Then the entire council took Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor.
They began at once to state their case: "This man has been leading our people to ruin by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king."
So Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say."4
Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, "I find nothing wrong with this man!"
Then they became desperate. "But he is causing riots everywhere he goes, all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!"
"Oh, is he a Galilean?" Pilate asked.
When they answered that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod's jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.
Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle.
He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer.
Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations.
Now Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Then they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.
Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.
Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people,
and he announced his verdict. "You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent.
Herod came to the same conclusion and sent him back to us. Nothing this man has done calls for the death penalty.
So I will have him flogged, but then I will release him." a17b18
Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd, and with one voice they shouted, "Kill him, and release Barabbas to us!"
(Barabbas was in prison for murder and for taking part in an insurrection in Jerusalem against the government.)
Pilate argued with them, because he wanted to release Jesus.
But they shouted, "Crucify him! Crucify him!"
For the third time he demanded, "Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. I will therefore flog him and let him go."
But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus' death, and their voices prevailed.
So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded.
As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he delivered Jesus over to them to do as they wished.
As they led Jesus away, Simon of Cyrene, c who was coming in from the country just then, was forced to follow Jesus and carry his cross.
Great crowds trailed along behind, including many grief-stricken women.
But Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, don't weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For the days are coming when they will say, 'Fortunate indeed are the women who are childless, the wombs that have not borne a child and the breasts that have never nursed.' 30People will beg the mountains to fall on them and the hills to bury them. 31For if these things are done when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry? d "32
Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him.
Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. e All three were crucified there -- Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side.
Jesus said, "Father, forgive these people, because they don't know what they are doing."f And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. g35
The crowd watched, and the leaders laughed and scoffed. "He saved others," they said, "let him save himself if he is really God's Chosen One, the Messiah."
The soldiers mocked him, too, by offering him a drink of sour wine.
They called out to him, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
A signboard was nailed to the cross above him with these words: "This is the King of the Jews."
One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, "So you're the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself -- and us, too, while you're at it!"
But the other criminal protested, "Don't you fear God even when you are dying?
We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn't done anything wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom."
And Jesus replied, "I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise."44
By this time it was noon, and darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock.
The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the thick veil hanging in the Temple was torn apart.
Then Jesus shouted, "Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!"h And with those words he breathed his last.
When the captain of the Roman soldiers handling the executions saw what had happened, he praised God and said, "Surely this man was innocent. i "
And when the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw all that had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. j49
But Jesus' friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph. He was a member of the Jewish high council,
but he had not agreed with the decision and actions of the other religious leaders. He was from the town of Arimathea in Judea, and he had been waiting for the Kingdom of God to come.
He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.
Then he took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in a long linen cloth and laid it in a new tomb that had been carved out of rock.
This was done late on Friday afternoon, the day of preparation k for the Sabbath.
As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where they placed his body.
Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to embalm him. But by the time they were finished it was the Sabbath, so they rested all that day as required by the law.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)