Six trials of Christ

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Bob Lanning

The Bible records six trials of Jesus before his crucifixion. The first three were before Jewish religious authorities, and the last three were before Roman authorities.

After his betrayal, Jesus was led away to Annas, a former high priest. Annas questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching, and allowed a nearby temple officer to strike Jesus in the face.

Annas then sent Jesus to the high priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, the highest ranking Jewish council. At this second trial, the leaders found false witnesses who testified against Jesus. When Jesus was silent, Caiaphas put him under oath to declare whether he was “the Christ, the Son of God.”

Jesus answered, “I am: and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of  (God’s) power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” (Mark 14:62). Caiaphas then tore his clothes and declared that Jesus had blasphemed, and the entire Sanhedrin condemned him to death. Then these judges and others spat in his face, blindfolded him and struck him with their hands, mocking him as a false prophet.

The next morning the Sanhedrin convened a second time to question and condemn Jesus, who declared again that he was the Son of God. Since they needed Rome’s consent to execute the death penalty, they brought Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. They accused him using several political charges. Pilate questioned Jesus and declared that he was innocent, but the leaders continued to accuse him. Hearing that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent him to Herod, who ruled in Galilee and was also then in Jerusalem.

Herod was very glad to see Jesus, since he had heard of him and had hoped to see him do a miracle. Jesus, however, refused to answer his questions, and was silent while the leaders vehemently accused him. Herod’s curiosity turned to contempt, and he and his soldiers mocked Jesus, and clothed him in an fancy robe to ridicule his claim to be a king. He then sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Pilate then assembled the leaders and the people to tell them that neither he nor Herod had found any fault in Jesus. He declared that he would punish and then release him. Sensing the religious leaders’ rejection of this compromise, he appealed to the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas, a notorious criminal, and Jesus. The crowd, incited by their leaders, cried out to have Barabbas released and Jesus crucified. He then had his soldiers brutally whip Jesus, and then mock him as a phony king of the Jews while they spat on him and knelt before him.

When he brought Jesus out to the crowd again, their ominous frenzy increased, and the leaders warned Pilate that if he released Jesus they would accuse him as no friend to Caesar. Yielding to these pressures, Pilate then gave sentence that Jesus should be crucified.

What will you do with Jesus? If you believe that he is the Son of God, that his death was for your sins, and that God raised him from the dead, and you ask him to save you, your sins will be forgiven and you will receive everlasting life.

Choose life with Christ today.

Bob Lanning is pastor of Cornerstone Bible Church