The Passion and Death of Jesus
by Felix Just, S.J., Ph.D.

Although the Passion Narratives of all four Gospels are similar in many ways, there are also significant differences among them. In many respects, the three Synoptics agree with each other (since Matthew and Luke are almost certainly based on Mark), while John's account is quite different, especially in matters of chronology. In other respects, while Matthew and Mark are nearly identical, Luke may differ from them and be much closer to John's account. Moreover, some well-known details, or ever whole episodes, are found in only one of the four Gospels.

OPPOSITION TO JESUS:  WHY did the authorities find Jesus to be such a great threat?

EVENTS LEADING UP TO THE PASSOVER FEAST:  What happened shortly BEFORE Jesus died?

Rudolf Koch: The Last Supper THE LAST SUPPER:  WHAT is the significance of Jesus' last meal with his disciples?

THE AGONY AND ARREST IN THE GARDEN:  WHERE and HOW was Jesus captured? Rudolf Koch: The FlagellarionTHE ACCUSATIONS AND CHARGES:  WHY was Jesus condemned to death, and BY WHOM? THE CRUCIFIXION AND DEATH:  HOW was Jesus executed? THE  BURIAL:  BY WHOM and WHEN and HOW and WHERE was Jesus buried?

A Comparative Overview of the Events of the Passion:

Note: Scripture references in square brackets indicate passages out of chronological sequence, in contrast to the other Gospels.

Pericope Mark Matthew Luke John
Chief Priests and Elders/Scribes plan to kill Jesus 14:1-2 26:1-5 22:1-2 --
Jesus is anointed at Bethany by an anonymous woman 14:3-9 26:6-13 [7:36-50] [12:1-8]
Judas arranges to betray Jesus to the Chief Priests 14:10-11 26:14-16 22:3-6 --
Jesus' Last Supper & Prayer 14:12-42 26:17-46 22:7-46 13:1—17:26
Jesus sends disciples to prepare for the Passover meal 14:12-17 26:17-20 22:7-14 --
    {During the meal, Jesus washes his disciples' feet} -- -- -- 13:1-20
    During the meal, Jesus foretells his betrayal 14:18-21 26:21-25 [22:21-23] 13:21-30
    Jesus blesses bread & wine, saying it is his body & blood 14:22-25 26:26-29 22:15-20 --
    Disciples argue about who is the greatest [10:41-45] [20:24-28] 22:24-30 --
    {Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment of love} -- -- -- 13:31-35
    Jesus foretells Peter's denial (during the Supper in Lk & Jn) (cf. below) (cf. below) 22:31-34 13:36-38
    Preparing for the end: two swords -- -- 22:35-38 --
    {Jesus' Farewell Discourses, according to John} -- -- -- 14:1—16:33
    {Jesus' Great Prayer, according to John} -- -- -- 17:1-26
Jesus foretells Peter's denial (after the Supper in Mt & Mk) 14:26-31 26:30-35 (cf. above) (cf. above)
Jesus prays at Gethsemane (at Mount of Olives in Lk) 14:32-42 26:36-46 22:39-46 [cf. 12:27]
The Arrest and Initial Questioning of Jesus 14:43—15:1 26:47—27:10 22:47—23:1 18:1-28
    Judas arrives with a mob and Jesus is arrested 14:43-50 26:47-56 22:47-53 18:1-12
    The young man with a linen cloth 14:51-52 -- -- --
    Jesus is led away to the High Priest's house 14:53 26:57 22:54a 18:13-14
    Peter enters the courtyard of the High Priest's house 14:54 26:58 22:54b-55 18:15-18
    Jesus is interrogated by the priests & elders (during the night) 14:55-64 26:59-66 -- 18:19-23
    Jesus is insulted and beaten 14:65 26:67-68 [22:63-65] [18:22]
    Peter three times denies knowing Jesus 14:66-72 26:69-75 [22:56-62] 18:17, 25-27
    The whole Sanhedrin gathers & condemns Jesus (after dawn) 15:1a 27:1 22:66-71 [18:24]
Jesus is delivered to Pilate 15:1b 27:2 23:1 18:28
Judas repents, returns the silver pieces, and kills himself -- 27:3-10 -- --
The Trial of Jesus before Pilate & The Road to Calvary 15:2-21 27:11-32 23:2-32 18:29—19:17
    Accusations are brought against Jesus [15:3] [27:12] 23:2, 5, 14 18:29-32
    Pilate questions Jesus initially 15:2-5 27:11-14 23:3 18:33-38a
    Jesus is brought before Herod Antipas -- -- 23:6-12 --
    Pilate asserts Jesus' innocence -- -- 23:4, 13-16, 22 18:38b; 19:4,6,12
    Releasing Jesus or Barabbas? 15:6-14 27:15-23 23:17-23 18:39-40
    Pilate washes his hands -- 27:24-25 -- --
    {Trial before Pilate continues: "Behold the Man!"} -- -- -- 19:1-15
    Barabbas is released 15:15a 27:26a 23:24-25a --
    Jesus is scourged 15:15b 27:26b [23:22b] [19:1]
    Pilate delivers Jesus to be crucified 15:15c 27:26c 23:25b 19:16
    Jesus is mocked by the soldiers 15:16-20a 27:27-31a [23:36b] [19:2-3]
Jesus is led away to be crucified 15:20b 27:31b 23:26a, 32 19:17
    Simon of Cyrene is compelled to carry Jesus' cross 15:21 27:32 23:26b --
    Jesus speaks with women from Jerusalem -- -- 23:27-31 --
The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus 15:22-41 27:33-56 23:33-49 19:18-37
    They arrive at Golgotha, the place of the Skull 15:22 27:33 23:33a [cf. 19:17b]
    Jesus is offered drugged wine, but refuses to drink 15:23 27:34 -- --
    Jesus is crucified 15:24a 27:35a 23:33b 19:18a
    Jesus forgives those who crucify him -- -- 23:34a --
    Soldiers divide Jesus' garments 15:24b-25 27:35b-36 23:34b [19:23-25a]
    Inscription with the charge: "...The King of the Jews" 15:26 27:37 [23:38] 19:19-22
    Two criminals are crucified along with Jesus 15:27 [+28] 27:38 [23:33c] [19:18b]
    Jesus is derided on the cross, even by the criminals 15:29-32 27:39-44 23:35-37, 39 --
    The Repentant Thief dialogues with Jesus -- -- 23:40-43 --
    Darkness covers the land 15:33 27:45 23:44-45 --
    Jesus cries out: "My God, my God, why...? " 15:34-35 27:46-47 -- --
    Jesus is offered a sponge with vinegar 15:36 27:48-49 [23:36b] 19:28-30a
    Jesus' last cry and his death 15:37 27:50 23:46 19:30b
    The temple curtain is torn in two 15:38 27:51a [23:45] --
    The earthquake and open tombs -- 27:51b-52 -- --
    The centurion's testimony 15:39 27:54 23:47 --
    Bystanders return home beating their breasts -- -- 23:48 --
    Women who witness the crucifixion 15:40-41 27:55-56 23:49 [19:25b-27]
    Jesus' side is pierced, but his bones are not broken -- -- -- 19:31-37
The Burial of Jesus 15:42-47 27:57-61 23:50-56 19:38-42
Guards are placed at the tomb -- 27:62-66
[cf. 28:11-15]
-- --

Color highlighting indicates episodes found in only one (two) of the Gospels, or significantly different in those Gospels, when contrasted with the others.
Click here for further explanation of the Color Analysis used above.

See also my comparison of The Death of Jesus in Mark vs. John.

Continue with The Resurrection of Jesus in the Four Gospels


References to Jesus' Passion and Death in Non-Christian Sources:

Old Testament Allusions:

Early Jewish Sources:

Greco-Roman Sources:

 


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