Central to any interpretation of the New Testament is an understanding of the trial and resurrection of Jesus. Everything in the Gospels builds to the concluding hours of his life, and virtually everything in Christianity turns on how one views these critical events.The death of Jesus, however, is not easy to understand. From the beginning, it was difficult for many of his followers to understand and accept. Most messianic expectations assumed that the Anointed One would come in a glorious fashion, even though Isaiah 53 had prophesied otherwise; and the fact that Jesus was hung on a tree was a scandal to many, who used this shameful execution in denigrating him.
In light of the importance and complexity of these historic moments, it is not surprising that the four Gospels take different approaches to these far-reaching events. Consistent with the varying approaches taken in the Gospels generally (see charts 7-2 and 7-3), each of the four Gospels emphasizes different aspects of the trial and death of Jesus. Luke consistently features humanitarian and public elements; Matthew draws upon Israelite factors; Mark gives a straightforward, powerful account; and John consistently directs attention toward eternal and divine elements.
John W. Welch, “Latter-day Saint Reflections on the Trial and Death of Jesus,” Clark Memorandum (fall 2000): 2-13.
“Passion Week,” WRC, 41-46.