33 AD Judas Iscariot Betrays Jesus - Gethsemane. Jerusalem 33 AD The Trial of Jesus - Jerusalem 33 AD Pontius Pilate - Jerusalem
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The trial of Jesus was a “capital” trial; the crimes He was accused of were punishable by death. There were even more rules for capital trials to make sure they were fair. Scholars say Jesus’ trial broke at least 18 of the Mosaic laws that were meant to protect the accused. Here are some:

The Illegal Trial of Jesus 

Scholars say Jesus’ trial broke at least 18 of the Mosaic laws that were meant to protect the accused

The Law of Moses included many rules of law for guiding a fair trial. The Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the highest religious court of the time—consisting of seventy priests with a high priest in charge. It held court cases in the Court of Hewn Stones near Herod’s temple.

The trial of Jesus was a “capital” trial; the crimes He was accused of were punishable by death. There were even more rules for capital trials to make sure they were fair. Scholars say Jesus’ trial broke at least 18 of the Mosaic laws that were meant to protect the accused. Here are some:

  • The testimony of an accomplice was not allowed. Therefore, Judas could not accuse or witness against Christ.
  • The accused could not be questioned by a private individual. Christ was taken to Annas (Caiaphas’ father-in-law and the former high priest) and then Caiaphas.
  • No legal proceedings could take place at night.
  • The Sanhedrin (Jewish judges) could not bring charges. Witnesses had to do that. But indeed, the Sanhedrin brought charges. Then they sought for and brought in false witnesses.
  • Capital offenses could not be tried on a preparation day for a Sabbath or high holy day and the Passover began the next evening.
  • Capital trials had to last more than one day to allow for great consideration on the part of the judges.
  • There had to be two or three agreeing witnesses and they had to cast the first stones at the criminal. If witnesses were untruthful, they were to receive the same punishment themselves.
  • The accused had to have a “friend in court” to defend him. Jesus had none.
  • No one can accuse himself. Jesus agreed that He was/is who He claimed to be.
  • The high priest is not allowed to grandstand. Caiaphas rent his clothes and accused Christ of blasphemy.
  • The accused must be given ample time to defend himself of any accusations.
  • If with a capital crime the decision is unanimous against the accused, the case is actually thrown out. Any members of the Sanhedrin who may have defended Christ were not invited to this court session. The court found unanimously against Jesus, so He should have walked free.
  • The trial was held at Caiaphas’ palace instead of at the proper court. The next morning part of the Sanhedrin convened at the proper place to make things look legal.
  • Any sort of bribery disqualifies a member of the court. The court bribed Judas to turn on Christ.
  • The judges are not allowed to assault the accused.
  • When the Sanhedrin took Jesus before Pilate hoping for a death sentence to be carried out according to Roman law, they changed the charges from blasphemy to treason, illegal under the Law of Moses.