The Arrest and Trial of Jesus

Introduction

The death and resurrection of Jesus are certainly the key events in all of scripture. They are the basis of our salvation. However, we should also pay close attention to the events leading up to Jesus' death. Strangely enough, they can be a source of comfort to those who are victims of oppression and injustice. Here is a quote from the book Generous Justice by Timothy Keller

In Jesus Christ God identified not only with the poor, but also with those who are denied justice. Dr. James Montgomery Boice once preached a sermon entitled “The Illegalities of Christ's Trial.” Examining the account of Jesus's trial before the Sanhedrin in John 18 he listed all the ways the trial was a miscarriage of justice: … Many people say, “I can't believe in God when I see all the injustice in the world.” But here is Jesus, the Son of God, who knows what it is like to be the victim of injustice, to stand up to power, to face a corrupt system and be killed for it. He knows what it is like to be lynched. I'm not sure how you believe in a God remote from injustice and oppression, but Christianity doesn't ask you to believe in that. That is why John Stott is able to say, “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the Cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?”

In the following we will look at the basics of Hebrew law which is much different from our law today. We will see how Jesus' arrest and trial violate almost every aspect of this law. For those today who are denied justice, they can take comfort in the fact that Jesus understands. Much of the following material is based on the two volumes of “The Trial of Jesus from a Lawyers Standpoint” by Walter M. Chandler (1908).

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