Jesus’ Arrest and Trial
Then Jesus spoke to the leading priests, the captains of the Temple guard, and the
elders who had come for him. “Am I some dangerous revolutionary,” he asked,
“that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in
the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the
power of darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:52-53 NLT)
The arrest of Jesus was perpetrated by Judas, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples.
According to John’s gospel Judas was the treasurer for the twelve and was
described as a “thief.” But Judah Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him,
said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the
money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor – he was a thief, and
since he was in charge of the disciple’s money, he often stole some for himself.
(John 12:4-6 NLT)
When the disciples were gathered around the table in the Upper Room
Jesus said, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me.”
Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And
Jesus told him, “You have said it.” (Matthew 26:23,25 NLT)
Judah left the Upper Room and went to the Sanhedrin to “cut a deal” to
betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He sealed his bargain by agreeing to
identify Jesus with a kiss. It was not only a “kiss of death” for Jesus, but his act
also sealed his own eternal destiny.
The mob that followed Judah into the garden dragged Jesus first to the
house of Annas (John 18:13-15) for a brief examination, then to the house of
Caiaphas for the formal trial before the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin was a panel of Jewish judges who were responsible for
administering the Jewish court of law. This panel included a High Priest, a vicechief
justice, and sixty-nine common members. It was the Sanhedrin’s duty to
protect an innocent man from being wrongly accused of guilt. The standard, or
law code, was called the Mishna. This law code was completely ignored during
the trying of Jesus. The entire proceedings were a bogus and a mistrial should
have been declared.
From Caiaphas they proceeded to Pilate, the Roman procurator at his
praetorian, or place of judgment. Pilate vainly sought to deliver Jesus, being
thoroughly convincedof his innocence. (John 18:28-38) Wishing to avoid the
responsibility of condemning Jesus, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, but Herod
only mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. (Luke 28:8-12)
After the Jewish crowds were whipped into a frenzy by the Jewish leaders
crying out “crucify him, crucify him,” Pilate pronounced him guilty and sent him to
be crucified. Jesus was led forth, bearing his cross, along the Via Dolorosa, “the
sorrowful way,” to the place called Golgotha.
The amazing thing to me in this whole series of events is Jesus’ complete
control. Judas must have expected some kind of deception since he brought so
many soldiers, but Jesus shocked both Judah and the arresting party by boldly
presented himself to them. He had nothing to fear and nothing to hide. He
would willingly lay down his life for the sheep.
Even as he stood before the Sanhedrin and Pilate, he possessed a “bearing”
that none of them could understand. He was violently mistreated, spit upon,
flogged, and struck; yet opened not his mouth. There was no cry for mercy, no
begging for forgiveness, no attempt to avoid the suffering and shame. The
prophet Isaiah said it best, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never
said a word. He was like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before
the shearers, he did not open his mouth.” (isa. 53:7 NLT)