Jesus – now a criminal on trial
The Council – the religious leaders of his time, terrified that he will make trouble with the Romans
Pontius Pilate – the Imperial Roman Governor, terrified that he will make trouble with the locals
The Disciples – Jesus’ friends and followers, who are just terrified
The soldiers, led by a centurion – Pilate’s enforcers, because Jerusalem is under martial law during the busy Passover festival
The garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus goes to pray and is arrested
The House of Caiaphas, where the religious leaders hold their first informal “trial”
Pilate’s palace, where Pontius Pilate sits in judgement, trying to appease the crowd
The hill of Golgotha, where executions are carried out
In the Bible:
Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:28-44; and John 12:12-19.
The story of Good Friday
In the early hours of the morning Judas arrived with the soldiers and arrested Jesus, and took him away to face his trial in front of the religious leaders. they were jealous of him and trumped up charges against him. They wanted him to die.
He was then taken to Pilate, the Governor of the Roman province of Judea. He could not find a reason to crucify Jesus so he passed the responsibility to the crowd who were following along. Each year it was customary for a prisoner to be released at the Passover so Pilate asked the crowd to choose between Barrabas a revolutionary who had committed murder and Jesus. He asked the crowd if they wanted to release the king of the Jews, but the priests whipped up a frenzy amongst the mob to call for Jesus to be crucified, so his fate was sealed.
Jesus was handed over to the soldiers. The soldiers dressed him in a purple robe, struck him many blows and spat on him and then placed a crown of thorns on his head. They made a cross of heavy wood and beat him and made him carry it through the streets of Jerusalem to a hill just outside the city wall. Here he was crucified along with 2 common thieves, with a sign above his head saying King of the Jews’ His mother Mary and cousin John, kept watch at the foot of the cross, whilst soldiers sat round drawing lots for his clothes and mocking him.
At 3pm the sky turned black and a great earthquake tore through the sky as Jesus uttered his final words: ‘My God, My God, why have you abandoned me’?
A soldier on duty at the foot of the cross at the same time recognised that this was indeed the Son of God.
But this is not the end of the story…