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Pilate Questions Jesus

15 Very early in the morning, the leading priests, the Jewish elders, the teachers of the law, and all the Jewish council decided what to do with Jesus. They tied him, led him away, and turned him over to Pilate, the governor.

Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Yes, I am.”

The leading priests accused Jesus of many things. So Pilate asked Jesus another question. He said, “You can see that these people are accusing you of many things. Why don’t you answer?”

But Jesus still said nothing. Pilate was very surprised at this.

Pilate Tries to Free Jesus

Every year at the Passover time the governor would free one person from prison. He would free any person the people wanted him to free. At that time, there was a man named Barabbas in prison. He was a rebel and had committed murder during a riot. The crowd came to Pilate and asked him to free a prisoner as he always did.

Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to free the king of the Jews?” 10 Pilate knew that the leading priests had given Jesus to him because they were jealous of Jesus. 11 And the leading priests had persuaded the people to ask Pilate to free Barabbas, not Jesus.

12 Pilate asked the crowd again, “So what should I do with this man you call the king of the Jews?”

13 They shouted, “Kill him on a cross!”

14 Pilate asked, “Why? What wrong has he done?”

But they shouted louder and louder, “Kill him on a cross!”

15 Pilate wanted to please the crowd. So he freed Barabbas for them. And Pilate told the soldiers to beat Jesus with whips. Then he gave Jesus to the soldiers to be killed on a cross.

16 Pilate’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s palace (called the Praetorium). They called all the other soldiers together. 17 They put a purple robe on Jesus. Then they used thorny branches to make a crown. They put it on his head. 18 Then they called out to him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 The soldiers beat Jesus on the head many times with a stick. They also spit on him. Then they made fun of him by bowing on their knees and worshiping him. 20 After they finished making fun of him, the soldiers took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led Jesus out of the palace to be killed on a cross.

Jesus Is Killed on a Cross

21 There was a man from Cyrene coming from the fields to the city. The man was Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus. The soldiers forced Simon to carry the cross for Jesus. 22 They led Jesus to the place called Golgotha. (Golgotha means the Place of the Skull.) 23 At Golgotha the soldiers tried to give Jesus wine to drink. This wine was mixed with myrrh. But he refused to drink it. 24 The soldiers nailed Jesus to a cross. Then they divided his clothes among themselves. They threw lots to decide which clothes each soldier would get.

25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they nailed Jesus to the cross. 26 There was a sign with the charge against Jesus written on it. The sign read: “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27 They also put two robbers on crosses beside Jesus, one on the right, and the other on the left. 28 [And the Scripture came true that says, “They put him with criminals.”][a] 29 People walked by and insulted Jesus. They shook their heads, saying, “You said you could destroy the Temple and build it again in three days. 30 So save yourself! Come down from that cross!”

31 The leading priests and the teachers of the law were also there. They made fun of Jesus just as the other people did. They said among themselves, “He saved other people, but he can’t save himself. 32 If he is really the Christ, the king of Israel, then let him come down from the cross now. We will see this, and then we will believe in him.” The robbers who were being killed on the crosses beside Jesus also insulted him.

Jesus Dies

33 At noon the whole country became dark. This darkness lasted for three hours. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means, “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?”

35 Some of the people standing there heard this. They said, “Listen! He is calling Elijah.”

36 One man there ran and got a sponge. He filled the sponge with vinegar and tied it to a stick. Then he used the stick to give the sponge to Jesus to drink from it. The man said, “We should wait now and see if Elijah will come to take him down from the cross.”

37 Then Jesus cried in a loud voice and died.

38 When Jesus died, the curtain in the Temple[b] split into two pieces. The tear started at the top and tore all the way to the bottom. 39 The army officer that was standing there before the cross saw what happened when Jesus died.[c] The officer said, “This man really was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were standing at a distance from the cross, watching. Some of these women were Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph. (James was her youngest son.) 41 These were the women who followed Jesus in Galilee and cared for him. Many other women were also there who had come with Jesus to Jerusalem.

Jesus Is Buried

42 This was Preparation Day. (That means the day before the Sabbath day.) It was becoming dark. 43 A man named Joseph from Arimathea was brave enough to go to Pilate and ask for Jesus’ body. Joseph was an important member of the Jewish council. He was one of the people who wanted the kingdom of God to come. 44 Pilate wondered if Jesus was already dead. Pilate called the army officer who guarded Jesus and asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 The officer told Pilate that he was dead. So Pilate told Joseph he could have the body. 46 Joseph bought some linen cloth, took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in the linen. He put the body in a tomb that was cut in a wall of rock. Then he closed the tomb by rolling a very large stone to cover the entrance. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw the place where Jesus was laid.


  1. 15:28 And . . . criminals. Some Greek copies do not contain the bracketed text which quotes from Isaiah 53:12.
  2. 15:38 curtain in the Temple A curtain divided the Most Holy Place from the other part of the Temple. That was the special building in Jerusalem where God commanded the Jews to worship him.
  3. 15:39 when Jesus died Some Greek copies read “when Jesus cried out and died.”

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