The foundation of the American criminal justice system is found in the Constitution, specifically in the Bill of Rights, which guarantees U.S. citizens certain liberties and rights. When it comes to criminal procedures, the most fundamental is the assumption of innocence. Defendants do not have to prove their innocence, so it is incumbent upon the government to establish guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. Obviously, if those within the justice system lie, cheat or produce false charges or evidence it is a serious matter.
As we approach Easter, I want to expose that both the religious and Government entities lied, cheated and produced false evidence in order to bring Jesus to trial and ultimately to crucify Him. Jesus lived in a land ruled by the Roman Empire. The various Caesars were considered gods on earth, and at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion Caesar Tiberius was in charge. His Governor was Pilate, and both were sadistic, anti-Semitic gentiles.
The Romans ruled that no Jew could subject anyone to Capital punishment. If they could, they would have stoned Jesus for blasphemy, but under Roman law, capital prisoners must be crucified. The Jewish council, or Sanhedrin wanted Jesus dead, so they twisted their own guilty verdict of blasphemy into a charge of treason, which was a capital crime requiring crucifixion.
Contrary to common belief, Jesus did not stand one trial, but six, three before the Jews and three before the Romans, and twice before Pilate who found it extremely difficult to find any fault in Him, though he ultimately pronounced Him guilty. Oddly, almost everything about His arrest and trial was against the law.
1. No capital crime arrest could be done at night, but Jesus was clearly arrested in the middle of the night.
2. No arrest could be made based on information from any colleague of the accused, but Judas, Jesus’ disciple, led priests and soldiers alike to where Jesus was in the Garden.
3. No Jewish trial could be conducted at night, but both the trial before Annas and Caiaphas were held in darkness.
4. Jewish law required their court take a two-day break between holding court and passing judgment. In this case the court never left the presence of Caiaphas, a clear violation of their own law.
5. The required method of finding an accused guilty of a crime was by an audible vote, beginning with the youngest and working up to the oldest. No such vote ever took place.
6. No trial could be held before only one judge, and never without a defense attorney. Jesus had no such defense, so His arrest, His trial, and ultimately His crucifixion were all illegal procedures.
In spite of all this, from the cross, Jesus said “Forgive them,” and in spite of our sin, He forgives us.
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