Trials and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Matthew 26:57-64, 27:11-14; Isaiah 53:1-8; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 23:1-6, 46; John 18:19-24; 1 Peter 2:21-25
An unprecedented conspiracy of injustice, cruelty of religious and political interests sentenced a man guilty of no crimes to the most barbaric method of execution ever devised. The victim was no mere man. Jesus was God in the flesh. The Creator of life died. How did such a thing come to be?
There were six parts to Jesus’ trial: three stages in a religious court (John 18:19-24; Matthew 26:57) and three stages before a Roman court (John 18:28).
Jesus was tried before Annas, the former high priest; Caiaphas, the current high priest and the Sanhedrin. He was charged in these “ecclesiastical” trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah.
The trials before Jewish authorities, the religious trials, showed the degree to which the Jewish leaders hated Him because they carelessly disregarded many of their own laws. There were several illegalities involved in these trials from the perspective of Jewish law:
(1) No trial was to be held during feast time.
(2) Each member of the court was to vote individually to convict or acquit, but Jesus was convicted by acclamation.
(3) If the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out; however, only a few hours passed before Jesus was placed on the Cross.
(4) The Jews had no authority to execute anyone.
(5) No trial was to be held at night, but this trial was held before dawn.
(6) The accused was to be given counsel or representation, but Jesus had none.
(7) The accused was not to be asked self-incriminating questions, but Jesus was asked if He was the Christ.
- inciting people to riot
- forbidding the people to pay their taxes
- claiming to be King
- Pilate found no reason to kill Jesus so he sent Him to Herod (Luke 23:7).
- Herod had Jesus ridiculed but, wanting to avoid the political liability.
- Sent Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:11–12); this was the last trial as Pilate tried to appease the animosity of the Jews by having Jesus scourged.
- Pilate offered the prisoner Barabbas to be crucified and Jesus released, but the crowds called for Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified.
- Pilate granted their demand and surrendered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:25). The trials of Jesus represent the ultimate mockery of justice.
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