ArticlesThe Trial of Eternity: The Injustices of the Trial of Jesus

The Trial of Eternity: The Injustices of the Trial of Jesus

By Jordan Villanueva, Professor at Howard Payne University and Pastor of FBC Blanket

Every now and then, a court case catches the culture’s attention which results in certain cases being dubbed as the Trial of the Century. Yet, in the annals of history, few trials have garnered as much attention and scrutiny as that of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, many fail to realize that this Trial of Eternity is marked by a series of egregious violations of justice. The trial of Jesus stands as a stark reminder of the dangers of unchecked power and prejudice. Below are four reasons why the trial of Jesus can be classified as an unfair trial.

1. False Accusations
False accusations were hurled at Jesus, who originally stood accused of blasphemy by the religious elite. Despite the lack of credible evidence, the verdict seemed predetermined, a foregone conclusion in a rigged system. However, there was a problem. The Sanhedrin, which was the religious judicial system of the day, was delegated jurisdiction by the Roman government over religious matters, and yet could not enforce capital punishment. That right was reserved for Rome. Therefore, in order to seek the death penalty, the false accusation was concocted by the religious elite to charge Jesus with sedition against the Roman Empire, which was an automatic sentencing for death on a cross.
The proceedings took a particularly grotesque turn when Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. Pilate, eager to appease the restless crowd, offered them a choice between Jesus and Barabbas, a known anarchist. There was a custom at the time of the Roman occupation where the Roman government in order to appease the Jewish people, would offer up a prisoner of their choosing to be freed once a year around the Passover festival. This custom was enacted to preserve the Pax Romana by curtailing rebellion. In a cruel twist of fate, the crowd clamored for Barabbas to be released, sealing Jesus’s fate. In other words, those who had offered up Jesus to be executed by Rome on the charges of mutiny decided to free a known rebel in His place.

2. Trial under the cover of night
The proceedings began in the dead of night, a time when justice is often obscured by shadows and secrecy. Jesus was brought before a panel of religious and political authorities, including Annas, the former high priest, and Caiaphas, his son-in-law, and the current high priest. It is speculated that Jesus was arrested in the middle of the night on Good Friday around 3am or so, convicted around 6am and eventually sentenced by 9am. According to the Mishnah, “In cases of capital law, the court judges during the daytime, and concludes the deliberations and issues the ruling only in the daytime.” Therefore, according to the oral law, the Sanhedrin carried out not one but multiple unlawful trials.

3. Arrested, Tried, and Convicted all on the same day
Adding insult to injury, the trial violated other fundamental principles of justice. Again, it is speculated that Jesus was convicted by 6am and executed by 9am when He was crucified. Arrested, tried, and sentenced all within the span of a single day, Jesus was denied even the semblance of due process. According to the Mishnah, “In cases of capital law, the court may conclude the deliberations and issue the ruling even on that same day to acquit the accused, but must wait until the following day to find him liable.” Again, according to the oral tradition, the religious leaders rushed the unjust trial in order to convict unlawfully.

4. Double Jeopardy
Double jeopardy is a legal principle that prohibits an individual from being tried or punished twice for the same offense or crime after they have already been acquitted or convicted. This principle ensures protection against multiple prosecutions or punishments for the same act, safeguarding individuals from undue harassment, oppression, or the threat of being subject to continuous legal proceedings for the same alleged wrongdoing. Double jeopardy is founded on the notion of finality in legal proceedings and serves as a fundamental aspect of due process in many legal systems around the world. Jesus however, was tried multiple times before Pilate for the same charge of insurrection. This in conjunction with the previous examples of bad judicial practices, demonstrates a flawed jurisprudence on the part of those presiding over the trial of Jesus.

Conclusion
The trial of Jesus serves as a haunting reminder of the dangers of unchecked power and the perversion of justice. It is a cautionary tale that echoes through the corridors of time, challenging us to confront our own complicity in systems of oppression and inequality. May we never forget the injustice inflicted upon Jesus, and may we strive to ensure that such travesties of justice never happen again. It is fascinating to think of the parallel between the fact that Jesus was found guilty in an unfair trial so that we might be found innocent before the judgment seat of God. May we praise Jesus even more for His willingness to endure such unfair torture and suffering on behalf of His creation.

 

 

*The views expressed are those solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pastor’s Common

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