3 April 33 – Jesus of Nazareth

JesusIt was always going to controversial to pin Jesus’s death down to a day and year, but hey, it’s worth a go.

Conflicting reports put his death somewhere between 32 and 36 AD and as for the day, well that’s based on the educated guesses out there. It is said that he was killed on the 15th day of Nisan, which is in the spring.

Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane for proposing that he was the son of God. One of his loyal disciples is said to have tipped off the authorities by identifying Jesus by kissing him, so that they knew which person to arrest. The illicit activity was carried out under cover of darkness so as not to incense the people or cause a riot, for he had many loyal followers by that point.

To ear is human

Nonetheless his disciples are said to have put up a great fight – one even cut off one of the soldier’s ears with a sword. However, Jesus reprimanded him, saying ‘all those that take the sword shall perish by the sword’ and immediately set about healing the soldier.

Once in custody, his adversaries – high priests and elders – came out in full force and managed to whip would-be followers up into a merciless frenzy against Jesus, maybe because they were worried that he was swiping their power from right under them.

Easily led

But it seems that people who had cheered Jesus on were easily swayed to turn against him. Those who had once supported their saviour now shunned him and called for him to be crucified.

And so it came down to Pontius Pilot to make the decision. He is said to have asked for Jesus to be tortured to placate the angry mob, in the hope that that would suffice. And he was whipped with vicious instruments to within a sliver of his bloodied life. Sadly that was not enough for the hungry hordes. They wanted him dead.

But Pilot could find nothing to sentence him on so he packed him off to Herod for sentencing. Neither was he able to find a strong enough case so Herod sent him back. At a loss, Pilot then brought in another criminal in the shape of Barabbas – his crime has never really pinned down, it could have been that he was involved in rioting, where he may even have killed a man, others say he was a bandit. But whatever his crime, Barabbas was up for crucifixion too. So Pilot took advantage of the Passover tradition that one guilty man is freed back to the community – as a result Jesus and Barabbas were brought before the people and the crowd was asked to toss up between the two.

Condemned

The baying crowd chose Barabbas, thus condemning Jesus to death, to which Pilot is said to have ritualistically washed his hands as a sign that he was absolved of the guilt of sentencing an innocent man.

And so Jesus was left to drag his own method of execution up to the hill to Calvary.

You know the rest – Jesus was nailed to the cross and died a slow, painful death amid darkened, stormy skies and maybe even an earthquake according to the Book of Matthew. He was then cut down and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus are said to have buried him. Of course Jesus was resurrected, so the news wasn’t all bad.

Also on this day

3 April 1936 – Bruno Richard Hauptmann
3 April 2001 – Jason Massey

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