You might have heard from your friends, your family or from the TV what happens to criminals sent to court to be judged. It’s often difficult to understand what’s going on.

In the Bible, God’s Word, in the second part – the New Testament – you can read what happened to Jesus and how it ended in a way that is surprising.

One night, just before the feast of Passover in Jerusalem, Jesus said to his friends, “Let’s go to the garden of Gethsemane, which was not far out of the city.  Once there, Jesus went a bit further alone to pray.

Jesus became sadder and sadder, because he knew that what was about to happen would be very difficult for him. Three of his disciples – Peter, James & John – were tired and fell asleep.  When Jesus had finished praying, he woke them and said, “Get up. Let’s go. The one who is going to hand me over is here.”

While he was still speaking, Judas – one of the twelve disciples – arrived with a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, who had been sent by the chief priests and religious leaders. They arrested Jesus and all Jesus’ friends ran away, even Peter.

Jesus was taken into the courtyard of one of the leaders’ houses. A large fire had been lit, as it was a cold night.

Several people accused Jesus of saying and doing things that were forbidden.  But they were liars, hired by the leaders who wanted Jesus dead for saying that he was the son of God, the Messiah, the Christ.

What a night it had been! Peter had slipped into the crowd where he could hear and see everything that was going on. When someone recognised him as one of Jesus’ friends, Peter lied, saying, “I do not know this man!” He was afraid they would put him to death as well. The cock crowed as soon as Peter said this for the third time, and Peter remembered that Jesus had told him that would happen. He cried.

Eventually, Jesus was taken to the Roman governor and condemned to death on a cross like a thief, a criminal..Jesus, who is the Truth, who never did anyone any harm!

The soldiers hit Jesus, made fun of him, pressed a crown of thorns on his head, and then nailed him to a cross between two thieves. One of them said to Jesus, “It’s right that we are here because of our crimes, but he has done nothing wrong.” The other thief just carried on insulting Jesus.

Jesus died between the two others condemned to death.

But, you need to know, that is not the end. There were many witnesses who knew Jesus did not stay dead. He was resurrected on the third day and now he lives forever.

Death did not win. Our sins have been forgiven. Jesus has given us life!

If you can, read the gospel of John, chapters 18, 19 and 20, or ask someone to read them to you.