According to the laws of Israel, many of which became the very fabric of American and International law, Jesus indictment, trials, and conviction–were unjust. In any other court of law in a civilized nation, no system of government would have allowed the gross misuse of power that the Sanhedrin instituted against Jesus. How is it that Israel could make such a great blunder? The answer is really very simple: This injustice was predicted by the Hebrew prophets, nearly 700 years before these events took place.[1a]
Jesus is taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia to Pontius Pilate. The Jews made accusations against Jesus, that on the surface appeared to be very serious.
There were four major charges against Jesus; all of which were false.
- Jesus perverted the nation of Israel.
- He opposed paying taxes to Caesar.
- Jesus claimed to be a king, which was “sedition.” Known as rebellion against Roman authority, this was the most serious crime against Roman law.
- Jesus said that He would “destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days.”
As a result of these false charges, Jesus is forced to endure six different trials.
- Before Annas, John 18:12-14
- Before Caiaphas, John 18:19-24
- Before the Sanhedrin, Matthew 27:1,2
- Before Pilate, John 18:28-38
- Before Herod, Luke 23:6-11
- Before Pilate, John 18:39-19:16
All six of these trials were illegal in varying degrees of error. In the process of conducting these trials throughout the night and into the following morning, the Jewish Sanhedrin transgressed many of their procedural regulations.
Approximately 21 different rules were broken while conducting these six trials against Jesus. The following are twelve of the illegal procedures that were conducted during each proceeding. Any one of these infractions should have resulted in Jesus being set free and all charges against Him being dropped.
Why Jesus remained silent
Although the Jewish Leadership broke many laws in their own legal system, Jesus never once opened His mouth to defend Himself. Isaiah predicted that this would take place, more than 600 years before Jesus was born.
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”
Fulfilled in the New Testament
Luke 23:8-9 “Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.”
John 19:9-10 (Pilate questions Jesus:) “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
The fact of Jesus silence is truly amazing. What man would sit idly by and say nothing in his own defense when he was accused of things that he had not done? Jesus silence is testimony of His true identity as the Messiah, predicted by all the Hebrew scriptures.
How Jesus was condemned
Because there were no credible charges brought against Jesus, the members of the Sanhedrin were forced to create a charge and then lie about the details of their accusation in order to make certain that Jesus would be put to death. Behind the scene of this colossal injustice was the sovereignty of God working in the background, moving these events into alignment with His will in order to fulfill the prophecies He had recorded in the Old Testament.
The Sanhedrin in Israel was the High Court of Justice for the Jews. The membership of this tribunal was said to be as many as 71 or as few as 23.[1b] The minimum number that were permitted to sit in judgment was 10. Each member acted as a judge over the cases which were brought before them for a decision.
It was to the Sanhedrin that Jesus was summoned for judgement.
The matter before the court was whether Jesus of Nazareth was guilty of the crime of blasphemy, which carried the penalty of death.
The laws of Israel were based on the laws of Moses, as well as the Talmud which, consisted of the traditions and the interpretations of the teachers of the law, referred to as the “Rabbis.”
Very few of the public were aware of the laws from the Talmud, as these many traditions of the elders were kept private between the individual members. The Talmud itself consisted of over 400 volumes.
In order to correctly interpret these many laws and traditions, expertise was required.
The Sanhedrin would consider the accusation of blasphemy, while the criminal indictment against the government of Rome was for sedition.
In order for a trial to be proper, an indictment must be formalized in the correct manner; four rules must be followed:
Certainty in the indictment Publicity in the discussion Full freedom granted to the accused Assurance against all danger of errors of testimony
The following is an abridged version of the chapter in this book: The Six Illegal Trials of Jesus:
First Illegal Procedure:
Jesus trial took place at night. According to Jewish law, no part of the proceeding could occur during the evening.
“A capital offense must be tried during the day and suspended at night.” -Mishna.
Second Illegal Procedure:
When Jesus was brought before Caiaphas, He was being judged by a solitary agent. This was illegal according to the Mishna.
“Be not a sole judge, for their is no sold judge but One”.
Third Illegal Procedure:
When Jesus was accused of Blasphemy, the Sanhedrin itself originated the charges against Him. According to Jewish law this is not allowed:
“The Sanhedrin could not originate charges; it could only investigate those brought before it”
Fourth Illegal Procedure:
According to the Talmud, no session of any court could transpire before the morning offering. In the case of Jesus, the Sanhedrin convened before the morning offering making the proceedings illegal.
“The Sanhedrin was to set from the close of the morning sacrifice to the time of the evening sacrifice.”  -Mendelsohn
Fifth Illegal Procedure:
Jewish law required that no legal proceeding should be conducted on the day before the Sabbath, the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, or the eve of Passover. Jesus trial was conducted in violation of all three of these particular days.
“Court must not be held on the Sabbath, or any holy day.” -Betza
“They shall not judge on the eve of the Sabbath, nor on that of any festival” -The Mishna
Sixth Illegal Procedure:
The entire trial of Jesus for a capital crime that resulted in His death by crucifixion, took just 24 hours. Beginning with three illegal trials at night before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and continuing with the trial before Pilate that took place early in the morning. No allowance was made for Jesus to be represented by a lawyer. There was also no notification made to any of His friends who could have testified in His favor.
“A criminal case resulting in the acquittal of the accused may terminate the same day on which it began. But if a sentence of death is to be pronounced, it cannot be conducted before the following day.” -Mishna
Seventh Illegal Procedure:
An interesting stipulation of the Sanhedrin was the requirement that at least one judge out of the minimum required (at lest 10), had to stand to defend the accused. If all of the judges voted unanimously to condemn Jesus, the law stated that they must grant an acquittal of all charges.
“A simultaneous and unanimous verdict of guilt rendered on the day of the trial has the effect of an acquittal.”  -Mendelsohn
Eighth Illegal Procedure:
According to the law, the accused cannot be compelled to incriminate himself.
Today in the United States, a person accused of a crime is protected from self incrimination by the 5th amendment to the constitution. A similar law was in existence at the time that the High Priest questioned Jesus. It was illegal to compel Jesus to incriminate Himself. The Jews violated this law and then convicted Him because He would not answer.
“No one can bring an accusation against himself. Should a man make confession of guilt before a legally constituted tribunal, such confession is not to be said against him unless properly attested by two witnesses.” -Maimonides
Ninth Illegal Procedure:
At least two witnesses who both agreed in their testimony were required to convict a person of a capital crime. The witnesses brought before the Sanhedrin could not agree on their testimony—Jesus should have been acquitted.
“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”
Tenth Illegal Procedure:
The Sanhedrin was restricted by law as to the location where a person who had been found guilty of a capital crime, could be sentenced to death. By allowing Pilate to order their requested sentence of death at the pavement of the Romans, this was illegal, according to the Talmud.
“After leaving the hall Gazith no sentence of death can be passed upon anyone whatsoever” -Talmud
Eleventh Illegal Procedure:
The members of the Sanhedrin were clearly prejudiced against Jesus before the trial began. He had publicly exposed their hypocrisy before the people, and discredited them as only seeking His death to protect their positions of authority and desire for financial gain.
According the laws of Israel, any judge who had a predisposition to this kind of prejudice towards a particular person should recused himself from judgement.
“There must not be on the judicial bench either a relation, or a particular friend, or an enemy of either the accused or the accuser”  -Mendelsohn
Twelfth Illegal Procedure:
The primary purpose of the law is to prove the innocence of the accused, not to search out a reason to convict. Jesus was not afforded the opportunity to prove His innocence by making a good defense. Any defense at all was impossible for the Lord because the Sanhedrin allowed Him no opportunity to defend Himself or to have legal counsel represent Him during the trials.
“The primary object of the Hebrew judicial system was to render the conviction of an innocent person impossible. All the ingenuity of the Jewish legist was directed to the attainment of this end” – Benny
Any single violation of the above was enough for the charges against Jesus to be dismissed. Though the Sanhedrin made many errors, the case went forward and Jesus was executed by crucifixion in less than 24 hours after His arrest. These twelve points are discussed in greater detail in the chapter: The Six Illegal Trials of Jesus.
[1a] Psalms 27:12 “Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; For false witnesses have risen against me, And such as breathe out violence.” [1b] The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 1:1)  Because of the ten spies who came back with a bad report. Numbers 13:32 And they gave the children of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out  Salvador in, “Institutions de Moise” p.365  Dupin in, “Jesus Devant Caiphe et Pilate.”  Mishna in “Sanhedrin” Vol.1  Mishna, in “Pirke Aboth” IV 8  Edersheim in, “Life and times of Jesus the Messiah” Vol. I. p.309  Talmud, Jerus, Sanhedrin – Vol. I, p. 19  Betza, chapter Vol. II  Mishna, Sanhedrin IV. 1  Mishna in “Sanhedrin” IV. 1.  The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 1:1  Mendelsohn in”Criminal Juris- prudence of the Ancient Hebrews” p. 141  Maimonides in “Sanhedrin” IV p.2  Deuteronomy 19:15  Talmud, Idolatry, Chapter 1, Vol.8  Mendelsohn in “Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews” p. 108  Benny in “Criminal Code of the Jews” p. 56
Errors of the SanhedrinHow Jesus was condemnedMaimonides