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The trial of Jesus involved a hearing in the Jewish court conducted by the high priest and the Sanhedrin, and a hearing in the Roman court conducted by Pilate. The Jewish leaders brought in false witnesses against Jesus and violated numerous rules from the Mishnah in the way they conducted the trial. 


The Life of Jesus

Part 9

The Trial of Jesus

I.  Order of Events

A.  Jesus is taken to Annas.

B.  Jesus is taken to Caiaphas with Sanhedrin in attendance.

1.  False witnesses brought in (Mark 14:56)

2.  Jesus silent until placed under oath (Matthew 26:63; Leviticus 5:1)

3.  Jesus replies affirmatively

4.  High priest tears clothing

5.  Jesus mocked and abused

6.  Peter denies Jesus

C.  Morning meeting of Sanhedrin to draw up charges (Mark 15:1)

D.  Jesus appears before Pilate (Mark 15:2)

1.  Since Jews did not possess privilege of capital punishment, they bring Jesus to Pilate.

2.  Pilate seeks to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas

E.  Jesus appears before Herod Antipas (Luke 23:6-12)

F.  Jesus brought back to Pilate (Luke 23:13)

1.  Pilate convinced of innocence and seeks to release Jesus

2.  Reluctance overcome when loyalty to Rome and privileged title questioned (John 19:12-13).  This is the turning point.

3.  Washes hands - gives Jesus over to Roman soldiers for crucifixion (Mark 15:15)

II.  The Historicity of the Trial

A.  Objections - Trial violates numerous rules in the Mishnah

1.  A verdict of condemnation could not be reached on the same day as the trial.

2.  Trials involving capital punishment could not be held at night.

3.  Trials could not be held on the eve of the Sabbath or a festival day.

4.  An attempt had to be made to find witnesses for a person's defense.

5.  Jewish people had the right of capital punishment, and since the Romans crucified Jesus there was no Jewish involvement.

B.  Response

1.  The rules of the Mishnah date from A.D. 200.

2.  The Mishnah disagrees on these issues in places with Josephus.

3.  Was this a trial that followed the rules of a kangaroo court?

4.  Would the high priest and Sadducees run Sanhedrin trials according to Pharisaic rules found in the Mishnah?

5.  Why should one choose the Mishnah over the Gospel accounts?

6.  There are references in the Mishnah that speak of the Jews not having the right for capital punishment in the time of Jesus.

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