The history of Christ’s Passion comprises three parts: the preparation for the Passion, the trial of Jesus, and His death.
Jesus prepares His disciples for the Passion, He prepares Himself for the ordeal and His enemies prepare themselves for the destruction of Jesus.
Preparation of the apostles
Jesus prepares His Apostles for the Passion by the eating of the paschal lamb, the institution of the Holy Eucharist, the concomitant ceremonies, and His lengthy discourses held during and after the Last Supper. Special mention should be made of the prediction of the Passion, and of the betrayal one of the Apostles and the denial by another. Peter, James, and John are prepared in a more particular manner by witnessing the sorrow of Jesus on Mt. Olivet.
Preparation of Jesus
Jesus must have found an indirect preparation in all He did and said to strengthen His Apostles. But the preparation that was peculiarly His own consisted in His prayer in the grotto of His Agony where the angel came to strengthen Him. The sleep of His favoured Apostles during the hours of His bitter struggle must have prepared Him too for the complete abandonment He was soon to experience.
Preparation of the enemies
Judas leaves the Master during the Last Supper. The chief priests and Pharisees hastily collect a detachment of the Roman cohort stationed in the castle of Antonia, of the Jewish temple-watch, and of the officials of the Temple. To these are added a number of the servants and dependents of the high-priest, and a miscellaneous multitude of fanatics with lanterns and torches, with swords and clubs, who were to follow the leadership of Judas. They took Christ, bound Him, and led Him to the high-priest’s house.
The Passion of Jesus: the trial
Jesus was tried first before an ecclesiastical and then before a civil tribunal.
Before ecclesiastical court
The ecclesiastical trial includes Christ’s appearance before Annas, before Caiphas, and again before Caiphas, who appears to have acted in each case as head of the Sanhedrin. The Jewish court found Jesus guilty of blasphemy, and condemned Him to death, though its proceedings were illegal from more than one point of view. During the trial took place Peter’s triple denial of Jesus; Jesus is insulted and mocked, especially between the second and third session; and after His final condemnation Judas despaired and met his tragic death.
Before the civil court
The civil trial, too, comprised three sessions, the first before Pilate, the second before Herod, the third again before Pilate.
Jesus is not charged with blasphemy before the court of Pilate, but with stirring up the people, forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and claiming to be Christ the king. Pilate ignores the first two charges; the third he finds harmless when he sees that Jesus does not claim royalty in the Roman sense of the word.
But in order not to incur the odium of the Jewish leaders, the Roman governor sends his prisoner to Herod. As Jesus did not humour the curiosity of Herod, He was mocked and set at naught by the Tetrarch of Galilee and his court, and sent back to Pilate.