Summary: How were Jesus’ trial illegal?

Pathway To The Passion

Part 4-The Trials of Jesus

(Luke 22:66-23:31)

The arrest, trials, and execution of Jesus should go down in history as the quickest action of any judicial system. If the trials of Jesus were held today, they surely would make headlines(not in a good way) and have legal rights groups up in arms.

Let’s look at a quick summary of the last day of Jesus’ life.

1:30am Jesus is arrested

2 am unauthorized trial at Annas’s house

3am unofficial trial at Caiaphas’s house

6am formal, official trial before the Sanhedrin(Jewish Supreme Court)

6:30am 1st interrogation by Pilate

7am audience with King Herod

7:30 judgment by Pilate

8am scourging in Praetorium

9am nailed to the cross

12 noon darkness falls

3pm Jesus’ death

In less than 24 hours, Jesus goes from arrest, to trial, to execution.

Either this was the greatest example of a fair and speedy trial or something was seriously wrong. Mostly what was wrong was Jesus’ trials were all illegal.

How were Jesus’ Trials Illegal?

1 Even before the trial began, it had been determined the Jesus must die.

There would be no “innocent till proven guilty”.

Mark 14:1

It was now two days before the Passover celebration and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death.

2 False witnesses were sought to testify against Jesus. Usually the religious leaders went through an elaborate system of screening witnesses.

Matthew 26:59

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death.

60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, there was no testimony they could use. Finally, two men were found 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’

The witnesses were distorting what Jesus had said

John 2:19

19 “All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 “What!” they exclaimed. “It took forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can do it in three days?” 21 But by “this temple,” Jesus meant his body.

Jesus had spoken these words at the distress of seeing the Temple turned into a marketplace full of thieves and dishonest businessmen.

Jesus was also speaking prophetically about his resurrection.

3 No defense for Jesus was sought or allowed.

Luke 22:67-71

66 At daybreak all the leaders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, 67 and they said, “Tell us if you are the Messiah.”

But he replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me. 68 And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. 69 But the time is soon coming when I, the Son of Man, will be sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power.”

70 They all shouted, “Then you claim you are the Son of God?”

And he replied, “You are right in saying that I am.”

71 “What need do we have for other witnesses?” they shouted. “We ourselves heard him say it.”

To those present this was considered blasphemy.

Matthew 26:65-66

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror, shouting, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He must die!”

Blasphemy seems a common occurrence today. Under Jewish law, blasphemy was punishable by death.

Leviticus 24:16

16 Anyone who blasphemes the Lord’s name must be stoned to death by the whole community of Israel. Any Israelite or foreigner among you who blasphemes the Lord’s name will surely die.

The high priest’s refused to even consider if what Jesus was saying was true (Remember what the Jews thought a Messiah would be)

Like them, you also have a choice to make if what Jesus said was true. Your decision has eternal implications

4 The trial was conducted at night. This was in violation to Jewish law.

Mark 15:1

Very early in the morning the leading priests, other leaders, and teachers of religious law—the entire high council—met to discuss their next step. They bound Jesus and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

Remember that the Roman day began at midnight and the Jewish day began at 6 am.

Mark’s Gospel was written with a Roman audience in mind from a Jewish standpoint.

Therefore, 6:30 am was early for the beginning of the Jewish day.

5 The high priest put Jesus under oath, but then incriminated him for what he had said.

Matthew 26:63-66

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