The Most Redeeming 24 Hours in Human History
By Dr Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum
Ariel Magazine Summer 2017
The most redeeming 24 hours in human history transpired in the year A.D. 30. They began on Thursday, the 14th of Nisan, at sundown, and ended at sundown the next day. This article summarizes what happened in those 24 hours and attempts to place the events in chronological order. The basis of this order is the Gospel accounts and what is known about first-century Jewish culture through historical and rabbinic records.
For a full analysis and all the references, please see the author’s book series, Yeshua: The Life of Messiah from a Messianic Jewish Perspective.
A. At Sundown
When the sunset on April 7th, A.D. 30, it was the beginning of the Jewish Passover. The main part of the feast is the Seder, a meal whose Hebrew name means “order.”
Yeshua and His disciples celebrated the Seder in the upper room of a house somewhere in Jerusalem. During the Seder, several important things happened. The Gospels tell us that the group of men partook of the first of four cups of wine, called “the cup of blessing.” Following this part of the Passover observance is the washing of hands, called Ur’chatz. Laying aside His garments, Yeshua took a towel and girded Himself, but instead of washing His disciples’ hands, He began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded (Jn. 13:5).
The ceremony that follows the washing of hands is called karpas. Each participant dips a piece of green vegetable (usually parsley or celery) into saltwater and then eats it. During this ceremony, Yeshua predicted that one of the 12 men present would betray Him, namely, he that dipped his hand with Him in the dish (Mt. 26:23). The context shows that the disciples missed the clue. However, Judas knew, because he had already made the bargain with the chief priests, and so, when he asked, Is it I, Rabbi? Yeshua answered You have said (Mt. 26:25), meaning “Yes, indeed.”
The next step in the Passover Seder is the afikomen ceremony or the breaking of the middle matzah. Yeshua identified His body specifically with this unleavened, striped, and pierced bread: And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you (Lk. 22:19); Take, eat; this is my body (Mt. 26:26). The matzah was then hidden somewhere in the room.
One of the ceremonial items prepared for the Passover is called charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, honey, cinnamon, lemon juice, and wine. The officiator of the Seder dips a piece of unleavened bread first into the charoset and then into bitter herbs, such as horseradish. He then passes the sop on to one of the guests and repeats this procedure until he and all the participants received their portion. Yeshua, during this ceremony, predicted again that He would be betrayed by one of the men at the table. When asked who this person was, He said that it was the first person to receive the sop, and so it went. Yeshua dipped the unleavened bread into the charoset and the bitter herbs and gave it to Judas. The disciples did not understand Yeshua’s clue; yet, after the sop, then entered Satan into Judas (Jn. 13:27a), who consequently left the feast.
Before the dipping of the sop, the second cup called the “cup of plagues” or “cup of deliverance” is drunk. Although not mentioned in the Gospels, it symbolizes the ten plagues that fell upon Egypt. Before anyone can drink the second cup, they must first spill out ten drops of wine. As the ten drops fall, the guests call out the names of the ten plagues. Drinking wine symbolizes joy, but Jewish law forbids rejoicing over the misfortunes of others, even if they happened to be one’s worst enemies. Therefore, the ten drops are spilled as a sign of mourning.
Following the dipping of the sop, the Seder guests enjoy the main course, which consists of roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. Then the second part of the afikomen ceremony occurs, with the unwrapping, breaking, and distribution of the hidden matzah, followed by the third of the four cups of wine, called “the cup of the redemption.” In Judaism, this cup symbolizes the blood of the lamb that saved the Jewish firstborns from the last plague in Egypt. Yeshua identified His blood with this cup. The third cup now becomes the symbol of the blood of the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.
To bring the Passover observance to a close, the Seder guests sing Psalms 113-118, especially focusing on Psalms 117 and 118. While singing, they drink the fourth cup, called Hallel, or “the cup of praise.” The Gospels do not specifically mention the fourth cup, but they hint at it:
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out unto the mount of Olives.(Mt. 26:30)
In Greek, the word hymn is a verb: They “hymned” the psalms in connection with “the cup of praise”, with Psalm 118 holding great messianic significance.
B. The Arrest
Connected with this Passover Seder is Yeshua’s farewell discourse to His disciples, which traditionally is called “the Upper Room Discourse.” He spoke the first part while in the upper room during the Passover observance and the second part on the way to Gethsemane. After finishing the discourse, Yeshua prayed a prayer known today as His “high priestly prayer.” He prayed as He was walking, shortly before entering the garden of Gethsemane. In the garden, He then entered one of His greatest spiritual battles, known as His agony, as Satan made one more attempt to keep Him from the cross.
While Yeshua was still in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas set out to follow through with his betrayal. He came with a Roman cohort, the servant of the high priest, the Jewish temple police, and some chief priests and elders. To clearly identify Yeshua, Judas kissed Him many times.
Trying to defend Yeshua, Peter pulled out a sword, struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear (Jn. 18:10a). Yeshua quickly stepped in and healed the servant’s severed ear. By so doing, He no doubt saved Peter’s life. When the disciples realized that Yeshua would do nothing more to defend Himself, they left him and fled (Mt. 26:56).
After His arrest, Yeshua underwent two distinct trials: a religious, Jewish trial and a civil, Gentile trial led by the Romans. Both trials had three distinct stages.
C. Before Midnight: The Religious Trial
1. The First Stage: The Trial before Annas
The purpose of the first stage of the religious trial was to establish a religious charge. If everything had gone the way the religious leaders had intended, they would have had false witnesses lined up, ready to testify. However, they were not organized and were still looking for specific charges to bring against Yeshua. The arresting forces led Yeshua to Annas first: So the band [the Roman cohort] and the chief captain, and the officers of the Jews [the temple police], seized Yeshua and bound him, and led him to Annas first (Jn. 18:12-13). Annas served as high priest during the years A.D. 6 or 7 to A.D. 14, then was deposed by Valerius Gratus, the Roman governor at that time. However, Annas retained control of the priesthood, because he was succeeded by four or five of his sons; his son-in-law; and, at the end of his life, his grandson. He was the head of what the Pharisees called “the Bazaar of the Sons of Annas,” a private money-changing and sacrifice-selling business. Yeshua overthrew his tables twice, at the first and last Passovers of His public ministry. Therefore, Annas held a personal grudge against Yeshua.
Annas questioned Yeshua about two key issues: of his disciples, to incriminate them, and of his teaching, to incriminate Him (Jn. 18:19). However, Yeshua insisted on His rights under Jewish civil law: I have spoken openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and in secret spoke I nothing (Jn. 18:20). He was not responsible to answer their questions, but they must produce two or three witnesses to conduct this trial. Everything He taught was in public, and so if He had truly said anything amiss, they should have no trouble finding these witnesses:
Why do you ask me? Ask them that have heard , what I spoke unto them: behold, these know the things which I said.Jn. 18:21
For this response, which was His right to make, He was smitten. This was the first of several mistreatments Yeshua suffered that night, to which He responded:
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why do you smite me?Jn. 18:23.
They were conducting an illegal proceeding.
This first stage of the religious trial concluded without the authorities establishing a specific charge. The lack of organization, the element of anarchy, and the confusion which characterized the first stage were also evident at the beginning of the second stage. The religious leaders were ill-prepared to conduct the trial because none of this was supposed to occur on the night of the Passover observance. However, Yeshua had forced their hand by identifying the traitor, and so they were confused and disorganized.
2. The Second Stage: The Trial Before Caiaphas
Caiaphas was Annas’ son-in-law, and he served as high priest during the years A.D. 18-36/37. He had led the religious leaders in rejecting the first sign of Jonah, the resurrection of Lazarus.
In order to try Yeshua, the Sanhedrin gathered into the high priest’s house (Lk. 22:54). The Sanhedrin was comprised of 71 members. For capital cases, not all members had to participate in the trial, but a minimum of 23 had to be present. If only the minimum attended, and 11 members voted for innocence, the accused was acquitted since conviction required 13 votes. A vote of 11 for innocent and 12 for guilty could not convict the accused; conviction must be by a majority of two. The number of the Sanhedrin members present is unknown, but at least two members were missing: Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea.
The second stage of the religious trial began with the religious leaders seeking false witness against Yeshua (Mt. 26:59). They presented one false witness after another, trying to find two in agreement; but one by one, their testimonies were disqualified. This demonstrates the disorganization of the whole process. After several attempts, the prosecutors found two men who seemingly said the same thing and formally presented them to the court. However, when each testified individually, they ended up disagreeing: And not, even so, did their witness agree together (Mk. 14:59). By Jewish law, Yeshua should have been released at this point.
The specific charge the religious leaders desired—disrespect of the Temple—did not materialize. Only this offence would have had merit under Roman law. Generally, during that time, the Sanhedrin lacked authority to put anyone to death under Roman law, except for this one charge: If they proved that the person had shown disrespect toward the Temple, the ruling authorities allowed them to execute the perpetrator. However, they could not find two witnesses to establish the charge against Yeshua.
This all frustrated Caiaphas and the others who were present, and several things then happened in quick succession. First, the high priest rent his garments (Mt. 26:65a). Second, Caiaphas, the chief judge, originated the charge of blasphemy: He has spoken blasphemy (Mt. 26:65b). Third, he stated, what further need have we of witnesses? (Mt. 26:65c). This was a magnanimous statement given that Caiaphas’ witnesses had all been disqualified, including the two whose testimonies had originally seemed to agree. Nevertheless, the religious leaders said, He is worthy of death (Mt. 26:66), and pronounced Him guilty while it was still nighttime. This broke a specific rabbinic law: A verdict could not be announced at night, only in the daytime. Blasphemy was a capital offence; therefore, announcing the guilty verdict on the same day as the trial broke another law: In the case of capital punishment, the trial and guilty verdict could not occur at the same time, but had to be separated by at least twenty-four hours. Furthermore, the religious leaders quickly condemned Yeshua without properly voting: they all condemned him to be worthy of death (Mk. 14:64). The word all indicates a unanimous decision. By Jewish law, Yeshua should have been released, and failure to do so broke another law: A unanimous decision for guilt showed innocence since it is impossible for 23 to 71 men to agree without plotting. Furthermore, in announcing the death sentence on the same day as the guilty verdict, they broke yet another law: The sentence could only be pronounced three days after the guilty verdict.
Next, Yeshua suffered the second mistreatment this night, as some men hit Him with their fists, some slapped Him with the palm of their hands and some spit into His face. These are some of the highest indignities under Jewish law, and all were punishable by fines. Yet, no one was fined on this occasion.
3. The Denial by Peter
Peter’s three denials all took place during the second stage of Yeshua’s religious trial. Three times Peter was accused of being a disciple of Yeshua. Three times he denied it, with each denial becoming more intense. The first accusation came from a maid who said: You also were with Yeshua the Galilean (Mt. 26:69b). Peter denied the accusation. The first cockcrow came, indicating it was midnight.
b. Two A.M.
A little while later, another maid saw him and also accused him of being with Yeshua. Peter again denied it, this time with an oath (Mt. 26:72).
c. Three A.M.
More time passed, and after the space of about one hour (Lk. 22:59), someone mentioned that Peter was a disciple of Yeshua. Peter denied Yeshua for the third time. This time, he even swore against and cursed Yeshua. Then came the second cockcrow, at three o’clock in the morning. The second stage of the religious trial apparently ended at the same time, and the door either opened or was already open: And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter (Lk. 22 :61) Their eyes met at the moment following the second cockcrow. Instantly, Peter remembered Yeshua’s prophecy at the Last Passover: before the cock crow twice, Peter would deny Yeshua thrice (Mk. 14:30). Peter left the scene weeping with repentance.
4. The Mockery and Beating
Yeshua then suffered the third mistreatment of the night. In addition to the physical abuse, He also suffered mockery: And the men that held mocked him and beat him (Lk. 22:63). This was the first of eight mockeries He would experience over the next several hours.
5. Dawn: The Condemnation by the Sanhedrin
The only purpose of the third stage of the religious trial was to give it a semblance of legality. Apparently, some came to their senses, realizing that the entire proceedings so far were entirely illegal. So, they waited for a measure of daylight. All three accounts make that point: Now when morning was come (Mt. 27:1); And straightway in the morning (Mk. 15:1a); And as soon as it was day (Lk. 22:66). The religious leaders deliberately waited until daylight to give the trial a measure of legality; then they quickly reconvened and asked Yeshua two questions. First, If you are the Messiah, tell us (Lk. 22:67). Yeshua answered that it was useless to tell them because they had already chosen not to believe. But someday they will know His claims are true when they see Him seated at the right hand of God the Father. Second, And they all said, Are you then the Son of God? (Lk. 22:70). Yeshua answered: Ye say that I am. In Greek, this is an emphatic way of saying, “Yes, indeed, I am the Son of God.”.
The religious trial ended with Yeshua being condemned to death for blasphemy, a verdict unsupported by the actual evidence. The rabbinic definition of blasphemy was to expressly pronounce the four-letter name of God, and Yeshua had not done so. If the Sanhedrin had carried out the death sentence on these charges, Yeshua would have been stoned and then hanged. This would have been contrary to the prophecies concerning how the Messiah would die. Messiah was to be crucified. The plan of God could not be diverted or subverted.
D. The Death of Judas
Despite their best efforts, the religious leaders were unable to prove their accusation that Yeshua had tried to destroy the Temple, so they lacked the authority to order His execution. While the Sanhedrin found Him guilty of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death, they could not execute the death sentence, as the Roman senate had revoked the Sanhedrin’s right of capital punishment. Therefore, if Yeshua was going to be executed, He had to be found guilty of committing a capital offence under Roman law. Blasphemy was punishable by death under Jewish law only. Therefore, the religious leaders needed to trump up a different charge. While Judas was not needed for the religious trial, he was needed for the civil trial. However, between the two trials, Judas committed suicide. Once he was dead, the religious leaders lost their one witness for the prosecution. For that reason, just as disorganization and confusion dominated the initial stages of the religious trial, the same was true in the civil trial.
E. The Civil Trial
Like the religious trial, the civil trial also proceeded through three specific stages. While the issue of blasphemy in the religious trial was not punishable by death under Roman law, the issue of sedition or treason against Rome in the civil trial was punishable by death. A Roman trial was to begin with the accuser(s) presenting formal charges for a crime that had to be punishable under Roman law, and for this the religious leaders would have needed Judas, as he was their sole witness.
1. The First Stage: The First Trial Before Pilate
Pilate, born in Spain, was a Roman citizen and served as procurator during A.D. 26-36. Although it was the early morning hours, he was up and dressed. He expected the trial since earlier he had released the Roman cohort to Judas. In keeping with Roman law, he asked: What accusation bring ye against this man? (Jn. 18:29). At this point, Judas should have stepped forward, but Judas was dead. Instead, the religious leaders responded: If this man were not an evildoer, we should not have delivered him up unto you (Jn. 18:30). Their sole accuser was conspicuously absent, so they pressured Pilate to pass the sentence without any accusation or trial. Pilate, following Roman law, refused: Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law (Jn. 18:31a). With no accusation, there would be no trial; no trial, no condemnation; no condemnation, no sentence.
When the religious leaders realized that Pilate required a proper accusation to proceed, they claimed Yeshua was guilty of sedition on three counts. First, We found this man perverting our nation (Lk. 23:2a). They accused Yeshua of perverting the nation by mixing truth with heresy and therefore fomenting a rebellion. Second, they accused Him of forbidding to give tribute to Caesar (Lk. 23:2b), a treasonous act. They obviously lied, because Yeshua had said, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (Mt. 22:21; Mk. 12:17; Lk. 20:25). Third, they reminded Pilate that Yeshua claimed to be Messiah, a king, and therefore a competitor to Caesar.
Once Pilate had a specific charge, he proceeded. In a Roman trial, after the indictment was officially presented, the accused was questioned. Pilate asked Yeshua: Are you the King of the Jews? (Jn. 18:33). The question from his perspective as an official of the Roman government was, “Are you really a competitor to Caesar?”
After a few clarifying statements, Yeshua gave the two reasons why He was not a competitor to Caesar. First, My kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36). Second, but now is my kingdom not from hence, meaning “not from now.” Because of the rejection of His Messiahship, Yeshua’s kingdom would not yet be established. For these two reasons, He was not a competitor to Caesar.
To verify that he understood Yeshua correctly, Pilate asked a follow-up question: Are you a king then? (Jn. 18:37a), meaning, “Are you a king in any sense of the term?” Yeshua answered, “Yes, in one sense, I am a king even now; I am a king of the truth,” and Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice (Jn. 18:37b).
This ended the interrogation, and Pilate answered with a sarcastic question, What is truth? (Jn. 18:38). Sadly, for Pilate, at that very moment, he was looking at the Truth and did not recognize Him.
The procurator then issued the first of several declarations of innocence (Lk. 23:4). As far as he was concerned, Yeshua was not a threat to Rome. The first declaration of innocence was rebuffed and countered with many other accusations: And the chief priests accused him of many things (Mk. 15:3). Yeshua responded with silence. As the accusations were blurted out, someone mentioned that Yeshua was from Galilee:
But they were the more urgent, saying, He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Yehudah, and beginning from Galil even unto this placeLk. 23:5
The mention of Yeshua’s Galilean origin gave Pilate an escape from the situation. While both Samaria and Judea were under his jurisdiction, Galilee was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas, who also came to Jerusalem during the festivals to help maintain order. So, Pilate sent Yeshua to him.
2. The Second Stage: The Trial before Herod Antipas
Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great. About a year earlier, he had beheaded John the Baptizer. Only then did he hear about Yeshua’s miracles, and for a while thought that Yeshua was John raised from the dead. He had wanted to meet Him in person of a long time (Lk. 23:8). Pilate now sent Yeshua, a Galilean, to Herod Antipas because He was under Antipas’ jurisdiction (Lk. 23:7). So, Antipas finally got his wish: Yeshua stood before him, and he wanted to see miracles and be entertained. The same desire had cost the Baptizer his life. However, Yeshua refused to perform for Antipas. Disappointed, Antipas mocked Yeshua by arraying him in gorgeous apparel (Lk. 23:11), the second mockery the Messiah suffered that night. Then, Herod Antipas acknowledged that Yeshua posed no threat to Rome, regardless of the accusations brought against Him by the chief priests and scribes, so this trial concluded with a second declaration of innocence.
3. The Third Stage: The Second Trial before Pilate
After Herod Antipas failed to find a charge against Yeshua, Pilate made several specific efforts to release Yeshua, in the process again declaring His innocence. He gathered the religious leaders and said, Ye brought unto me this man, as one that perverts the people: and behold, I having examined him before you, found no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him (Lk. 23:14). Herod could find no fault in Yeshua and determined that nothing worthy of death has been done by him (Lk. 23:15b). However, the crowd rejected this third proclamation of Yeshua’s innocence.
In his second attempt to free Yeshua, Pilate offered the people a choice. A custom had developed that during the Passover the Roman authorities would release one Jewish prisoner as a goodwill gesture. Besides Yeshua, another man, named Barabbas, was imprisoned, who is referred to as a robber (Jn. 18:40). A better translation might be “malefactor” or “rebel,” since robbery was not punishable by death. This man had made insurrection, and in the insurrection had committed murder (Mk. 15:7). Barabbas was guilty of the crime of which Yeshua was accused.
The two men were brought forward. Pilate tried so hard to release Yeshua because he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up (Mk. 15:10). The actual reasons for the trial were personal, but the charge was political. Pilate assumed that the people would ask for Yeshua’s, not Barabbas’ release.
The procedure was temporarily interrupted when Pilate received a message from his wife warning him not to get involved with the situation because of a dream she had just had. The interruption was long enough so that the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Yeshua (Mt. 27:20), and that is what they did: But they cried out all together, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas (Lk. 23:18), and thus, Pilate’s second attempt to free Yeshua also failed.
Pilate made a third attempt to free Yeshua by satisfying the bloodlust of the crowd in a different way: Then Pilate, therefore, took Yeshua and scourged him (Jn. 19:1).
To be scourged was to be beaten or flogged with a whip with multiple lashes. The Jewish scourge handle was made either of leather or wood with short leather lashes. The only part of the body beaten was the victim’s back. The whipping was excruciating but never deadly. However, Yeshua was flogged by Romans, not Jews, with a vastly different procedure. The number of times a person could be struck with the scourge was limitless. The Roman whip handle had long leather lashes, which could wrap around the whole body. At the end of each lash was a piece of metal, nail, glass, or sharp lamb bone. Sometimes even small jagged iron balls were used. After only a few applications of the scourge, the skin of the victim was torn away and the muscle exposed. The entire body was affected. The face was lacerated and became like pulp. Paintings of the crucifixion often reveal a faulty interpretation of this scene, portraying Yeshua’s face intact except for a line of blood on the brow from the crown of thorns. In reality, His face would have been a pulpy mass.
This was the fourth mistreatment Yeshua endured on that night, and He also suffered the third mockery (Jn. 19:2-3). The accusation was that He claimed to be a king, so the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple garment (a sign of royalty), thus mocking Yeshua. The thorns of some plants in Israel come to almost razor-sharp points so that even lightly brushing against one can cause bleeding. Merely placing it on Yeshua’s head after His scourging would cause pain, but they kept striking Him. If they struck Him on the head where the crown rested, the thorns would cut deeper and more painfully.
Pilate, believing that this severe corporal punishment without a guilty verdict would satisfy the Jewish leadership, issued a fourth declaration of innocence. However, although the crowd saw that Yeshua was beaten to a bloody mess, they still cried out for His crucifixion.
Pilate made a fourth attempt to free Yeshua by again declaring Him innocent of any crime. Without a sentence by Rome, He could not be executed. The Jewish leaders dropped the charge of sedition and returned to the real issue troubling them all along, Yeshua’s claim to be the Messiah: We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God (Jn. 19:7). Since Pilate had a new charge, he had to conduct a new interrogation (Jn. 19:8-11). This time, Yeshua did not answer any of his questions, probably because Pilate had previously received sufficient light to respond correctly, but instead asked sarcastically, What is truth? (Jn. 18:38). Therefore, Yeshua gave him no further truth.
Pilate made a fifth attempt to have Yeshua released. However, his effort was spoiled when the people started crying out, If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend: every one that makes himself a king speaks against Caesar (Jn. 19:12). While sounding like an empty threat, it still intimidated Pilate: When Pilate therefore [for the specific reason] heard these words [referring to the words, If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend] he brought Yeshua out, and sat down on the judgment seat (Jn. 19:13). Pilate immediately closed the proceedings and took his place on the judgment seat, an elevated stand probably erected outside the Praetorium. He made his sixth and final attempt to release Yeshua, presenting Him to the people and saying: Behold, your King! (Jn. 19:14). The masses, however, countered by demanding His crucifixion. When he asked them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered We have no king but Caesar (Jn. 19:15).
After this, Pilate made no further attempts to free Yeshua. Instead, taking a pitcher of water, he washed his hands before the multitude (Mt. 27:24), assuming that this gesture would absolve him of guilt, but it did not. From a human perspective, the final decision as to whether Yeshua lived or died was not with the Jewish leaders, but with this one man, Pontius Pilate. He clearly knew what the right decision should be, but allowed himself to be intimidated into making the wrong one.
He then issued his fifth declaration of innocence, calling Yeshua this righteous man (Mt. 27:24). This was the most significant of the five attestations because it was made from the judgment seat. Still, all the people answered and said, His blood on us, and on our children (Mt. 27:25).
Finally, Pilate issued the death sentence, while releasing Barabbas. There was a symbolic substitution in that the innocent one went to His death in place of the guilty one, who was set free: Then therefore he [Pilate] delivered him [Yeshua] unto them to be crucified (Jn. 19:16).
4. The Mockery
Having been turned over to Roman soldiers, the soldiers of the governor took Yeshua into the Praetorium and gathered unto him the whole band (Mt. 27:27). In Greek, the word band means “cohort.” A cohort had arrested Yeshua earlier, and now it reconvened for the crucifixion. After stripping Him of His clothes, they put on him a scarlet robe (Mt. 27:28), thus mocking His royalty. Instead of a crown of gold, they placed a crown of thorns on His head and a reed in his right hand (Mt. 27:29) to mimic a royal sceptre. After spitting on Him (Mt. 27:30), they took the reed out of His hand and used it to strike Him on the head (Mk. 15:19). These were the fourth mockery and the fifth mistreatment He suffered on that night.
F. The Death of the King
In harmonizing the four Gospel accounts, the best way to chronologically trace the exact sequence of events surrounding Yeshua’s crucifixion is to enumerate them stage by stage. The hours leading up to Yeshua’s death, from the time He began His procession to Calvary until His burial, are recounted in 30 distinct stages.
With the burial of Yeshua, which took place before the sunset on the 15th of Nisan, the most important 24 hours in human history came to an end.
30 Distinct Stages
Procession to Calvary
1 The Messiah Bears the Cross
2 Simon of Cyrene Forced to Help
3 The Lament over Jerusalem
4 The Arrival at Golgotha
5 Wine Mingled with Gall and Myrrh
The Wrath of Men
6 The Crucifixion (9 a.m.)
7 The First Statement from the Cross
8 The Parting of Yeshua’s Garments
9 The Superscription
10 The Crucifixion of the Other Two
11 The 5th Mockery 12 The 6th Mockery
13 The 7th Mockery
14 The 8th Mockery
15 The Conversion of One of the Malefactors
16 The 2nd Statement from the Cross
17 The 3rd Statement from the Cross
The Wrath of God
18 The Darkness over the Whole Land (12 p.m.)
19 The 4th Statement from the Cross
20 The Reaction of the Bystanders
21 The 5th Statement from the Cross
22 The Drinking of the Vinegar
23 The 6th Statement from the Cross
24 The 7th Statement from the Cross
25 The Death of Yeshua (3 p.m.)
The Accompanying Signs
26 Earthquake; Resurrection of the Dead; Tearing of the Veil
27 The Breaking of the Bones of the Other Two and the Piercing of Yeshua
28 The Request for the Body 29 The Removal of the Body from the Cross
30 The Burial of Yeshua Procession to Calvary