For the next two weeks before Easter, as my Stories of the Bible series continues, I will tell the story of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection, beginning with the Last Supper.
The story begins on the first day of Passover, when Jesus’s disciples ask him where they will eat for the celebration. He answers that they need to go into the city, and will be met by a man carrying a jar of water. They ask him in Jesus’s name if they can use his guest room to eat in. It is a nice, well furnished room, and they all end up eating there. After they sit down, Jesus says that this is the last time he will eat before he suffers, which the disciples still don’t fully understand. Jesus takes the cup, gives thanks, and tells them to divide the wine up among them. He tells them that it represents the blood he will shed. He also takes the bread, gives thanks, and hands it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” Jesus also indirectly foretells who will betray him to the Pharisees, and the one he implied was Judas. Indeed, Judas would betray Jesus. Additionally, he tells Peter that before the rooster crows, he would deny that he knows Jesus three times. Of course, Peter vehemently says that he won’t ever do that, but Jesus is always right.
After the supper, Jesus goes to the garden of Gethsemane with Peter, James, and John. He kneels and prays a little ways from them, asking his Father to take away what he is about to go through, but that God’s will be done no matter what. Jesus prays so hard and is in such agony that he sweats blood. But God sends an angel to comfort and strengthen him, and he returns to his disciples after a little while.
Just then, a multitude of people come up to them, Judas in the lead. He had been paid a few little coins to betray Jesus to the Pharisees, a religious group who wanted him dead. Judas kisses him in greeting, and Jesus asks who all the men want. They reply that they want Jesus of Nazareth, and he answers, “I am he.” They immediately fall to the ground before him, for “I AM” means “Jehovah,” which is a sacred name of God. Once they recover, he tells them that if they are looking for him, they should let the disciples go. The disciples ask Jesus if they should defend him with their swords. Peter actually cuts off one man named Malchus’s ear in a heroic (but foolish, because he didn’t know how to use a sword) act. Jesus heals the poor servant’s ear, and they take him away to be questioned by Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest.
A couple of the disciples, one of them Peter, follow to the outside of where Jesus is held. A servant girl sees Peter and asks him if he is one of the disciples of Jesus. He says that he isn’t.
Meanwhile, Jesus is being questioned. He is so humble, honest, and wise that it frustrates the officials. So much so, in fact, that they slap him in the face.
Peter, waiting outside and warming himself by the fire, is asked again if he knows Jesus at all. He denies it. One man (a relative of Malchus) says he saw Peter with Jesus in the garden. He still denies it completely, and at that very moment, a rooster begins to crow.
They take Jesus from Annas to Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s palace. Pilate comes out and asks what the charges were against Jesus, and why the Jews couldn’t do it themselves. They tell him that they can’t execute people, as they apparently want to do to Jesus. So Pilate questions him, but can’t find anything wrong with him. Pilate’s job is to keep the people happy, though. So, as a Passover custom, he gives them a choice of prisoner to release: Jesus or Barabbas, a murderer. They choose Barabbas.
I’ll pick up on the rest of the Jesus’s story next Tuesday. It has so many details, and I didn’t want to leave any of them out! Next week, I will also discuss what can be taken away from this incredible true story, the greatest story ever told.
Thanks for reading! God bless y’all, BBG