(Sources that are being consulted, are: The Ryrie Study Bible, The Holman Christian Standard Bible, The MacArthur Study Bible, The Reformation Study Bible, The Complete Jewish Bible, The Scofield Study Bible, The Thompson Chain Reference Bible, The New American Commentary Series, The Holman Commentary Series, and internet sources, BibleGateway.com, and BibleHub.com.
The setting follows the festive Passover Seder and the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Thursday had come and gone. It is now early Friday morning, but the sky is still dark. A dark day of injustice will soon arrive. The Day of Preparation will soon lead to sunset, which is the time of day, on Friday, when the Sabbath will begin. Oh, how events of life can change very quickly!
Preparation for the Passover (Day of Preparation for Passover) occurs on Friday before the beginning of Sabbath at sunset, on Friday (John 19:14,31; Luke 23:54). This Sabbath was a “High Day,” or a “High Sabbath.” The first day of the Feast Of Unleavened Bread fell that year on a Sabbath, making it a “high,” or “special” festival. (See Exodus 12:14-20 and Leviticus 23:5-8 for information on the Feat Of Unleavened Bread.) John’s Gospel shows Jesus as being put to execution at about the time that the Passover lambs would be slaughtered.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Peter Denies Jesus
54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance; 55 and when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 Then a maid, seeing him as he sat in the light and gazing at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later some one else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Consider. Just a few hours earlier, Peter had said to Jesus,”Lord, with you I am ready to go to prison and to death (Luke 22:33). Now, in a time of stress, Peter says of Jesus, “I don’t know the man” (Luke 22:57, 58, 60). Immediately, after the rooster crowed, Jesus looked directly at Peter, “eyeball to eyeball.” Imagine how Peter must have felt after he remembered the words of Jesus when our Lord said, “Peter, you’re going to deny me!” Peter quickly left the area and “cried,” very heavily.
A kangaroo court of injustice quickly ensues. (22:63 – 23:12)
The Mocking and Beating of Jesus
63 Now the men who were holding Jesus mocked him and beat him; 64 they also blindfolded him and asked him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they spoke many other words against him, reviling him.
Jesus before the Council
66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led him away to their council, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 And they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
Jesus before Pilate
23 Then the whole company of them arose, and brought him before Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man perverting our nation, and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ a king.” 3 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and the multitudes, “I find no crime in this man.”5 But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”
Jesus before Herod
6 When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. 7 And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. 9 So he questioned him at some length; but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then, arraying him in gorgeous apparel, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
Jesus Sentenced to Death
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him; 15 neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him; 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.”
18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barab′bas”— 19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder. 20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus; 21 but they shouted out, “Crucify, crucify him!” 22 A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise him and release him.” 23 But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.
Consider why the Jews wanted Barabbas to be spared death, instead of Jesus. In John 18:40, Barabbas had been identified as a robber. In this passage (Luke 23:18-19), he was involved in a resurrection toward the Romans, and was found to be a murderer. Consider the hatred of the Jews toward the Romans; they saw Barabbas as being a Jewish “freedom fighter.” Jesus was not seen as being anybody who could provide the release of the Jews from their Roman tormentors.
Consider the Holy Spirit. Just five day prior, on Palm Sunday, the Jews of Jerusalem were shouting, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord,” (John 12:12-19). This day, Friday, the Jews were shouting, in a crowd frenzy, “release to us Barabbas! Crucify him! (Jesus) (Luke 23:18, 21.) Consider also, that in fifty days, on the Day of Pentecost, many of these same Jews will say, in response to Peter’s sermon about Jesus being Lord and Christ, “what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). Are we discussing “frenzied or fickle Jews?” Or, is there more to be considered? Maybe we should consider the God! Maybe we should consider “God’s Holy Spirit!”
Consider what Paul wrote in his epistle to the Romans:
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Consider “God’s purpose.” His purpose applies to every part of our body, whether it is “spirit, soul, or body,” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). God’s sovereignty rules over “all” (Psalm 103:19). “All” refers to “all.” “All” refers to “all” that we see, hear, feel, touch, think, don’t think, has been, is, will be, may not be, could be. and all other “be’s.” “All” refers to grass, dirt, air, water, galaxies, constellations, suns, moons, stars, hemispheres, rivers, lakes, oceans, and mountains. “All” also refers to heaven and hell, salvation and separation from God. And, yes! “All” refers to “all” of the Jews in Jerusalem.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyre′ne, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people, and of women who bewailed and lamented him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him vinegar, 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
Consider the way to eternal life; a personal trust of belief in Jesus (vs 42-43).
The Death of Jesus
44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour,45 while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”48 And all the multitudes who assembled to see the sight, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance and saw these things.
Consider the curtain of the temple being torn in two (vs 45). It was the curtain that blocked entry into the Most Holy Place (See Exodus 26:33 and Hebrews 9:3). The significance of the tearing of the curtain was that the way into the Presence of God was now open to everyone by way of a new and living way (See Hebrews 10:19-20). Because the curtain was torn from top to bottom, it showed that no one had split the veil, but that God had done it.
The Burial of Jesus
50 Now there was a man named Joseph from the Jewish town of Arimathe′a. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, 51 who had not consented to their purpose and deed, and he was looking for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud, and laid him in a rock-hewn tomb, where no one had ever yet been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. 55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and saw the tomb, and how his body was laid;
Consider the time of day. Jesus was taken down from the cross, and was placed in His burial tomb. These events took place on the day of Preparation, Friday, before three pm (vs 44), before the beginning of the Sabbath (vs 54). The women saw where the body of Jesus had been laid. (vs 55). Mark’s gospel also presents a good description of this day’s closing events.
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
The Burial of Jesus
42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,43 Joseph of Arimathe′a, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 Mary Mag′dalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
Consider the time of day. The body of Jesus was taken off of the cross and placed in the tomb, all on the Day of Preparation (Friday before sunset/Sabbath) (vs 42). The two Marys saw the place where the body of Jesus had been laid (vs 47).
Now, let’s go to our Lord and Savior, Jesus, in worship and praise of Him.
For Your Name Is Holy
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”