A Great Tragedy? (Part1)

Now we come to the climax of the story of Jesus. Christians consider this to be the most important and significant moment of Jesus’ story - his death and resurrection. If you think about it, that’s a bit weird. In most biographies of important people, the climax is usually some great achievement or discovery, while the person’s death is usually a small part at the end.

Often we think of the cross as a symbol on a church or a necklace we were around our necks. But, as we will read, Jesus died a horrible death. And it changed everything.

Our objective in the next two studies is to discover why Jesus’ death is considered such an important event. Some people say Jesus’s death was a great tragedy. We need to read the story to find out if we agree with this or not.


Luke 22:39-54

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’

When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, ‘Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour – when darkness reigns.’

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.


Questions

  1. What’s happening here? Describe the facts as you understand them so far.
  2. How did Jesus view is upcoming death? What does his prayer show us about that?
  3. What do you think about Jesus’ general attitude towards being betrayed, arrested  and knowing about his upcoming death?

Luke 22:66 - 23:12

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. ‘If you are the Messiah,’ they said, ‘tell us.’

Jesus answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.’

They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’

He replied, ‘You say that I am.’

Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.’

So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied.

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man.’

But they insisted, ‘He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.’

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies.


Questions

  1. Jesus goes on tour of different courts being tried by different authorities - the Jewish religious leaders, political leaders and the Roman empire. What was the accusation agains Jesus? Why was Jesus arrested and sentenced to death?
  2. How did Jesus defend himself in this case against him?
  3. How did Pilate and Herod react to the accusations against Jesus?

Summary

At this point, what is your view of the court case against Jesus? What do you think of the accusations against him, are they valid? Why do you think all this is happening to Jesus?

To be continued…