The Illegal Trial Of Jesus Christ
Death Penalty Unauthorized By Sanhedrin
Ms Suzy, Jurist in this court room:
Was it lawful for the Jews, the members of the Sanhedrin, to take the life of Christ?
The answer must be in the negative because they had no such authority.
Judea was a province under the domination of its Roman conquerors.
They were denied the power to carry into execution any sentence involving the taking of human life.
The Romans did, however, permit them to try persons accused of offenses for which the penalty of death might be imposed; but, such a sentence must first be submitted to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, for his approval or rejection.
Moreover, Pilate was required to hear the testimony and weigh the evidence which was heard by the Sanhedrin- and then decide what to do.
If the Sanhedrin tried a man for a capital offense, involving the infliction of the death penalty, and he was found not guilty, then that was the end of the trial.
But all convictions, as stated, were required to be taken before Pilate, whose final decision was necessary before the judgment of the Sanhedrin could be put into effect.
Referring back to what transpired, during the trial of Jesus, before the Sanhedrin, we note that Caiaphas and his henchmen found Jesus guilty of "blasphemy."
And pronounced the sentence of death-and, instead of complying with the Hebrew laws, on that subject, they took the Christ before Pilate.
Not to obtain a review of their decision, based on their conclusions that He was guilty of "blasphemy," but to get from Pilate a quick, summary approval of their unlawful acts.
Without even telling the Roman Governor of what Jesus had been accused and for what He had been condemned to die.
When before the Roman Governor, they were afraid to report the true facts-that Jesus had been adjudged guilty of blasphemy, in the absence of any testimony, nor the introduction of a single witness!
Instead, they told Pilate that "If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him to you."
Of course, they were hopeful that Pilate would not make inquiry at all as to the reasons for their condemning Jesus to die; but they were mistaken.
Pilate inquired "What evil hath He done?"
Afraid to tell the truth-apprehensive that Pilate would ridicule their judgment of condemnation, upon such an absurd charge, without evidence to support it, they quickly decided to change the accusation from that of "blasphemy" to that of sedition!
When Pilate told them to "Take Him and judge Him by your own laws," they were confounded.
They knew that, under their own laws, the Christ could not, lawfully, be sentenced to die.
Then came the admission that they had no authority to take a human life!
Here is the sordid and rotten thing about the proceedings;
Caiaphas and Annas well knew that they had no lawful right to cause the death of Jesus-and they knew that Pilate could not, under the law, permit the Sanhedrin to take the life of Christ without a through investigation of the charges which they had made against Him.
Still, in their determination to destroy Jesus, they cowardly resorted to subterfuge and trickery, before Pilate, by attempting to accuse Him of sedition-still in the hope that the Roman Governor would affirm their verdict of the death penalty, even though based on blasphemy!
They then saw that their plot was about to fail, so they resorted to pressure tactics, resulting in threatening to report the Roman Governor to Caesar as not being a loyal friend of the Emperor.
This was the trick which caused Pilate to vacillate, and give in to the demands of the mob.
They were able to gain the custody of the Christ, but not under sanction of the laws.
And from the moment Pilate delivered Him unto them, they began their plans to destroy Him.
"And they led Him away to crucify Him."
Crucified Him in the full knowledge that their acts were criminal in that they themselves violated the laws of God and the laws of their own race-for neither the Jews nor God sanctioned cold-blooded murder!