What happened in the last hours before Jesus' death?
The last hours before Jesus' death were spent with His disciples, in the Garden of Gethsemane, on trial, traveling to His place of crucifixion, and finally hanging on the cross.
The night before He died, Jesus and His disciples celebrated Passover in the upper room of a residence (Luke 22:7-13). Before they began supper, Jesus showed His disciples His care for them by kneeling down and washing their feet—a task usually reserved for the lowliest household servant (John 13:1-5). Jesus' act of service included Judas Iscariot, who would later leave supper in order to betray Jesus.
After the foot-washing, the men partook in the traditional Passover dinner. This particular Passover marked Jesus' institution of the Lord's Supper (Communion). Alluding to His death, He declared that the bread represented His broken body and the cup represented His blood (Matthew 26:26-29). During the supper, Jesus predicted Judas's betrayal, and Judas left the meal.
When supper was finished, Jesus and His disciples moved to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus spent time in anguished prayer, anticipating the events that would soon occur. His disciples slept, even though Jesus asked them to stay up and pray (Luke 22:45-46). While they were in the garden, Judas returned with a crowd and betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Jesus was then arrested, accused of blasphemy, and put on trial.
The next hours were agonizing. Beginning before 6:00am, Jesus was subjected to harsh interrogation, beaten, spit on, mocked, brutally whipped, and finally convicted and made to carry His cross to His own crucifixion. He was nailed by His hands (or wrists) and feet to the cross and left hanging for hours before He died.
While on the cross, Jesus spoke to people, including one of the two thieves who hung beside Him. This thief defended Jesus from the taunting of the other; and because of his belief, Jesus promised that he would be with Him in "paradise" that same day (Luke 23:39-43). Jesus also spoke to His disciple John, asking Him to take care of His mother (John 19:26-27).
At noon, an unnatural darkness covered the land (Mark 15:33). At 1:00pm, Jesus cried out: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" An hour later, He said, "It is finished." He then died.
While this is a description of Jesus' last hours before His crucifixion and death, it does not describe His final hours on earth. Three days after Jesus died, He was resurrected from the dead and He appeared before His disciples and hundreds of other witnesses. He stayed on earth 40 days (Acts 1:3), then ascended into heaven to rule at the right hand of the Father (Luke 24:50-51).
The entire account of Jesus' final hours before His crucifixion, His death, and His resurrection is recorded in all four Gospels: Matthew 26–28; Mark 14–16; Luke 22–24; John 13–21.
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