Summary: The 4th message in a series leading up to Easter focusing on the people involved in the Passion of Christ. This message focuses upon Pilate and the six trials leading up to Jesus’ death.
March 28, 2004
Intro: I’m a big fan of courtroom dramas. Whether it’s a Grisham book, Law and Order, Matlock, or JAG, my favorite part is always when the attorney is clever enough to be able to catch and expose the witness on the stand and bring forth the truth.
Trans: Did you know that on that fateful night some 2000 years ago, those in charge of the six trials that transpired were not in anyway interested in the truth – Think about it, the truth was literally staring them in the face and yet those who were sworn to uphold the truth only sought injustice.
Insert: Before looking into these trials I want to remind you that the accused was the only perfect and completely innocent person who has ever lived. He was the embodiment of truth – The way, the truth, and the life.
Question: When truth is on trial in your life how will you respond?
Time: The Roman day begins at 1 sec. after midnight. The Jewish day begins 1 sec. after 6 pm. From 6 pm to 6 am, the night is divided into 4 watches: 1st Watch: 6-9 – 2nd Watch: 9-12 – 3rd Watch: 12-3 – 4th Watch: 3-6.
Insert: Jesus and the disciples left the upper room during the 2nd watch for Gethsemane. After midnight (3rd watch) Judas arrived w/ the mob.
Trans: After His arrest, Jesus was paraded around to six illegal and dishonest trials in less than six hours – Justice? More like a kangaroo court.
Note: The first three trials were religious in nature and held by the Jews, while the last three trials were civil in nature and held by the Romans.
• The 1st trial took place at the home of Annas around 2 am.
• The 2nd trial was held in the home of Caiaphas (high priest) at 3 am.
• The 3rd trial was a formal hearing before the Sanhedrin at 6 am.
• The 4th trial was before Pilate around 6:30 am
• The 5th trial quickly occurred before Herod.
• The 6th trial went back to Pilate and was done in just a few minutes.
Insert: Then Jesus was sent to be scourged and sent off to be crucified. In about 14 hours Jesus went from Gethsemane to the tomb. Rush decision?
Note: Jewish legal system - courts duty was to save life and not destroy it – they presumed innocence w/ great latitude. The Sanhedrin held to strict laws in insure fairness and mercy and when properly administrated, the Jewish legal system was provided such results - not in this trial.
Note: The Sanhedrin violated every principle of jurisprudence. I want you to note all of the illegal action that took place make these trials a farce.
• According to the Talmud a trial was never to be held at night.
• The Jewish Courts accused Jesus of blasphemy – admissible only in a Jewish court, but of no consequence in Roman court (Rome was polytheistic). Knowing this reality, the Jews altered the charge when they met w/ the Roman court – an illegal act in and of itself). Thus, before Rome – the Jews accused Jesus of insurrection and treason – which if proven guilty would incur a sentence unto death.
• The accused was allowed to have an attorney present, yet Jesus was never afforded a defense attorney.
• The accused couldn’t be declared guilty w/out a reputable witness, but everyone who accused Him was a false witnesses.
• A man couldn’t be executed the same day he was tried and sentenced
• Members of the Sanhedrin after hearing testimony in a capital case weren’t permitted to make a rash judgment but were required to adjourn to their homes for two full days before rendering a decision.
• After 2 days, they were to offer their verdict from the youngest to the oldest so that the younger men weren’t prejudiced by the older ones.
• In the greatest travesty of justice, Jesus was declared guilty but was never proven guilty – Pilate found no fault but still sentenced Him.
Trans: While all six trials had some illegalities, I want to focus on the trials before Pilate, b/c he was the one who ultimately had the authority to save or condemned Jesus, yet he wasn’t willing to take a stand for truth.
Trans: Pilate asks an interesting question. (Jn. 18:33-8) Background on Pilate
Key: What is the truth? This is an interesting question. Shrouded in deception where truth has been abandoned – Pilate asks, “What is truth?”
Trans: The same dilemma Pilate faced is the same one we face today. In a time and culture where truth has become relative it has almost become irrelevant. People have no commitment to truth. We’ve become politically correct in every area of our lives to please men instead of God.