God-in-a-Box–Your Inbox… for appreciating God
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The priests panic, if Pilate knows their charge is religious, he’ll dismiss it! Perjuring themselves, pretending, they yell, “He was speaking against Rome, forbidding taxes, saying he’s king!”

Pilate turns to Jesus and asks, “Are you king of the Jews?”

“You would say so,” says Jesus his face lighting from within.

Angry priests demand his death, stirring the mob into an uproar with help from Satan and his evil angels.

Pilate looks at Jesus and knows their charges are false. “Aren’t you going to answer their charges?”

Jesus’ silence causes Pilate to move him further inside and ask again, “Are you king of the Jews?”

“Are you asking? Or repeating what you’ve heard?” Jesus gives Spirit time to work.

Pilate understands the question, but pride stifles conviction, “Am I a Jew? Your own people have brought you. What have you done?”

“My kingdom isn’t from this world, if it were my servants would fight.”

“You are a king then?”

“That is what you would call it. I was born and came into the world to give witness to the truth. Everyone who wants truth responds to me.”

“What is truth?” Pilate feels a desire to know, but he doesn’t wait for an answer, noise from outside distracting him.

Going out he motions for quiet and says, “I find no fault in him.”

Rebuked, rage-crazy priests know Pilate’s weakness and threaten him with losing Caesar’s favor. “He stirs up everyone from Galilee to here!”

Galilee! Herod’s jurisdiction! Pilate sees his escape, seizes opportunity, and sends Jesus to Herod.

Matthew 27:11-14,  Mark 15:2-5,  Luke 23:1-7,  John 18:33-38

Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman governor, to confirm Caiaphas’ sentence.
Pilate is not happy at being called early from his bed. He is irritated and determines to get this done quickly. However he is curious. He assumes this is someone the Jewish leaders are eager to have punished.
He nods at the temple guard who brought him, and looks at Jesus; but he is unprepared. He feels awe. Never has someone radiating goodness and nobility in his face and bearing been brought before him.
Pilate’s better nature is aroused, he has heard of Jesus and his works, and now he recalls rumors from different sources. He remembers his wife sharing how a Galilean prophet has cured the sick and raised the dead. He determines to demand their charges.
The priests had hoped Pilate wouldn’t question them–he has hastily condemned men to death for them before. They know the life of a prisoner has little value to him, and signing a death warrant is not a big deal. But now Pilate is demanding charges!
Pilate is remembering Lazarus’ story– “…Raised a man four days dead…” Spirit shows him truth, and he suspects the priests of jealousy and foul play.
The priests and rulers have stopped at the entrance, not willing to exclude themselves from Passover by entering a Roman hall. But they call to Pilate, “We wouldn’t have brought him if he wasn’t worthy of death,” implying, how dare you question us!
Pilate turns and says, “If you’re so certain of his guilt, judge him yourselves.”
John 18:28-32
Guilt consumes Judas. Now that they’ve used him, he is sport for the dark side, their pathetic joke. So Satan treats those he uses.
Judas grabs the robe of Caiaphas and cries out, “Release him, Caiaphas, I have betrayed innocent blood!”
Caiaphas shakes him off, confused, and embarrassed, scattered silver making it obvious the priests had bribed him. Regaining self-possession, he scorns Judas, despising his action, “That’s your problem.”
Judas falls at Jesus’ feet begging him to deliver himself, acknowledging him as the Son of God.
Jesus looks with pity at Judas; he knows his sorrow is in being wrong, there is no heart-breaking recognition of himself, just shame. Things hadn’t turned out as Judas had planned, and Satan’s condemnation is eating him alive. Jesus says simply, “This is why I came into the world.”
Judas had meant to force Jesus into declaring himself king, to push his disciples to act. He had always thought his plans were better than Jesus’. He had always expressed doubts that confused the disciples. He had been honored with Jesus’ presence and his power, but he never trusted Jesus–surrendering his will, his plans, his life. He never let himself love Jesus.
The assembly is again convicted that Jesus is more than human. But why then doesn’t he free himself and rise up in triumph? silenced spectators wonder.
Judas sees that Jesus is going to allow their plan for his death, and rushes out crying, “It is too late! It is too late!” and in despair hangs himself.
Poor Simon! In one day he loses his son and his new Lord.
Matthew 27:3-5
Peter runs from Caiaphas’ courtyard, sobbing, not caring where he goes. He ends up in the garden, where Jesus had agonized, wishing he could die. He remembers everything…
Now Peter understands, and his heart breaks, realizing if he’d prayed and supported Jesus, he wouldn’t have denied his Lord. He remembers Jesus’ words, “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat…” (now “getting” that he’d been manipulated–kept unprepared.)
Meanwhile, day is breaking, and the Sanhedrin is reconvening for the “legal” trial. Not all heard Jesus’ claim to be Messiah. The leaders hope he will repeat it, which they’ll twist into a seditious affront to the Romans.
“Are you the Son of God?”
Jesus remains silent, and they continue questioning.
Finally, in pained voice, Jesus answers, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. If I answer, you won’t let me go. But you will see me invested with power on God’s right hand, coming in clouds of angels.”
Instantly, accusing priests speak as one mocking voice, “Then you are the Son of God?”
“You say so.”
“He is guilty! You’ve heard it yourselves!” Caiaphas screams.
The trial erupts into the worst abuse yet. The members and mobsters rushed him. Had it not been for Roman soldiers who couldn’t tolerate a man being convicted without a Roman trial, Jesus wouldn’t have lived to be nailed to the cross.
As the trial closes, a tall form presses through the crowd, a haggard, pale face cries, “Spare him, Caiaphas, he is innocent!” Thirty pieces of silver ring on the marble.
Matthew 27:1-5,  Mark 14:72-15:1,  Luke 22:62-71,
Through the uproar following Caiaphas’ pronouncement of “Guilty!”, Jesus is taken to the guard room to await a legal trial. Here, unprotected, he is terribly abused by all the fiendish ways Satan can inspire in ignorant, out-of-control men. But the worst hurt comes from a friend…
Peter and John, regrouping, had followed the mob at a distance. A priest, recognizing John, lets him in; and he requests Peter’s entrance also.
But Peter, preferring to assume indifference, hangs-out in the courtyard with others huddled around a fire against the pre-dawn chill.
A woman, the doorkeeper remembers seeing him with John. Curious, she asks if he is a disciple.
Startled, Peter pretends not to understand, and becomes angry with her persistence. “I don’t know him.” he lies, giving the enemy an advantage to him.
His agitation shows, and another asks if he is a follower of Jesus. Again he says vehemently, “I don’t know the man!”
An hour passes with Peter catching glimpses of the trial, trying hard to hide his pain, when a relative of Malchus, whose ear was healed, says, “I saw you with him in the garden…”
Peter flies into a rage and curses, swearing that he doesn’t know Jesus.
A rooster crows. He remembers.
Jesus turns and looks for Peter, whose eyes are drawn to Jesus. Peter sees pity and sorrow in his face, but there is no anger. His heart breaks. He realizes how little he knows himself, but how well Jesus knows him, and he runs out blindly, weeping uncontrollably.
Matt 26:69-75,  Mark 14:66-72,  Luke 22:54-62,  John 18:15-18, 25-27
The Jews wanted their Messiah to control and overwhelm their enemies with power and glory…
Jesus knew what they wanted, and his biggest temptation was to give it to them by laying out his cruel tormentors in a flash of divine power. To be surrounded by people under the control of Satan was revolting to him. But his mission included taking all the abuse men could give, and stay a man in submission to God.
Annas gives command to take Jesus to Caiaphas.
It is still night, and the council comes together by the light of torches, Caiaphas presiding. He has been jealous of Jesus’ influence, and now is struck with admiration for his God-like bearing–calm and dignified. Quickly banishing that thought, he sneeringly demands a miracle.
Not getting a response, he brings in the bribed witnesses.
These can’t agree, and Jesus is silent.
“You’ll say nothing?” a nervous Caiaphas threatens; then fuming with anger, demands, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah!”
From respect for the law and the oath by his Father, Jesus replies, “I AM. And after this, you will see me coming in clouds of heaven.”
Jesus’ divinity flashes through.
Terror strikes Caiaphas who imagines a resurrection and judgment he doesn’t believe in. To hide his fear, he rips his robe pretending horror, “We don’t need witnesses! You have heard his blasphemy!”
They pronounce Jesus worthy of death.
Ironically, tearing priestly garments carries a death sentence.* (It ruins the symbol of Messiah’s  gift to all–a robe of wholeness/perfection.) Caiaphas condemns himself.
Matthew 26:59-65,  Mark 14:55-63,  John 18:24,28,
*Leviticus 10:6 (According to God’s law, given to Moses, which had been amended by the Sanhedrin to exclude blasphemy.)
It’s past midnight as the mob and priests lead Jesus from the garden, past olive groves and into the city to Annas’ house, who is head of the priests. Because of age he is recognized as high priest, though Caiaphas holds the office. People hear him as if he speaks for God.
He doesn’t trust the inexperienced Caiaphas with this presiding. He knows it will be difficult to find anything against Jesus that the Romans will regard as criminal, yet he must get a death sentence. But the Jews have no power to execute unless the Roman governor agrees.
Everything is rushed. By their law, it’s illegal to convene a hearing at night, with a partial body of the Sanhedrin. (Certain members haven’t been called.) But if they don’t act quickly, they will have to wait a week because of Passover. By then the populace will be aroused because of his mercy to them, and very likely a rescue would be attempted.
Annas hopes to get Jesus to declare his kingdom, which Annas will represent as a secret society, charging him with sedition and blasphemy.
But Jesus sees through him, and contrasting their methods, says, “I’ve done nothing in secret. Daily I taught in the temple and synagogues, ask those who heard me.”
Annas doesn’t know what to say.
A  temple officer, angry that the priest has been silenced, strikes Jesus in the face.
We would react, but Jesus, self-possessed, responds firmly and calmly, “If I spoke evil, show it to me; if not, why do you strike me?”
Matthew 26:57,  Mark 14:53,  Luke  22:54,  John 18:12-14, 19-22
Jesus repeats his question, “Whom do you want?”
“Jesus of Nazareth” they say again.
“I’ve told you I am he. If it’s me you want, let these go,” he points to his followers, knowing their faith is weak and wanting to shield them.
Judas has told the soldiers to take the one he kisses–the customary greeting for friends. So now he pretends to have nothing to do with the mob, and taking Jesus hand as a friend he kisses him saying, “Greetings, Master.”
“Friend, have you come to betray me with a kiss?” asks Jesus, but he doesn’t refuse it.
Seeing Judas touch Jesus, the soldiers grow bold enough to bind him.
The disciples can’t believe he lets them take him. They are disappointed; outraged. Peter takes his sword to fight and defend him, but only cuts off the ear of the high priest’s servant.
Jesus can’t help himself, releasing his rope-bound hands, he says to his guards, “Allow this much,” and he touches the servant’s ear, restoring it perfectly. And then turning to Peter, “Put away your sword, those who take the sword will perish by it. Just know that if I asked, my Father would send twelve legions of angels, but then how would I fulfill my destiny? Shall I not accept this cup I’ve chosen to drink?”
Terrified and angry, Peter suggests they save themselves, and they all flee the scene.
The guards rebind Jesus, having again seen evidence of Jesus’ divinity.
Matthew 26:48-54,  Mark 14:44-52,  Luke 22:47-53,  John 18:7-11
The angel hasn’t come to take the trembling cup of God’s wrath from Jesus, but to strengthen him to finish it–the universe must see what happens to created beings when God lets go–when Satan is in control. Gabriel assures Jesus that many will respond and be saved, that Satan’s kingdom will be defeated, and this world will be returned to Adam’s children.
Jesus comes to his disciples strengthened and calm, even though the storm’s fury is building. He has come through what no broken human could have–experiencing the second death for every man.
His disciples are asleep. Sadly he looks at them, “Sleep on and rest, he says, the time has come, Messiah is betrayed into evil hands.”
Even as he finishes speaking, he hears the mob approaching. “Rise,” he says, “my betrayer is here,” and leads them. He steps in front of his friends; no trace of his struggle is on his face now, “Whom do you want?” he asks.
“Jesus of Nazareth,” the mob shouts.
“I AM he,” he answers. The mob falls to the ground, helpless as death from either the energy effect of this declaration, or because Gabriel moves between him and the mob. Jesus’ face and form are illumined. He has opportunity to escape, but he stands, calm and self-possessed.
The disciples are awed. What will he do to save himself and them?
But quickly things change. Roman soldiers and priests, ashamed of weakness, scramble to recover. Judas remembers his part–pushing Jesus to act.
Matthew 26:45-47,  Mark 14:41-43,  Luke 22:45-47,  John 18:2-6
Peter, James and John hear his cries to God, and their impulse is to go to him, but they hesitate. He told us to stay and pray.
Jesus longs for comfort, some word of encouragement or understanding to break evil’s spell. His agony manifests in sweat like blood from the stress.
Exhausted, he struggles to his friends for comfort; again they are sleeping.
The third time he goes to prayer in a horror of darkness. He could wipe off the bloody sweat, and let humanity suffer their own consequences, and return to his Father. Satan pushes the thought home.
Earth’s fate trembles. The Father suffers terribly with him, not able to intervene. Angels watch, longing to console him. The unfallen universe watches intently, hardly breathing, as legions of satanic angels enclose around their beloved Lord.
Jesus feels our future without God, our pain and suffering, feels our helplessness, sees our hopeless end, and his decision is made. I will be the remedy to save man at any cost! With finality he cries, “If this has to be done, I will do it!” And he falls, dying, to the ground, experiencing the separation of “the second death.”*
His decision made, now the Father sends the angel who took Lucifer’s place in heaven to strengthen Jesus with assurance of the Father’s love.
The disciples, wakened by the light, see the bright being holding him, are relieved, and give in to the stupor of sleep overpowering them.
His agony of abandonment continues, but his discouragement and depression are gone.
Matthew 26:42-44,  Mark 14:39-40, Luke 22:42-45, Revelation 20