We often picture the trial of our Lord with Pilate standing above a bloody and beaten Jesus, while Pilate washed his hands, and the crowd shouted for His death. However, this was not the trial Jesus endured that day. Today we are going to put on our sandals and walk with Jesus through the last night of His earthly life as He endured not just one trial but six!
Jesus spent His last evening on earth eating the Last Supper with His twelve disciples. Following the meal, He and eleven of the disciples went to pray at the Garden of Gethsemane. During the night, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, betrayed Jesus in the garden and Jesus was arrested. After Jesus was arrested He was taken to Annas, Caiaphas (the high priest), and then to the Sanhedrin. Who were these people?
Annas served as High Priest of the Temple before Roman authorities removed him and appointed his son-in-law, Caiaphas, to replace him. The position of High Priest was a very powerful position in which the man attempted to balance between the politics of Rome and the religion of the Jews. Although Annas was not the “High Priest” he still retained the title of a “high priest” and continued to be a member of the Sanhedrin. After being questioned by Annas, Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas.
Caiaphas was the High Priest at the time Jesus was tried. As High Priest, he was appointed by Rome, controlled the Temple treasury and taxes, oversaw the Temple personnel including the Temple Guard, performed religious duties, and presided over the Sanhedrin. The second trial of Jesus took place at the house of Caiaphas, located in the wealthy part of Jerusalem’s Upper City. After Jesus was questioned by Caiaphas, He appeared before the entire Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin was a Jewish religious and legal group comprised of 71 sages which included scribes (who were experts in the Law or Torah), locally respected elites, and respected elders from both the Pharisee and Sadducee sects. According to the biblical account, Jesus was brought before this body at night, which was illegal, and then accused and convicted of blasphemy. Although the Sanhedrin had the power to hand down the death penalty in capital cases, they could not execute anyone without the approval and consent of the Roman governor, who was Pontius Pilate.
The first three trials of Jesus were religious trials in which He was accused of blasphemy.
As we take off our sandals today, we have walked beside Jesus and experienced the first three trials He endured the day He paid the price for our salvation. Walking with God certainly does not come without many trials and tribulations.
What circumstances are you facing today that are bringing you to your knees?
The last three trials of Jesus were before Pilate, Herod Antipas, and then Pilate again.