NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 26
Matthew 26:47-27:66; Mark 14:43-15:39;
Luke 22:47-23:56; John 18-19
- Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and accused of blasphemy; Peter denies
Jesus three times.
- Jesus is sentenced to be crucified.
- Jesus is scouraged and crucified.
A study of this lesson should help us feel the Savior's love for us
and increase our love for him and our gratitude for his atoning sacrifice.
Betrayal & Arrest
- In concluding his narration of the events in Gethsemane, Elder Talmage
says: "The further tragedy of the night, and the cruel inflictions
that awaited Him on the morrow, to culminate in the frightful tortures
of the cross, could not exceed the bitter anguish through which He had
successfully passed." (Jesus The Christ, p614)
Talmage gives this description of the approaching arrest party: "During
the period of the Lord's last and most loving communion with the Eleven,
Judas had been busy in his treacherous conspiracy with the priestly authorities.
It is probable that the determination to make the arrest that night was
reached when Judas reported that Jesus was within the city walls and might
easily be apprehended. The Jewish rulers assembled a body of temple guardsmen
or police, and obtained a band of Roman soldiers under command of a tribune;
this band or cohort was probably a detachment from the garrison of Antonia
commissioned for the work of the night on requisition of the chief priests.
This company of men and officers representing a combination of ecclesiastical
and military authority, set forth in the night with Judas at their head,
intent on the arrest of Jesus. They were equipped with lanterns, torches,
and weapons. It is probable that they were first conducted to the house
in which Judas had left his fellow apostles and the Lord, when the traitor
had been dismissed; and that finding the little company had gone out, Judas
led the multitude to Gethsemane, for he knew the place, and knew also that
'Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples'." (Jesus
The Christ, pp614-615)
READ MATTHEW 26:46-50. Jesus betrayed.
- Matthew 26:45: "Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith
unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand,
and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
READ LUKE 22:50-51. The ear of a servant cut off
- John records: "Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And
they said, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus answered, I have told you that I am
he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way." (John 18:7-8)
- James E. Talmage: "It is possible that had any of the Eleven
been apprehended with Jesus and made to share the cruel abuse and torturing
humiliation of the next few hours, their faith might have failed them,
relatively immature and untried as it then was; even as in succeeding years
many who took upon themselves the name of Christ yielded to persecution
and went into apostasy." (Jesus The Christ, p616)
READ LUKE 22:52-53. Jesus identifies his illegal
- Only Luke reports the healing of the ear.
- Only John reports that it was Peter who smote off the ear.
- What a remarkable demonstration of the character of Jesus. He had just
passed through the supreme agony of all time and yet his sensitivity for
others was still present, both in his healing of the servant and in his
concern for his Apostles.
- Matthew records that before Jesus was led off to trial "...all
the disciples forsook him, and fled." (Matt. 26:56)
The Trial and Condemnation
- READ JOHN 18:12-13. Jesus led to Annas.
READ MATTHEW 26:57. Jesus led to the home of Caiaphas.
- John was the only one to record the this fact. There is no record of
what transpired with Annas.
READ MATTHEW 26:59-68. Jesus questioned by the
Sanhedrin at the home of Caiaphas.
- WHO WERE ANNAS & CAIAPHAS?
- Annas was appointed high priest in 7 AD and deposed in 15 AD.
- Joseph Caiaphas, Annas son-in-law, was high priest from 18-36 AD.
- Annas had immense wealth and during this time continued to exercise
a great deal of religious and political control over the Jews. Annas gained
much of his wealth from the sale of materials used in temple sacrifices.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THESE MEN WERE SO THREATENED BY JESUS?
- If the people began to believe and follow Jesus, these men would lose
their power and influence.
- "At the palace of Caiaphas, the chief priests, scribes, and
elders of the people were assembled, in a meeting of the Sanhedrin, informal
or otherwise, all eagerly awaiting the result of the expedition led by
Judas." (Jesus The Christ, p621)
READ LUKE 22:54-62. Peter's denial of Christ.
- In Jesus the Christ, Elder Talmage points out the illegalities involved
in Jesus' trial according to Jewish law (see Jesus The Christ, p621-629).
Mark 15:1: "And straightway in the morning the chief priests
held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council,
and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate."
- WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT PETER AS YOU READ THIS ACCOUNT?
- Spencer W. Kimball: "Today I wish to talk about my brother,
my colleague, my fellow apostle--Simon Barjona or Cephas or Peter the Rock.
"Some time ago a newspaper in
a distant town carried an Easter sunday religious editorial by a minister
who stated that the presiding authority of the early-day church fell because
of self-confidence, indecision, evil companions, failure to pray, lack
of humility, and fear of man. He then concluded: 'Let us as people, especially
those who are Christians and claim to abide by the Word of God, not make
make the same mistakes and fall as Peter fell.'
"As I read this, I had some strange
emotions. I was shocked, then I was chilled, then my blood changed its
temperature and began to boil. I felt I was attacked viciously, for Peter
was my brother, my colleague, my example, my prophet, and God's anointed.
I whispered to myself, "This is not true. He is maligning my brother.
"Then I opened my New Testament.
I could find no such character as this modern minister described. Instead,
I found a man who had grown perfect through his experiences and sufferings--a
man with vision, a man of revelations, a man fully trusted by his Lord
"I do not pretend to know what
Peter's mental reactions were nor what compelled him to say what he did
that terrible night. But in light of his proven bravery, courage, great
devotion, and limitless love for the Master, could we not give him the
benefit of the doubt and at least forgive him as his Savior seems to have
done so fully. Almost immediately Christ elevated him to the highest position
in his church and endowed him with the complete keys of that kingdom.
"Simon Barjona did not have long
to consider the matter or change his decisions, for he now heard the cock
crow twice and was reminded of Christ's prediction. He was humbled to the
dust. Hearing the bird's announcement of the dawn reminded him not only
that he had denied the Lord but also that all the Lord had said would be
fulfilled, even to the crucifixion. He went out and wept bitterly. Were
his tears for personal repentance only, or were they mingled with sorrowful
tears in realization of the fate of his Lord and Master and his own great
loss?" (Speeches of the Year, BYU Press, 1971)
- HOW DO SOME OF US, LIKE PETER, SOMETIMES DENY OUR FAITH? WHAT CAN WE
LEARN FROM PETER'S LIFE AFTER HE DENIED THE FAITH?
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "My heart goes out to Peter.
So many of us are so much like him. We pledge our loyalty; we affirm our
determination to be of good courage; we declare, sometimes even publicly,
that come what may we will do the right thing, that we will stand for the
right cause, that we will be true to ourselves and to others.
"Then the pressures begin to
build. Sometimes these are social pressures. Sometimes they are personal
appetites. Sometimes thay are false ambitions. There is a weakening of
the will. There is a softening of discipline. There is capitulation. And
then there is remorse, followed by self-accusation and bitter tears of
"...If there be those throughout
the Church who by word or act have denied the faith, I pray that you may
draw comfort and resolution from the example of Peter, who, though he had
walked daily with Jesus, in an hour of extremity momentarily denied the
Lord and also the testimony which he carried in his own heart. But he rose
above this and became a mighty defender and a powerful advocate. So, too,
there is a way for any person to turn about and add his or her strength
and faith to the strength and faith of others in building the kingdom of
God." (Ensign, Mar. 1995, pp2-4, 6)
READ LUKE 23:8-11. Jesus before Herod.
- WHO WAS PILATE?
- He was the Roman governor or procurator for Judea, Idumea, and Samaria.
He was the highest Roman official for this area. He maintained his residence
in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast, but was usually in Jerusalem during
the Jewish feast, possibly to help quell any disturbance.
- WHY WAS CHRIST DELIVERED UP TO PILATE?
- Only Rome held the power of the death penalty.
- READ LUKE 23:2-7. Jesus' first hearing before
READ LUKE 23:13-23. Jesus before Pilate a second
- The Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod were all attempting to avoid ultimate
responsibility in this matter.
- READ MATTHEW 27:24-26. Pilate washes his hands
of the matter.
- James E. Talmage: "...finding that he could not prevail, and
foreseeing a tumult among the people if he persisted in the defense of
Christ, he called for water and washed his hands before the multitude--a
symbolic act of disclaiming responsibility, which they all understood--proclaiming
the while: 'I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.'
Then rose that awful self-condemnatory cry of the covenant people: 'His
blood be on us and on our children.' History bears an appalling testimony
to the literal fulfilment of that dread invocation." (Jesus The
- James E. Talmage: "Scourging was a frightful preliminary to
death on the cross. The instrument of punishment was a whip of many thongs,
loaded with metal and edged with jagged pieces of bone. Instances are of
record in which the condemned died under the lash and so escaped the horrors
of living crucifixion." (Jesus The Christ, p638)
- READ MATTHEW 27:27-31. Soldiers mock Jesus.
- Matthew 27:32: "And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene,
Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross."
Seven statements made by Christ from the Cross.
- James E. Talmage: "The sentence of death by crucifixion required
that the Condemned person carry the cross upon which he was to suffer.
Jesus started on the way bearing His cross. The terrible strain of the
preceding hours, the agony in Gethsemane, the barbarous treatment He had
suffered in the palace of the high priest, the humiliation and cruel usage
to which He had been subjected before Herod, the frightful scourging under
Pilate's order, the brutal treatment by the inhuman soldiery, together
with the extreme humiliation and the mental agony of it all, had so weakened
His physical organism that He moved but slowly under the burden of the
cross. The soldiers, impatient at the delay, peremptorily impressed into
service a man whom they met coming into Jerusalem from the country, and
him they compelled to carry the cross of Jesus. No Roman or Jew would have
voluntarily incurred the ignominy of bearing such a gruesome burden; for
every detail connected with the carrying out of a sentence of crucifixion
was regarded as degrading. The man so forced to walk in the footsteps of
Jesus, bearing the cross upon which the Savior of the world was to consummate
His glorious mission, was Simon, a native of Cyrene. From Mark's statement
that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus we infer that the two
sons were known to the evangelist's readers as members of the early Church,
and there is some indication that the household of Simon the Cyrenian came
to be numbered with the believers." (Jesus The Christ, pp652-653)
- Consider the contrast between two men who got caught in the events
of the day:
- Pontius Pilate: A man who wanted nothing to do with this event and
did not have the courage to stand up for that which is right. He is remembered
in history as a coward.
- Simon of Cyrene: We know little of him, but he carried more of the
Lord's burden in those hours of agony than any other man. He is remembered
for this special service he took on that day. It appears he was touched
by events and became a follower.
James E. Talmage: "The death of Christ was accompanied by terrifying
phenomena. There was a violent earthquake; the rocks of the mighty hills
were disrupted, and many graves were torn open. But, most portentous of
all in Judaistic minds, the veil of the temple which hung between the Holy
Place and the Holy of Holies was rent from top to bottom, and the interior,
which none but the high priest had been permitted to see, was thrown open
to common gaze. It was the rending of Judaism, the consummation of the
Mosaic dispensation, and the inauguration of Christianity under apostolic
administration." (Jesus The Christ, p662)
READ LUKE 23:47-56. Jesus buried.
View Video: To This End Was I Born.
- These statements made by the Lord from the cross exhibit three great
aspects of the Lord's character and divinity. Consider these as we read
the last mortal words of the Master:
- His forgiving nature.
- His concern for others.
- His resignation by His own will to die a physical death.
- Luke 23:34: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they
know not what they do."
- IS NOT THIS THE ULTIMATE EXAMPLE OF FORGIVENESS?
- Joseph Smith Translation: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do. (Meaning the soldiers who crucified
him,) and they parted his raiment and cast lots."
- Elder McConkie says that the Lord is asking for forgiveness for the
soldiers who are carrying out their orders. He is not forgiving the Jewish
conspirators, Judas, Pilate, or Herod. "Here on the cross Jesus
is simply complying with his own command to forgive your enemies and to
bless those who curse you." (DNTC, 1:818-19)
- Luke 23:39-43: "And one of the malefactors which were hanged
railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
"But the other answering rebuked
him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
"And we indeed justly; for we
receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
"And he said unto Jesus, Lord,
remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
"And Jesus said unto him, Verily
I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."
- The Prophet Joseph Smith said that Jesus told the thief, "This
day thou shalt be with me in the world of spirits." (TPJS, p309)
- WHAT QUALITY IS THE LORD SHOWING IN THIS INSTANCE?
- His concern for others. He has comforted the dying thief and given
him hope. In the spirit world he will be taught and have an opportunity
to repent and accept the gospel.
- John 19:25-27: "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother,
and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
"When Jesus therefore saw his
mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his
mother, Woman, behold thy son!
"Then saith he to the disciple,
Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own
- After all that the Master had been through and the physical agony which
he was suffering, he reveals his true character when he said to John, "Behold
- Matthew 27:45-46: "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness
over all the land unto the ninth hour.
"And about the ninth hour Jesus
cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to
say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
- James E. Talmage: "What mind of man can fathom the significance
of that awful cry? It seems, that in addition to the fearful suffering
incident to crucifixion, the agony of Gethsemane had recurred, intensified
beyond human power to endure. In that bitterest hour the dying Christ was
alone, alone in most terrible reality. That the supreme sacrifice of the
Son might be consummated in all its fulness, the Father seems to have withdrawn
the support of His immediate Presence, leaving to the Savior of men the
glory of complete victory over the forces of sin and death." (Jesus
The Christ, p660-661)
- Jeffrey R. Holland: "Because he must ultimately tread this
winepress of redemption unaided, can he endure the darkest moment of them
all, the shock of the greatest pain? This comes not with thorns and with
nails, but with the terror of felling utterly alone:...'My God, my God,
why hast thou forsaken me?' (Mark 15:34). Can he bear all of our sins and
our fear and loneliness too? He did and he does and he will."
(Ensign, Nov. 1989, p26)
- John 19:28: "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were
now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst."
- This was the only recorded utterance expressing physical suffering,
an indication that the sacrifice was almost complete.
- John 19:29-30: "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar:
and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put
it to his mouth.
"When Jesus therefore had received
the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up
- Luke 23:45-46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice,
he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus,
he gave up the ghost."
- James E. Talmage: "Fully realizing that He was no longer forsaken,
but that His atoning sacrifice had been accepted by the Father, and that
His mission in the flesh had been carried to glorious consummation, He
exclaimed in a loud voice of holy triumph: 'It is finished.' In reverence,
resignation, and relief, He addressed the Father saying: 'Father, into
thy hands I commend my spirit.' He bowed His head, and voluntarily gave
up His life.
"Jesus the Christ was dead. His
life had not been taken from Him except as He had willed to permit. Sweet
and welcome as would have been the relief of death in any of the earlier
stages of His suffering from Gethsemane to the cross, He lived until all
things were accomplished as had been appointed. In the latter days the
voice of the Lord Jesus has been heard affirming the actuality of His suffering
and death, and the eternal purpose thereby accomplished. Hear and heed
His words: 'For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh;
wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and
come unto him'." (Jesus The Christ, pp661-662)
Human language is insufficient to describe the significance of what
happened in these last hours of Jesus life. The plans of eternity were
set in force by this ultimate sacrifice. Countless souls, from this earth
and worlds without number, may now be freed from the bonds eternity. How
can we invoke the blessings of the atonement in our lives? How will we
show our gratitude to the Savior for this great sacrifice?
Lesson 27: Matthew 28; Luke 24; John 20-21
Additional Reading: Mark 16; Bible Dictionary, "Resurrection,"
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