The Darkest Day in History

We have journeyed through Jesus’ 6 trials, all of them illegal.  At the end of the sixth trial, before Pontius Pilate, both Luke 23:13-15 and John 19:5-7 record clearly that Pilate found no guilt in Jesus, and in fact, attempted to free him by virtue of the fact that it was customary for the governor to release a prisoner at the feast.  What played into Pilate’s decision to do so?  He had surely heard of Jesus’ miracles and His love and mercy.  Did Pilate recognize Jesus as the Jewish Messiah?  Perhaps, though he certainly didn’t acknowledge Him as Lord.

Matthew 27:19-26 provide additional insight not shared in the other Gospels.  Matthew indicates that Pilate’s wife urged him to “have nothing to do with that Righteous Man,” as she had suffered greatly in a dream because of Jesus.  Had Pilate heeded his wife’s warning?  If so, the crowds screaming for His crucifixion negated that idea.  Pilate “washed his hands” of the blood of Jesus and handed Him over to be mocked, scorned and crucified.

Now, imagine the scene in the middle of Jerusalem.  People yelling “Crucify Him,” the governor washing his hands of the situation and turning away, and Jesus bloodied and beaten.  It was on streets like these that He carried His cross and they led Him away to be crucified.

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Though most Protestants believe otherwise, Catholics, Greek Orthodox and other Christian groups believe that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection took place in an area beneath where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands today.  Many different religious rituals take place here daily.

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One final thing before we call it a day.  There was a time when, wanting to disprove Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, a theory began circulating that all or parts of the story were made up.  According to those skeptics, Pilate was not a real person, only a character made up by Christians wanting to “create” the story of Jesus.  Well, recall our trip to Caesarea by the Sea?  There was a Herodian palace there, and it was long believed by Christians that Pilate likely lived there and was in Jerusalem during that Passover season.  Now we have significant evidence that Pilate was a real person.  A stone referencing Pilate by name was found….at Caesarea by the Sea!  Here is a replica of the stone that was found:

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Tomorrow, we’ll consider the actual place of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Between now and then I encourage you to read one of the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion.  (Matthew 27:33-66, Mark 15:22-47, Luke 23:33-56, John 19:16-42)  See you tomorrow!

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