The Chronological Gospel –

Holy Week: Friday Part 2,
More Trials

Luke 22:66-71; Matthew 27:1b-10, Friday, around 5 a.m. Third trial, a formal hearing before the Sanhedrin; Judas is remorseful.
John 18:28-30; Luke 23:2; Matthew 27:11-14; John 18:31-38; Luke 23:5-6, Friday, around 5 a.m. Fourth trial, a hearing before Pilate
Luke 23:7-12, Friday, around 6 a.m. Fifth trial, before Herod Antipas
Luke 23:13-16; Matthew 27:15-16; Luke 23:19; Matthew 27:17-23; Luke 23:20-23, Friday, around 6 a.m. Sixth trial, before Pontius Pilate
Matthew 27:24-30; John 19:4-16a, Friday, around 6 a.m. Pilate yields and condemns Jesus.

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The Scourging of Jesus, by Gustave Doré. Click to enlarge. See below for provenance.
Luke 22:66-71; Matthew 27:1b-10, Friday, around 5 a.m. Third trial, a formal hearing before the Sanhedrin; Judas is remorseful. (10/10/14)

Jesus’ third trial was held before the whole Sanhedrin in Jerusalem, that is, the ruling body of the Jews there. It appears that this trial was legal. Note that what Jesus actually answered in Luke 22:70 was, “You say that I am!” That seems to be what most translations have (with or without the exclamation mark, but the Greek is emphatic, so I put it in). Weymouth’s translation is different from most. Personally, I like the International Standard Version: “You said it, I AM.” You may remember from our study of the names of God that I AM is one of the most sacred names, and since the Sanhedrin immediately decided that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, this may well be how they took what he said. The sentence for blasphemy was death. The Jews, however, could not impose a death penalty, so they bundled him off to the Roman governor, Pilate.

By the way, I was surprised to learn that there was apparently a Sanhedrin in every sizable Jewish community. Presumably this is why Jesus says in Mark 13:9 and Matthew 10:17 that his followers will be delivered to the “Sanhedrins” (or “councils,” depending on your translation). There was more than one. Nevertheless, the only specific Sanhedrin I can find a New Testament reference to is the one in Jerusalem.

John 18:28-30; Luke 23:2; Matthew 27:11-14; John 18:31-38; Luke 23:5-6, Friday, around 5 a.m. Fourth trial, a hearing before Pilate (10/13/14)

Fellow-reader Donna B. recently taught me a new expression: “Not my circus, and not my monkey.” It means that whatever the situation is, it is not my problem! Jesus’ fourth trial was a hearing before Pontius Pilate. Pilate doesn’t come across as a strong character, although to be fair he was in a difficult situation. He was governor of Judea (a province full of notorious troublemakers), and the capital city of Jerusalem was a tinderbox packed with people who had come into town for the Passover. Now the religious leadership wants him to crucify the most popular man in the country, although he can’t find any reason to impose the death penalty. Imagine Pilate’s relief when it turns out that the man is a Galilean: Jesus is not his problem!

Luke 23:7-12, Friday, around 6 a.m. Fifth trial, before Herod Antipas (10/14/14)

Pilate was onto the idea that Jesus was a Galilean like a duck on a June bug. Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, was in town for Passover, so Pilate immediately sent Jesus on to him. This is the same Herod who had had John the Baptist beheaded at the demand of his step-daughter; Jesus doesn’t even dignify Herod’s questions by answering them. Herod, getting nothing out of him during this fifth trial, sends Jesus back to Pilate.

Luke 23:13-16; Matthew 27:15-16; Luke 23:19; Matthew 27:17-23; Luke 23:20-23, Friday, around 6 a.m. Sixth trial, before Pontius Pilate (10/15/14)

Finally we’re getting to Jesus’ sixth and final trial, before Pilate. Pilate hadn’t found any crime that Jesus was guilty of, but (probably with relief) he sent him off to Herod. Herod, a Jew, couldn’t find anything either, and he sent him back to Pilate. Now Pilate’s wife weighs in, saying that Jesus is innocent. Pilate really doesn’t want to execute Jesus, and he really doesn’t want a riot.

Matthew 27:24-30; John 19:4-16a, Friday, around 6 a.m. Pilate yields and condemns Jesus. (10/16/14)

The Roman occupiers were stern, but they were reasonably law-abiding and even-handed. Neither Pilate nor Herod could find any capital offense that Jesus might be guilty of, and Pilate didn’t especially want to inflict the death penalty. On the other hand, he couldn’t afford a riot in the crowded city of Jerusalem, which would get a lot of people killed and – probably more importantly to Pilate – get him in trouble with Rome. He tried to work out a compromise with a severe beating and humiliation of Jesus.

But pay careful attention to John 19:7-8. Pilate wasn’t really alarmed until he found out that Jesus was accused of saying that he was the Son of God. The Greeks and Romans had a long list of demigods, many of whom were the offspring of a god and a mortal. (Hercules is probably the one you’d recognize right off the bat.) Demigods were not as powerful or important as gods, but they weren’t to be trifled with, either, and arresting a demigod would certainly explain his wife’s dream. Pilate immediately returns to Jesus to demand an explanation, but he doesn’t get one. Finally, the priests implicitly threaten to tell Rome that Pilate is trying to release a man who is claiming to be king (rather than Caesar). Pilate can’t take any more of this, and he gives in.

More of The Chronological Gospel

Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
Sabbath Controversies
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and Teachings
To Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
Light
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1, Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2, Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1, Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2, More Trials
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost

Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. "The Scourging of Jesus" by Gustave Doré is from the Thomas family Bible, now in a private collection of a family member.This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.

Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the Bible-study participants.  Thanks to the Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers for their support and enthusiasm.  All errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.

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