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Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Ecce Homo with Jesus and Pontius Pilate, 19th century
Antonio Ciseri’s depiction of Ecce Homo with Jesus and Pontius Pilate, 19th century

Although the term “Good Friday” is not mentioned in the Bible, we can study the events that took place on the day Jesus was crucified. After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was taken through several trials before the chief priests, Pontius Pilate, and Herod (Luke 22:54–23:25). Three of the trials were by Jewish leaders and three by the Romans (John 18:12-14, Mark 14:53-65, Mark 15:1-5, Luke 23:6-12, Mark 15:6-15). These events led up to Good Friday.

According to the accounts in the Gospels, the royal soldiers, guided by Jesus’ disciple Judas Iscariot, arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Judas received money (30 pieces of silver) (Matthew 26:14–16) for betraying Jesus and told the guards that whomever he kisses is the one they are to arrest. Following his arrest, Jesus was taken to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of the high priest, Caiaphas. There he was interrogated with little result and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1–24).

Conflicting testimony against Jesus was brought forth by many witnesses, to which Jesus answered nothing. Finally the high priest adjured Jesus to respond under solemn oath, saying “I adjure you, by the Living God, to tell us, are you the Anointed One, the Son of God?” Jesus testified ambiguously, “You have said it, and in time you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty, coming on the clouds of Heaven.” The high priest condemned Jesus for blasphemy, and the Sanhedrin concurred with a sentence of death (Matthew 26:57–66). Peter, waiting in the courtyard, also denied Jesus three times to bystanders while the interrogations were proceeding just as Jesus had predicted.

In the morning, the whole assembly brought Jesus to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who tried to compromise with the religious leaders by having Jesus beaten, but this act didn’t satisfy them, so Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15). Jesus was mocked by the soldiers as they dressed Him in a purple robe and a crown of thorns (John 19:1-3). The sentence was written “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” Jesus, assisted by Simon of Cyrene, was then forced to carry His cross to the place of His death. It was at Golgotha that Jesus was crucified along with two criminals (John 19:17-22).

Later in the day, the Bible tells us that Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for Jesus’ body and was granted permission. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb. He then rolled a big stone in front of the entrance.

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