Read: John 28:28-30
We use the term “passion” to refer to the sufferings that Jesus endured, especially during the week before his crucifixion. In many ways this is the darkest part of Jesus’ story, because during this week Jesus was rejected by humanity, denied and betrayed by his followers, and executed by his accusers.
On the night before the Jewish feast of Passover, Jesus gathered with his disciples and shared a final meal, often called the Last Supper. During this meal, he instituted the Lord’s Supper as an ongoing commemoration and communion until his promised return. This event is recorded in Matthew 26:17–30, Mark 14:12–26, and Luke 22:7–23. That same night, he also gave them many instructions both through teaching (often known as his Farewell Discourse, recorded in John 13–16) and through his high priestly prayer in John 17. On that same evening, the disciple Judas left in order to betray Jesus, as he had planned with the Jewish religious leaders in Luke 22:3–4 and John 13:27–30. Afterward, Jesus and the other disciples walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. While Jesus was praying, Judas led a group of Jewish religious leaders and soldiers to the garden, and they arrested Jesus. He was accused before the Jewish high priest Caiaphas and the Jewish leadership, and stood trial before the Roman governor Pilate and the Jewish king Herod Antipas. Under the stress of the situation, Jesus’ disciples abandoned him, and Peter denied him three times. Jesus himself was beaten, ridiculed, and sentenced to death. These events are recorded in Matthew 26:31–27:31, Mark 14:32–15:20, Luke 22:39–23:25, and John 18:1–19:16.
Jesus was crucified around noon on the day following his arrest. He was nailed to a cross and publicly hung from it until he died. In the midst of this great agony and suffering, he promised mercy to a repentant thief, provided for the care of his mother, and asked God’s forgiveness for those who were putting him to death. Around 3 o’clock, he cried out to God and died. These events are recorded in Matthew 27:32–54, Mark 15:21–39, Luke 23:26–47, and John 19:16–30.
At that time, an earthquake shook the land and the temple veil was torn from top to bottom. After a Roman soldier pierced him with a spear to verify that he was dead, Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross. Because the Sabbath was about to begin, some of his followers hastily prepared his body for burial and placed it in a borrowed tomb. The record of this horrible afternoon can be found in Matthew 27:51–61, Mark 15:38–47, Luke 23:44–56, and John 19:34–42.
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