The chief priests cry out at the top of their voices, ‘His blood be on us and on our children.’
Pilate then orders Jesus to be beaten with many stripes and given to the Jews for crucifixion.
Jesus is taken to the common hall, stripped of His own garment and a scarlet robe thrown over His shoulders.   A reed-sceptre is placed in His hand, and a crown of thorns pushed hard upon His brow.  The soldiers then mock the Saviour on bended knee, ‘Hail, King of the Jews.’
After tiring of their sport, the men lead Jesus away to be crucified.

                        ***************************************************

‘Oh, this is horrible’, cries Jeannette.
‘Poor Jesus is suffering so much’, sobs Kevin. ‘And it’s all for us.’
‘I don’t think I will be able to watch the crucifixion’, groans Summer.
‘No, me either’, sighs Jeannette.
The children dry their tears, but their eyes well up again.
‘Children’, says Oma, ‘if you don’t want to watch the crucifixion, that’s okay.’
‘Jesus will understand won’t He?’ suggests Kevin.
‘Yes’, replies Oma.   ‘Watch as long as you can, then turn away.   I will be doing the same.’
‘We want to watch, but we don’t’, admits Summer. ‘It’s hard isn’t it?’
‘Children, the most important thing is to never forget what Jesus has done for us.’
‘I love Him’, says Kevin.

                                           Chapter 25

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     Chapter 25

Peter rushes out of the court yard, tears streaming down his cheeks.

He runs through the dark streets of Jerusalem to Gethsemane, and falling on the ground where Jesus had prayed in agony, the repentant disciple weeps bitterly.
Inside the council rooms, the men continue discussing what to do.  It is against Jewish law to charge a man by his own testimony.     It is also illegal  to  decide  a case  during the  night.    After  consideration they accept the charge as valid, and make plans to meet again when the sun rises in the morning.
For the next few hours, Jesus is placed in a holding room.    He is not permitted to rest in peace, but is made sport of by the soldiers.
The Saviour suffers greatly.

At the rising of the sun, Caiaphas and the chief priests meet in the council room, and again ask Jesus if He is the Son of God.
Jesus answers as He did earlier, and the official charge is recorded.
Claims to be the Son of God
Knowing they cannot crucify a man, the assembly makes its way to Pilate’s palace.  It is still early, and when the servants awaken the governor, he is not in the best of moods.
‘What is so urgent?’ he grunts.
‘The high priest Caiaphas has brought a man condemned by the Jewish council.  They need your approval for crucifixion.’
Quickly dressing, Pilate enters the room where Jesus is being held by Roman  soldiers.      He  takes  one  look  at  Jesus’  innocent  face,  and realises the guilt is with the wily Jewish priests and not the prisoner.
From that moment, Pilate attempts to release Jesus.
He goes outside to the delegation of priests and asks, ‘What is the charge?’
Caiaphas answers.  ‘If He wasn’t condemned we wouldn’t have brought Him to you.’  His answer is evasive.
Other priests call out, ‘Crucify Him. He’s perverting the nation. He says He’s the king of the Jews.’
The mob that followed the Jewish leaders begins to chant, ‘Crucify Him.   Crucify, crucify Him. Crucify Him. Crucify Him. Crucify, crucify Him.’
Pilate is confused.
Standing before Jesus, he asks, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’
‘You said it.’
‘Why   don’t   you   answer   the   charges?         Don’t   you   hear   their accusations?’[

Jesus remains silent.
Pilate is troubled.   He wants to release Jesus, but he has tried everything. Nothing has worked.
He faces the Jewish leaders again, ‘What will I do with Jesus?’
They cry out with a passion, ‘Crucify Him.  Crucify Him.’
What can Pilate do?       These priests could ruin his reputation with Caesar if they don’t have their way.
After going back and forth between Jesus and the Jewish hierarchy the governor sits down on the judgment seat and asks for a basin of water. Pilate then washes his hands and says before all, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just man; you see to it.’

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The Illegal Trial

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Oma and Summer wonder if they will be able to find the green planet. They bow in prayer together, asking for strength and directions.
Meeting Jeannette and Kevin they head in the direction of the planet.
‘I am not sure which way’, calls Oma to the children.   ‘Does anyone remember?’
‘I think it’s this way’, shouts Jeannette.  Everyone follows her, but after some time, they realise their direction is wrong.
‘Oh dear, I think we are lost’, calls Kevin.

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Immediately a rooster crows.
Instinctively, Peter turns to look inside the hall. He

sees someone slap Jesus across the face.

His heart is broken.

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Suddenly Summer sees an angel.  ‘Ooooh, angel.  Angel, can you help us?’ she calls.
The angel stops his flight and flies towards the children. ‘Where do you want to go?’
‘We are looking for the green planet’, they say together.
‘You are going the wrong way.    If you head in the direction of that bright star over there, you will see it soon.’

Go to Chapter 26

The Cruel Cross

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‘Thank you so much’, smiles Oma.   ‘Come, let us fly in the direction of the star.’
Soon they are in sight of the green planet and their feet drift down to the soft grass.   ‘Well, we are here.  I think we should have a prayer to thank God an angel happened to fly in our direction’, suggests Oma.
After prayer, the children walk among the trees, hoping to see Meilon and Betil.   They are disappointed; the angels are nowhere to be seen.
‘Do you think they have deserted us altogether?’ asks Jeannette.
‘No’, states Summer.  ‘They wouldn’t do that.’
‘Of course they wouldn’t’, adds Kevin.

‘Stay positive Jeannette and believe this is happening for a reason.’
‘You are right.  I will do that’, agrees Jeannette.

                        *****************************************************
 
In heaven, every angel is maintaining a watch of their beloved Commander.  While He is suffering on earth they cannot go to Him, neither can they busy themselves with normal activities.  They cannot even meet with the children on the green planet.
Their hearts are aching.
The Father is keeping watch over the children.  When He saw them losing their way, He sent an angel to give directions.  Nothing is missed by the Father.
And nothing of His Son’s suffering goes unnoticed either.
Sin is so evil, the Father must withdraw His presence from His Son.  He has had to place the sins of every human being on Him, and it broke the Father’s heart.    No longer can His beams of light encourage and strengthen His innocent Son.
God’s Son must suffer alone.
As the Father listens to His Son’s pleas to save man by some other means, His heart aches.   He must remain silent; there is no other way.
When it was discussed in the heavenly councils the Son understood perfectly, but in His humanity, the guilt of man’s sin has overwhelmed Him. He fears His humanity will not cope with the final scenes.    His greatest fear is that the vileness of sin will cut Him off from His Father for eternity.
The  Saviour  cannot  see  victory  on  the  other  side  of  the  tomb  for Himself, but by faith He believes His death will save mankind.
The Son submits to His Father’s will, believing He Himself will be lost.

                           **************************************************


Jesus is pushed along the narrow streets to the council rooms, first to meet with Annas, then Caiaphas and the committee.
Judas follows, clutching his money bag.
The disciples have left the garden, but John returns to follow Jesus. Peter cautiously follows behind him.
John sits in a quiet corner where He can watch the proceedings.  Peter is uneasy.     He doesn’t want to be recognised as a disciple, so he mingles with the servants.
Inside the council room, Jesus is being interrogated.   A charge must be found  against  Him.     False witnesses  are  brought  in,  but  they are evasive and often contradict each other.   Caiaphas is at a loss to know what to do.    A charge must be found to bring before the Jewish nation, and a charge acceptable to Rome.
Jesus stands quietly before Caiaphas, patiently waiting the final stage of His passion.
The hall is noisy as men argue and debate. Tensions mount.
One of the false witnesses states under oath, ‘We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’
Others who also claimed to hear Jesus speak these words disagree entirely. ‘No, He did not say that. He said….’
The chief priests and the council try for two hours to find witnesses whose stories sound credible. But none are found.
Caiaphas asks Jesus, ‘Do you say nothing when these witnesses testify against you?’
Jesus answers not a word.
The high priest then stands to his feet and with pomp and great importance states, ‘Under oath, before the living God, tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’
Jesus looks at Him and answers, ‘I am.    You will see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of God in power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’
In anger Caiaphas tears his priestly robe, something a high priest is never permitted to do.
He then announces to the council, ‘He has spoken blasphemy.  What further need have we of witnesses?   You heard His blasphemy.  What do you say?’
The men cry out in unison, ‘He is guilty of death.
After the verdict is given, the men lose all dignity and reason. Rushing towards Jesus, they push and shove Him.  Some spit upon Him. Others slap His face.
‘Hey Messiah, prophesy to us.’
‘Who hit you?  Prophesy.’
Jesus remains silent.
Suddenly  there  is  a  piercing  scream.       A  man  runs  frantically  to Caiaphas.   It is Judas.   He throws the silver on the floor and yells, ‘Let Him go. I have betrayed innocent blood.’
The high priest is startled.
His hypocrisy has been revealed and he doesn’t know what to do.   In his embarrassment he blurts out, ‘What is that to us?’   He scorns the traitor.
In  desperation,  Judas  turns  to  Jesus.       He  throws  himself  at the Saviour’s feet, and with tears streaming down his face, cries, ‘Master, release yourself.’
Jesus looks sadly at Judas.   ‘This is why I came into the world.’
The traitor can bear his guilt no longer.    He runs from the hall and finding a rope, hangs himself on a tree.

                        *******************************************************

Outside the hall, it is cold.  In the early hours of the morning, Peter sits with the servants around the fire.
One of the ladies looks at him.
‘Say, you are a disciple, aren’t you?’
Peter looks at her dumbfounded.  He replies, ‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’
The disciple gets up from the fire and walks towards to the porch.   A young lady notices him and says to a friend, ‘Hey, this fellow was with Jesus.  I saw him.’
Peter answers with an oath, ‘I don’t know the man.’
A little while later, some of the men recognise Peter.   

‘You are one of them.  Your speech betrays you.’ 

Denying it, Peter begins to curse and swear.