This page is part of the Death of Jesus curriculum unit.
Suggested lesson plans are available for each session at the following pages:
Permission is given for this material to used, with or without modification under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Australia License. Acknowledgement of its source (including a link to this page) is requested.
Suggestions for Lesson Two
The focus this lesson should be on the biblical passages that provide us with information about the death of Jesus, as students need to be familiar with these texts.
They are listed here in what I consider to be the order of their composition rather than their order in the NT:
- 1 Corinthians 15:1–11
- Mark 14:1–15:47
- Matthew 26:1-27:66
- John [13:1–17:26] 18:1–19:42
- Luke 22:1–23:56
You may find it especially helpful to provide students with copies of the epiodes set out in parallel columns when studying these text:
- John Dominic Crossan, ed. Sayings Parallels. A Workbook for the Jesus Tradition. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1986.
- Gregory C. Jenks, Passion Parallels: The arrest, trial and death of Jesus in the earlirst Gospel traditions. A workbook for students. Unpublished workbook, 2001. rev 2006.
Students need to work through the stories carefully, paying particular attention to the following items and making notes for their own reference later:
- the date (or relative sequencing) of the texts
- are these independent witness accounts or are they dependent on earlier versions?
- any variations in detail between the accounts
- who do these stories blame for the death of Jesus?
- can we identify any motives they might have in telling the story as they did?
- how reliable are these documents for our inquiry?
Most scholars seem to think that Jesus' symbolic entry into Jerusalem—followed by the incident in the Jerusalem temple, when Jesus condemned the corruption of its activities and created some kind of a public disturbance—played a key role in the process leading to his death. These events are commemorated each year on Palm Sunday, at the beginning of Holy Week. You may wish to show the “Palm Sunday” segment from the BBC Son of God series.