But what was the role of Jesus himself in what happened to him?
If you believe the evangelists, he purposefully walked towards precisely this goal, that is, execution. Already in Galilee, he explained to the apostles that he was going to Jerusalem to die and then be resurrected. On the way, he explained to them the details about the Kingdom of Heaven and his Second Coming.
During the Last Supper and in the Garden of Gethsemane, the apostles noticed that Jesus was very afraid of the upcoming execution, but at the same time, he was striving to fulfill his plan at any cost. To ensure that there is no mistake in identification, Jesus instructs Judas, his treasurer, to hand him over.
When the high priest’s servants and soldiers arrived in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus ordered his numerous followers not to resist, even though some of them were armed (one of Jesus’ supporters cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant with a sword).
After such an order from the Teacher, the apostles fled shamefully. I do not rule out that this order itself was invented by the apostles to justify themselves before future generations of Christians. At the same time, they accused the treasurer Judas, whom they hated for his tight-fistedness, of betrayal. However, at that moment the apostles might not have known that their Teacher would be killed because he was protected by the Prophet’s halo. Namely, they will discuss again and let him go, like last time.
But they were cruelly mistaken. Jesus himself did everything in his power to be executed. At his trial before the high priest, he gave decisive testimony against himself:
Matthew 26 63 Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to Him: I adjure You by the living God, tell us, Are You the Christ, the Son of God?
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast spoken; I even say to you: from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He is blaspheming!” What more need do we need witnesses? Behold, now you have heard His blasphemy!
66 what do you think? They answered and said: He is guilty of death.
As for Pontius Pilate’s hesitations, they can be explained by several reasons. First, the Jewish religious elite, and especially the high priest, were rivals of the Roman prefect in the struggle for power and income. Prefect Pontius would prefer the formula “to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to the prefect what is prefect’s,” and no expensive Jewish god! It is no coincidence that he demonstratively interfered with the cult in the Temple and offended the religious feelings of Jewish believers. The pagans (Greek and Roman colonists) enjoyed economic privileges and government support in their disputes with the local population.
So the revolutionary Jesus could also become an ally of Pontius. Where did the story about Pontius’ wife Procula come from? Maybe Jesus’ supporters tried to influence the prefect through his wife, using money as an argument? Or did the authorities have older connections with the revolutionary Jesus?
After all, it was not for nothing that he provided services to the Roman centurion in Galilee. It turns out that they knew each other… Maybe Jesus was counting on his connections with the Romans, and that’s why he so boldly went to the high priest for trial? After all, only a Roman could execute him, and not a Jewish high priest.
As we know, Pontius decided to execute Jesus because he declared that he was the King of Judea. Of course, Jesus knew full well that the Roman prefect would execute him for such a statement. After all, quite recently the Romans liquidated the kingdom of Judea, which Herod left behind.
Thanks to this operation, the Romans were able to receive taxes that had previously gone to Herod’s treasury. With these taxes, Herod was able to build the magnificent Temple of Jerusalem, a new city and port for Caesar, the fortress-palaces of Herodion and Masada, and even make expensive gifts, building magnificent temples in different cities of the Eastern Mediterranean.
Pontius received his position as prefect only because the King of Judea was removed from office. And here comes this arrogant revolutionary who tried to take the income from the priests of the Temple, and now threatens to take his place, Pontius, becoming the king of this income-generating province! And all this only because he can do miracles and declared himself the god of these frail Jews who write books instead of playing sports and practicing with a sword! As befits real men!
Although, on the other hand, there are rumors that his father is a Roman soldier… Maybe give him Roman citizenship and use him for his own purposes? But he wants to push him, Pontius, out of office…
The Evangelist John claims that Pontius went out to the crowd of Jews three times and declared that he did not find Jesus guilty. Perhaps he really hesitated, but Jesus himself left him no choice. It turns out that he wanted to be hanged on the cross!
But before the crucifixion, he had to go through considerable trials. The Roman soldiers mocked him, playing the “fool king.” They dressed him for laughter in a purple robe (royal robe), and a crown of thorns, and mocked him, playing at worshiping the king. True, he did not have to bear his cross; this was entrusted to a random person.
The hanging on the cross in the Gospel of Mark is described very sparingly. We learn that because of the approaching Saturday (it was Friday afternoon), Jesus and the thieves executed with him were taken down earlier than usual, seven hours after the crucifixion. Somewhere in the middle of this period, Jesus awoke and died. Or did he pretend to die? Let us remember that Jesus was an expert in miracles, and knew how to inspire entire crowds with what he wanted to inspire.
Since the Roman soldiers believed that he was dead, they did not break his legs, like other executed people. True, they pierced his side with a spear and decided that he was really dead. Then they took him down from the cross and gave the body to a man, who took it to himself and placed it in a burial cave.
Well, then came the resurrection! Jesus communicated with his disciples and with his women, let Thomas the Unbeliever touch his unhealed wounds… And disappeared. True, not for long. The second time he appeared to his disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, and then disappeared completely.
The disciples and women of Jesus confidently declared that they communicated with the Teacher after his resurrection. Allegedly, a whole crowd of his supporters saw him. So maybe he didn’t die on the cross? Simply, he staged another “miracle”, his resurrection, because he was an expert at these things.
Of course, this was a very risky undertaking, and it was not for nothing that he was afraid. But he received the desired prize: he was recognized as a god!