In our last blog post, we looked at the first three trials Jesus endured before His crucifixion. After being arrested in the garden, Jesus endured two trials during the night, and one at daybreak.
These trials were before the religious leaders:
- Annas, Father-in-Law to Caiaphas and former High Priest
- Caiaphas (the High Priest), and
- the Sanhedrin.
But the religious leaders could not put anyone to death; only the civil authorities held that power. It is time to put our sandals back on and journey with Jesus through the early morning hours as He endured three more trials before Pilate, Herod Antipas, and then Pilate again. Who were Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas?
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor or “prefect” of Judea. As governor, Pilate oversaw the Roman military units assigned to Judea, collected taxes for Rome, and decided on civil and criminal cases. According to the historian Philo, Pilate ruled with “briberies, insults, robberies, outrages, wanton injustices, constantly repeated executions without trial, and ceaseless and grievous cruelty.” Pilate spent most of his time in Caesarea on the coast but would travel to Jerusalem for Jewish feast days. Pilate was in Jerusalem during this time because of the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Jewish leaders took Jesus to Pilate and accused Him of insurrection. Notice the change in crime from blasphemy to insurrection. Insurrection is the crime of rebellion or revolting against a government, in this case Rome. Once Pilate realized that Jesus was from the Galilee region, he sent Jesus to Herod Antipas who was the Roman ruler over Galilee.
Herod Antipas was one of the sons of Herod the Great and ruled the region of Galilee after his father’s death. Herod Antipas was like his father in that he was a builder and is known for the building of the city of Tiberias. Herod put away his first wife and married his brother’s (Herod Philip) wife, Herodias. John the Baptist confronted Herod about this marriage to Herodias, and as a result was later beheaded by Herod. Scripture records that Herod was anxious to see Jesus because he had heard so much about Him. Herod questioned Jesus, but Jesus did not respond. After Herod mocked Jesus, he dressed Him in a robe and returned Him to Pilate.
Pontius Pilate received Jesus back from Herod and had Jesus scourged. It was at this point they dressed Jesus with a crown of thorns and a purple robe (John 19:1-2). After declaring that he did not find Jesus guilty of any crime, he asked the people what they wanted him to do. Pilate offered to release Jesus, but the crowd continued to demand His crucifixion. After Pilate questioned Jesus, he had Him crucified.
During the three religious trials, Jesus was accused of blasphemy. During the three civil trials, Jesus was accused of insurrection. All six of Jesus’s trials took place between about 1 am and 9 am. Jesus was crucified about 9 am and died on the cross about 3 pm. It is interesting that two members of the Sanhedrin buried Jesus, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Do you wonder if they were present for one or more of these trials, or purposefully left out?
As we take off our sandals today, having walked side by side with Jesus through His trials, we can be thankful that the story does not end here. In our eyes, death is the end. When we look at the trials Jesus endured, this moment in time should be treasured. His trials represent the hope that so many had waited thousands of years for. Three days after Jesus’s bloody death on the cross, He rose from the grave! Jesus has conquered sin and death once and for all. Today is a great day to give praise and thanks to God for making a way for you to know Him and spend all of eternity with Him.
Share a moment of praise or victory you have experienced recently that reminded you of how good God is!