The first group of religious leaders to take an unwanted shine to Jesus was the Pharisees, the first incident that the Pharisees were involved in was during the story of Jesus call’s levi when Jesus went back to galilee and a crowd of people turned up and Jesus began to teach them , but walking along he saw a lonely tax collector sitting in his office ,who went by the name of Levi (son of Alpheaeus) , so Jesus went up to Levi and said follow me and Levi got up and followed Jesus. Later that evening Jesus had a meal at Levi’s house with other tax collectors and some outcast’s , when some teachers of the law (Pharisees) saw Jesus eating with these outcast’s they questioned the disciples and asked ‘why is Jesus eating with these people’ , Jesus answered ‘people who are well do not need a doctor ,but only those who are sick. I have not come to call respectable people, but outcast’s’ this angered the Pharisees to see a question of theirs mocked with such an answer.
The next incident that Jesus was involved in was in the story of the question about fasting the Pharisees questioned Jesus saying ‘ why is it that the disciples of John the Baptist and the disciples of the Pharisees fast ,but your do not’ Jesus replied this by making the point if your master or leader is there you can eat but if not you must fast then.
Jesus continued to anger the Pharisees by breaking one of their laws , Jesus and his disciples were walking through a field of corn and the disciples began to pick corn and eat it , the Pharisees saw this and were angered to see a tradition of theirs broken by what they considered to be outsiders.
The Pharisees decided to do something about Jesus in the story of ‘the man with the paralysed hand’ when Jesus was in a synagogue where there was a man with a paralysed hand , many people were going to object to Jesus’ action’s but were courious to see if Jesus would heal this man on the Sabbath , Jesus asked the man to come forward ,then he said to the crowd ‘what does your law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To help or to harm? To save a man’s life or to destroy it?’. The people did not say a word Jesus became angry as he looked around but at the same time he felt sorry for them because they were so stubborn and wrong . He then asked the man to stretch his hand out , the man did as Jesus said and the man’s hand was healed . The Pharisees left the synagogue in a fit of rage and contacted some of Herod’s party and began to plot Jesus’ death.
After a while the Pharisees thought they could trick Jesus into performing a miracle, but Jesus was having none of it and let out a loud groan and said ‘Why do the people of this day ask for a miracle? No, I tell you! No such proof will be given to these people!’ Then Jesus proceeded across the lake to the other disciples.
The Pharisees once again questioned Jesus in the story ‘Jesus teaches about divorce’, the Pharisees asked ‘does our law allow a man to divorce his wife’ Jesus said to the Pharisees ‘what law did Moses give you?’ The Pharisees answered ‘Moses gave permission for a man to divorce notice and send wife away’. Then Jesus answered again ‘Moses wrote that law for you because you are so hard to teach . But in the beginning , at the time of creation, ‘God made male and female ,’ as the scripture says ‘and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one .’ So they are no longer two but one . Man must not separate, then, what God has joined together.’ The Pharisees then left Jesus, and Jesus returned to his disciples and they asked on what Jesus talked about and Jesus said ‘A man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against his wife, and if the woman divorces her husband and marries again she is committing adultery’.
The scribes were one of the Jewish groups that opposed Jesus. The word scribe means writer; some of them would spend days months even years writing versions of the old testament, They were also known as lawyers because they knew the old testament , and therefore knew the Jewish law as well. Mark tells us about the scribes being believers in ritual washing which was the teaching of their ancestors. When some of the scribes and some of the Pharisees saw Jesus and his disciples eating their food with ritually unclean hands, they confronted Jesus and asked him why he and his disciples did not follow the teaching, but instead ate with ritually unclean hands.
Jesus then scalded them with his reply, ‘How right Isaiah when he prophesied about you ! You are hypocrites’. He continued talking of how they lacked love for their fellow man and god and he said ‘you have a clever way of rejecting god laws and upholding your own teaching’. He used the word Corban (meaning , it belongs to god).
The Sadducees were a very wealthy and powerful group of men who descended form the priest class of the nation , they were given permission to have authority among the Jewish people. The oral tradition of the Jews explained the way in which the Torah( the law) was kept and lived in daily life but the Sadducees did not recognise the authority of this. They followed, exactly, the first book of the bible, the law of Moses.
When the Sadducees came to Jesus they said that, Moses wrote the law which says when a man die’s leaving a wife and no children, then the man’s brother has to marry the widow so they can have children who will be considered the dead man’s. In relation to this law , the Sadducees tell a story about seven brothers who all end up marrying the same woman. Each time , a brother marries but dies without having children and lastly the woman dies. T he Sadducees rejected developments in the Jewish stud of theistic, such as belief in resurrection . They said to Jesus ‘Now when all the dead rise to life on the day of resurrection , whose wife will she be?’ Jesus answered them , he told them they were wrong because they did not know the scripture or God’s power; he said, ‘For when the dead rise to life , they will be like angels in heaven and will not marry.’. Considering the fact that the sadducees had put the question to Jesus expecting to make him look foolish, they would have been annoyed by his reply. Jesus went on to talk about the dead being raised by telling them that in the book of Moses, there is a passage about the burning bush where it is written that God said, ‘I am God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’, Jesus quoted this because it shows that God is of the present not of the past.
The Sadducees came to Jesus again and questioned, ‘What is the most important commandment of all’ Jesus replied , ‘Listen Israel!, the lord our God is the only lord. Love the lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul , with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ He then told then that the second most important is , ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’, The teacher of the law was impressed with Jesus’ answer and agreed there was no other commandment greater than those two. Jesus noticed how wise the scribe’s answer was so he told him, ‘ You are not far from the kingdom of God’ Mark tells us that after that nobody dared to ask Jesus any further questions.
The Trail and Death of Jesus,
Mark’s account on the passion and resurrection of Jesus , shows various ways in which Jesus was treated. This treatment seen to mainly come from, the religious groups who opposed him for much of his life , the people involved in the trails, and suprisingly, the disciples of Jesus.
When Jesus and his disciples had finished the last supper , they sang a hymn and went out to the mount of olives . Tehy then came to a garden on the slopes of olivet called Gesthamane. Jesus was extremely sorrowful and distressed; he was in need of some time alone so he took Peter , James, and John with him and told them to keep watch while he prayed. He was obviously in deep mourning and was probably scared of what was going to happen to him. With so much on his mind it is not suprising that he became quite angry with the three disciples when he went to them three times and each time they were asleep. It show unfairness because Jesus had expected them to do what he had asked them to do, after all he had never let them down; but instead they ignored his command in his hour of need.
At the last supper , Jesus had said to the disciples, ‘I tell you that one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.’.
He was right because Judas Iscariot had been plotting some dark horse with the chief priests and agreed that if they gave him some money, he would betray Jesus. Judas realised that Jesus being at Gethsemane was good chance for him to hand Jesus over to the religious groups who wanted to arrest him. Judas came with a crowd armed with clubs and swords, he approached Jesus and said ‘Teacher!’ And kissed him; this was the signal for the crowd so they knew who to arrest. As soon as the kiss was given the crowd advanced on Jesus. It troubled Jesus to think that someone he saw fit to be a disciple would betray him for money.
Jesus could not understand why he had been arrested at night and treated as though he were a criminal; he asked them,’ Did you have to come with sword s and clubs to capture me, as though I were an outlaw?’. He also could not understand why they had not arrested him before when he was with them, teaching in the temples. The people who arrested him were in fact his own people.
When Jesus told the disciples that some one would betray him at the last supper, they were upset and were each sure that it could not be them. However, when Jesus was arrested they all abandoned him and ran away. Jesus had predicted that his would happen when they were at the Mount of Olives. These people were his disciples , they were supposed to be loyal and stand up for Jesus.
After his arrest , Jesus was taken to the house of the high priest where the first was held before the council. The council was called the Sanhedrin; it was a court of law for the Jews and was held by the high priests and seventy elders. The Sadducees and the Pharisees were the members of the Sanhedrin but the judgement of the council were kept divided because of their different interpretation of the Jewish law; this was the reason why they would not usually come together . Their opposition towards Jesus meant that they had to join as a group so that they would have a stronger case against him. The chief priests, the elders and the scribes were also at the high priests house. Even though these groups were against Jesus’ own people they were all against him, so Jesus had no support from anyone.
The Jewish trials were really just a questioning time to see if a case could be made against the prisoner. Then there would be a short consultation of the Sanhedrin in the morning where the case was given official approval and prepared to show the governor. The Sanhedrin was allowed to punish offenders but only the roman council could give the death penalty.
There were many unfair aspects of Jesus’ trail. Much of the questioning was out of the ordinary, for example, the high priests should have asked the question, ‘Are you the Messiah, the son of God?’. The Sanhedrin had rules which they were supposed to follow but many of these were ignored. This type of trial , a capital trial, was supposed to begin and end during the daytime but Jesus’ trail began and ended at night. If it was likely that the prisoner was found guilty, the trial would have to be postponed to a second day but this did not happen. Not only did the Sanhedrin break the rules by holding Jesus’ trial at night, it was also the eve before the Passover and it was illegal to have the trial at night before a feast.
IT seemed that even before Jesus appeared before the religious authorities , they had decided what to do because they wanted things to move along more quickly. They tried to find some evidence against Jesus but they were not able to find any. False witness were used in the hearing who told lies against Jesus, however their stories did not agree.
According to the rules, disagreement between the witnesses should put an end to the trial. A confused story was told by some witnesses, starting that Jesus had claimed he would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. This was probably a misinterpretation of his prophecy about the destruction of the temple. Witnesses who did not speck truthfully were supposed to be liable to punishment given for the alleged offence.
The High Priest asked Jesus if he had an answer to the accusations brought against him. Jesus did not a word , maybe because he knew that the things said so far had been complete nonsense. Maybe he had kept quiet because he did not want to make matters worse.
The High Priest wanted to put Jesus in a position where he would confess to be the messiah. This would be a serious enough claim for Pilate to be concerned; it could have been seen as treason to Rome. The High Priest said to Jesus, ‘Are you the messiah, the son of the blessed God?’ Jesus answered ‘I am, and you will all see the son of man seated on the right of the almighty and coming with the clouds in heaven!’.
Mark tells us that the High Priest tore his robes. This was a sign of disownership; he accused Jesus of blasphemy. When the others present were asked for their decision, they all said Jesus was guilty and should be put to death.
It was unfair that Jesus’ answer was acted on because one of the rules of the Sanhedrin was that a prisoner was not to be condemned on his own admission, besides it is not at all definite that it was blasphemy in itself to claim to be the messiah. Claiming to be the messiah might not be right but it was not blasphemy, so it should never been seen that way .
Some spat on Jesus, blindfolded him and hit him. They said , ‘Guess who hit you’. Jesus was then taken by the guards and slapped. It was wrong that Jesus had to endure all that harassment.
Because the Sanhedrin was not allowed to give the death sentence , it got ready to give Jesus to Pontius Pilate in order for the Roman trial to take place . It was hardly fair that there was not a day between the Jewish trial and the Roman trial.
During Jesus’ trial, Peter had been in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house. He was sitting with guards, warming himself by the fire, when one servant woman of the High Priest came over and said to Peter ‘You too were with Jesus of Nazareth.’.
Peter denied it . A cock then crowed. Jesus had predicted Peter’s denial at the Mount of Olives when he said, ‘I tell you that before the cock crows twice tonight, you will say three times that you do not know me.’. Peter told Jesus that he would never say that, even if he had to die with him. This proved not to be true because Peter denied Jesus two more times ; the second denial was when the servant woman told the bystanders that he was a disciple, and the third time was when they recognised Peter by his northern accent. Peter swore that he was telling the truth, he then said, ‘ I do not know the man you are talking about!’, Jesus had been right about the cock because just then it crowed for the second time. Peter realised what he had done and was so upset; he broke down into tears.
Early next morning, the Sanhedrin, the Chief Priests, the elders and the scribes, all met to make their plans. Jesus was led away in chains and handed over to the Roman Governor, Pilate. There was no need for Jesus to have been chained ; again they were treating him like a common criminal.
Jesus had been charged with blasphemy in the Jewish trial. The only reason why Pilate was interested in the case was that Jesus’ claim to be the messiah could be seen as treason against the Roman state; a claim to be the messiah was a claim to be king.
The Jews were not really worried about Jesus’ supposed blasphemy; they were more concerned about the possibility of treason. They knew that if Rome thought there was encouragement for a popular messianic movement, then there was a chance they would lose their amount of rule and freedom of worship from the Romans.
Pilate asked Jesus, ‘ Are you the king of the Jews?’, with this question pilate was hoping to get an answer which would show treason but Jesus replied, ‘So you say’. The question was a little out of order like questions asked by the high priest.
It was then time for Jesus’ sentence to be decided . Mark tells us that Pilate knew very well that Jesus was innocent and that the chief priests were jealous of him; however he still did not release him. It shows that Pilate was a week man ; he did not want to lose his job and be sent back to Rome if he released Jesus. He was also afraid that there would be a riot from the people.
At the time, there was a prisoner called Barabbas who had committed murder in a riot. Barabbas and Jesus were two prisoners who the people had to choose from. A large crowd had formed outside the house of Pilate. This was probably mainly because of the popularity of Barabbas. The crowd saw him as a local hero, a popular rebel and type of messiah. Pilate asked the question, ‘Do you want me to release the king of the Jews?’. Jesus had no chance of being released; there were so many people ready to shout for Barabbas. It was extremely unfair. The chief priests had stirred the crowd into voting for Barabbas. Of the many people that supported Jesus none of them were present as the council had acted very quickly.
It is likely that Pilate wanted to save Jesus. He could have chosen a prisoner himself and freed Jesus. He was in charge of the administration of Roman justice and there was no real evidence that Jesus was likely to be a danger to Rome. Because of his weakness, Pilate just let the people decide.
When the people were asked what they wanted Pilate to do with Jesus, they replied, ‘Crucify him!’. Before Jesus was handed over to be crucified he was whipped. The whip was made of leather strips with iron hooks tied to them, it was called a flagellum. Jesus would have been badly injured when he was bent over, bound to a post, then beaten.
The way the soldiers treated Jesus was terribly unfair. They took him into the courtyard of the governor’s palace and with the rest of the company, they mocked him and beat him. They made him wear a purple robe as a sign of mockery and put a crown of thorny branches on his head. They began to salute him, saying ‘ Long live the king of the Jews!’.
After beating him with a stick, spitting on him and mocking him further by bowing down to him, they took off the robe and put his clothes back on him. Jesus was then led to be crucified.
On the way the group met a man called Simon, he was a worker from the country, and as soon as the guard caught sight of him they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means ‘Place of the Skull’. There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it. Then they crucified him and shared his clothes between them, throwing a dice to who would get which piece of clothing they would get.
It was 9 o’ clock in the morning when Jesus was crucified. There was a notice of the accusation against him said:’ The King of the Jews.’ They also crucified two bandits along with Jesus one each side of Jesus .
Many people passed Jesus and shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: ‘Ah ha! You were going to tear down the temple and build it in 3 days!, Now let’s see you come down from that cross and save yourself!’. In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law jeered at Jesus, saying to each other, ‘He saved others, but he cannot save himself!, Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now , and we will believe in him!’, and the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.