1. The Jewish Leadership's Plot to Kill Jesus
    1.1. Resolution to Kill Jesus (John 11:45-53)
    1.2. Resolution to Kill Lazarus Also (John 12:9-11)
    1.3. Plan to Kill Jesus before Passover (Mark 14:1-2; Matt 26:1-5; Luke 22:1-2; John 11:55-57)
    1.4. Judas' Agreement to Betray Jesus (Mark 14:10-11; Matt 26:14-16; Luke 22:3-6)
2. Jesus’ Last Passover Meal
    2.1. Preparation for Passover (Mark 14:12-15; Matt 26:17-19; Luke 22:7-13)
    2.2. Washing of Disciples' Feet (John 13:1, 3-17)
    2.3. Announcement of Betrayal (Mark 14:17-21; Matt 26:20-25; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:2, 18-32
    2.4. Passover Meal and Words of Institution (Mark 14:22-25; Matt 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-20
    2.5. New Commandment and Prediction of Death (John 13:33-35)
    2.6. Dispute about Greatness and Granting of Kingdom (Luke 22:24-30)
    2.7. Announcement of Peter's Betrayal (Mark 14:26-31; Matth 26:30-35; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38)
    2.8. Jesus' Warning of Coming Persecution (Luke 22:35-38)
3. Arrest, Trial and Peter's Betrayal
    3.1. Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42; Matt 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1)
    3.2. Jesus' Arrest (Mark 14:43-52; Matt 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12)
    3.3. Jesus' Appearance before Annas (John 18:13-14, 19-23)
    3.4. Peter's First Denial (Mark 14:54, 66-68; Matt 26:58, 69-72; Luke 22:54b-57; John 18:15-18)
    3.5. Peter's Second and Third Denials (Mark 14:69-72; Matt 26:71b-75; Luke 22:58-62; John 18:25-27)
    3.6. Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53, 55-65; Matt 26:57, 59-68; Luke 22:54a, 63-71; John 18:24)
    3.7. Jesus' First Appearance before Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:1-5; Matt 27:1-2, 11-14; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38)
    3.8. Jesus before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12)
    3.9. Jesus' Second Appearance before Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:13-16)
    3.10. Pilate's Efforts to Release Jesus (Mark 15:6-15a; Matt 27:15-23, 26a; Luke 23:17-23; John 18:39-19:15)



1. The Jewish Leadership's Plot to Kill Jesus

1.1. Resolution to Kill Jesus (John 11:45-53)

The synoptic gospels presuppose an earlier decision by the Jewish authorities to kill Jesus, which John includes in his gospel (see Mark 3:6). Jesus and his disciples go to Jerusalem for the Festival of Dedication (December), and apparently remain in Judea until Passover, a few months later (March-April) (John 10:22), staying in a city called Ephraim (John 11:54). Jesus' raising of Lazarus has a significant effect on Jews who witnessed it or heard about it, with the result that many of them "believed in him" (John 11:45), while other become alarmed because of the potential political consequences if Jesus' increasingly popularity is left unchecked. Some from this latter group of Jews report to the Pharisees what Jesus did, no doubt because of the religious authority exercised by them among the people (Ant. 13.288, 298; 18.14-15; War 2.162; see Matt 23:1-3). The Pharisees along with the chief priests convene a meeting of the council, by which is meant the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling body. The terms "chief priests" (archiereis), "scribes" (grammateis) and "elders" (presbuteroi) occur together several times in the synoptic gospels (Mark 8:31 = Matt 16:21 = Luke 9:22; Mark 11:27 = Luke 20:21; Mark 14:43, 53; 15:1; Matt 27:41; Luke 22:66); these three represent the groups that constitute the Sanhedrin, presided over by the High Priest. The term "chief priests" occurs at least sixty-four times in the New Testament; Josephus also makes reference to them (War 2.336). Unfortunately it is not clear how being a chief priest differs from being an ordinary priest. Probably, the chief priests were Sadducees from the Jerusalem aristocracy; they were responsible for the administration of the Temple, including the Temple treasury. As a group they are portrayed as opposing Jesus (Luke 19:47; 20:19; 22:2, 4, 52; 23:4-5, 10, 13; 24:20). Most of the scribes on the Sanhedrin were probably Pharisees, which explains why the phrase "scribes and Pharisees" is so frequent in Matthew (Schürer, History, 2.210-18). (The elders on the Sanhedrin were probably non-priestly members of the Jerusalem aristocracy.) The chief priests and Pharisees who convene a meeting of the Sanhedrin are concerned that the growing Jesus movement could be perceived by the Romans as politically dangerous and needing to be suppressed with force. The repercussions might be greater restrictions on Jewish political and religious autonomy: "The Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation" (11:48). The author reports that Caiaphas, who was High Priest in that year, unwittingly prophesied that Jesus "Jesus was going to die for the nation" (11:51); he adds that Jesus' death would be not just for the nation but also include "the children of God who are scattered abroad" (11:52). (Contrary to some commentators, the author of John does not believe that the Jewish high priesthood was a one year appointment; rather his comment "was High Priest that year" reflects the propensity of the ruling powers to replace High Priests at will, contrary to the Torah's requirements.) The decision to kill Jesus is the reason that Jesus leaves Jerusalem and stays in Ephraim, which which is a little off the beaten track.

1.2. Resolution to Kill Lazarus Also (John 12:9-11)

Jesus' move from Ephraim to Bethany about a week before Passover resulted in crowds who probably wondered where Jesus had been for the past few months. At this time the decision to kill Jesus for reason of political expediency is extended to include Lazarus also because he was abiding proof of Jesus’ miracle of raising him from the dead, which was causing Jews to believe in him. This decision is made by the chief priests, who have the most to lose if the Romans "come and take away both our place and our nation" (11:48) since they would probably lose control of the Temple and its treasury.

1.3. Plan to Kill Jesus before Passover (Mark 14:1-2; Matt 26:1-5; Luke 22:1-2; John 11:55-57)

People were wondering whether Jesus would come to Jerusalem for Passover, which would be the next time that they might expect to see him. But not every Jew went to Jerusalem for Passover every year, so there was still some uncertainty about whether Jesus would show up. Most people probably did not know that Jesus had been staying in Ephraim for the past few months (John 11:56). When he returns to Jerusalem from Ephraim, Jesus stages a "royal entry" from Bethpage and Bethany, which is intended to fulfil the messianic prophecy of Zech 9:9 (see Royal Entry ). As John 11:55 indicates, Passover pilgrims came to Jerusalem before Nisan 14 in order to purify themselves ritually, which explains there is crowd present to receive Jesus as "the son of David" (Matt 21:9).

Like other sacrifices, the Passover had to be eaten in ritual purity (cf. 2 Chron 30:18-20). This meant that, upon their arrival in Jerusalem for the Passover celebration, pilgrims had to ensure that they were ritually clean or take steps to become so (Jub. 49:9; m. Pesah. 5:3; 7:4, 6, 7; 9:1; t. Pesah. 4:2; 6:1, 2, 5: 7:9, 11, 12, 13, 15; War 6. 426-27). The Torah's stipulations for uncleanness were likely maintained. The Mishna and Tosepta, at least, bear this out; people who fell into the following categories were regarded as ritually impure: a menstruating woman or a man who had sexual relations with one (Lev 15:19-24; t. Pesah. 8:1; see War 6. 426-27); one who experienced two issues (see Lev 15:1-5; m. Pesah. 8:5; t. Pesah. 7:11; 8:1; see War 6. 426-27); a woman made unclean by recent childbirth (Lev 12; m. Pesah. 9:4; t. Pesah. 7:11); one contaminated by corpse uncleanness (Num 19; t. Pesah. 7:11; 8:1). It should be added that Philo speaks of the necessity of the participants in Passover being cleansed by purifactory lustrations, which probably was a means to obtaining ritual purity without the ashes of the red heifer (Spec. Laws 2. 148). For this reason many of the Passover pilgrims arrived in Jerusalem at least a week before the Passover feast in order to purify themselves from the corpse uncleanness that they would have acquired on their journey. Josephus reports that during the Passover season before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE when several miraculous events were witnessed—which were mistakenly interpreted as portents of divine favor—the people had already begun to assemble on the eighth of Nisan, seven days before the feast (War 6. 290). It was assumed that pilgrims would have become unclean en route possibly by having contact with gentile dwelling places, as the Mishna and Tosepta suppose (m. Ohol. 18:7; t. Ohol. 18:11). Gentiles were believed to bury their miscarried children in their houses, thus transmitting corpse uncleanness to the occupants (see 11QTemple 48). Such impurity lasted for a week, and could be removed by ritual cleansing with the ashes of the red heifer (Num 9, 19). Philo describes this process in Spec. Laws 1. 261.

Jesus' presence in Jerusalem two days before Passover gives the Jewish authorities the opportunity to put their plan to kill him into action; they hope to arrest and execute him secretly because of the potential for a negative public reaction: they are afraid of Jesus' growing popularity because of raising Lazarus from the dead. The phrase "he chief priests and the Pharisees" in John is the equivalent of Mark and Luke's "the chief priests and the scribes," since scribes and Pharisees tended to overlap. Matthew has "the chief priests and the elders of the people," omitting any reference to the scribes (Pharisees); possibly by "elders of the people" he means all non-priestly members of the Sanhedrin, some of whom would be scribes (Pharisees) (26:3). (The phrase "elders of the people" (presbuteroi tou laou) occurs only in Matthew, four times [21:23; 26:3, 47; 27:1].) Matthew also mentions the involvement of the High Priest Caiaphas in Jesus' crucifixion, which agrees with Johannine tradition (11:49; 18:13, 14, 24, 28) (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.436-40; Luz, Matthew, 3.329-33).

It is usually assumed that has also been pointed out that the phrase mê en tê heortê in Mark 14:2 = Matthew 26:5 can be interpreted to mean that the Jewish authorities wanted to arrest Jesus before the start of the feast. If so, and if Jesus' opponents were able to realize their objective, Jesus was crucified before the evening of Nisan 15. This incongruity in the Markan narrative sequence (compare 14:12) casts doubt on the originality of the identification of Jesus' Last Supper with Jesus' last Passover. This argument, however, is weak for two reasons. On the one hand, the phrase mê en tê heortê is probably better translated as "not among the festival crowd," as the antonym of "in private" or "in isolation," and is not intended as a temporal adverbial phrase at all. The crowds had been arriving in Jerusalem for days before Passover, so the city would have been just as crowded a few days before Nisan 14/15 as on it (Robinson, "The Date and Significance of the Last Supper," EQ 23 (1951) 126-33; Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 71-73). But, even if the phrase is a temporal adverb and means "not during the festival period," there is no guarantee that the arrest of Jesus was carried out according to plan, since they were dependent on Judas to hand Jesus over to them.

    On the assumption that Mark is the source for Matthew, it is probable that Matthew replaces Mark 14:1 with Matt 26:1-4a, which he may have derived from a non-Markan source; this tradition is consistent with John, which presupposes the decision by the High Priest and Sanhedrin to kill Jesus (John 11:45-53). Matt 26:1a "When Jesus had finished all these words" may be a Matthean redactional transition to a saying that begins in 26:1b "He said to his disciples..." The saying that follows pertains to Jesus' crucifixion in two days, and is similar to other predictions of Jesus' death, although not as long: "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the son of man is to be handed over to be crucified" (26:2) (see Jesus' Three Predictions). Following this is the statement that the High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin meet in the High Priest's court (aulê) at which time it is decided that now is the time to act on the plan to kill Jesus. Matthew resumes his use of his Markan source at 26:4b "to seize Jesus by stealth and kill him." Matt 26:5 is clearly dependent on Mark 14:2. Luke also probably uses Mark 14:1-2 as his source, but introduces a few changes. Rather than Mark's "Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread" and Luke has "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover." Unlike Mark, who maintains the biblical distinction between the Passover celebrated on Nisan 14/15 from the Festival of Unleavened Bread held from Nisan 15-22, Luke identifies the Festival of Unleavend Bread with the Passover (see 2:41). Probably Luke is resorting to popular usage according to which the two terms are synonymous. Luke also reduces the Markan phrase "how to seize him...and kill him" (pôs auton kratêsantes apokteinôsin) to "how they might put him to death" (to pôs anelôsin auton) because of the former's redunancy. The formula to pôs to introduce an indirect question is Lukan (22:2, 4; Acts 4:21) (Hawkins, Horae, 47). The verb anaireô is Lukan (23:32; Acts 19x). Luke also omits the idea that Jesus' arrest was to be done stealthily (en dolô) probably as unnecessary and perhaps because its presence potentially confusing to the reader, since this is not what actually happened. Finally, Luke abbreviates Mark's longer "not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people" to "for they were afraid of the people." The "for" (gar) connects this clause with the preceding clause: they wanted to know how to kill of Jesus in such as way as to avoid angering the crowds (Marshall, Luke 787).

1.4. Judas' Agreement to Betray Jesus (Mark 14:10-11 Matt 26:14-16; Luke 22:3-6)

All three accounts agree that Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, goes to the chief priests and offers to hand him over to them. Judas provides the chief priests and the Sanhedrin in general with the opportunity that they are seeking to arrest and kill Jesus without causing a riot. The desire not to arrest Jesus publicly for fear of public reaction means that they need someone on the inside to lead them to Jesus when he is alone.

It is sometimes argued that Judas Iscariot (Ioudas Iskariôth or Iskariôtês), also known as Judas who was called Iscariot (Luke 22:3), received his name from the fact that he was a member of the sicarii, Jewish revolutionary assassins historically associated with events leading up to the Jewish war with Rome, as known from Josephus' works (sicarius = dagger) (see, for example, Ant. 20.204-10). It is not certain, however, that the sicarii were in existence as a group at time of Jesus. Besides, it was Judas' father who was called Iscariot ("Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot" [John 6:71; John 13:26].) The most likely etymology of Iscariot is that it derives from the Hebrew 'iš-qriyôth, or "man of Kerioth." Judas' father, Simon, was from Kerioth and presumably moved elsewhere, so that he became known as the man from Kerioth. This designation was was transferred to Judas (Brown, Raymond E., The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave 1.688-92; Meier, A Marginal Jew 3.209-11; Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, 106-107).

    On the assumption of Markan priority, the author of Matthew makes four alterations to his Markan source. Unlike Mark, he makes it explicit that Judas asks for money, and makes it clear that Judas is not only promised the money but is paid before he actually betrays Jesus. These two alterations are for the purpose of clarification, and may indicate another source to which Matthew has access. In addition, Matthew notes how much money Judas receives (thirty silver coins), and introduces language that is unmistakably allusive of Zech 11:11-12 (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.450-53). This was done for redactional reasons, since later in Matt 27:3-10 Matthew interprets Judas' death as the fulfillment of the prophecy in Zech 11:12-13. The differences between Luke and Mark can be explained as redactional, except the reference to Satan's role in Judas' decision: "And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot" (22:3). Luke seems to have access to another tradition about Judas' betrayal of Jesus, similar to what is found in John (13:27), and has interpolated this into his Markan source (Marshall, Luke 788-89). The other differences between Mark and Luke are to be explained as Lukan redaction. Luke's "called Iscariot" rather than Mark's "Iscariot" is typically Lukan, since Luke tends to use the participle kaloumenos (called) to introduce a name or surname (Jeremias, Sprache, 53) ). The phrase "from the number of the twelve," rather than Mark's "one of the twelve," is probably Lukan redaction (see arithmos in Acts 4:4; 5:36; 6:7; 11:21; 16:5). The verb "discussed" (sunelalêsen) is Lukan (Luke 4:36; Acts 25:12), as is the term "officers" (stratêgoi) (Acts 4:1; 5:24, 26; 16:20, 22, 35, 36, 38). Luke includes this for reason of historical completeness, since the chief priests no doubt ordered the Temple police to arrest Jesus. The formula to pôs to introduce an indirect question is Lukan, as already noted. Luke eliminates Mark's "when they heard this" (hoi de akousantes) as unnecessary, and replaces Mark's "promised" (epêggeilanto) with "agreed" (sunethento), which is a Lukan word (Acts 23:20). Luke adds "he consented," and changes Mark's "at an opportune time" (eukairôs) with "opportunity" (eukairia), which is attested also in Matthew (minor agreement), for stylistic reasons. Finally, Luke adds the phrase "apart from the crowd" is added for clarification.


Why does the Jewish leadership want to kill Jesus? What steps do they take to that end?


2. Jesus’ Last Passover Meal

2.1. Preparation for Passover (Mark 14:12-15;  Matt 26:17-19; Luke 22:7-13)

Jesus holds his last Passover meal in Jerusalem, in conformity with the Law. On Nisan 14, he sends two disciples into the city to prepare the Passover meal, whom Luke identifies as Peter and John. They are to look for a man carrying a jar of water, follow him to a house and ask the owner of the house where the guest room (kataluma) is where Jesus and the twelve are to celebrate the Passover. The owner will show them the upper room of the house (anagaion), already furnished and ready for Passover (Mark 14:15; Luke 22:12). It was characteristic of houses in Jerusalem to have an upper story accessible by an external staircase; these were used by Passover pilgrims to keep Passover. The two disciples do just as Jesus instructed, and find everything to be as he has described it. The gospel tradition intends the finding of a room for Passover to be understood as a display of Jesus' miraculous knowledge, similar to the finding of the colt on which Jesus rode in his entry into Jerusalem (see Schenke, Passionsgeschicht, 181-98, in contrast to Taylor, The Gospel According to St. Mark (2d ed.), 536-38). Mark, followed by Matthew and Luke, identifies Nisan 14 as the the first day of Unleavened Bread, even though more accurately Nisan 15 is the first day. It seems that Mark reflects popular usage according to which Nisan 14, the day before the first day of the Unleavened Bread and the day on which preparations are made, becomes assimilated to the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread held during Nisan 15-21.

Josephus consistently blurred the distinction between the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. In one place he referred to the whole, eight-day festival period—from Nisan 14 to Nisan 21—as the Festival of Unleavened Bread (heortên...tôn azumôn) (Ant. 2.317). Jeremias held that what Josephus meant by the eight-day festival was the period of Nisan 15-22, the twenty-second being included in deference to the diasporan practice (Eucharistic Words, 17 n. 2). This is unlikely, however, since Josephus was not a diasporan Jew, and would have been more inclined to give the Palestinian practice. Rather he, in accordance with his usual practice, is compressing the two festivals into one, including both feasts under the same name. In addition, if Josephus did make a point of deferring to the diasporan practice, one would expect consistency, which we do not find, for in another place he described the feast as lasting seven days (Ant. 3.10.5. §249). The hypothesis that he was inconsistent in his use of terminology, as his contemporaries were, makes better sense of the data. Further evidence for Josephus’ inclusion of Nisan 14 as part of the Festival of Unleavened Bread can be found in Jewish War. In War 5.98, he calls Nisan 14 the day of Unleavened Bread, suggesting that the day of preparation had been assimilated to the subsequent seven-day festival (see Luke 22:7). Similarly, in War 2.224; 2.244; 2.280, he refers to the festival period as the Festival of Unleavened Bread. It is likely that he meant by this the entire feast period of Nisan 14–21, rather than the period of Nisan 15-21. Elsewhere Josephus uses the terms the Festival of Unleavened Bread and Passover as synonyms or refers to the festival period as the Passover (Ant. 14.21; 17.213; 18.29; 18.90; 20.106; War 2.10). When he is commenting on the biblical text, however, he maintains the distinction between Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread, as in Ant. 3.248-51. In that same passage, he calls Nisan 16 the second day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. It is clear that for Josephus the terms used to designate the two festival periods had become imprecise to the point of being interchangeable. That Josephus could refer to this eight-day period in one place as the Festival of Unleavened Bread and in other places use Passover as a synonym for the Festival of Unleavened Bread or simply refer to the entire period as the Passover confirms in common use, a distinction was no longer made between Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread and that Nisan 14 had become assimilated to the festival period (see Smith, "The Chronology of the Last Supper," WTJ 53 (1991) 29-45 (35-36).

    The two disciples, Peter and James, make Passover preparations. They must have ritually clean out the leaven from the space (assuming that this has not already been done by the owner of the house), bought the necessary provisions including the Passover lamb, and, finally, one of the two must have taken the lamb to the Temple at some time in the afternoon to be slaughtered. According to the early rabbinic sources, formal enrollment in what is called a haburah, by which is meant an association, is a requirement for the proper celebration of Passover (e.g., t. Pesah. 7:3-17; m. Pesah. 8). In Mek. 12:4 (Pisha 3:68-71), for example, the phrase "according to the number of souls" (Exod 12:4) is interpreted to mean that the lamb must be slaughtered only for those enrolled as partners in it. So Peter or James must have enrolled Jesus and the other disciples in their haburah when the lamb was sacrificed at the Temple, however that was done. According to the Jewish calendar used at the time, the new day begins at sunset. This means that the Passover preparations would be made in the afternoon, at the end of Nisan 14, but the Passover meal would be eaten in the evening, at the beginning of Nisan 15. Rabbinic sources indicate the Passover lambs are sacrificed in three groups; presumably this is to prevent overcrowding at the Temple (m. Pesah. 5:5; t. Pesah. 4:10). In which of the three groups Peter or James sacrificed his Passover lamb is unknown.

There were certain essentials for a Passover meal, an obligatory minimum, which understandably gave rise to a vast catering trade in Jerusalem (Jeremias, Jerusalem, 46-51). Some of these essentials were required by the Torah. A year-old, unblemished male lamb needed to be purchased from the livestock market connected with the Temple (m. Pesah.; t. Pesah. 8:19; Ant. 3. 248; Jub. 49:12-14; cf. m. Sheqal. 7:2). The livestock dealers provided an essential and not doubt profitable service for the pilgrims; it was both difficult and risky to bring one's own sacrifices to Jerusalem, since the animals might become blemished en route. According to Mek. 12:3 (Pisha 3:45-47), it was not required that all members of the haburah be present for the purchase, for "a man's agent is like himself," a saying attributed to the Sages. It simply makes sense that only one person need actually make the purchase of the Passover offering. If a haburah had decided in favour of eating a festival offering, this would have to be purchased along with the Passover lamb. The Torah also requires the consumption of "bitter herbs," or different types of salad greens, and unleavened bread (Exod 12:8; Deut 16:3). That Jews actually ate "bitter herbs" and unleavened bread as part of the meal is attested only in m. Pesah 10:3 and t. Pesah. 10:9 and Mek. 12:8 (Pisha 6:50-67), although pre-destruction sources do indicate that unleavened bread was consumed during the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Jub. 49:22; Spec. Laws 2. 150; Ant. 3. 248). Since the consumption of these foods was required by the Torah, however, the early rabbinic sources likely reflect common practice. In addition to the three Passover staples required by the Torah, other foods had become fixtures of the Passover meal. According to m. Pesah. 10:3; t. Pesah. 10:9 a spiced fruit puree, was required; since there was some dispute even among the rabbis whether this was a commandment, the puree may not have been part of every haburah's celebration. Also the Mishna and Tosepta refer to something into which the "bitter herbs" (salad greens) are dippped, which must be some sort of salad dressing (m. Pesah. 10:3-4; t. Pesah. 10:9). More importantly, however, wine became an important part of Passover (G. J. Bahr, "The Seder of Passover and the Eucharistic Words," NovT 12 (1970): 181-202 and Billerbeck, IV, 611-39). The first known references to the drinking of wine at Passover is found in Jub. 49:6. According to this work the first Passover celebrants drank wine, which is probably an anachronism. Also at least two cups of wine are a part of Jesus' last Passover meal (Luke 22:17-20). The Mishna and Tosepta, in fact, stipulate that a minimum of four cups of wine per celebrant was required for a first-century Passover meal (m. Pesah. 10:1; t. Pesah. 10:1); the Jewish festival meal, of which the Passover was an instance, was structured around the blessing and drinking of four cups of wine (t. Ber. 4:8). That this was the practice of the pre-destruction period is believable, since these four cups would provice the needed framework for the meal. According to t. Pesah. 10:1, each cup must be a quarter log, or an eighth of a litre (Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 149). So enough wine was drunk over the course of the meal to produce a feeling of well-being on the part of the participants. In fact, t. Pesah. 10:4 considers it the religious duty of a man to bring joy to his children and dependents by providing enough wine for each to become mildly intoxicated. The wine was diluted with various amounts of water, depending on its strength, which typical of the ancient world in general (m. Pesah. 10:2; t. Pesah. 10:2).

    On the assumption of Markan priority, Matthew abbreviates his Markan source, but interpolates into it Jesus' statement "My time is near," which is an allusion to his awareness of his impending death (26:2, 45-46). Matthew must have had access to another source, possibly oral tradition, about Jesus' preparation for his last Passover meal. Matthew omits both Mark's "first" and any reference to the sacrifice of the Passover, since he considers these dispensable. Also, rather than Mark's "eat the Passover" (14:14), Matthew has "do the Passover" (26:18), which is more of a literal translation of the Hebrew in Exod 12:48 'sh psch, and so may be stylistically preferable to Matthew. Luke does not abbreviate his Markan source, but does make a few alterations to it. As noted, he identifies the two disciples sent by Jesus to prepare the Passover as Peter and John, which he knows somehow. Luke omits the adjective "first" from his Markan source ("the first day of Unleavened Bread"), probably because it was unnecessary since the next clause "when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed" could only be referring to Nisan 14. Luke, however, changes his Markan source to "on which the Passover lamb was required to be sacrificed," perhaps in order to emphasize the statutory nature of the sacrifice (Marshall, Luke, 791). Luke also transposes Mark 14:12b to the position after Jesus' sending of the two disciples, and adds the phrase "to the house that he enters" to his Markan source presumably for clarification. The other Lukan redactions of his Markan source differences between Luke and Mark are minor.

2.2. Washing of Disciples' Feet (John 13:1, 3-17)

Before the beginning of the Passover meal to be held in the upper room (anagaion), Jesus washes his disciples' feet. The temporal reference "before the Festival of the Passover" assumes that the next meal that they eat will be the Passover, which is then described in John 13:21-30. In other words, the foot washing immediately precedes the meal (Carson, John, 460). This undermines the view that what is described is a meal the day before the Passover, so that there is a one day discrepancy between John's chronology and that of the synoptics.

It is advisable to note that John shows signs that he is following the synoptic chronology. The meal described by John as Jesus’ Last Supper is unusual in many respects, if it is to be understood as an ordinary fellowship meal (Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 81-84). The meal was held in Jerusalem, when Jesus’ residence for the festival was Bethany (John 12:1). But why would Jesus and his disciples eat this meal in Jerusalem, unless it was required of them, as it was for the Passover meal? In addition, Jesus and his disciples did not return to Bethany that night, but went to the valley of Kidron (John 18:1). This is difficult to account for, unless one assumes that they were forbidden to go to Bethany because it was required that the night be spent within the ritual limits of Jerusalem, a stipulation for Passover night (see link). The meal was held at night (John 13:30), which was an unusual time to be eating, unless it was so required (Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 44-45). Jesus and his disciples reclined at the table (John 13:23, 25), indicating that the meal was not an ordinary one. Rather, it was a festival meal, and, given the context, it could only have been a Passover meal.

The Johannine narrator also indicates that Jesus knows that shortly he will be executed: "that he would depart out of this world to the Father (13:1; see Matt 26:18 "My time is near) (Barrett, John, 437). The washing of feet was an expression of hospitality in Jewish culture, extending back to the patriarchal period, and was often associated with meals (Gen 18:4; 19:2: 24:32; 43:24; Jdg 19:21; 1 Sam 25:41; Luke 7:36-50; Jos. Asen. 7:1; 13:15; 20:1-5). Since they wore sandals, people's feet became dirty while walking out of doors. The washing of feet before dining was not unique, however, to the Jews of this time, but was the general practice in the Greco-Roman period, usually performed by servants or other social inferiors (Herodotus, 2.172; Plutarch, Phocion 1.20.2; Pompey, 73.6-7; Athenaeus, Deipnosophists, 9.408-11) (Thomas, Footwashing in John 13, 26-60). That such a task was considered menial and even degrading is implied in the rabbinic prohibition against Jewish slave owners requiring their Jewish slaves to wash their feet (see Mek. Nezikin 1.57-581 on Exod 21:2). Since Passover was a festival meal it would have been expected that someone would wash the feet of Jesus and the disciples. Since there was no servant present, the only options would be either to forego the footwashing, for each to wash his own feet or for one of those present to assume the role of the servant. Surprisingly, Jesus assumes the role of foot washer. It is said that, after "he got up from supper, he laid aside his garments (himatia), and taking a towel (lention), he girded himself," to prepare for the task of washing feet (13:4). (The word lention is a loan word from the Latin linteum.) It seems that Jesus is already reclining and must get up from the triclinium in order to perform this task. What is probably being described is Jesus' removal of both his outer garment, known as a himation and his inner garment, known as a chitôn, collectively are referred to as Jesus' garments (himatia) (see John 19:23-24). This leaves Jesus with only his loin cloth on, which is essentially his underwear. He then wraps a towel (lention) around his waist which he uses to dry the disciples' feet after washing them (Morris, John, 615-16). The alternative is the term himatia refers to Jesus' outer garment, usually called a himation (see John 19:2,5), in which case he keeps his inner garment (chitôn) on, pulls this up and ties it off, i.e. girds it, with the towel (see Carson, John, 462-63). After he washes the feet of the twelve disciples, Jesus put back on his inner and outer garments and reclines once again (anepesen palin) (13:12).

    Jesus washes the disciples' feet in order to make two points. First, for him washing feet symbolizes the cleansing from occasional sins of men who have already fundamentally acceptable to God because of their decision to follow him. Peter misunderstands the point and wants to be completely washed, which in the social context would have been inappropriate and even bizarre, since there was only enough water in the basin to wash his feet and besides he would have to remove all his clothing to be completely washed. Assuming this, Jesus gently rebukes Peter, telling him that he needs only his feet washed: "He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean" (13:12). Jesus points out subtly, however, that one of the twelve is not completely clean, by which he means Judas, who is about to betray him (13:10-11). Second, for Jesus, foot washing symbolizes the attitude of servanthood that his disciples should have toward one another. He argues from minor to major that, if he, their teacher and master, washes their feet, how much more should they as equals wash one another's feet: "You call me teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you" (13:13-15).

2.3. Announcement of Betrayal (Mark 14:17-21; Matt 26:20-25; Luke 22:21-23; John 13:2, 18-32)

During the Passover meal, after they have reclined for the meal, Jesus announces that he will be betrayed and discretely identifies Judas as his betrayer, who then leaves the feast to put his plan into effect. In Mark, followed by Matthew, Jesus announces his betrayer before the words of institution, whereas in Luke it is positioned after the words of institution, so that Jesus and his disciples have finished the Passsover meal before Jesus announces his betrayal. Mark's account probably reflects the actual order of the events (Smith, Jesus' Last Passover Meal, 150). Luke's account is historically awkward, because he has Jesus identify the one who would betray him as one who was sharing table-fellowship after the meal has ended. Luke's account of the events that transpired during the meal is not intended to be chronologically correct, but is more episodic. If Mark's gospel has the correct order of events, then it is probable that it was during the appetizer course that Jesus announces his betrayal. According to the structure of a typical, Jewish festival meal, the main course, in this case the Passover meal, would be preceded by an appetizer course, consisting, in part, of salad greens (i.e "bitter herbs"), salad dressing, intestines of the roasted lamb and a cup of wine, the first Passover cup (m. Pesah. 10:3; t. Pesah. 10:5; t. Ber. 4:8) (see Smith, Jesus' Last Passover Meal, chap. 1). It is probably during this course that Jesus identifies Judas as his betrayer and Judas leaves the upper room. Jesus quotes Ps 41:9, "He who eats my bread has lifted his heel against me," a psalm of David, and gives it a pesher-type interpretation: it foretells the betrayal of the Messiah by one of his own disciples. (This is the only known messianic interpretation of this passage in second-Temple Judaism.) Jesus explains that he is telling them of his future betrayal, in order that, when it happens, they will believe in him, by which he means that they will believe that he is sent from God (John 13:19-20).

    When they hear that one of them will betray Jesus, the disciples are saddened, momentarily at least, and begin to ask among themselves who it would be. John explains that Peter gestures to the beloved disciple, John the son of Zebedee, who is reclining immediately in front of Jesus, and tells him to inquire of Jesus who the betrayer is. John then "leaned back on Jesus' chest," which is to say, he twists his torso around until he can see Jesus' face, and then asked, "Lord, who is it?" (John 13:25). Jesus does not identify his betrayer by name but says that the one who will betray him is the one who "one who dips with me in the bowl" (Mark 14:20; Matt 26:23), and more generally the one whose hand "is with mine on the table" (Luke 22:21). In other words, Jesus really does not explicitly identify his betrayer at all, except to say that he is one of the twelve. Since Jesus announces his betrayal during the course of appetizers, what they must have dipped together is lettuce into the salad dressing, since no bread would be eaten at this point in the meal. John's version of the foretelling of the betrayal records that Jesus dipped a psômion (John 13:27), which, if this reconstruction is correct, ought to be translated as a piece of lettuce or other type of "bitter herb," not a piece of bread or meat, as it is often translated (Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua: Studies in the Gospels 121; contrary to Morris, John, 627). In John, Jesus further identifies his betrayer by actually dipping a piece of lettuce into the dressing, handing it to Judas and saying that the one who will betray him is the one to whom he hands this piece of lettuce. This assumes that Judas is reclining close to Jesus, within arm's reach, so that it is possible that not everyone present witnesses this event. In fact, it seems that this indirect identification is intended only for Judas, so that he would be aware that Jesus knows of his intentions. This is confirmed by the fact that when Judas leaves the room, no one knew why he has left, but wrongly assume that he has gone to buy provisions or gives alms to the poor (John 13:28-29).

The fact that disciples are recorded to have thought that the reason Judas had left was in order to buy provisions for the feast or to give alms to the poor fits the context of a Passover meal (John 13:29). If the meal had been held on the evening of Nisan 14, there would have been no need to buy goods that night during the meal, since there was still the entire next day to do such things. But if the meal was a Passover meal, eaten on the evening of Nisan 15, then the urgency would be understandable, since the next day was a high feast day, the Sabbath of Passover week = no purchases allowed on Sabbath. (Purchases were lawful during Passover night.) (Heawood, “The Time of the Last Supper,” 39f.; Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 53) Likewise, it was customary for celebrants to give alms on Passover night (Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 54; Str-B 2.842). According to m. Hag. 1:3, a festival offering (chagigah ) is required to be sacrificed and eaten on Nisan 15, i.e. a few hours after the end of Passover at midnight. There was debate among the rabbis whether it must be purchased with second-tithe money or whether "non-holy" money could be used).

As soon as this occurs, it is said that "Satan then entered into him" (John 13:27; see Luke 22:3), which makes it clear that Jesus' death was part of Satan's plan to halt the progress of the Kingdom of God (see the result of Jesus ironically sees his impending death as his glorification, which shall also bring glory to God (John 13:31-32) (see John 17:1-5). Jesus pronounces a woe on his betrayer (14:21): "The son of man will be led away just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the son of man; it would be better for him if he had not been born." Jesus' use of the term "son of man" is ambiguous because it could be simply self-referentially, or could be used as messianic title. Even though he sees his betrayal as foreordained by God, nevertheless, this does not lessen the guilt of the one who betrays him.

2.4. Passover Meal and Words of Institution (Mark 14:22-25; Matt 26:26-29; Luke 22:14-20)

Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples, and in so doing interprets the unleavened bread blessed and broken at the beginning of the meal as symbolizing his imminent death which he interprets as vicarious (see The Word over the Bread). Jesus also interprets his death as instituting the Jeremian new covenant (see New Covenant). After the appetizer course, when Jesus identifies Judas as his betrayer, the second cup was mixed and the main course was brought out and laid before the group. Incidently, who was serving the meal is not stated. Each member of the group may then have washed both hands. Jesus would have said a blessing in common over the second cup. The Passover haggadah was then recited (whatever this may have been), and the first part of the hallel was probably sung. Jesus next said the blessing over the bread, broke it, distributed it and unexpectedly interpreted it with reference to his own body: "This is my body (given) for you." To interpret foods eaten at Passover was not unusual; Jesus would have done something similar during the recitation of the Passover haggadah. But after the blessing of the bread and its distribution, normally nothing would be said of an interpretive nature. Jesus' departure from usual procedure would have made an impression on those present. He also told his disciples to repeat his act of breaking, distributing and eating bread in his remembrance. The meal was then eaten by the haburah. If they as yet had no inkling as to what Jesus was expecting, they must have eaten the meal in a state of ironic joyfulness, in accordance with the usual festive atmosphere of the Passover meal. Each time the cups were refilled during the meal each would have said his own blessing over his cup. Jesus also announces that he will celebrate Passover again in the future in the Kingdom of God (see Israel's Future Hope).

It has been suggested that 22:15-18 is a redactional composition based on Mark 14:22-25. The view that Luke is literary dependent on Mark is quite weak for two reasons (see Smith, Jesus' Last Passover Meal, 66-80). First, the arguments supporting it tend to be precariously circular: one assumes that Luke made use of Mark, and then one attempts to discover how he modified his source and to what end. The Lukan narrative 22:15-18 appears to be an independent account with tradition-historical connections with Mark (thus accounting for the parallels on the level of individual words and phrases). The hypotheses offered as explanations of the Lukan redactional aim really only hang by a thread. Second, a considerable body of positive evidence can be produced leading to the conclusion that Luke 22:15-18 is literarily independent of Mark. There are two classes of such evidence. On the one hand, there are general considerations concerning the Lukan redactional tendencies. An examination of the use of the Markan material in Luke indicates that 22:15-18 can hardly be a Markan redaction. On the other hand, considerations of the Lukan preferred vocabulary and style support the view that Luke 22:15-18 is not a Lukan redactional construction based on Mark 14:22-25. It is possible to differentiate in Luke 22:15-18 Lukan redaction from Luke's sources. Having done this one discovers that there are too many instances of non-Lukan and non-Markan usage for this passage to be a Lukan redaction of Mark.

2.5. New Commandment and Prediction of Death (John 13:33-35)

During his last Passover meal, Jesus tells his disciples again that he will no longer be with them; he says that he has already said this to "the Jews," by which is meant those who are hostile to him, which is the majority of the people and especially the Jewish leadership (John 7:33-34; 8:21). Jesus explains cryptically "Where I am going, you cannot come" (13:33). His addresses the disciples as "little children" (teknia) which implies his relationship to them as their teacher. Jesus gives the disciples a "new commandment": "that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another" (13:34). This commandment is not new in the sense of being unknown to the disciples. Jesus summarized the Law by the twofold commandments of loving God (Deut 6:4-5) and one's neighbor (Lev 19:18) (see Jesus' View of the Law as Having a Center) .The newness of the commandments derives from the disciples' new situation of being without Jesus. In this unprecedented setting, they are to relate to one another in mutual love. This is how people will identify them as his disciples. The new commandment corresponds to the new covenant that Jesus has announced will be instituted by his blood, i.e. death; for him the Law written on the heart that Jeremiah identifies as an element of the new covenant is identical to loving one another.

2.6. Dispute about Greatness and Granting of Kingdom (Luke 22:24-30)

Luke includes another episode from Jesus' last Passover meal available to him from a non-Markan source, which he joins to the preceding with the transitional phrase kai de ("and"). At some point during the meal a dispute arises among the disciples concerning who is the greatest among them. The contested question is one of their relative ranking in the Kingdom of God, and this is not the first time that this issue arose among them (see Mark 10:41-44 = Matt 20:24-27; Matt 23:10-11). Perhaps on this occasion the dispute arises beause of the "seating" (i.e., reclining) arrangement at the Passover meal; in the ancient world status was determined by where one reclined in relation to the host and the quantity and type of food that was served. Jesus' response is to redefine greatness in terms of service; contrary to common opinion, greatness consists in giving to others, not in receiving honors at the expense of others. He uses the example of a festival meal, of which Passover is an example, to illustrate his point. He asks, "For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? The common view is that the greater is the one being served, rather than the one serving, since being served is an indicator of relative greatness. Whether there is a servant present in the upper room serving Jesus and the disciples Passover is not clear; if so then Jesus could have used this person as an object lesson. Jesus also probably reminds them of his recent washing of their feet, which was the task of a servant: "But I am among you as the one who serves" (22:27b). He concludes by disclosing to his disciples that, because of their loyalty to him, each of them will have a prominent place in the future Kingdom of God ("I grant you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom) (22:29b-30), and will have a role of leadership in it ("You will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel) (22:30). He said the same thing in a non-rejection context (Matt 19:28). So Jesus' view is the Kingdom will still come in spite of his imminent arrest and execution (see Luke 22:14-16, 18; Mark 14:25 = Matt 26:29).

Many exegetes deny the unity of Luke 22:24-30, claiming that it is a Lukan composition. It is argued that Luke 22:24-26 is a re-working of Mark 10:42-44 (also said to be evident in Matt 23:11; 27) (Marshall, Luke, 811; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1411-20; Evans, Luke, 318-19). Luke 22:24 is said to be a Lukan redaction (Jeremias, Sprache 290, but see Schürmann, Abschiedsrede, 70), while 22:25 is a reworking of Mark 14:42b,c and Luke 22:26 is a redacted and abridged form of Mark 10:43-44. Luke 22:27 is a non-Markan saying that Luke appends to his redacted Markan tradition; it is parallel to John 13:15-16. It is sometimes further argued that the saying in Luke 22:27 is tradition-historically more orignal than Mark 10:45, the latter being a Hellenizing revision (Bultmann, History, 93, 144; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1414). Schürmann argues that, while 22:25-26 is tradition-historically secondary to Mark 10:41-44, Luke 22:27 is a tradition-historically more original than Mark 10:45 (Abschiedsrede, 63-99). To Luke 22:24-27 there is joined a longer version of the saying found in Matt 19:18, usually thought to be from the Q-source. Among those who adopt this view, there is debate over whether Matt 19:28 or Luke 22:28-30 is closer to the hypothetical original version. Most choose Matthew as the closest and interpret most of the differences in Luke as redactional (see Bultmann, History, 170-71; Kümmel, Promise, 47; Schulz, Spruchquelle, 230-32). But there are others who claim that Lukan version is more original (Schürmann, Abschiedesrede, 37-54). It is better to assume, however, that Luke 22:24-30 is independent of Mark 10:42-44 and Matt 19:28 (Creed, St. Luke, 267; Taylor, Passion Narrative, 61-64; Manson, Sayings, 337-39; Streeter, Four Gospels, 288). Luke 22:24-27 independent of Mark 10:42-44 and Luke 22:28-30 and Matt 19:28 represent two different sayings of Jesus with some overlap in content (see Manson, Sayings, 216; Luz, Matthew 8-20, 510-11). (Matt 19:28 belongs to a non-rejection context, while Luke 22:27-30 belongs to a rejection context) (see Twelve Disciples). The agreement between Luke 22:24-27 and Mark 10:42-44 can easily be accounted for as deriving from a common theme and the tendency of a standardized vocabulary being adopted in the tradition: tôn ethnôn; katakurieuousin autôn (Mark) / kurieuousin autôn (Luke); kataexousiazousin autôn (Mark) / hoi exousiazontes autôn. Finally, Schürmann argues too speculatively that Luke 22:28-30 originally was connected in a non-Markan source to words of institution because of the covenant language (Abschiedesrede, 54-63).

2.7. Announcement of Peter's Betrayal (Mark 14:26-31; Matt 26:30-35; Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38)

All four gospels agree that, in response to his promise not to desert him, Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him that night and all the disciples will desert him. It seems that Jesus made this prediction twice, once during the meal in the upper room, which Luke and John describe, and once on the Mount of Olives or on the way to his destination, which Mark describes, followed by Matthew (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.482). In Mark, followed by Matthew, after leaving the upper room, where they kept the Passover, Jesus and his disciples go to the Mount of Olives, east of the Temple mount. They leave, "after signing a hymn" (Mark 14:26), which is the second part of the Hallel (Pss 113-118), which was required to be sung during the Passover celebration (m. Pesah. 10:6; cf. t. Pesah. 10:6-9 and Jub. 49:6). Jesus predicts that his disciples will desert him after he has been arrested (Mark 14:27a), and will not see him again until the resurrection, when he will appear to them in Galilee (Mark 14:28). To Peter's objection to his prediction ("even though all may fall away, yet I will not"), Jesus says, "Before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny me three times," i.e., three times before dawn (Mark 14:30). Peter objects again promising that he will not deny Jesus, and the other disciples likewise said the same thing (14:31).

Some commentators suggest that a literary relationship exits between Luke 22:33-34 and Mark 14:29-31. A literary seam is detected between Luke 22:31-32 and 22:33-34, as evidenced in the different designations for Peter: in Luke 22:31 Peter is called by his given name "Simon," whereas in 22:34 he is called "Peter" (Schürmann, Abschiedsrede, 99-116; Fitzmyer, Luke 1421). Luke 22:31-32 is judged to be non-Markan tradition, whereas Luke 22:33-34 is seen as a redaction of Mark 14:29-30. Some regard both Luke 22:33 and 22:34 as literarily dependent upon Mark (Schürmann, Abschiedesrede, 21-35), whereas, because of the relative lack of agreement in 22:33, others are only willing to attribute Markan dependence to Luke 22:34 (Manson, Sayings, 339-40; Taylor, Passion, 65-66; Evans, Luke, 319). It is argued that Markan material in Luke is represented by Luke 22:34, 59b-62. The lack of agreement between Mark 14:29 and Luke 22:33 makes it impossible to argue for literary dependence. The agreements between Mark 14:30 and Luke 22:34 are not so extensive as is thought and arguably derive from a common terminology used in oral tradition: legô soi; alektora; phônêsai (Mark) / phônêsei (Luke); tris mê aparnêsê. It is better to assume the literary independence of Luke 22:33-34 (Plummer, Luke, 503). It is argued overly speculatively that behind Mark 14:26-31 = Matt 26:30-35 are two sources, a prediction of the disciples' falling away and a prediction of Peter's denial of Jesus; these were combined in the Markan tradition. To this was added the quotation from Zech 13:5. According to this view, John 16:1, 32 is an independent version of the first and Luke 22:31-33 and John 13:33 the second (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.483).

    Jesus gives a pesher-type interpretation to Zech 13:5 "I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered," interpreting it as predictive of the death and desertion of himself, the Davidic Messiah. Different from the MT and LXX, the verb is in the first person singular, rather than second person plural, in order to stress God's active involvement in the unfolding of events. Matthew adds "of the sheep" to his Markan source for the sake of clarity. What permits such an exegesis is the use of the metaphor of shepherd in describing the Davidic Messiah in Ezek 34:23; 37:23-24: the Davidic Messiah is pictured as a shepherd who will leading Israel, his sheep (see Davidic Descent as Qualification for Being the Messiah). Similarly, in 4Q521, perhaps dependent upon Ezekiel, on one interpretation of the text, it is said that "his Messiah" "will lead (as a shepherd)" (ynhl) (frag. 2, 1.13). Jesus interprets Zech 13:5 as speaking about the Messiah insofar as the Messiah is a shepherd, who is ironically rejected and then deserted. He then implicitly identifies himself as this rejected and deserted Davidic Messiah.

The place where Jews celebrated Passover was not always where a Passover haburah (association) spent the night of Nisan 15. Sipre Num. 9:10 (69) states that the Passover lamb had to be eaten within the gates of Jerusalem; m. Mak. 3:3 rules that the one who eats the lesser holy sacrifices outside the walls of Jerusalem was subject to the penalty of the forty stripes; m. Pesah. 7:9 declares that any paschal offering taken out of Jerusalem must be burned immediately. In addition, it is unanimously agreed upon among the rabbis that one must spend the entire Passover night in Jerusalem (Sipre Deut. 16:7 (134); Sipre Num. 151; t. Pesah. 8:8); this was understood to derive from the regulation in Deut 16:7, which stipulates that only in the morning after the Passover meal could one return to one's tent. But according to the early rabbinic sources, spending the night in Jerusalem did not mean sleeping where one had eaten Passover. When the paschal meal was completed at or before midnight the celebrants were free to leave the places where they had eaten it; unlike the first Passover, the restriction of Exod 12 not to leave one's house before morning was no longer in effect. This was one of the many differences between the Egyptian Passover and the Passovers of subsequent generations (see t. Pesah. 8:17). A Jew could sleep anywhere within the ritual boundaries of Jerusalem, which did not always coincide with the actual city limits (Jeremias, Eucharistic Words, 43, n. 2, 55, 75; id., Jerusalem, 115-16; Dalman, Jesus-Jeshua, 93-95). Josephus, in fact, informs us that pilgrims slept in tents on the plain during the Passover festival (Ant. 17. 217; War 2. 12). That Jesus is portrayed in the gospels of leaving the upper room and going to the Mount of Olives after he and his disciples had completed the meal confirms this (Mark 14:26; Matt 16:30; Luke 22:39; cf. John 18:1). Given the tremendous overcrowding of the city, it would be unreasonable to require that people sleep in the place where they held Passover, sometimes a roof or a courtyard.

    As Luke and John indicate, before Jesus and the disciples leave the upper room, Jesus tells Peter for the first time that he will desert him. John indicates that in response to Jesus' statements about leaving, Peter promises to lay down his life for Jesus, to which Jesus responds ""Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny me three times" (13:38). In Luke, Jesus explains that it is Satan's strategy against Peter, which God has permitted, to lead him to deny Jesus. The metaphor of sifting is applied to Peter's upcoming testing; just as a sieve removes wheat from the chaff, so also the upcoming testing will separate those who promise to be loyal only from those who promise to be loyal and actually prove to be so. Even though he prays for Peter, Jesus knows that Peter will succumb. In response Peter affirms confidently, "Lord, with you I am ready to go both to prison and to death" (Luke 22:33). In Mark Jesus predicts that Peter will deny him three times before a rooster has crowed twice, whereas in the other three gospels the rooster will simply crow before Peter has denied Jesus three times. In Mark after Peter's first denial a rooster crows (Mark 14:68) and then after his next two denials, it crows again (14:72). Probably, the other three gospel writers simplify the gospel tradition, so that the two times that that rooster crows are collapsed into one event: before a rooster finishes crowing..

2.8. Jesus' Warning of Coming Persecution (Luke 22:35-38)

Luke includes a final episode associated with Jesus' last Passover meal (see (see Luke 22:39 "And he came out and the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed him"). He warns the disciples about coming persecution. See Numbered among Transgressors.


What are the events immediately preceding Jesus' arrest? How does he prepare his disciples for his imminent death?


3. Arrest, Trial and Peter’s Betrayal

3.1. Jesus in Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-42; Matt 26:36-46; Luke 22:39-46; John 18:1)

There are two versions of Jesus' struggle in the garden on the Mount of Olives, east of the Kidron valley, before his arrest: one in Mark and Matthew, and a simplified version in Luke (see Schenke, Studien, 461-540). (There is some uncertainty, however, about whether 22:43-44 is original to the Lukan text.) John has simply a statement that Jesus goes to a garden on the Mount of Olives, which is then followed by his arrest. According to Mark 14:32, followed by Matt 26:36, the place on the Mount of Olives to where Jesus and his disciples went was called Gethsemane (Gethsêmani), which probably derives from the Hebrew gat shemanim, or oil presses. Luke seems to indicate that Jesus went to Gethsemane frequently: "and he came out and proceeded as was his custom to the Mount of Olives" (22:39). Some commentators hold that Luke's version is a redaction of Mark (Linnemann, Studien, 34-40; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1436-46; Evans, Luke, 808-13). But, given the differences between the two, it is more probable that Luke is dependent on another source (Schlatter, Lukas, 432-33; Taylor, Passion, 69-72; Grundmann, Lukas, 410-11; Kuhn, "Jesus in Gethsemane," EvT 12 [1952-52] 260-85; Rehkopf, Sonderquelle, 84; Lescow, "Jesus in Gethsemane bei Lukas und im Hebräerbrief," ZNW 58 [1967] 215-39 [215-23]). At most Luke was influenced in his redaction of his non-Markan by the Markan account: Luke 22:42 = Mark 14:36; Luke 22:46 = Mark 14:38. But it is also possible that the agreement is the result of the fact that the translated words of Jesus would tend to become fixed in oral tradition, resulting in agreements in two literarily independent sources. The differences between Mark and Matthew are explicable as Matthean redaction.

    Whereas Luke has Jesus praying once (22:41-42) following which is a rebuke of the disciples (22:45-46), Mark, followed by Matthew, has a more stylized narrative using the rule of three: three times Jesus prays and three times he rebukes the disciples for falling asleep: Mark 14:35-38; 14:39-40; 14:41. (This would be much more effective in oral recitation.) The Markan version also explains that Jesus took Peter, James and John with him, leaving the rest of the disciples behind, whereas Luke omits this fact. It is clear that Jesus struggles with what he considers to be the will of God for himself; he even asks God to allow him to forego the death that he knows in imminent; yet he submits to God's will in this matter: "Remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what you will" (Mark 14:36; see Matt 26:39; Luke 22:42). The cup for Jesus is his destiny of suffering. For Jesus' use of the cup metaphor, see Jesus' Hour in the Synoptic Gospels and Jesus' Cup and Baptism. Jesus' statement in Mark 14:34 = Matt 26:38 "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death" reflects the language of Ps 42: 6, 11; 43:5, which may be deliberate, if Jesus understands himself as a righteous man unjustly persecuted (see John 12:27). His statement that his grief is "to the point of death" means that what he is grieved about is a threat to life itself. Unlike the martyrs in 2 Maccabees, for example, Jesus does not go to his death without inner turmoil, which makes the gospel narratives historically more realistic, an indication of eyewitness testimony. On the assumption of the originality of Luke 22:43-44, when he is struggling in prayer, an angel appears to Jesus in order to strengthen him (22:43). Angels likewise appeared to Jesus after his temptation to minister (diakoneô) to him, an earlier stressful event in his life (Mark 1:13; Matt 4:11). Also in Luke 22:44, Luke indicates that Jesus is under such stress during this time of prayer that he perspires profusely: "his sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground."

3.2. Jesus' Arrest (Mark 14:43-52; Matt 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:2-12)

All four gospels have an account of Jesus' arrest in Gethsemane. Matthew and Luke both use Mark as a source, but supplement this with non-Markan material; John has an independent account of the event. The material in Matt 26:47-51, 54-56 derives from Mark; the differences between them can be explained as Matthean redaction. Matt 26:52-53, however, is non-Markan and is similar to John 18:11, and may derive from oral tradition (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.505-18). There are enough parallels between Luke and Mark to conclude that the former is an abridged version of the former. Nevertheless, there are enough details in the Lukan account absent from Mark that are difficult to explain as Lukan redaction to conclude that Luke had access to a non-Markan source with which he supplemented his Markan source (see 22:48-49, 50b, 51, 52a, 53b) (Rengstorf, Lukas, 243-44; Grundmann, Lukas, 413; Taylor, Passion, 72-76; Rehkopf, Sonderquelle, 31-82 Marshall, Luke, 833-38). The view that all the differences between Luke and Mark can be accounted for as Lukan redaction is less convincing (Creed, Luke, 272; Schmid, Lukas, 337; Fitzmyer, Luke 1146-52). Some of these non-Markan elements in Luke have parallels to John. There have been attempts to identify the tradition history of the Markan account. Linnemann claims that Mark brings together three originally independent pieces of tradition: 14:43, 48, 49b; 14:44-46; 14:47, 50-52 (Studien, 41-69). Likewise, Schneider argues that the original narrative is 14:43-46 to which various appendices were added ("Die Verhaftung Jesu," ZNW 63 (1972) 188-209). But Markan redaction history is too fraught with uncertainty to be much value.

    Judas leads a group of men brandishing swords and clubs sent from the chief priests, scribes and elders, and identifies Jesus to them by greeting him with a kiss. John adds the detail that those who come for Jesus carry "lanterns and torches," which only makes sense since it was the middle of the night (18:3). Mark explains that the kiss was a pre-arranged sign, a fact which Matthew and Luke omit, presumably because it is implied in the narrative. Matthew again omits Mark's "the scribes," possibly because by "elders" he means all non-priestly members of the Sanhedrin, some of whom would be scribes (see 26:3). On the treacherous use of a kiss, see 2 Sam 20:9; Prov 27:6. Jesus is arrested and bound (John 18:12). He asks why it is necessary to use armed men to arrest him, as if he were a dangerous criminal, since he has regularly taught in the Temple and so has been publicly accessible. The reason is that the Sanhedrin feared if Jesus was arrested in public that there might be a riot (Mark 14:1; Matt 26:5; Luke 22:2). All four gospels include how one of the disciples, identified as Peter in John 18:10, cuts off the ear of the servant of the High Priest, named Malchus (John 18:10), in a misguided and futile attempt to defend Jesus. Luke and Matthew agree against Mark in including Jesus' reaction to this event. although there is no verbatim agreement (Luke 22:51b; Matt 26:52-53). In Luke, Jesus simply tells the disciples to desist: "Stop. No more of this." Matthew's account includes Jesus' saying against the use of violence "For all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword" (26:53a). He adds that he is not powerless at all, but could command legions of angels to come to his defense (26:53b). Rather Jesus believes that what is occurring is fulfilling of scripture (Mark 14:49b; Matt 26:54, 56), and is divinely ordained: "The cup that the Father has given me, shall I not drink it?" (John 18:11). Luke includes the saying of Jesus, "But this hour and the power of darkness are yours," by which is meant that for the time being, according to the divine plan, Jesus' enemies and therefore the enemies of God will prevail (Luke 22:53b). Finally, Mark has the account, which Matthew and Luke omit, of young man fleeing naked from the scene (14:51-52). The identity of this man is unknown, as is the reason for its inclusion in the Passion narrative.

    John supplements the synoptic accounts in three significant ways. First, he has "chief priest and the Pharisees," rather than "the chief priests and the scribes and the elders" (Mark 14:43) or "the chief priest and elders" (Matt 26:47) Probably, since so many of them were Pharisees, the term Pharisees could be used interchangeably with scribes and elders. Second, in addition to the Jews sent from the Sanhedrin, John indicates that there are also present Roman soldiers from a cohort (Gk speira) (a tenth of a legion), presumably stationed in the Antonia fortress. No doubt these were sent as a precaution, since the Sanhedrin feared a popular rebellion. Third, according to John's account, before he was apprehended, Jesus asks the group of Romans and Jews whom they seek, and when they say "Jesus the Nazarene," "they drew back and fell to the ground" (18:6). He then petitions them to allow his disciples to escape was in order to fulfil what he said earlier in his prayer: "And I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition" (see John 17:12). Parallel to this, Matthew includes the statement "Then all the disciples left him and fled" (26:56b).

3.3. Jesus' Appearance before Annas (Ananus) (John 18:13-14, 19-23)

After his arrest, Jesus is first taken in the middle of the night to the house of Annas (Ananus), the father-in-law of the High Priest and former High Priest; his house seems to be near to or connected with the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. Annas (Ananus) was appointed High Priest by the Roman Quirinius, proconsul of Syria, in 6 (Ant. 18.26), but then deposed by the procurator Valerius Gratus in 15 (Ant. 18.34) (see T. Men. 13.18; M. Ker. 1.7). At the time of Jesus' arrest, Joseph Caiaphas, the son-in-law of Annas (Ananus) is High Priest, but Annas (Ananus) still retains much of his former power. This explains why Luke refers to both Annas (Ananus) and Caiaphas as being High Priests at the same time, a sharing of power (Luke 3:2; Acts 4:5-6). No doubt the goal is to execute Jesus before people are awake, or at least to try him. Annas (Ananus), who is called the High Priest, even though officially he is not (18:19), questions Jesus about his disciples and his teaching (18:19); exactly what he wants to know is unclear, but perhaps Annas (Ananus) is concerned about the revolutionary aspects of Jesus' teaching and the political goals of followers. Jesus' response is to say that he has been teaching publicly in the Temple and synagogues. For that he received a slap in the face from one of the officers standing near Jesus, to which Jesus protests, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike me?" (19:22).

3.4. Peter's First Denial (Mark 14:54, 66-68; Matt 26:58, 69-72; Luke 22:54b-57; John 18:15-18)

All four gospels give an account of Peter's first betrayal of Jesus. It is probable that Matthew has used Mark as his only source; all differences between them can be explained as Matthean redaction. Likewise Luke has used Mark as a source, but seems also to have been influenced by another written source (Schlatter, Lukas, 140, 436-37; Grundmann, Lukas 416; Rengstorf, Lukas, 245-48; Klein, "Die Verleugnung," 290-94; Catchpole, Trial, 160-74; Marshall, Luke, 839-40). John's account is literarily independent. Before dawn Peter and another unnamed disciple follow Jesus to the residence of Annas (Ananus), and gain access to "the courtyard of the High Priest" (Mark 14:54; Matt 26:58; John 18:15). Matthew alone explains that Peter's motivation for following Jesus was "to see the outcome" (26:58). The term "courtyard" (aulê) has several meanings, but in this context seems to denote an enclosed space open to the sky and surrounded by buildings used as a residence; it seems that to understand "courtyard" (aulê) as an atrium is incorrect since an atrium would be too small to accommodate all the people described as being in the courtyard (contrary to Barrett, John, 526). John explains that the unnamed disciple is known to the High Priest and so the doorkeeper allow him and Peter to enter the courtyard. In John, it is clear that the one called High Priest in 18:15 is Annas (Ananus), who is not actually the present High Priest, but who wields the power of the High Priest through his son-in-law Caiaphas. In the synoptic gospels, however, nothing is said about Jesus being taken to Annas (Ananus) first, before being sent to Caiaphas, so the the reference to the courtyard of the High Priest would naturally be identified as that of Caiaphas. The uncertainty of where Peter is when he first betrays Jesus is resolved if it is assumed that Annas (Ananus) and Caiaphas occupy different wings of the same residence, which have a common courtyard. Jesus passes through this courtyard to go from Annas (Ananus) to Caiaphas (Plummer, Luke, 515; Brown, John, 823). While in the middle of the courtyard standing around a fire to keep warm, Peter is confronted by a servant-girl (paidiskê) who accuses him of being associated with Jesus, of being one of his disciples (John 18:17). According to John 18:17, her duty was to watch at the gate into the courtyard ( thurôros); this gate leads into the courtyard from outside. In Luke 22:56, this woman noticed Peter as he came through the gate, and then watched him closely as Peter stood around the fire until she decided to confront him about his identity. Likely, she left her post, went to where Peter was and spoke to him accusingly. Peter denies her accusation, and then moves away from the middle of the courtyard to the "vestibule" (proaulion) the space separating the courtyard and the gate (Mark 14:68) (Taylor, Mark, 574). Rather than Mark's "to the vestibule" (eis to proaulion), Matthew has "to the gate" (eis ton pulôna), which is intended as synonymous. The reason for the change is the rarity of the Markan word "vestibule" (proaulion) (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.546).

3.5. Peter's Second and Third Denials (Mark 14:69-72; Matt 26:71b-75; Luke 22:58-62; John 18:25-27)

Peter denies Jesus two more times before morning, i.e. when the rooster has crowed. As Luke indicates, Peter's second and third betrayals should probably be situated before Jesus' trial in the morning at the council chamber (Luke 22:66); this means that the Markan order of a denial, trial followed by two more denials is not intended as chronological. Matthew uses Mark as a source, but there are indications that he also makes use of another source that has with parallels with Luke—perhaps oral tradition. On the assumption of Markan priority, the differences between Mark and Matthew require explanation: 1. Unlike Mark, but parallel to Luke, Matthew has only one rooster crowing (see Mark 14:68. 72); 2. Unlike Mark, but parallel to Luke, Matthew gives Peter's the second denial in direct speech, although they are to different people (Matt 26:72b; Luke 22:60; see Mark 14:70); 3. Unlike Mark, both Matthew and Luke conclude with the clause "And he went out and wept bitterly" (Matt 26:75b; Luke 22:62) (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.542). Another significant departure from Mark is the fact that Matthew identifies the servant-girl to whom Peter denies knowing Jesus as different from the first servant-girl (Matt 26:3; Mark 14:69). Some argue that Luke's only source for Peter's denial of Jesus is Mark and that all differences between Luke and Mark are redactional, or perhaps the result of the influence of oral tradition (Bultmann, History, 290; Finegan, Überlieferung, 23-24; Leaney, Luke, 275; Linnemann, Studien, 97-101; Schneider, Verleugnung, 73-96; Fitzmyer, Luke 1452-68; Evans, Luke, 823-24; Linnemann, Studien, 97-101; Taylor, Passion, 77-78). Support for this view is abundant evidence of Lukan redaction in Luke 22:54b-62: agô and eisagô (22:54), en mesô + gen. (22:55), sunkathizô (a sun compound) (22:55), tis (22:56), atenizô (22:56), sun (22:56), heteros (22:58), hôsei (22:59), parachrêma (22:60). In addition two verbs that only occur in Luke/Acts are found in this passage: diïschurizesthô (22:59) (Acts 12:15) and diïstêmi (22:59) (Luke 14:51; Acts 27:28) (Taylor, Passion, 78; Jeremias Sprache, 296-98). But, as already concluded, Luke probably has access to a non-Markan version of the event: there are too many differences between Mark and Luke and too many instances of non-Lukan vocabulary and style not to conclude that behind the Lukan account is Lukan special tradition. The list of non-Lukan elements include: gunai (22:57); to phôs (22:56) anthrôpe (2x 22:58, 60); ho kurios (2x 22:61), eipen + dat. (22:56), allos (22:59), strapheis (22:61), hôs as conjunction (22:62) (Rengstorf, Lukas, 257; Jeremias, Sprache, 296-98; Marshall, Luke, 844; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1456-58).

    After Peter's denial of Jesus to the servant-girl, to which all four gospels attest, Peter denies Jesus again twice more. There are apparent differences, however, among the four gospels concerning the details of these two further denials by Peter.





1. 14:66 a servant-girl (paidiskê)

1. 26:69 a servant-girl (paidiskê)

1. 22:56 a servant-girl (paidiskê)

1. 18:17 servant-girl who kept the door ( paidiskê thurôros)

2. 14:69 same servant-girl ( paidiskê)

2. 26:71 another servant-girl (allê paidiskê)

2. 22:58 a different man (heteros)

2. 18:25 group with Peter at the fire

3. 14:70b bystanders (hoi parestôtes)

3. 26:73 bystanders (hoi estôtes)

3. 22:59 another man (allos)

3. 18:26 a servant (doulos) of the High Priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter cut off

In order to harmonize these four accounts, one must assume that they are all incompete, being only partial descriptions. Probably, the historical reality was too complicated to be transmitted as oral tradition, so that over time different abbreviated accounts of Peter's second and third denials of Jesus developed. Peter's second denial is variously said to be made to the same servant-girl (Mark 14:66), another servant-girl (Matt 26:71), an unidentified man (Luke 22:58) and a group of people (John 18:25). It is probable that the event of the second denial was more protracted than the first: over a period of time more than one person accuses Peter of being associated with Jesus in two different locations. The following is a possible scenario: Peter goes to vestibule of the courtyard, and after a while, is followed by the same servant-girl, who then accuses him again (Mark); she is joined by another servant girl who likewise accuses Peter of being associated with Jesus (Matthew). (Between Mark 14:68 and 14:69 and Matt 26:71a and 26:71b there is an indeterminate period of a period of time, which is implied by Luke 22:58 "a little later" [meta brachu].) Peter leaves the vestibule, perhaps to get away from these two servant-girls, and returns to the fire. But he is followed by the two servant-girls who continue to accuse him; when he arrives at the fire, first a man accuses him of being associated with Jesus (Luke) and then others join in and accuse him of being one of Jesus' disciples (John), all of which Peter continues to deny. Peter's third denial of Jesus occurs about an hour later (Luke 22:59) (Mark and Matthew have the indefinite "after a little while" [meta mikron].) According to Mark and Matthew, a group of "bystanders" accuse Peter of being associated with Jesus (Mark 14:70b; Matt 26:73b). In Luke's account, it is one man who makes the accusation (22:59), and John indicates that this one man is a servant of the High Priest and a relative and man whose Peter cut off a few hours earlier. It is probable that this one man in Luke and John begins to accuse Peter and afterwards the bystanders join in. The grounds of suspicion that Peter is associated with Jesus is the fact that he is a Galilean like Jesus (Mark 14:70b; Luke 22:59b). Matthew redacts his Markan source to make it clear that Peter is recognized as a Galilean because of his accent: "For even the way you talk gives you away" (26:73b). For a third time, Jesus denies that he knows Jesus, this time taking an oath. The Lukan account has a detail absent from the other gospels: "The Lord turned and looked at Peter" (22:61a). Jesus is visible to those in the courtyard, including Peter; perhaps Jesus has been removed from Caiaphas' residence and is under guard somewhere in the courtyard (Grundmann, Lukas, 417). Peter then remembers Jesus' prediction that he would deny Jesus three times before the rooster crowed, or crowed twice (Mark); he then left the courtyard and wept.

3.6. Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53, 55-65; Matt 26:57, 59-68; Luke 22:54a, 63-71; John 18:24)

Jesus is brought to the residence of the High Priest, Caiaphas (Luke 22:54a); according to John, he is sent there from the residence of Annas (Ananus), which is probably connected with that of his son-in-law Caiaphas (18:24). (Matthew identifies the High Priest as Caiaphas [26:57; see John 18:24].) Different from John, the synoptic gospels omit Jesus' brief interview with Annas (Ananus), and focus on Jesus' meeting with the High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, whereas John merely mentions this event in passing (18:24). The differences between Luke and Mark are too many not to posit a non-Markan source for Luke's account, even if Luke is influenced occasionally by his Markan source (Plummer, Luke, 517; Rengstorf, Lukas, 246-47; Easton, Luke, 339; Taylor, Passion, 79-80; Schneider, Verleugnung, 96-104; Catchpole, Trial, 174-83; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1458; Marshall, Luke, 845 (This is contrary to Creed, Luke, 276; Evans, Luke, 331.) Matthew is dependent on Mark, and abbreviates his Markan source (Luz, Matthew, 3.426). Nevertheless, there are agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark that require explanation: 1. Jesus' apparently equivocal answer to the question of whether he is the Christ: Matt 26:64a "You have said it yourself" / Luke 22:68 "If I tell you, you will not believe," as opposed to Mark's unequivocal answer: "I am" (14:62a); 2. The use of ap' arti ("hereafter") (Matt 26:64), is parallel in meaning to Luke's apo nou nun ("from now one") (22:69), is unparalleled in Mark; 3. Matthew and Luke both have the clause "Who is it who struck you" (tis estin ho paisas se) absent from Mark (Matt 26:68; Luke 22:64), which is an example of a minor agreement (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.519-20). For this reason it is possible that Matthew has access to another source, possibly oral tradition, which has overlaps with Luke's non-Markan source (Gnilka, Matthäusevagelium). There have been attempts to reconstruct the tradition-history of the Markan account, but these tend to be far too speculative and wrongly deny that behind Mark is Peter's own eyewitness testimony (Taylor, Mark, 566; Linnemann, Studien, 129-34; Donahue, "The Trial of Jesus Revisited" in Jews and Christians Speak of Jesus, 93-120; Braumann, "Markus 15.2-5 und Markus 14.55-64," ZNW 52 (1961) 273-78; Brown, Death, 425-26; 557-60).

    Luke indicates that Jesus' meeting with the High Priest and the Sanhedrin does not occur until after dawn: "When it was day" (22:66) (see Josephus, War 2.331: "the chief priests and the council"). Mark, followed by Matthew, does not provide any indication of when the meeting takes place. According to m. Sanh. 4.1, trials at night are prohibited, which might explain why they waited until the morning. It is often claimed that there is conflict between Mark and Luke over when Jesus appears before High Priest and the Sanhedrin. Mark is supposed to place the trial in the middle of the night, whereas Luke has it in the morning. Such a view, however, is unjustified since Mark gives no indication about the time of day when Jesus' appearance before the High Priest and Sanhedrin occurs. It makes sense to wait until morning since have a morning meeting since it would be difficult to have the meeting described in the synoptic gospels at night since so many people are involved. Besides, in Mark 15:1 = Matt 27:1 it is said to be "early in the morning" (prôï). Luke also indicates that the setting for Jesus' trial is not the residence of the High Priest; rather Jesus is taken away from there "to their council chamber" (eis to sunedrion autôn), which may be located in the Temple, in the Chamber of Hewn Stone (m. Sanh. 11.2) (Blinzer, Prozess Jesu, 166-70; Marshall, Luke, 848-49; Evans, Luke, 822) (22:66). So it would seem that before dawn, Jesus remains at the residence of Caiaphas, after which he is transferred "to their council chamber." While at the residence of Caiaphas, Jesus is abused by those guarding him: "Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him and beating him, and they blindfolded him and were asking him, saying, 'Prophesy, who is the one who hit you?' And they were saying many other things against him, blaspheming" (22:63-65). (Exactly what they were saying that was blasphemous is not explained.) The same type of abuse continues after the trial (Mark 14:64-65; Matt 26:67-68). The view that Jesus is abused only once and that Luke has transposed the incident of Jesus' abuse at his trial from after the trial to before since he has put the trial after dawn, different from Mark's trial at night, is unnecessary since it is believable that Jesus would abused both before and after the trial. The goal of this trial is to find a charge that would allow them to execute Jesus: "Now the chief priests and the whole council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put him to death" (Mark 14:55a).

    In Mark, followed by Matthew, the initial strategy of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin is to convict Jesus of speaking against the Temple. If his words could be interpreted as seditious, this would be enough to provoke the Roman procurator, Pontius Pilate, to execute Jesus for politically pragmatic reasons, since it was Roman policy to suppress revolutionary movements. If this worked then the Romans would then be blamed for Jesus' death. Supposed witnesses claim, "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this Temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands'" (Mark 14:58). This saying of Jesus was well-known among the people, but not its intended meaning (see Matt 27:40; Acts 6:13-14). The contrast between a Temple "made with hands," which Jesus would destroy, and a Temple "made without hands," which Jesus would build after three days, is probably misinterpreted as Jesus' claim that he would remove the defiled Herodian Temple and to cause a third, eschatological Temple to appear supernaturally. Such a meaning would have unmistakable revolutionary overtones.

Some Jews during the second-Temple period believed that the second Temple would be replaced by a third, eschatological Temple, and some Jews believed that this would not happen without any human cooperation. The author of Tobit, writing sometime in the second century BCE, states that the Temple rebuilt under Nehemiah will be replaced by a third Temple, built at the final restoration of Israel to the land "according to what the prophets of Israel have said" (Tobit 14.5). In a more polemical context, the author of the Animal Apocalypse found in 1 Enoch affirms that at the end God will remove the "old house" and replace it with a "new house" (90.28-29). By house is meant either Temple or the city of Jerusalem, which would include the Temple. The former Temple is said to have been defiled (89.73). Likewise, in the Apocalypse of Weeks in 1 Enoch, in the eighth week, the time of the eschaton, it is said that there will be built "a house," i.e., Temple, for the Great King forever. Presumably, the existing Temple is to be replaced. The Temple Scroll found at Qumran distinguishes the present Temple from the eschatological Temple yet to be built and destined to last forever (11QTemple 29.8-10) (See also 4Q174 1; Jubilees 1.15-29; 25.21; T. Benj. 9.2; Syb. Or. 3.294, 702-20, 772-74; 5.414-33.) The Qumran sectarian community forbade its members from entering or making use of the second Temple "during the age of wickedness" (CD 6.11b-14). If it is a sectarian document, the Temple Scroll represents a description of the Temple that is to replace the present defiled one. It seems, however, that the community understood "the council of the community," the ruling body of the community, as a temporary replacement of the Temple. The council of the community is described in terms befitting the Temple and said to provide atonement for the community (1QS 8.5-8; 9.3-6).

Matthew changes his Markan source to "I am able to destroy the Temple of God and to rebuild it in three days" (26:61). He has Jesus say, not that he will destroy the Temple, but that he can do so; he also eliminates the contrasting adjectives "made with hands" (cheirpoiêton) and "made without hands" (acheirpoiêton). The reason for Matthew's changes is probably for brevity and perhaps to correct the falseness of the testimony found in the Markan version for the sake of those who do not know Jesus' true meaning. According to Mark, followed by Matthew, the testimony of the witnesses against Jesus is false (Mark 15:56; Matt 26:59, 60). The falseness of the testimony against Jesus, however, does not consist in what they claimed they heard Jesus say, for indeed he did say "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). Rather, it consists in the interpretation of it: that Jesus means that he will destroy and rebuild the literal Temple, when he is actually speaking covertly about his body as the metaphorical Temple (John 2:21-22). While Mark explains that the High Priest and the Sanhedrin search for witnesses against Jesus whose testimony turned out to be false, Matthew's redaction of his Markan source implies that the Sanhedrin know in advance that the witnesses that they have brought to testify against Jesus are false: "Now the chief priests and the whole council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus" (26:59) (but see Mark 14:56a "For many were giving false testimony against him"). Matthew's reworking of his Markan source makes the disingenuousness of his accusers clearer. This initial strategy, however, founders because the witnesses cannot agree with one another; according to the Law, there cannot be a conviction without at least two witnesses: "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed (Deut 19:15). During this time Jesus says nothing, which means that the High Priest cannot use Jesus' own words to incriminate him.

    After the failure of the initial strategy, the High Priest Caiaphas adopts a new approach: he attempts to force Jesus to confess that he thinks of himself as the Davidic Messiah (Christ). He hopes that this would be enough to force the Romans to execute Jesus on the grounds that anyone with Jesus' influence among the people who claims to be a king will be politically dangerous to Roman interests. As indicated, Matthew and Luke present Jesus as more equivocal in his response, seemingly attempting to evade the question, whereas in Mark Jesus immediately concedes that he thinks that he is the Christ. Likely, Jesus' is initially reluctant to answer, knowing the motives from which the High Priest is asking him the question, but in the end he makes an unequivocal response. (The fact that in Matthew and Luke the High Priest responds as if Jesus has answered unequivocally implies that ultimately he is not evasive.) Matthew's change of Mark's "son of the Blessed One" to "son of God" probably for clarity. Luke has only "Christ," but to a Jew in Jesus' time "son of God" would be a synonym for "Christ" (see Son of God). As a further expression of his view of himself as the Davidic Messiah (Christ), Jesus quotes two passages from the Old Testament, probably understood as messianic by his contemporaries, and implicitly applies them to himself: "You shall see the son of man sitting at the right hand of power (Ps 110:1) and coming with the clouds of heaven" (Dan 7:13). Even though there is no evidence yet that from second-Temple sources that Jews interpreted Ps 110:1 as messianic, the fact that High Priest immediately responds to Jesus' claim to be the one described in the psalm by ripping his robe implies that the messianic interpretation was well known to him. In this psalm of David, Jesus is claiming to be the one described in the psalm, understood to be the Davidic Messiah (Christ) who has assumed a position of authority next to God (see Jesus' Interpretation of "Son of David") (see Acts 2:34-35; see 1 Cor 15:25; Heb 1:13; 5:6, 10; 7:12, 21). Calling himself "son of man" and quoting part of Dan 7:13 "coming with the clouds of heaven" of himself would unmistakably be interpreted as implying that he understands himself as the one written about in Dan 7, whom many second-Temple Jews interpreted to be an eschatological figure identical with the Davidic Messiah (see 1 En. 48:10; 52:4; 4 Ezra 13) (see Son of Man as Eschatological Figure in Second-Temple Judaism). (On Jesus' further messianic use of the phrase "son of man," see Jesus' Use of Son of Man as Having Messianic Self-Reference.) In response, the High Priest tears his robe, a sign of distress and anger (Gen 37:34; Josh 7:6; 2 Sam 1:11; 2 Kgs 18:37-19:1; Job 1:20; Jdt 14:19; 1 Macc 11:71; Acts 14:14; T. Job 19:2; 28:3; Josephus, War, 2.316). He pronounces Jesus' words to be blasphemous: "You have heard the blasphemy" (Mark 14:64). Matthew's use of ta himatia (robes) (26:65) rather than Mark's tous chitônas (clothes) (14:63) brings Matthew closer to LXX Lev 21:10 "The priest who is the highest among his brothers...shall not...tear his clothes," in which case it may be an implicit criticism of Caiaphas as ironically violating the commandments while insisting that Jesus be put to death for what is not blasphemy insofar as his claim to be the Davidic Messiah is true (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.532-33). According to m. Sanh. 7.5, only pronouncing the divine name should be considered as true blasphemy, in response to which a judge must tear his clothes. But it seems likely that a broader definition of blasphemy is being used, one that includes any serious insult to God (Neh 9:18; 1 En. 27:2; 2 Macc 9:28; 12:14; Philo, Vit. Mos. 2.206; John 10:36; Acts 6:11; t. Sanh. 1.12). For a man falsely to claim to be the Davidic Messiah and to share equal authority with God, according to Caiaphas, is blasphemy and therefore deserving of death, which is probably a rather liberal interpretation of the Law for reasons of political expediency (Lev 24:10-23; Num 15:30-31).

3.7. Jesus' First Appearance before Pontius Pilate (Mark 15:1-5; Matt 27:1-2, 11-14; Luke 23:1-5; John 18:28-38)

In the morning, after his meeting with the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, Jesus is sent to the Roman procurator (praefectus), Pontius Pilate, who is in Jerusalem because it is Passover. Matthew uses Mark as his source, although he inserts an account of Judas' death into his Markan source (23:3-10); the differences between Matthew and Mark are explicable as Matthean redaction. Luke also is dependent upon Mark; the close verbatim agreement between Mark 15:2 and Luke 23:3 is undeniable evidence of this. Nevertheless, in spite of ample evidence of Lukan redaction, the many differences between Mark and Luke in Luke 23:1-2, 4-5 indicates that Luke has interpolated a non-Markan source into his Mark (Grundmann, Lukas, 421; Rengstorf, Lukas, 261; Taylor, Passion, 86-87; Marshall, Luke, 852; Jeremias, Sprache, 300-301). The view that Luke 23:1-5 is based solely on Mark is less convincing (see Creed, Luke, 279; Schmid, Lukas, 342; Schneider, Lukas, 471; Klostermann, Lukas, 221; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1472). As ususal, John's account is literarily independent. Mark 15:1 (= Matt 27:1) might be interpreted to imply that there are two appearances of Jesus before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, one at night and one in the morning, but Mark 15:1 is better understood as a summary of the trial narrative in Mark 14:53, 55-65, which is interrupted by Peter's three denials. The reference to the fact that it is "early in the morning" (prôï) agrees with Luke 22:66 "When it was day" (see John 18:28). The summary in Mark 15:1a (Matt 27:1) is followed in 15:1b (Matt 27:2) by the resolution of the High Priest and the Sanhedrin to send Jesus to Pontius Pilate, which is parallel to Luke 23:1 "Then the whole body of them got up and brought him before Pilate." Matthew omits Mark's "and scribes and the whole council" as unnecessary. Also Matthew differs from Mark in having "the elders of the people," which agrees with Luke 22:66 "the council of elders of the people," but this agreement should not be taken as evidence of literary dependence (Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.552). Since, as John 18:31b indicates, at this time the Jews do not have the right to pass death sentences, the Jewish leadership need the Roman procurator to sentence Jesus to death (see Josephus, War 6.126) (Blinzer, Prozess Jesu, 157-63). (Philo indicates that Jews impose the penalty of automatic death for anyone caught entering the Holy of Holies, except the High Priest at the appointed times, but this seems to be an exception to the general rule that Jews do not have the right to impose capital punishment [Leg ad Gai 39].) Luke alone provides the charges against Jesus sent to Pilate, no doubt deriving from a non-Markan source: "We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king" (23:2). The goal is to convince Pilate that Jesus, claiming to be the true king of the Jews, has the potential to lead a rebellion against Roman rule in Palestine, to throw off the Roman yoke by refusing to pay taxes to Rome any longer. Nothing is said about Jesus being a blasphemer, since such a charge would be trivial and meaningless to Pilate.

    According to John's account, Jesus' accusers send him to the Praetorium (Gk. Praetôrion), which in this context refers to the headquarters of the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate. This could be the former palace of Herod the Great in the Upper City or the Antonia, a fortress attached to the Temple (Carson, John, 587-88). They themselves do not enter in order not to defile themselves ritually.

In John 18:28b it is said of Jesus’ accusers, "And they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover." Two questions need to be answered. First, why would Jesus’ accusers be prevented from eating the Passover if they entered the praetorium? Second, what does “to eat the Passover” mean? There seems to be only one possibility concerning why entering the praetorium would cause ritual defilement and, as a result, prevent Jesus’ accusers from eating the Passover. The dwellings of gentiles were considered ritually defiling, because it was assumed that a Jew contracted corpse uncleanness by entering therein, owing to the belief that gentiles buried their miscarried children within their houses. This type of ritual defilement would prevent a Jew from taking part in the sacrificing of the Passover lamb or the festival offering. (The Old Testament forbids one affected by corpse uncleanness from eating either the Passover [Num 9:6-10] or the festival offering [Lev 7:20-21].) The Mishna stipulates that one affected by any ritual uncleanness, including, of course, corpse uncleanness, cannot participate in either the Passover meal (see m. Pesah. 7:7) or meals composed of festival offerings (see m. Pesah. 6:3) (see parallel material in t. Pesah. 6:5; 8:1, 2). The second question of what “to eat the Passover” means can now be addressed. The phrase “to eat the Passover” in the synoptics without a doubt means to eat the Passover lamb or meal. But does “to eat the Passover” mean the same thing in John’s Gospel? The phrase only appears this once in John, and every other use of the term to pascha denotes the festival period, similar to its use as a temporal designation in the Mishna and Tosepta. Obviously, if the phrase "eat the Passover" in John 18:28 means what the synoptics mean by it—the eating of the meal on the evening of Nisan 15—then Jesus’ arrest, according to the Gospel of John, took place on the evening of Nisan 14 and his execution took place between the evenings, i.e., in the afternoon of Nisan 14. But given that the Johannine Last Supper appears to be a Passover meal and that the meaning of the term to pascha / psch does not necessarily mean the lamb/meal eaten on the evening of Nisan 15 in sources roughly contemporary with John’s Gospel, this conclusion by no means follows. The phrase "eat the Passover" in John 18:28 may mean to eat the festival offering required to be sacrificed by the Passover pilgrims on Nisan 15, the first day of the feast (see m. Hag. 1:3). When Jesus’ accusers expressed hesitation about entering the Praetorium for fear of not being able to eat the Passover, they could have been referring to this offering. If this is the meaning of John 18:28, then Jesus was taken to the Praetorium on the evening of Nisan 15, after the Passover meal was completed but before the sacrificing of the festival offerings later in that day (see Smith, "The Chronology of the Last Supper," WTJ 53 [1991] 29-45 [39-41].)

Pilate questions Jesus on the charges when he enters the Praetorium, in particular about being a king. Pilate seeks to discover whether Jesus considers himself the king of the Jews (Mark 15:2; Matt 27:11; Luke 23:3; John 18:33). It is probable that Jesus' conversation with Pilate is in Greek, since it is unlikely that Pilate is fluent in Aramaic. Jesus' response in the synoptics is to concede the truth of the accusation: "It is as you say" (su legeis). John, however, provides a fuller account of Jesus' conversation with Pilate. At first, Jesus avoids answering the question "Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about me?" (18:34). Then he explains the nature of his kingdom (see John 18:36). Since Jesus speaks about his kingdom, Pilate concludes that Jesus does view himself as a king, to which Jesus then agrees: "You say correctly that I am a king." Jesus explains his mission to testify to the truth (see Truth). Luke (23:4) and John (18:38) agree that after Jesus' interview with him, Pilate declares that there are no grounds for the death penalty. From what Jesus says about his kingdom not being "of this world" (John 18:36a), Pilate probably concludes that Jesus is no threat to Roman authority and interests. What seems to be assumed in the synoptic gospels is that Pilate comes out from the Praetorium with Jesus to talk to the chief priests (and "elders" in Matt 27:12b) about Jesus. (Luke adds that there is a crowd that has gathered [23:5].) When they continue to accuse Jesus Pilate is amazed that Jesus is not responding to the accusations leveled against him (Mark 15:3-5; Matt 27:12-14).


............................S TIBERIEVM
............................NTIVS PILATVS
............................ECTVS IVDAE

Pilate Inscription

An inscription was found at Caesarea Maritima bearing Pontius Pilate's name and office: The second line of the inscription refers to Pontius Pilate, while the third line identifies him as "praefectus of Judea." The inscription was probably attached to a structure known as "Tiberium," a temple or other building dedicated to the emperor Tiberius. Reference to Pontius Pilate outside of the New Testament include Philo, Letter to Gaius 38 and Josephus, War 2.169-74; Ant. 18.55-59.  Neither description of Pilate's time as praefectus is commendatory.  Both depict him as cruel and arbitrary.  The only mention of Pilate in Roman sources occurs in Tacitus, Annals, 15.44, in reference to the origins of Christianity, "the pernicious superstition" (exitiabilis superstitio).

3.8. Jesus before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12)

There is no reason to consider Luke 23:6-12 as a Lukan creation and therefore unhistorical, as some have (Finegan, Überlieferung, 27-29; Creed, Luke, 280). Rather it derives from a source unique to Luke (Sherwin-White, Roman Society, 28-32; Schneider, Lukas, 474; Hoehner, Herod Antipas, 224-50; Marshall, Luke, 854-55; Ernst, Lukas, 343; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1779). There is, however, evidence of considerable Lukan redaction, which is not unusual (Taylor, Passion, 87; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1479; Jeremias, Sprache, 301-303). Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, who is in Jerusalem for Passover. Where Herod Antipas' residence is sitatued is not clear. Probably, Pilate is seeking advice on how to deal with this case, since Herod Antipas is a Jew and the ruler of the region that that includes Galilee. Herod Antipas is glad to have the opportunity to interview Jesus, since he has had an interest in Jesus for some time, and hopes to have Jesus perform a "sign" (sêmeion) for him (Luke 9:9 "Herod said, 'I myself had John beheaded; but who is this man about whom I hear such things?' And he kept trying to see him). But, when Jesus refuses to answer his answers, Herod Antipas along with the chief priests treat him with contempt and mock him, dressing him in pseudo-royal garments: lit. "a bright shining garment." Jesus is then sent back to Pilate. Jesus' statement in Luke 13:32 "Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach my goal" implies Jesus' disapproval of Herod, probably because of his role in the execution of John the Baptist.

3.9. Jesus' Second Appearance before Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:13-16)

As the conclusion to Luke 23:6-12, Luke includes an account from a non-Markan source describing how Jesus is sent back to Pilate from Herod Antipas (Marshall, Luke, 858-59). To argue, however, that, because Herod is only mentioned in 23:15, Luke 23:13-16 should be judged to be composite, synthesized by Luke from disparate pieces of non-Markan material exceeds the evidence (Fitzmyer, Luke, 1483-85). When Jesus returns, Pilate assembles "the chief priests and the rulers and the people," by which he probably means the Sanhedrin. He says that Jesus is not deserving of the death penalty, and offers a compromise: "I will punish him and release him" (23:160, by which he probably means a scourging (flagellatio).

3.10. Pilate's Efforts to Release Jesus (Mark 15:6-15a;  Matt 27:15-23, 26a; Luke 23:17-23; John 18:39-19:15)

When he returns, Pontius Pilate attempts to set Jesus free, but fails. Matthew uses Mark as a source, but interpolates into it non-Markan material. There are two such non-Markan interpolations. First, Matthew interpolates an account of how Pilate's wife warns her husband about Jesus on account of a troubling dream she had about him (27:19). Second, Matthew interpolates Pilate's symbolic washing of his hands (27:24-25). Such supplements to Mark could have originated either in oral tradition or a written source. What should be rejected is the view that 27:19 and 27:24-25 are Matthean redaction (contrary to Luz, Matthew, 3.494, 499-500; Davies and Allison, Matthew, 3.578-79, 590-92; Gnilka, Matthäusevangelium, 2.454). Even if it can be proven that there is Matthean redactional vocabulary present in 27:19 and 27:24-25, it does not follow that these passages are Matthean redaction and not traditional. Luke's account in 23:17-25, which has parallels to that in John, is likely non-Markan, into which elements from the Markan version have been interpolated. This hypothesis explains why there are so many differences between Luke and Mark and also why Mark 15:14 and Luke 23:21 have so much verbatim agreement (Rengstorf, Lukas, 257; Grundmann, Lukas, 426-27; Taylor, Passion, 88-89; Marshall, Luke, 858). There is understandably evidence of Lukan redaction in the passage, but to explain Luke 23:17-23 solely as Lukan redaction of Mark does not adequately account for the differences between Luke and Mark (Jeremias, Sprache, 67-70; Fitzmyer, Luke, 1487-88). John provides an independent and considerably longer account of the event. The setting for this event is either the Antonia fortress connected to the Temple or Herod's palace in the western part of the Upper City, since it is unclear where Pilate resides when in Jerusalem.

    It was a custom that on Passover the Romans would grant amnesty to a prisoner as a good-will gesture (Mark 15:6; Matt 27:15; John 18:39) (see Josephus, War, 2.4). (Luke 23:17 "Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner" is textually weakly attested and may be scribal addition influenced by Mark 15:6; Matt 27:15.) Pilate looks to take advantage of this custom and release Jesus (Barrett, John, 538). He gives the crowds the option of Barabbas or Jesus, expecting that they will choose Jesus since by comparison he is the more palatable option. Barabbas is an insurrectionist with a reputation for violence; Matthew calls him a "notorious prisoner" (desmion episêmon), which is being used in a bad sense. In the Lukan account, Barabbas is even said to be a murderer, which goes hand in hand with being an insurrectionist (23:19). The crowd, manipulated by the chief priests (and the elders) (Mark 15:11; Matt 27:20), however, ask for Barabbas to be released and insist that Jesus be put to death by crucifixion. Pilate's inital motivation for wanting to release Jesus is justice: he knows that Jesus has done nothing worthy of execution and that the true motive of the Jewish leadership for handing Jesus over to him for execution is envy (phthonos) (Mark 15:10; Matt 27:18). But after his wife tells him of the troubling dream she had about Jesus and warns him to "have nothing to do with that righteous man" (Matt 27:19) and after he hears from the crowds that Jesus claims to be "the son of God" (John 19:7), Pilate's motivation to release Jesus changes to fear. As a Roman he would not be fully aware of the fulll meaning of the term "the son of God," but nevetheless does not want to be involved crucifying anyone makes such a claim in case he really turns out to be so. Yet Pilate is in a difficult situation because the High Priest and the Sanhedrin are insisting on Jesus' execution, and his lack of cooperation could mean the end of his appointment as procurator. In the end Pilate capitulates to the crowd demanding Jesus' crucifixion.

Small Tomb near Haifa in Israel

    John's account indicates that this event is more complicated and involved than the simplied account in the synoptic gospels would indicate. When the preference is stated for the release of Barabbas, Pilate takes Jesus back into the Praetorium. According to John 19:1-5, he has Jesus scourged (19:1) and allows his soldiers to humiliate him: "And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and put a purple robe on him; and they began to come up to him and say, "Hail, king of the Jews!" and to give him slaps in the face" (John 19:2-3). Pilate comes out again and announces to the crowds that he finds no guilt in Jesus (19:4). Then he brings Jesus out again "wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe" (19:5), and utters the famous words "Behold the man" (ecce homo). Probably, he is unilaterally executing his compromise plan suggested earlier: "I will punish him and release him" (Luke 23:16). He hopes that when they see Jesus scourged and humiliated, the Jewish leadership and the crowds would be satisfied and relent from calling for Jesus' crucifixion. But he is unsuccessful in this: "So when the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out saying, "Crucify, crucify" (19:6). Exasperated, Pilate taunts them by telling them to crucify Jesus themselves, knowing that they have no right to do so (Barrett, John, 541). Jesus' accusers ("the Jews") then explain to him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die because he made himself out to be the son of God" (19:7). The law cited appears to be the law against blasphemy (Lev 24:16; m. Sanh. 7.5; m. Ker. 1.1-2) (see Mark 14:55-64) (Barrett, John, 541). They have surmised that for Jesus to claim to be (the) "son of God" means more than claiming to be the Davidic Messiah; rather it is a claim of equality with God (see John 5:27). As already, indicated, when he hears that the real reason that the crowds are calling for Jesus' crucifixion, Pilate becomes frightened. He takes Jesus back into the Praetorium and inquires further about Jesus' identity. Jesus, however, remains silent, except to counter Pilate's claim that he has authority over Jesus: "You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above" (19:11a). The "Jews" claim that, if he releases Jesus, Pilate will be guilty of treason: "If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar" (19:12b). Finally, Pilate brings Jesus back out and "sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha" (19:13), and reluctantly pronounces judgment against Jesus. John provides a temporal reference for this event: "Now it was the day of preparation (Friday) of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour" (19:14a). Jesus is sentenced to death on Friday, Nisan 15 about 12:00 p.m. (But see Mark 15:25 "third hour"; probably since there was no accurate measurement of time, especially if it was cloudy, both John's "sixth hour" and Mark's "third hour" are only very rough approximations. If so, then Jesus was crucified mid to late morning.)


How do the Jewish authorities manage to arrest Jesus? What is the order of the events leading to Pilate's pronouncement of the death sentence on Jesus?