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?
Matthew 21:45-46 = They knew He was talking about them & wanted to arrest Him
Was it just a shared desire to arrest Jesus or was there a united plan?
Matthew 26:3-4 = The Sanhedrin agreed to get rid of Him, even kill Him
Were there any restrictions they gave themselves as they plotted and planned?
Matthew 26:5 = Not during the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the people might riot
Opportunity Knocks (Matthew 26:14-16, 47-56)
What opportunity were they given of which they were anxious to take advantage?
Matthew 26:14-16 = An insider offered help cheap
What was significant about the price of 30 pieces of silver?
Exodus 21:32 = Price for accidentally killed slave - Jesus served us with His life
How could they take this help without inciting a riot among the people?
Matthew 26:30, 47-49 = The insider took them to Him soon after midnight on Passover
How did the insider know where Jesus would be?
Luke 21:37 = He went to the Mount of Olives and prayed every night He was in Jerusalem
Did Jesus resist their efforts to arrest Him?
Matthew 26:50-54 = He told Judas to proceed & scolded Peter for resisting God's plan
Did Jesus recognize their reason for doing this in the middle of the night?
Matthew 26:55-56 = Yes, but He said it was being done to fulfill the prophets
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?
John 18:12-14 = To Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest
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
Luke 3:2 = Mentioned with Caiaphas as HP by Luke dating John the Baptist's start
Religious Trial 1 - Annas (John 18:19-24)
Was Annas able to get a convictable confession while the Sanhedrin was being gathered?
John 18:19-21 = No, Jesus didn't offer anything, told him to find his own witnesses
How did the officials with Annas feel about the inability to get Jesus to incriminate Himself?
John 18:22-23 = Frustrated, one hit Jesus trying to force Him to defend Himself
What did Annas do when it became obvious that he wouldn't get anything out of Jesus?
John 18:24 = Sent Him to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin
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?
Matthew 26:57-60a = Even with many false witnesses, they couldn't get two to match
Was the Sanhedrin ever able to find two people who would agree on incriminating evidence?
Matthew 26:60b-61 = Yes, they said He threatened to destroy the new temple
Had Jesus made such a threat?
John 2:18-22 = He had said He would raise the temple THEY destroyed, His body
Knowing that the leaders really knew what He had said, how did Jesus respond?
Matthew 26:62-63a = He didn't say anything, This frustrated Caiaphas
Realizing this twisted evidence couldn't hold up before the Romans, what did Caiaphas try?
Matthew 26:63b = He directly asked Jesus if He was the Messiah, God's Son
How did Jesus point out that they already knew and had rejected His answer?
Luke 22:67-68 = If I tell you, you won't believe - You know, but won't admit it
How did Jesus then answer Caiaphas' question even deeper than they expected?
Matthew 26:64 = You said it...You'll see proof when I return on God's right hand
How did the Sanhedrin react to Jesus' reply? = High priest not to tear his clothes (Lev 21:10)
Matthew 26:65-66 = Here's our evidence! We've got plenty of witnesses now
How serious was a charge of blaspheme by calling one's self God?
Leviticus 24:13-16 = Punishable by death
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?
Luke 22:66 = Holding an "official" trial at daybreak, Matt 27:1 - Sentenced early in morning
How did Jesus and His guards pass time while waiting for an official trial at daylight?
Luke 22:63-65 = They mocked, beat & insulted Him
Needing a Roman conviction to execute, did they send Jesus to the governor with a few guards?
Luke 23:1 = All went as a body, Pilate in J. to handle problems from visiting crowds
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
Matthew 2:22-23 = Joseph & Mary returned to Nazareth instead of Bethlehem due to Arch.
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?
John 18:28-32 = Asking for the death penalty - Jews couldn't enter Gentile home
Since Pilate wouldn't care about a charge of blasphemy, what did the Jews charge Jesus with?
Luke 23:2 = Being a revolutionary, inciting people not to pay taxes, claiming to be king
Which of these charges did Pilate feel was serious enough for further investigation?
John 18:33-37 = Claiming to be a king, Jesus said He was, but of a different kingdom
How did Jesus respond to the other charges?
Matthew 27:11-14 = He kept silent, as a lamb before its slaughter
What was Pilate's decision, how was it received and what out did he find?
Luke 23:4-7 = Innocent; Jews upset; Sent to Herod since He was Galilean
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 = He was excited to see the miracle man; became friends with Pilate
Did Herod take care of this Jesus situation as Pilate had hoped?
Luke 23:9-11 = No, he got upset when Jesus wouldn't perform, sent back to Pilate
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?
Luke 23:13-16 = Offered to have Him flogged then released
What idea did Pilate have after this was rejected?
Matthew 27:15-18 = Gave them a choice between Jesus and a murderer, Barabbas
How did this idea work?
Matthew 27:19-23 = No, it backfired and they demanded the crucifixion of Jesus
How did the Jews blackmail Pilate into having Jesus executed despite His innocence?
John 19:12 = Implied they'd complain to Caesar about him supporting a revolutionary
Caught between a rock and a hard place, what did Pilate decide to do?
Matthew 27:24-26 = Sentenced Jesus to death and tried to wash his hands of it
Copyright © 1998 by Kurt Rosenhagen
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