Lesson 23 - The Betrayal and Trial of Christ

    Suggested Bible Reading: Mark Chapter 14

    Crowds of people followed Jesus everywhere he went. Some wanted healing for physical problems. Others wanted political freedom from the Roman government. Very few that followed Jesus were concerned about their spiritual needs. Very few were willing to admit that their greatest need was to be saved from Satan, sin, and death. It is not really much different today. Many people will only follow Jesus as long as he allows good things to come into their life. A true follower of Jesus will follow him all the way, in good times, and in difficult times.

    The Bible says in Mark 11:7-10, “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”

    As Jesus sat on a young donkey and rode into Jerusalem, the crowds welcomed Him as the promised Savior from God. They praised him as the promised Messiah that all of the Old Testament prophets had spoken about. Most of the people, however, did not personally trust in Jesus to deliver them from Satan's power, their sins, and God's punishment. They only wanted Jesus to be their king so he would deliver them from their enemies. The Jewish leaders were determined to kill Jesus, but they were frightened of the crowds. Jesus was very popular because of all the great miracles he had done.

    Judas Betrays Jesus.

    The Bible says in Mark 14:10, “And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.” Judas was one of the twelve apostles whom Jesus had chosen, but Judas was not a true follower. He did not trust in Jesus as his Savior. Judas followed Jesus for his own personal gain. The Bible even tells us that Judas was a thief. He was entrusted to keep the money bag, but he would often steal part of the money and keep it for himself. When it seemed that he was not going to receive any more personal benefits from following Jesus, he was willing to sell Jesus to his enemies.

    Satan was guiding Judas to betray Jesus. Satan hates Jesus because Jesus is God and has all power. Satan would like to have all power, but he knows that one day he will be destroyed by Jesus Christ. Satan thought that if he could get the Jewish leaders to kill Jesus, he would hinder God's plan. Judas went to the enemies of Jesus and told them that he was willing to betray Jesus for money. The Jewish leaders paid Judas thirty pieces of silver.

    The Bible says in Mark 14:12, “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?” Many years after the first Passover in Egypt, the Jews were still celebrating this particular feast. Jesus had some of his disciples prepare a place for them to eat. Jesus already knew that Judas was going to betray him. At the feast, Jesus said to his disciples that there was one among them who was going to betray him to the Jewish leaders. Jesus wanted Judas to realize what a horrible thing he was planning to do and to give him a chance to change his mind.

    The Bible says in Mark 14:22-24, “And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.” In this portion of Scripture, Jesus instituted the Lord's Supper. He broke the bread and then explained that the broken bread was an illustration of his body which would be broken by evil men. Jesus said the grape juice was an illustration of his blood which would flow out of his body. Jesus said that he was going to sacrifice his life in the place of every person.

    Before the supper was finished, Judas departed from Jesus and the rest of the disciples to betray Jesus. After the supper, Jesus and the rest of the disciples went to a beautiful garden where Jesus often prayed. He knew that in order to be our Savior, he would have to go through terrible suffering more than anyone has ever experienced. After Jesus prayed, he said unto his disciples, “Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.” Mark 14:42-43.

    Jesus Is Arrested.

    Those who came to arrest Jesus did not realize they were being guided by Satan. The disciples all ran away and left Jesus, just as God predicted would happen. The disciples were afraid, disappointed, and confused. They believed that Jesus was the Savior sent from God, but they could not understand how he could be the Savior if he was going to be killed by his enemies. They did not yet understand how his death could deliver them from Satan, sin, and death.

    After Jesus was arrested, he was taken to stand before the Sanhedrin Rulers, the high court of the Jewish people. Jesus had not done anything wrong. Therefore, they could not find any lawful reason to condemn him. In fact, the only reason that they hated him was because they loved their sin and refused to repent!

    Hundreds of years earlier, God's prophets had said that false witnesses would tell lies about the Savior. Now as Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin, the exact words of the Old Testament prophets were being fulfilled. The Jewish leaders found false witnesses to tell lies about Jesus Christ. Jesus was quiet and did not answer the false witnesses. Then they asked him if he really was the promised Savior, and Jesus answered very plainly that he was. The high priest became very angry and said, “Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands,” Mark 14:64-65.

    This is exactly what God's prophets said would happen to the Savior hundreds of years earlier. The Romans who ruled Israel would not allow the Jews to kill anyone unless they gave permission. A man named Pilate was the Roman governor over the region of Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders took Jesus to Pilate, hoping that they could convince Pilate to sentence Jesus to death. But Pilate knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong.

    It was a custom at the Feast of the Passover that Pilate would release one prisoner for whom the Jews asked. He knew that the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Jesus only because they were jealous of his popularity. Pilate asked the Jewish people if they would rather release Jesus or a prisoner named Barabbas, who was guilty of murder. Pilate hoped that they would choose to release Jesus.

    Crucify Him!

    The Jewish leaders wanted Jesus to be crucified, and they convinced the crowd to demand that Pilate should crucify Jesus. The same crowd that was ready to ask Jesus to be their King now called for him to be crucified. Jesus would not deliver them from the Romans, so they did not want him anymore. Pilate gave in to the pressure of the people and ordered for Jesus to be crucified. Crucifixion was used by the Romans for the very worst criminals. Today, it might be compared to the gas chamber or the electric chair. However, crucifixion was even worse because the person did not die immediately. The criminal endured hours and sometimes days of intense physical agony before dying.

    Jesus was whipped and mocked by the Romans before he was led away to be crucified. A Roman soldier whipped the back of Jesus Christ with a leather whip. Pieces of sharp metal and bone were tied onto the leather so they would cut the back of the prisoner when he was beaten. This whipping laid open the skin, cutting the flesh, muscle, and nerves.

    After the terrible beating, the soldiers mocked Jesus. They dressed him in a purple robe, which was the color that kings often wore during that time. They made a crown of thorns and put it on Jesus' head. After this, they led Jesus to Golgotha where he was to be crucified, suffer, and die to deliver us from Satan, sin, and death.

    Study Questions

    1. Most people are really true followers of Jesus Christ.
    2. Are you a follower of Jesus?
    3. Why do you follow Jesus? Be honest.
    4. Even Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles was not a true follower of Jesus. Judas followed Jesus for .
    5. Jesus was surprised when Judas betrayed him into the hands of the rulers.
    6. When the rulers examined Jesus, what sin did they find him guilty of committing?
    7. Pilate believed that Jesus should be crucified.
    8. What convinced Pilate to allow the Jewish people to crucify Jesus?
    9. Why did the crowd demand that Pilate crucify Jesus?
    10. Crucifixion was used by the Romans for the very worst .
    11. Was Jesus a criminal?

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