Bible Stories for Adults
The Trials of Jesus
Welcome and Announcements
Next Week - Jesus Dies and is Buried (Matthew 27:31-61)
Bible Words to Remember:
He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Pre-Meditated Plans (Matthew 26:3-5)
How did the Jewish leaders feel about the revelations that Jesus was making?
Was it just a shared desire to arrest Jesus or was there a united plan?
Were there any restrictions they gave themselves as they plotted and planned?
Opportunity Knocks (Matthew 26:14-16, 47-56)
What opportunity were they given of which they were anxious to take advantage?
What was significant about the price of 30 pieces of silver?
How could they take this help without inciting a riot among the people?
Matthew 26:30, 47-49
How did the insider know where Jesus would be?
Did Jesus resist their efforts to arrest Him?
Did Jesus recognize their reason for doing this in the middle of the night?
Jewish Trial Laws
The Sanhedrin - The highest leadership council of the Jews
70 leaders plus high priest, patterned after 70 elders who helped Moses (Num 11:16-17)
Sanhedrin criminal cases required a quorum of 23 and must be held in the Hall of Hewn Stone
Power to execute until 30 AD; Death sentence then needed Roman okay (John 18:31)
Tried only during daytime, completed during daytime, but never during Passover season
Guilty verdicts had to be held overnight and pronounced the next day to allow for mercy
Evidence needed two witnesses examined separately, false witness punishable by death
Members of Sanhedrin could speak for the accused, but never against
Couldn't ask or force defendant to answer a question that could incriminate him
The High Priest (John 18:12-14)
Where was Jesus taken after He was arrested?
Annas - High priest from 6 to 15 AD
Considered by Jews as true high priest since appointment was for life by Jewish law
Where else do we see that Annas was still considered to be high priest during Caiaphas' reign?
Found it more profitable to direct the high priest than to be the high priest
Had Romans appoint his 5 sons, a son-in-law (Caiaphas) & a grandson as HP
Extremely wealthy - Owned famous Bazaars of Annas
Lived in the palace of the high priest - large building with central courtyard
Had monopoly on sale of sacrifice animals & on stalls for money-changers
Used by later Jewish historians as example of corrupt high priest
Jesus' cleansing of the temple would have been seen as a threat to Annas
Given great power by Romans because he gave money to key Roman leaders
Religious Trial 1 - Annas (John 18:19-24)
Was Annas able to get a convictable confession while the Sanhedrin was being gathered?
How did the officials with Annas feel about the inability to get Jesus to incriminate Himself?
What did Annas do when it became obvious that he wouldn't get anything out of Jesus?
Religious Trial 2 - Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-68)
Having prepared for months to get rid of Jesus, did the Jewish leaders have a solid case?
Was the Sanhedrin ever able to find two people who would agree on incriminating evidence?
Had Jesus made such a threat?
Knowing that the leaders really knew what He had said, how did Jesus respond?
Realizing this twisted evidence couldn't hold up before the Romans, what did Caiaphas try?
How did Jesus point out that they already knew and had rejected His answer?
How did Jesus then answer Caiaphas' question even deeper than they expected?
How did the Sanhedrin react to Jesus' reply?
How serious was a charge of blaspheme by calling one's self God?
Religious Trial 3 - Sanhedrin (Luke 22:63-66)
What was the next step in trying to give this kangaroo court a semblance of proper justice?
How did Jesus and His guards pass time while waiting for an official trial at daylight?
Needing a Roman conviction to execute, did they send Jesus to the governor with a few guards?
Palestine had been divided between Herod's sons when he died (Archelaus, Antipas, Philip)
Only 18, Archelaus was a bad & ruthless; Rome replaced him with a governor (prefect)
Pilate was 5th prefect, ruled for 10 years, was from hills outside Rome, Pontius was family name
Didn't like or understand Jews, Had 3 incidents with Jews before today's story:
Strike 1 - The Affair of the Roman Standards (Poles with medallions on top instead of flags)
Prefect headquarters in Caesarea, Visited Palestine towns every year
Strike 2 - Aqueduct Construction
Previous prefects removed eagles and Caesar's image before marching into Jerusalem
On his first visit, Pilate refused to remove graven images (Caesar was a god)
Jews demonstrated 5 days, Pilate relented after mass surrender by Jews in amphitheater
Pilate built a much needed aqueduct to bring water to Jerusalem from Bethlehem
Strike 3 - Votive Shields
Used funds provided by temple leaders, People resented it and rioted
Plain clothed soldiers mingled in streets, then attacked mob with swords at a given signal
Had golden shields made and hung in Herod's Palace in Jerusalem
You're Out! - Samaritan Massacre
Although they had no images, they were engraved with dedications to Caesar Tiberius
Refused to remove until Jews and Herod Antipas formally protested to Tiberius
Tiberius scolded Pilate and ordered him to remove shields and to respect Jewish customs
3 years after Jesus, a false prophet promised to uncover sacred vessels hidden by Moses
Samaritans gathered at Mt. Gerizim to watch, some brought weapons
Pilate ordered troops to attack and slaughtered the crowd
Samaritans complained, Pilate ordered to return to Rome, Tiberius died while en-route
Roman Trial 1 - Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-38)
How quickly did Pilate find out the seriousness of his first case on Passover morning?
Since Pilate wouldn't care about a charge of blasphemy, what did the Jews charge Jesus with?
Which of these charges did Pilate feel was serious enough for further investigation?
How did Jesus respond to the other charges?
What was Pilate's decision, how was it received and what out did he find?
Roman Trial 2 - Herod Antipas (Luke 23:8-12)
How did Herod feel about this referral by his rival Pilate and how was their relationship affected?
Luke 23:8, 12
Did Herod take care of this Jesus situation as Pilate had hoped?
Roman Trial 3 - Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:15-26)
How did Pilate try a third time to resolve this situation of a mob against an innocent man?
What idea did Pilate have after this was rejected?
How did this idea work?
How did the Jews blackmail Pilate into having Jesus executed despite His innocence?
Caught between a rock and a hard place, what did Pilate decide to do?
Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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