Christians generally know the events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus was apprehended on a Thursday night while praying in the garden of Gethsemane. He was falsely accused and declared guilty of blasphemy by Jewish leaders. He was given to Roman authorities and was crucified Friday morning.
Did you know Jesus actually went through six trials before He was crucified? In this Bible study series, we will examine these trials and discover what lessons we can learn from them.
Let’s read together John 18:12-23.
Jesus was arrested and sent to Annas for interrogation. Annas was a former high priest and was still held in high esteem among the leaders of Israel. Annas was also the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the current high priest that year.
Under what pretenses was Jesus arrested? How do we know Jesus’ arrest and subsequent trials were unjust?
Let’s read together John 11:45-57 and Matthew 26:14-16.
The Jewish leaders were actively plotting to kill Jesus. Not only did they pay one of Jesus’ own disciples to betray Him, they also wanted to kill Lazarus (John 12:9-11), whom Jesus resurrected in the sight of many people!
If this was not enough evidence that Jesus was unjustly put on trial, the Jewish leaders broke their own laws to get a speedy conviction of Jesus. Jewish tradition stated that a trial could not happen after sundown or begin just before one of the feast days. Furthermore, the accused must be allowed an opportunity to call for witnesses to testify on his behalf.
Jesus was tried during the midnight hours. No witnesses were allowed to testify on His behalf. Think of the hundreds, if not thousands, of people Jesus healed who would gladly testify to His innocence and godly character!
Let’s read together John 18:24.
Despite these circumstances, Jesus remained calm and did not lash out against these unfounded accusations. He answered truthfully and Annas could not find anything to condemn Jesus. Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas.
Let’s read together Matthew 26:57-68.
Though many false witnesses came forward, no one had testimony that could convict Jesus of a crime worthy of death. Caiaphas accused Jesus of blasphemy (Mark 2:5-7; John 10:33) even though Jesus gave ample evidence throughout His ministry that He indeed is the Son of God.
Let’s read together Exodus 28:31-32; Leviticus 10:6; 21:10.
In Caiaphas’ zeal to pronounce Jesus guilty of a transgression worthy of death, Caiaphas greatly sinned in tearing his priestly robe. Not only did he disqualify himself as high priest, he committed a sin worthy of death. In fact, there was no longer a need for Caiaphas (or anyone else) serving as high priest when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; and Luke 23:45).
Let’s read together John 16:1-4; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; and Hebrews 8:1-3.
One lesson we learn from these two trials is that a hypocritical follower of God is the worst kind of sinner. This is why Jesus warned His followers against the Pharisees. The Pharisees thought they were saved, but they were actually lost. The Pharisees outwardly claimed to follow God with such zeal. However, the hearts of the Pharisees were hardened with sin and they did not experience a true relationship with God. When you follow Jesus and develop a genuine relationship with Him, your heart will be transformed. You will have a loving character and you will be obedient to the will of God.
Secondly, Jesus is our true high priest. He did not come to earth to condemn us but to save us from our sins (John 3:17). Jesus as our high priest is an advocate to God, the Father, on our behalf.
Friend, there may be days ahead where you face unjust trials in your life. Are you willing to learn from the example of Jesus Christ?