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Jesus Before Pilate and Herod

23 The whole crowd of them got up and took Jesus to Pilate.

They began to accuse him. ‘We found this fellow’, they said, ‘deceiving our nation! He was forbidding people to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he is the Messiah – a king!’

So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘You are the king of the Jews?’

‘You said it,’ replied Jesus.

‘I find no fault in this man,’ said Pilate to the chief priests and the crowds. But they became insistent.

‘He’s stirring up the people,’ they said, ‘teaching them throughout the whole of Judaea. He began in Galilee, and now he’s come here.’

When Pilate heard that, he asked if the man was indeed a Galilean. When he learned that he was from Herod’s jurisdiction he sent him to Herod, who happened also to be in Jerusalem at that time.

When Herod saw Jesus he was delighted. He had been wanting to see him for quite some time now, since he’d heard about him, and hoped to see him perform some sign or other. He questioned him this way and that, but Jesus gave no answer at all. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, accusing him vehemently. 11 Herod and his soldiers treated Jesus with contempt; they ridiculed him by dressing him up in a splendid robe, and sent him back to Pilate. 12 And so it happened, that very day, that Herod and Pilate became friends with each other. Up until then, they had been enemies.

Pilate Pressured by the Crowds

13 So Pilate called the chief priests, the rulers and the people.

14 ‘You brought this man before me,’ he said to them, ‘on the grounds that he was leading the people astray. Look here, then: I examined him in your presence and I found no evidence in him of the charges you’re bringing against him. 15 Nor did Herod; he sent him back to me. Look: there is no sign that he’s done anything to deserve death. 16 So I’m going to flog him and let him go.’

18 ‘Take him away!’ they shouted out all together. ‘Release Barabbas for us!’ 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison because of an uprising that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate spoke to them again, with the intention of letting Jesus go, 21 but they shouted back, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’

22 ‘Why?’ he said for the third time. ‘What’s he done wrong? I can’t find anything he’s done that deserves death, so I’m going to beat him and let him go.’

23 But they went on shouting out at the tops of their voices, demanding that he be crucified; and eventually their shouts won the day. 24 Pilate gave his verdict that their request should be granted. 25 He released the man they asked for, the one who’d been thrown into prison because of rebellion and murder, and gave Jesus over to their demands.

26 As they led him away, they grabbed a man from Cyrene called Simon, who was coming in to the city from outside, and they forced him to carry the crossbeam behind Jesus.

The Crucifixion

27 A great crowd of the people followed Jesus, including women who were mourning and wailing for him. 28 Jesus turned and spoke to them.

‘Daughters of Jerusalem,’ he said, ‘don’t cry for me. Cry for yourselves instead! Cry for your children! 29 Listen: the time is coming when you will say, “A blessing on the barren! A blessing on wombs that never bore children, and breasts that never nursed them!” 30 At that time people will start to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”, and to the hills, “Cover us”! 31 Yes: if this is what they do with the green tree, what will happen to the dry one?’

32 Two other criminals were taken away with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

34 ‘Father,’ said Jesus, ‘forgive them! They don’t know what they’re doing!’

They divided his clothes, casting lots for them.

35 The people stood around watching. The rulers hurled abuse at him.

‘He rescued others,’ they said, ‘let him try rescuing himself, if he really is the Messiah, God’s chosen one!’

36 The soldiers added their taunts, coming up and offering him cheap wine.

37 ‘If you’re the king of the Jews,’ they said, ‘rescue yourself!’

38 The charge was written above him: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

39 One of the bad characters who was hanging there began to insult him. ‘Aren’t you the Messiah?’ he said. ‘Rescue yourself – and us, too!’

40 But the other one told him off. ‘Don’t you fear God?’ he said. ‘You’re sharing the same fate that he is! 41 In our case it’s fair enough; we’re getting exactly what we asked for. But this fellow hasn’t done anything out of order.

42 ‘Jesus,’ he went on, ‘remember me when you finally become king.’

43 ‘I’m telling you the truth,’ replied Jesus, ‘you’ll be with me in paradise, this very day.’

The Death and Burial of Jesus

44 By the time of the sixth hour, darkness came over all the land. 45 The sunlight vanished until the ninth hour. The veil of the Temple was ripped down the middle. 46 Then Jesus shouted out at the top of his voice, ‘Here’s my spirit, father! You can take care of it now!’ And with that he died.

47 The centurion saw what happened, and praised God.

‘This fellow’, he said, ‘really was in the right.’

48 All the crowds who had come together for the spectacle saw what happened, and they went away beating their breasts. 49 Those who knew Jesus, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, remained at a distance and watched the scene.

50 Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the council. He was a good and righteous man, 51 and had not given his consent to the court’s verdict or actions. He was from Arimathea, a town in Judaea, and he was longing for God’s kingdom. 52 He approached Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 53 He took it down, wrapped it in a shroud, and put it in a tomb hollowed out of the rock, where no one had ever been laid. 54 It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.

55 The women who had followed Jesus, the ones who had come with him from Galilee, saw the tomb and how the body was laid. 56 Then they went back to prepare spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested, as the commandment specified.