The Pilgrimage to the Cross
Passion and Death
Jesus’ life journey now focuses on his death and resurrection. From Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem until his crucifixion, Passion Week takes up nearly one-third of the canonical gospels.
Jesus expelled the money changers from the Temple for turning it into a den of thieves. He then predicted false prophets, wars, earthquakes, celestial upheavals, persecution of the faithful, an “abomination of desolation,” and unendurable sufferings (Mark 13:1–23). Moreover, he disputed the Jewish elders’ authority and named them hypocrites. He revived Lazarus at Bethany, near Jerusalem. Authorities plotted his assassination after this unique sign (John 11).
All four gospels mention Jesus’ Last Supper with his two Apostles in Jerusalem. Pilgrims often share meals, which brings them closer. “This is my body,” Jesus says as he breaks bread and hands it to the disciples in the Synoptics. “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood,” Jesus says as they drink. These events inspired the Christian Eucharist.
After the Last Supper and the Agony in Gethsemane, Judas entered with an armed Sanhedrin mob. He kissed Jesus to identify him, and the crowd arrested him. An anonymous follower cut off a man’s ear to stop them. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times after Jesus’ arrest. He remembered Jesus’ prediction after the third denial when the rooster crows. As a result, Peter sobbed.
The Jewish Sanhedrin judges Jesus. He is subsequently led to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, who judges and condemns Jesus for blasphemy, perverting the country, refusing tribute, inciting rebellion against Rome, sorcery, and claiming to be the King of the Jews, the Son of God, and a savior. After washing his hands, Pilate brings Jesus to Calvary for execution.
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