Summary: A rapid fire presentation of all the ways Jesus’ trials were unjust concluding with who was to blame for it all.
The Christ of Corrupt Courts
October 24, 2010
If the trials of Jesus were held today in the way they were then, legal watch groups would be protesting in the streets. The arrest, trials, and execution of Jesus likely go down in history as the quickest action of any judicial system. Buy close estimation we know that Jesus was arrested at 1:30am and on the cross by 9am.
Jesus experienced a total of 6 trials in a 6-hour period. In less time than it takes us to put in a day of work, Jesus went from being comforted by the angels in the Garden of Gethsemane to being whipped by roman soldiers in the public square.
We want to just read the script of what happened rapid fire in “Law and Order” style to give you an idea of the speed and confusion surrounding Jesus’ trials.
Since Jesus was a Jew, he needed to be found guilty in Jewish court before Rome would consider trying him.
• The 1st three trials had to do with Jewish Religious Law. Each of these trials happen at night, which in itself is violation of Jewish law.
• The last three had to do with Roman Civil Law.
Trial #1 Annas’s House
John 18:13 [They] brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.
• Annas had no official power. He had been “out of office” so to speak for almost 15 years.
• However, Caiaphas, the current high priest, was Annas’s son-in-law. He was still respected as an elder. Protocol suggested he be consulted first.
Skip to 19…
19Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20"I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."
• The question of Jesus asking for evidence of his wrongdoing is never answered. Instead…
22When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded. 23"If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?" 24Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
• Since no charges have been brought against Jesus, this trial is illegal.
• There would be no “innocent till proven guilty”. Even before the trial began, it had been determined Jesus must die.
• As best we can guess, Annas finds Jesus guilty of “disrespect” and sends him on to the High Priest.
Trial #2 Caiaphas
Matthew 26:57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.
• Everyone is there waiting. Even though it’s 3am. These men did not have to be woken up for this trial because they had planned ahead of time to try Jesus in this way.
59The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
• What you would expect to happen next is that the case would be drop. No official charges are brought against Jesus. All the witnesses are known to be false. This doesn’t matter to Caiaphas and the elders. They did not stay up to 3am for nothing. It was now or never.
Trial #3 The Sanhedrin
Luke 22:66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.
• The “Council of the Elders” or Sanhedrin was made up of 70 men. They were the “Supreme Court” of the Jews.
67"If you are the Christ," they said, "tell us."
• Finally a charge has been made. That Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. This charge known as “blasphemy” is punishable by death according to Jewish law. The Jews however could not execute without the approval of Rome.
• No witnesses or evidence have been presented; just the accusation. The only thing that would convict Jesus without evidence or testimony is a confession. Jesus answers the accusation without fear.
Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, 68and if I asked you, you would not answer. 69But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God." 70They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am." 71Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."