The trials of Jesus — part 2

Jesus could not have been publicly crucified without a trial, but that didn’t mean that the trial would be fair or legal. In fact, it was a great travesty of justice.

Consider these ways both the Jews and Romans violated their own laws.

  • The trial was at the wrong time (at night).
  • The trial was in the wrong place (Caiaphas’ home).
  • No indictment was prepared.
  • No counsel was provided the defendant.
  • No witnesses were heard (except for those that were obviously false).
  • The death penalty was given without a night in between the verdict and the sentencing.
  • Court procedure wasn’t followed.

Having completed his Jewish trials with Anna and Caiphas, Jesus proceeds to his trials with Pilate and Herod. While these trials were necessary to bring about a public, Roman execution; from the Scripture’s point of view the purpose of the trials served as a declaration of Christ’s innocence. Eight times Pilate and Herod declare him innocent (Luke 23:4, 14, 15, 22; John 19:4, 6, 12; Matt. 27:25). Yet, in the end Pilate succumbs to the Jewish pressure to execute him.

This is remarkable. The crucifixion was meant to verify his death; the trials were meant to declare his innocence. Jesus certainly died, but he was most certainly innocent.

Paul captured it this way in his letter to the Corinthians.

We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:20-21).

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