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The Arrest & Trial of Jesus

Matthew 26:58-75


But Peter was following Him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and he came inside and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. Matthew 26:58

Although Peter had ran away in fear and deserted Jesus, He turned around and followed Jesus at a distance to find out where they were taking his master. Peter wasn’t the only disciple to find where they were taking Jesus, there was one more disciple, out of the eleven disciples, only two followed where they had taken Jesus.

Yet peter’s following was no better than his betrayal as he was following far off and in safety.

Peter was still denying that he was one of Jesus’ disciples by the distance that he kept between him and His Saviour, that being, not long before had confessed that, if he was to die with Jesus, he would never deny Him.


Peter *said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” All the disciples said the same thing as well. Matthew 26:35


 Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. John 18:15


The disciple John, never seems to mention himself by name in the Gospel of John, he sometimes refers to himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is regarded that in John 18:15, that John himself was the disciple who had been known to the high priest which allowed John and Peter’s entrance into the courtyard of the high priest.


The place where they had taken Jesus, wasn’t a place that you could just walk into, it would have had guards on the gates. The other disciple was known to the high priest and was allowed in and then arranged for the door keeper to allow Peter also to enter the courtyard.


The scribes and the elders had been sat waiting and hoping that Judas Iscariot and the soldiers had arrested Jesus, although it was the dead of night when other Jewish families were fast asleep in their beds.

Those who had assembled; the scribes, the principal teachers, and elders, the principal rulers, of the Jewish church: these were the most bitter enemies to Christ, their jealousy knew no boundaries, they were all full of wickedness, to plan the murder of the Messiah that they had been waiting for, for so long.


The Sanhedrin


The Sanhedrin was the supreme council of Jews which controlled civil and religious law. It had 71 members and was made up of Pharisees and Sadducees. The head of the council was the high priest, who at the time of Jesus’ trial was called Caiaphas.


For dogs have surrounded me; a band of evildoers has encompassed me; Psalm 22:16a


Peter went and sat on the courtyard with the servants, his place should have been at his master’s side, ready to speak for the injustice that was happening to His Lord and His Saviour.

I don’t think anyone can be sure of why Peter followed Jesus from a distance, maybe Peter himself wasn’t sure, he just followed at a distance and sat in the courtyard still a distance from where Jesus was standing in front of a kangaroo court.

(A kangaroo court is an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanour.)


The gathering was illegal, it reminds me of an old western film where the jury was taken from those who wanted to see the prisoner executed, it didn’t matter whether the prisoner was innocent or guilty if it affected their livelihoods, they would execute the innocent.

Let us just examine why the arrest of Jesus, His trial and His crucifixion were illegal.


1. Jesus was arrested illegally.


Those who were involved in the arrest of Jesus Christ included the priests and elders, who were also His judges and among those judges were the very same judges who had first bribed Judas Iscariot by offering him thirty pieces of silver to betray his master and to lead the mob to where He could be found.


Jesus was also arrested secretly, by night, hoping that their crimes of laying their hands on the Son of God would go unnoticed, how they were all wrong.

When they arrested Jesus, there was no formal charges presented of any crimes, no warrant for His arrest, no statement read out of what Jesus was charged with. They just took Him away to Caiaphas the high priest where the scribes and the elders were gathered together Verse 57                 


2. It was a private night proceeding.

It was against the Jewish Law to hold any trial secretly during the hours of darkness. Jesus was first taken before Annas, which remembering that although Annas had been High Priest he no longer held that position, the High Priest of that year was now the Son in law of Annas by the name of Caiaphas.
Annas after questioning Jesus, then sent Him to Caiaphas (John 18:12-13, 19-23).



3. The court of the Sanhedrin was illegal as it convened to try Jesus on a capital offense on the day before an annual Sabbath (holy day).


The Jewish leaders who were against Jesus were in violation of their own laws by arresting Jesus on the day before the Sabbath – the First Day of Unleavened Bread,


4. The trial of Jesus was illegal because it was concluded in one day which against their own laws.


The Jewish law states, “That any criminal case resulting in the acquittal of the accused may be terminated on the same day on which the trial began. But if the sentence of death is to be pronounced, it cannot be concluded before the following day” (Mishnah, “Sanhedrin” IV, 1).

This law was to allow the opportunity for any witnesses who support the accused could present themselves and to give their evidence before the court passed the judgement of death.

This court did not allow Jesus the opportunity for any witnesses to come forward on His behalf, as this would have been difficult as only the Jewish leaders and those who arrested Jesus knew about the trial and conviction.


5. The Charges that were brought against Jesus were false or unproven.


This is where the Kangaroo Court comes into this. Could you ever imagine what it would be like to stand in front of a court, the jury of twelve people are waiting to play their part, the judge enters and begins to make his opening speech, this person is guilty of stealing a loaf of bread, we will increase that by saying he was armed with a gun as it sounds better and he will get much harsher sentence.

Today we don’t need the jury, he is guilty and sentenced to death.

I can hear your thoughts of disbelief as this could never happen in any court. In the 19th Century, Great Britain, saw the need to send people to the wide-open spaces of Australia, so they decided to send all their prisoners to Australia, a young married couple who were starving stole a loaf of bread and was caught, the young man was sent to Australia whilst his wife they hanged, this type of justice continues to happen in some countries of the world today and needs to be stopped.


The Sanhedrin court pronounced sentence on Jesus with no real supporting evidence. In fact, the Jewish leaders had already said that Jesus had to die a long time before they actually arrested Jesus.

So some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, “Is this man not the one whom they are seeking to kill?

John 7:25



The only evidence presented by witnesses to the court were given by false witnesses. But their testimony was not even used by the court in sentencing Jesus to death. Here is what happened:


Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; Matthew 27:1


6. The condemnation of Jesus by part of the Sanhedrin was illegal because those who might have voted against His condemnation were not there.


But He kept silent and did not offer any answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and *said to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

And Jesus said “I am; and you shall see the SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, AND COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” Mark 14:61-62


Jesus remained quiet, I must remind you of the importance of reading all four Gospels to get a truer picture of what was happening during the trial of Jesus, and in a few moments you will understand why.


  1. After remaining silent why did Jesus break His silence when the High Priest started to question Him?

  2. Why did Jesus’ reply to the High Priest cause such aggression?


In the Gospel of Mark 14:61 the High Priest asked Jesus “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?

Normally Jesus would, like at other times have kept quiet, we must now look in the Gospel of Matthew to understand why Jesus had to answer the question that was asked be the High Priest.


Answers Question 1

The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You offer no answer for what these men are testifying against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”


By looking at just two of the gospels, we are getting a better picture of why Jesus finally answered the questions thrown at Him by the High Priest.


Can you recognise the difference and the importance of what was said and why because of that question did Jesus finally answer the High Priest?


  1. “I adjure you”: to command solemnly under or as if under oath or penalty of a curse


The High Priest was saying to Jesus: “I command you under oath by the living God,” a phrase that is used that Jesus must now answer his question.


Jesus then quoted from the Old Testament Messianic prophecies:


The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

Psalm 110:1


“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.

Daniel 7:13


SON OF MAN: God's messiah destined to preside over the final judgment of humankind


Answers Question Two


63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him as deserving of death.

Mark 14:63-64


What a way in getting more of the who are sitting in judgement and all the false witnesses all riled up and becoming a lynch mob than for the High Priest to Rend his garments, (this is a sign of anger, a manifestation of rage,) the face of the High Priest must have been fuming and the onlookers would have seen such an expression which would also add to their own rage.


Furthermore, the high priest tore his clothes at the trial (Mark 14:63; Matthew 26:65).


Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? See, you have now heard the blasphemy. Matthew 26:65


Tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? Mark 14:63


The high priest was forbidden by God’s law to tear his clothes: “He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes” (Leviticus 21:10; 10:6).


 ‘The priest who is highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes. Leviticus 21:10


Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not uncover your heads nor tear your clothes, so that you do not die and He does not become wrathful against all the congregation. But your kinsmen, the entire house of Israel, shall weep for the burning which the Lord has brought about.

Leviticus 10:6


It seems the high priest tore his outer garment to stir up emotion—to prejudice others. He should have remained calm so that no mistake in judgment would be made. But in Jesus’ trial these requirements were not followed, as judgement had already been passed, even before the arrest of Jesus had been made.


Caiaphas the High Priest that year spoke about the death of Jesus, not of his own initiative, but being the High Priest, that year, prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation.


But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor are you taking into account that it is in your best interest that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish instead.” 51 Now he did not say this [a]on his own, but as he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation; 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him. John 11:49-53


During any court case where a jury passes judgement, that is to decide whether, going off the evidence the person in the dock is guilty or innocent.

A jury is chosen of twelve people, no jury can have more than twelve people or less than twelve people, otherwise that would not be justice and every person no matter what they are accused of doing is always innocent until proven guilty.


With the trial of Jesus, every member of the Sanhedrin should have been invited to sit as judges and jury, the Sanhedrin should not only having been made up of those with one mind and the blood of the innocent on their hands.


Two of those who would have spoken up for Jesus may have not been informed that Jesus was to be arrested or invited to sit in at the court of the Sanhedrin.

There were many people who were healed by Jesus who would have spoken up on behalf of the Son of God but as this court was held under the cover of darkness no witnesses for Jesus were ever called.

This type of court case makes a mockery of the justice system throughout the entire world.


Lazarus would have made an excellent witness but after he was raised from the dead the Jewish leaders also tried to hide this miracle by putting Lazarus to death also.


The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not on account of Jesus only, but so that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10 But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus. John 12:9-11


It is interesting to note that certain members of the Sanhedrin were apparently missing during the trial.


The trial was rigged by the leaders of Israel, leaders who were evil of heart, as Jesus rightly said:


You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44


Could you imagine, so many of the Jewish leaders sitting together for two days before the arrest of Jesus, not inasmuch as to examine the evidence set before them, because let’s face it, there was no evidence against Jesus, in fact the opposite was true. Everything that Jesus came to do whilst in this world showed undoubtedly, without any doubt at all that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah that the people f Israel had been waiting for and the Prophecy that had been fulfilled in their lifetime.

A Prophecy that was spoken by Moses.


“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen; to him you shall listen. Deuteronomy 18:15.


Isaiah 9:1-9 Is another well known Messianic Prophecy that was fulfilled at the coming of Jesus Christ into this world.


Although we don’t know what was discussed behind the closed doors of the Sanhedrin, we do know that one of the Jewish leaders, “Nicodemus” stood up before the leaders of Israel and spoke on behalf of Jesus, hoping I suppose that that would change the hearts of the court of the Sanhedrin but their hearts were hardened and their decision had already been made.


Nicodemus (the one who came to Him before, being one of them) *said to them, 51 “Our Law does not judge the person unless it first hears from him and knows what he is doing, does it?” 52 They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee as well, are you? Examine the Scriptures, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.” John 7:50-52


Nicodemus uses the law to show them, how wrong they were to judge any person without first questioning the one who is on trial and listening to what was said in their defence. The leaders suddenly went on the defence by asking in a round-a-bout way if he was also a follower of Jesus with their remarks about him coming from Galilee.

In fact, there are about Forty-Four Old Testament Prophecies about Jesus Christ that was fulfilled in the New Testament.

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