Bible Study in Simple English 3: The Death of Jesus

Lesson 3, Section 1

Read this report by Matthew. He was one of the first twelve followers of Jesus. He wrote what he saw Jesus do and what he heard Jesus say. Look at the vocabulary list for help with new or special words and phrases (bolded words are defined below). Then write answers to the questions.

From that time on Jesus began to tell His followers that He had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. These hard things would come from the leaders and from the head religious leaders of the Jews and from the teachers of the Law. He told them He would be killed and three days later He would be raised from the dead. Peter took Jesus away from the others and spoke sharp words to Him. He said, “Never, Lord! This must not happen to You!” Then Jesus turned to Peter and said, “…You are standing in My way. You are not thinking how God thinks. You are thinking how man thinks” (Matthew 16:21-23).

  • head - Here this word does not mean a part of the body. Here it means the main or most important.
  • Jerusalem - The main city of the Jews at the time of Jesus.
  • Peter - A leader of Jesus’s first followers.
  • religious leaders - Leaders who told people what to think and do about God. Religion is what people think and do about God or gods.
  • sharp words - Words that can hurt.

1.    What did Jesus say was going to happen to Him when He went to Jerusalem?

2.    Did Peter want these things to happen to Jesus? Explain your answer.

Lesson 3, Section 2

Read the report. Look at the vocabulary list for help with new or special words and phrases (bolded words are defined below). Then write answers to the questions.

Judas, one of the twelve followers, came while Jesus was talking. He came with many others who had swords and sticks. They came from the religious leaders of the Jews and the leaders of the people. The man who handed Jesus over gave the men something to look for. He said, “The One I kiss is the One you want. Take Him!” At once Judas went up to Jesus and said, “Hello, Teacher,” and kissed Him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came and put their hands on Jesus and took Him (Matthew 26:47-50).

  • Judas - A follower of Jesus.
  • sticks - Long pieces of wood used to hit and hurt people. This kind of stick is called a club.
  • sword - A long piece of metal, made hard and sharp to cut people.

3.    How did the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem find Jesus?

4.    Did Jesus try to stop them?

Lesson 3, Section 3

Read these reports of Mark and John, and answer the questions. John was one of Jesus’s first twelve followers. Mark was a follower of Peter, an early leader of the first twelve followers of Jesus. Look at the vocabulary list for help with new or special words and phrases (bolded words are defined below). Then write answers to the questions.

Early in the morning the head religious leaders of the Jews and other leaders and the teachers of the Law and all the court gathered together to talk about Jesus. Then they tied up Jesus and led Him away. They handed Him over to Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He said to Pilate, “What you say is true” (Mark 15:1-2).

Jesus said, “My holy nation does not belong to this world. If my holy nation were of this world, My helpers would fight so I would not be handed over to the Jews…You are right when you say that I am a King…I came into the world for this reason” (John 18:36-37).

Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him beaten. The soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head. They put a purple coat on Him. Then they said, “Hello, King of the Jews!” and hit Him with their hands...

The religious leaders and the soldiers saw Him. They spoke with loud voices, “Nail Him to a cross! Nail Him to a cross!” Pilate said, “Take Him yourselves and nail Him to a cross. As for me, I do not find Him guilty.” The Jews said to Pilate, “We have a Law that says He should die because He has said He is the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard them say this, he was more afraid. He went into the court room again. He said to Jesus, “Where do you come from?” Jesus did not say a word. Pilate said, “Will You not speak to me? Do You not know that I have the right and the power to nail You to a cross? I have the right and the power to let You go free also.” Jesus said, “You would not have any right or power over Me if it were not given you from above…” (John 19:1-3, 6-11).

  • cross - Two long pieces of wood put together to make a “T.” This was used by Roman leaders to kill people. First a Roman leader had to say that a man was guilty of breaking the law. Then Roman soldiers put the man on a cross. To do this they put nails through his hands and feet. Then the soldiers lifted up the cross and put its lower part in the ground. This left the man hanging on the cross with great pain until he died.
  • crown - A hat or circle of something that is usually valuable and beautiful. A king wears it on his head to show that he is a king.
  • holy nation* - God’s kingdom. This is not a place that can be seen. It is the hearts of people and angels ruled by God.
  • nail - To put together with a nail. A nail is a small piece of metal that is sharp at one end and flat on the other. A carpenter uses nails to put together pieces of wood.
  • Pilate - The Roman governor or ruler of Jerusalem and the area around it. The Jewish leaders ruled under him.
  • soldiers - Men who get paid to fight for kings and other leaders.

5.    What did the Jewish leaders do with Jesus? What reason did the Jewish leaders give for wanting Pilate to kill Jesus?

6.    When Pilate asked Jesus if He was King of the Jews, what did Jesus answer?

7.    What did Pilate have his soldiers do to Jesus? Then what did Pilate say to the Jewish leaders about Jesus? Why did he change his mind after that?

8.    Pilate told Jesus that he had the right and power to kill Jesus or to free him. What did Jesus answer? Now think about Jesus’s answer. What do you think that Jesus meant?

Lesson 3, Section 4

Read the reports below by Mark, Luke, and John, and write answers to the questions. Luke was a close friend of Paul who was another leader of Jesus’s followers. (See Lesson 4 for more about Luke and Paul.) Look at the vocabulary list for help with new or special words and phrases (bolded words are defined below). Then write answers to the questions.

They led Jesus to a place called Golgotha. This name means the place of the skull. They gave Him wine with something in it to take away the pain, but He would not drink it. When they had nailed Jesus to the cross, they divided His clothes [among themselves]…Over Jesus’ head they put in writing what they had against Him, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

They nailed two robbers on crosses beside Jesus. One was on His right side and the other was on His left side…

Those who walked by shook their heads and laughed at Jesus. They said, “…Save yourself and come down from the cross.”

The head religious leaders and the teachers of the Law made fun of Him also. They said to each other, “He saved others but He cannot save Himself. Let Christ, the King of the Jews, come down from the cross. We want to see it and then we will believe…” (Mark 15:22-24, 26-27, 29-32).

It was dark over all the earth from noon until three o’clock. The sun did not shine…Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I give my spirit.” When He said this, He died (Luke 23:44-46).

…The Jews went to Pilate and asked to have the legs of the men broken. They wanted their bodies taken away so they would not be hanging on the crosses on the Day of Rest. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other one who had been nailed to crosses beside Jesus. They came to Jesus. They saw He was already dead so they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pushed a spear into His side. Blood and water ran out. The one who saw it is writing this and what he says is true (John 19:31-35).

  • blood - The red liquid that comes out of your body when it is cut. See the answer to Lesson 3, Question 10 for information about the “water.”
  • Day of Rest* - The special worship day of the week for Jews. It started at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on the next day. The Jewish leaders wanted to make death come faster. Jews who touched dead bodies on the Day of Rest could not worship on that same day. So the dead bodies had to be put away before the start of the Day of Rest.
  • Golgotha - A small hill outside Jerusalem where the Roman leaders killed people.
  • robbers - Men who hurt people to take away their money and other good things.
  • skull - The set of bones inside a person’s head.
  • spear - A very long piece of strong metal with a sharp point. It was a weapon made for a soldier to kill people.

9.    Putting Jesus on a cross made Jesus suffer very much. What else happened to him that made Him suffer?

10.  How did the soldiers make sure that Jesus was dead?

Lesson 3, Section 5

Read these reports by Matthew and Luke. Look at the vocabulary list for help with new or special words and phrases (bolded words are defined below). Then write answers to the questions.

When it was evening, a rich man came from the city of Arimathea. His name was Joseph. He was a follower of Jesus also. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate said that the body should be given to him. Joseph took the body and put clean linen cloth around it. He laid it in his own new grave. This grave had been cut out in the side of a rock. He pushed a big stone over the door of the grave and went away (Matthew 27:57-60).

The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed behind. They saw the grave and how His body was laid. They went back and got some spices and perfumes ready. But they rested on the Day of Rest as the Law said to do (Luke 23:55-56).

  • grave - A hole cut into the side of a hill for putting a dead body.
  • Joseph of Arimathea - This rich man was not Joseph the carpenter, the human father of Jesus.
  • linen - A kind of cloth that is strong and beautiful. It is made from the flax plant. This plant is taller than the better known cotton plant and grows in cooler areas.
  • spices and perfumes - Things to help a dead body smell better and get dry. Because they cost much money, they also showed honor to the dead person.

11.  What happened to the body of Jesus?

Lesson Three Answers

1.    Jesus said that three things would happen to him in Jerusalem: The leaders in Jerusalem would make him suffer many things. He would be killed. Three days later he would be raised from the dead.

2.    No, Peter did not want these things to happen to Jesus in Jerusalem. Peter was not thinking how God thinks. More information: Peter and the other followers wanted Jesus to make the Romans leave Jerusalem and the rest of the Jewish country. But Jesus had a better plan.

3.    Judas, a follower of Jesus, led men with swords and sticks to Jesus. These men, who were from the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem, took Jesus. More information: Judas turned against Jesus for money. (See Matthew 26:14-16.)

4.    No, Jesus did not try to stop Judas and the men with him.

5.    They talked about Jesus and then tied Him up and took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor. They wanted Pilate to kill Jesus because Jesus said He was the Son of God. It was against Jewish law for a man to say this.

6.    Jesus said that He was King of the Jews but that His holy nation or kingdom was not of this world.

7.    Pilate had his soldiers beat Jesus, call him “King of the Jews,” and hit him with their hands. Then Pilate told the Jewish leaders that Jesus was not guilty. Pilate changed his mind because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. They said that Jesus had broken their law. More information: Pilate was afraid because the Jewish leaders could give him trouble. Pilate first had his soldiers hurt Jesus because he hoped that this would make the Jewish leaders happy. Then he would not have to kill Jesus. Roman leaders often beat people who were not Romans to make them tell the truth.

8.    Jesus said that Pilate had been given right and power over him “from above.” By this phrase, Jesus meant that it was not the Roman king but God who had given Pilate this right and power.

9.    Roman soldiers took away Jesus’s clothes. He was put between two robbers, men who had done bad things. The leaders and other people laughed at Him. He had called himself King of the Jews. But there He was, looking helpless to them.

10.  When a soldier put the sharp point of a spear into the side of Jesus, “blood and water” came out. Then the soldier knew that Jesus was dead. John, a follower of Jesus, also saw it happen. He knew what it meant. He wrote the report about it. More information: Breaking a person’s legs makes him die on a cross very fast. He cannot push up to breathe. But Jesus had died already. Both a red liquid and a clear liquid (“water”) came out of a deep cut in his side. Doctors and other people who understand dead bodies know that this is a true sign of death.

11.  Pilate said that Joseph of Arimathea could take the body of Jesus. Joseph, a rich follower of Jesus, took the body, put a linen cloth around it, and put it in Joseph’s own grave. This was a new grave cut out of the side of a rock. Some women had come with Jesus from His home in Galilee. They followed Joseph and saw where he laid the body. The women planned to take some spices and perfumes for the body after the Day of Rest.

Scriptures Referenced

Matthew 16:21-23
Matthew 26:47-50
Mark 15:1-2
Mark 15:22-32
John 18:36-37
John 19:1-11
John 19:31-35
Luke 23:44-46
Luke 23:55-56
Matthew 27:57-60