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Trial of Jesus: Contradictions in the Gospel Accounts of Jesus' Arrest, Trials

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Jesus on Trial Before the Temple Priests and the Senhadrin

Jesus on Trial Before the Temple Priests and the Senhadrin

Why Was Jesus Put on Trial?:


The trial of Jesus provides readers with a stark contrast between the figure of Jesus and the corrupt authorities, be they Jewish or Roman. This allows the gospel authors to more easily portray Jesus as a heroic figure, someone worth following. For some reason, though, the gospel authors have conflicting information about what occurred during Jesus’ trial. It isn’t even clear how they would have known any of the details in the first place.

Jesus is Taken to the Authorities:


Of course the soldiers who arrest Jesus take him to the authorities, but which authorities?

Mark 14:53, Matthew 26:57, Luke 22:54 - Jesus is taken to Caiphas, the high priest, after he is arrested
John 18:13-24 - Jesus is taken first to Caiphas’ son-in-law Annas, then to Caiphas (after an unknown time)

Jesus has his First Hearing:


Jesus has a hearing on the charges, but when? With whom?

Mark 14:53-72, 15:1, Matthew 26:18-20, 57-68, 27:1-2 - Jesus is charged on Passover eve and taken to Pilate in the morning
Luke 22:13-15, 54-66 - Jesus’ first hearing occurs on Passover morning
John 18:28, 19:14 - Jesus’ first hearing occurs on the day before Passover

Jesus has his First Trial:


Jesus’ trial is a central event of the Passion, but before whom was the trial held?

Mark 14:55-64, Matthew 26:59-66 - Jesus is tried by the whole Sanhedrin
Luke 22:66-71 - The Sanhedrin hold an inquiry about Jesus, but no trial
John 18:13-24 - The Sanhedrin don’t even hold an official inquiry; Jesus just appears before Annas and Caiphas

Jesus is Interrogated by the High Priest:


Jesus is supposed to be interrogated as his trial, but the nature of the interrogation varies.

Mark 14:61 - Jesus is asked if he is the Son of the Blessed and answers “I am.”
Matthew 26:63, Luke 22:70 - Jesus is asked if he is the Son of God and answers “You have said so.”
John - Jesus is not interrogated by the High Priest

Jesus is Interrogated by Herod:


As the man in charge of Jewish affairs, what role did Herod play in Jesus’ arrest and trial?

Luke 23:7-11 - Pilate sent Jesus to Herod who questions Jesus then sends him back
Matthew, Mark, John - No mention is made of Herod at all

Jesus is Interrogated by Pilate:


If Jesus was interrogated by Herod, what happened? The gospels disagree.

Mark 15:2, Matthew 27:11, Luke 23:3 - Pilate asks if he is King of the Jews and Jesus says “You have said so.” He doesn’t answer any of the charges
John 18:33-34 - Pilate asks the same thing, but Jesus answers “Do you say this of your own accord?” and answers all the charges

Jesus and Barabbas:


The scene where Barabbas is released instead of Jesus is famous, but inconsistently described.

Mark 15:11 - The chief priests get the people to demand the release of Barabbas; his crimes are insurrection and murder
Matthew 27:20 - Priests and elders get people to demand the release of Barabbas; his crimes are unknown
Luke 23:18-23 - The people demand Barabbas’ release; his crimes are insurrection and murder
John 18:40 - The people demand Barabbas’ release; he is described as a robber

Jesus is Given a Robe:


Jesus is often depicted as wearing a robe before being crucified, but what sort of robe and why?

Mark 15:17, John 19:2 - Jesus is made to wear a purple robe by Roman soldiers as a sign of royalty (for which he is being mocked)
Matthew 27:28 - Jesus is made to wear a scarlet robe by Roman soldiers as a symbol of infamy
Luke 23:11 - Jesus is given a robe by Herod and his soldiers, not by the Roman soldiers

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