The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
The Arrest Was Without Authority
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
"Then the band and captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus and bound Him."
Jesus had just left the garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives, near Jerusalem, shortly after the midnight hour, when His arrest was effected.
They had no warrant, nor authority of arrest whatsoever.
And the seizing and binding of the Christ was not done, as was customary, by two or three representatives of justice; for Matthew tells us:
"Judas, one of the twelve, came , and with him a great multitude, with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people."
The "great multitude" consisted not only of a large group of Roman soldiers, with drawn swords and staves.
But several hundred members of the Levitical police, as well as members of the Great Sanhedrin- carrying lanterns and torches clearly establishing the fact that the arrest was made at night; and they evidently thought that they might have to search for Jesus among the orchards of the Garden of Gethsemane, where Judas had told them He probably would be found at that time, in prayer to His Heavenly Father.
Little did it matter to the arch rival traitor that he was guiding the crowd to the hallowed sanctuary of the Son of God.
Nor was he the least concerned over his deliberately profaning the passover, which, to the Jews, was the most sacred Season of the whole year!
Judas had to earn his fee- had to seal the deal- in order to retain the filthy pieces of silver.
And, apparently, nothing else mattered with him.
Why the large group of soldiers and the captain and officers, and others, with drawn swords and staves?
Were they expecting to engage in battle?
Or that the Christ would resist their efforts and flee?
After having effected the arrest, in absolute violation of law, because of the absence of a warrant therefore, they did not even tell the Christ for what He had been apprehended.
This, of necessity, was true because there had not been preferred any charge of any kind against Jesus before the Jewish court.
Was a warrant, or some kind of written authority required, before making a lawful arrest?
When Saul of Tarsus, the great convert, was on his way to Damascus to arrest and take back to Jerusalem any Christians he might find, that he might persecute them, we note that he had to first get his authority for their arrest by applying to the high priest.
"And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of the way, (followers of Christ), whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."
Again, in Scripture, we note this:
"I went to Damascus with the authority and commission from the high priest."
Before Saul could arrest those early Christians, that they might be bound and brought to Jerusalem, for persecution, he had to first obtain the "authority and commission" from the high priest.
Why, then, was no authority for the arrest of Jesus issued by the high priest?
Simply because none could lawfully issue until, and only until, some criminal charge had been made before the Sanhedrin.
Never has there been an exception to this basic rule concerning the issuance of a writ for one’s arrest.
Had the Christ been seen in the act of committing some crime, then the arrest could have been made without a warrant- but, as it will be admitted, He was certainly no law-violator, and was merely leaving the Garden of Gethsemane when the Roman soldiers took Him and bound Him like a common criminal!
And their coming to apprehend Him was no surprise to Jesus.
He had, several days before, related to His disciples just what would happen, and how- and even told them that they would leave Him, all alone, at the time of His arrest by that mob of men.
This was in keeping with the prophesy.
So, instead of displaying any kind of resistance, Jesus quietly turned to His disciples and said:
"Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
Then, like the brave Character that He was, we see Him standing erect, His countenance aglow in the moonlight, as He made the inquiry: "Whom seek ye?"
And when they replied that they sought Jesus of Nazareth, He said: "I am HE."
Immediately as Jesus identified Himself as the one Whom they sought, we are told that they everyone fell to the ground on their faces.
This, no doubt, was the shock which came to them when conscious of being in the personal presence of the Son of God!
Overpowered by the Spirit of God!
Slain in the Spirit!
And after a moment, regaining composure, they arose, and Jesus once more asked them the same question:
"Whom seek ye?" And they said: "Jesus of Nazareth."
Then the Master said: "I have told you that I am He. If therefore you seek Me, let these go their way."
Being completely unafraid, the Christ was perfectly willing to bear His cross, alone.
Hence He requested that His disciples not be apprehended.
And then what happened to those disciples?
"And they all forsook Him and fled!"
And, as we shall later note, the Christ was thereafter left alone, in so far as humankind is concerned- but He was never left alone by His Heavenly Father, Whose will He was determined to fulfill, without counting the cost nor the pain!
As we get a mental picture of the hasty flight of those eleven disciples- the men who had been so intimately associated with Jesus for those three years of His ministry- we are reminded of a present-day truth:
that the crowds will follow, like blind men, their hero in his days of great triumph, but will leave Him at the first clear sign of adversity.
If the enemies of Jesus had intended to conduct a legal trial, giving unto their prisoner all of the substantial rights guaranteed by the Hebrew laws, then there would have been some specific charge made against the Christ; and a warrant for His arrest would have issued.
But we must conclude that it was more of a capture than an arrest.
It was a matter of seizing one in the nighttime for the sole purpose of doing away with Him.
It was the beginning of a dastardly scheme, born of a cowardly conspiracy, entered into by corrupt and evil men.
Indeed, the judgment of condemnation of the Christ was agreed to long before His apprehension by the mob.
Therefore, the illegal arrest as will be seen, was the least of the many sins committed by those individuals who were referred to by Jesus as "Sinful men".
Truly He placed them in the right category!