Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Testament Lesson 26: To This End Was I Born

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda



Scripture Block: Matt. 26:47-27:66; Mark 14:43-15:39; Luke 22:47-23:56; John 18-19
Based on a Sunday School lesson in Freehold,New Jersey Ward

I am on travel here in the United States from June 30-August 3,2011 and so this is my first Sunday writing about the New Testament lesson in the student perspective instead of a teacher of Sunday School Gospel Doctrine class of Deparo Ward,Novaliches Philippines Stake.

So for this lesson,I focus on "The Trial of Christ from a Lawyer's Standpoint" (yea the lawyer's instinct in me) based on a handout given by the Sunday School teacher of Freehold,New Jersey Ward.

Shortly after his agony in Gethsemane, Jesus is betrayed by Judas, who appears with chief priests, Pharisees, and soldiers. Jesus submits himself to his captors, who take him from the garden and subject him to a Jewish trial. He is questioned first by Annas, a former high priest, and then by Caiaphas, Annas’s successor and son-in-law. The chief priests and elders who are present spit on Jesus, mock him, bind him, and accuse him of blasphemy, an offense punishable by death. Outside Caiaphas’s palace, Peter denies that he knows Jesus.


(Caezar's Palace in Atlantic City,New Jersey)

Because the chief priests and elders do not have power to sentence Jesus to death, they send him to be tried by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor in Judea. Before Pilate, Jesus is accused of being an enemy to Caesar. Learning that Jesus is from Galilee, Pilate sends him to Herod, a governor over Galilee. Herod refuses to judge Jesus and sends him back to Pilate, who yields to the crowd’s demands that Jesus be crucified.

In the handout, there is clear evidence showing why the trial of Jesus Christ was a complete travesty and injustice and should have been thrown out of court many times over.

Laws Relating to Jewish Trials at the Time of Christ / Illegalities of Jesus Trial

1. No person may be arrested at night (John 18:3)

- The arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane at night

2. An accomplice cannot assist in arrests (Matthew 26:47, 50)

- Judas appears with chief priests, Pharisees, and soldiers.

3. No person may be tried at night (John 18:12, 13)

- Trying Jesus at night.

4. No one man may try to condemn another man by himself (Matthew 26:57-68)

- Only Judas' testimony against Jesus became the sole basis of the arrest

5. The Sanhedrin may only hear charges;they cannot be the accusers ( Matthew 26:59)

- The indictment of Jesus originated by the Sanhedrin

6. Charges can be brought only by witnesses; there is no official accuser ( Matthew 26:59)

7. All charges must be clearly understood,and a public discussion is to precede the actual trial ( John 18:13-14; Matthew 26:57)

- The private examination of Jesus by Annas (or Caiphas) before the beginning of the regular trial.

8. The Sanhedrin may not hold court before the morning sacrifice ( Matthew 26:57-68;Matthew 27:1)

-Trying Jesus before the morning sacrifice had been offered

9. No man may be tried on the day before the feast, the day before the Sabbath, the first day of unleavened bread, or the eve of the Passover (Mark 14:12-13, 15; John 18:28)

- Trying Jesus on the eve of Jewish Sabbath and at the beginning of the celebration of the Passover Feast.

10.Cases are not to be adjourned longer than overnight.They are not to be continued on the Sabbath or on the holiday (Luke 22:66; Luke 23:1)

- Concluding the trial of Jesus Christ within one day.

11. If a man is to condemned to die, he must be given another trial on the day following his first condemnation (Matthew 26:57-68;Matthew 27:1-2)

12. No person may be condemned on his own confession (Matthew 26:63-65)

- Convicting Jesus on his uncorroborated confession.

13.The verdict of the Sanhedrin cannot be unanimous; there must be a defender for the accused among the judgment group or the verdict is invalid and the sentence cannot be carried out (Mark 14:64)

- Convicting Jesus on a unanimous verdict.

14. The sentence of death cannot be pronounced by the Sanhedrin only in the officially appointed hall of the Sanhedrin( Mark 14:53-54)

- The sentence of condemnation was pronounced in a place forbidden by law.

15.The high priest who is sitting in council is not to uncover his head or rend his clothes (Matthew 26:65)

- The high priest rent his clothes

16. No man who is known to be an enemy or close friend of the accused may occupy a position as a judge (Mark 14:60-65)

- The members of the Great Sanhedrin were legally disqualified to try Jesus.

17. The merits of the defense in the case must be carefully considered (Matthew 26:57-68)
- The merits of the defense were not considered

(Sources: The Trial of Jesus by Walter S. Chandler, Jesus the Christ by James Talmage and Mortal Messiah by Bruce R.McConkie

I was shocked at the glaring injustice Jesus endured during the last day of his mortal life.But what amazes me more was his loving responses to each of the trial that show the great magnitude of his character. It was evident that Jesus during this difficult time in His life was still more concerned for others than for himself, he was forgiving, he was submissive to Heavenly Father’s will, he did not condemn others for their weaknesses, and he did not complain.

May we follow our Savior’s example of kindness during our own times of difficulty. "Each of us can do a little better than we have been doing.We can be a little more kind.We can be a little more merciful. We can be a little more forgiving.We can put behind us our weaknesses of the past, and go forth with new energy and increased resolution to improve the world about us, in our places of employment,in our social activities. (Pres.Gordon B. Hinckley)"



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