Principal Characters Involved Against Jesus
The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
The following is a list of those who actively participated in the tragic and cowardly crucifixion of the Christ:
1. Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, who betrayed his Master and best friend for thirty pieces of silver.
2. Annas, a Sadducee, the political boss of Judea, before whom Jesus was first taken after the arrest.
3. Caiaphas, a Sadducee, the son-in-law of Annas, and the high priest who presided over the Jewish trial of Jesus.
4. Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judea, before whom Jesus was taken twice for trial, and who, though finding Him not guilty four separate times, turned Him over to the mob to be crucified.
5. Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, before whom Jesus was also taken for trial.
6. Tiberius Caesar, Emperor of Rome during the "trial" of Jesus.
7. The Great Sanhedrin, which was the ecclesiastical or Jewish religious court, before whom Jesus was first tried for "blasphemy".
8. The Sadducees, a religious group which predominated in the membership of the Jewish court.
9. The Pharisees, another so-called religious group who followed customs, traditions and rituals rather than the laws of God.
10. The unruly, cruel, inhuman mob of ingrates who persecuted, humiliated and finally crucified Jesus Christ.
We shall now take up, in aforementioned order, the ten principal actors in that awful drama involving Jesus:
(Jurist picks up a yellow note pad from desk)
Almost automatically, when one thinks of a dastardly betrayer, there comes to mind the name of Judas, one of the supposedly loyal disciples of Jesus. It was he, who, for thirty pieces of silver, planted the betrayer's kiss upon the cheek of his Master.
"Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the high priests, and said unto them: What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him."
"Now he that betrayed Him gave them a sign, saying: Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He: hold Him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said: Hail, Master, and kissed Him."
Thus was the unholy bargain sealed and completed. Judas, to be sure, deliberately waited until after the midnight hour, under cover of darkness, near the garden of Gathsemane, to betray his Master by placing the filthy kiss from his putrescent lips upon the cheek of the Christ. That was the arranged signal of the money-mad demon for which the Roman soldiers and temple guards had waited; and without further ceremony they seized and bound Jesus like He might have been a long hunted desperado; and took Him, in chains, to His bitterest enemy, Annas, for trial.
Judas hailed from Kerioth in Judea, and was the only Judean among the disciples. He had been repeatedly honored by Jesus in that he had been sent upon holy missions; had been given the power to cast out devils, and had been appointed as the treasurer of the little group of disciples.
Why, then, one would inquire, was he so eager to deliver his Master into the hands of sinful men- knowing that, in consequence thereof, Jesus would be brutally punished and finally crucified?
(Jurist speaks in a loud voice)
Because greed and love for money was his undoing!
And he became greatly disturbed and highly disappointed when he began to realize that Jesus had no possible intention of ever setting up an earthly kingdom. Then, too, he witnessed the refusal of Jesus to accede to the demands of the large group of followers that He be their king, and that Jesus then began to effect a realignment along spiritual lines.
Worldly pomp and power were his dreams and hopes, and, realizing that such was not in the plans of the Master, he assumed an attitude of great resentment and bitterness for the spiritual program of the Christ. He felt that he was following a pauper rather than an earthly king! Hate filled the heart of Judas as he determined to get what he could for the betrayal of Jesus.
In reading the incident of His arrest, we recall that, when the soldiers, led by Judas, stated to Jesus, that they were seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ replied: "I Am He," they all fell backwards, and went to the ground! This was the shock which they received when made conscious of being in the actual, personal presence of the living, breathing Son of God! And it took them several moments to regain their composure before proceeding with the unlawful arrest.
And from that moment forward, Judas was filled with a deep sense of shame and remorse, for he soon thereafter admitted having played the fool.
The human heart can experience no greater sting than that of justified remorse of conscience. And for Judas, he well knew that there would never be any redemption! He was forever lost-lost amid the catacombs of desolate and despised men!
Then what happened to the betrayer?
"Then Judas, which had betrayed Him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying: I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood! And they said: What is that to us? See thou that! And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself."
Yes, Judas willingly confessed, after it was too late, that he had sinned by betraying the innocent blood of Christ! Betrayed his loyal and best friend and benefactor into the hands of the enemy, with full knowledge of the consequences of a lonesome death on Calvary's cross!
No wonder the remorse and deep sense of shame and disgrace was so intense that the world's most despicable traitor found no other course open to him but to place a rope about his neck and commit suicide upon the public highway!
And what a grim spectacle! A wretched, down-cast, hopeless betrayer seen dangling from the end of a sturdy rope that all might behold the price of despair! And what a grim reminder of the eternal and extreme penalty which was self-inflicted by one whose last vestige of hope had been quickly and surely supplanted by a dire sense of utter despair! Being wholly devoid of character, his lust for money outweighed all sense of self-respect and decency. His attitude was confession of wrong without repentance!
And now, after the passage of almost two thousand long years, his cowardly deed of treachery still remains fresh in the hearts and memory of uncounted billions, wherever located within the realm of civilization, who despise him, and regard his very name as a symbol of shame, slander, infamy and complete disgrace! No greater insult could be hurled at another than to say of him that he is a "Judas!"
Jesus, we know, was renowned for His positiveness- speaking out in plain terms of either praise or condemnation. And in all of the many, many expressions of the Master, no where can there be found, falling from His lips, a more stinging statement of appraisal than that which He made concerning Judas Iscariot, His betrayer, when He said:
"The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of Him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born!"
Listen to the condemnation of Jesus:
"Good were it for that man if he had never been born!"
Would Jesus have made such a statement if, as some would believe, Judas was born to play the part he did in the betrayal of Christ?
Does predestination enter into the picture?
This jurist thinks not!
Had Judas been born to assume that unpopular, cowardly role, then the all-forgiving compassionate Christ would certainly have known about it, and full pardon would have been passed unto Judas like Jesus so freely sought pardon for His murderers while dying on the cross.
Judas was human, possessed with human frailties, and coupled with an inborn greed for earthly possessions, power and prestige.
That was his greatest and all-consuming sin. Therefore, it may be said that he deserved the condemnation for his dastardly deed of betrayal of the Master.
[ Stenographers note:
Due to space restrictions, this long days court proceedings will be spread out through several pages. Each page will be titled with the name of the principal actor in that awful drama involving Jesus.]