioned about His disciples and His teaching, our Lord responded, “I have spoken openly…. I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.” ; at which point He was illegally slapped in the face by one of the officials. In response, our Lord said to them, “If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me? .
In His response our Lord Jesus was not implying that He taught His disciples anything different in private than He taught in public, and this could easily be asserted by simply questioning those who heard His teaching in the Temple area, “Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” . Thus, from the very outset of His trial we see that the Jewish leaders had no interest in Jesus’ defence, since no witnesses were called to testify there could be no establishment of guilt on the part of the accused – proof that the “powers of darkness” were at work and the Devil would do whatever he could to defeat the plan of God.
Our Lord Jesus Christ would therefore “die for the people” – the Jews as well as Gentiles in accordance with the plan of God from the foundations of the world . It was clearly a contest between the Truth of God and the lies of the Devil .
3. The Rushed Trial And Condemnation By The Sanhedrin
After his initial interrogation, Annas then sends Jesus to Caiaphas whereupon, Caiaphas the high priest, all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the Law came together . These officials formed the Sanhedrin, or the high court of the Jews. Under the jurisdiction of Rome they had a great deal of authority but were unable to implement capital punishment . Seeking evidence to put Jesus to death, they assembled witnesses who falsely accused Jesus, and in the light of such evidence they could not agree .
“Finally two came forward and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'” , which was a distortion of Jesus’ statement and the comment recorded by John . Under the Mosaic Law, two or more witnesses were required to give non-conflicting evidence in order to condemn the accused , but in Jesus’ case, even these two witnesses could not agree; and in response to all the false testimony “..Jesus remained silent..” .
Caiaphas then says to Jesus “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” to which Jesus was legally obliged to reply, “Yes, it is as you say. But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” , Caiaphas therefore accuses Jesus of blasphemy. The sin of blasphemy was one of reviling (to abuse or scorn) God’s Name and, under Jewish Law, the accused was condemned to death by stoning . The charge also included any application to oneself of the majesty or authority of God .
Thus Jesus is condemned to death by the Sanhedrin .