I say “trials” because Jesus actually went through six trials, not just one. In the hours between approximately 11 PM on Thursday night until about 8 AM on Friday morning, he was brought before…
- Annas (the former high priest),
- Caiaphas (the reigning high priest),
- The Sanhedrin (the religious Supreme Court of the Jews),
- Pontius Pilatus (the 5th Prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from A.D. 26-36),
- Herod Antipas, AKA “Herod the Tetrarch” (the Jewish puppet-governor of Galilee),
- And then back again to Pilate for final sentencing.
After a night of beatings and mocking, after being deprived of food, water, and sleep, after being crowned with painful thorns pounded into His head, after being dragged from one kangaroo-court to another, at approximately 9 AM on Friday Jesus was crucified, along with two convicted felons. Now crucifixion is one of the most brutal and torturous death penalties ever devised by man. The term crucifixion comes from the Latin word, crucifixus, which is the past participle passive form of the verb meaning “to fix to a cross.” Crucifixion was usually intended to provide a death that was particularly slow, painful, gruesome, humiliating, and public. In fact, the English word excruciating, comes from the practice of crucifixion. It literally means “from, or out from crucifying, i.e. as a result of crucifixion.” In other words, the pain caused by crucifixion has become the standard by which all other pain is measured.
After Jesus died, a small group of His disciples took His body down from the cross and laid Him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and to seal the door of the burial chamber they set in place a giant round stone, like a millstone. The Jewish religious leaders who were worried that Jesus’ body might be stolen by His followers asked Pontius Pilate for a detail of Roman guards to be posted in front of the tomb. They didn’t want Him coming out! But of course, He did anyway. And then He walked all around, showing Himself repeatedly to individuals and to groups of people. The Apostle Paul, in I Corinthians 15:5-8 tells us that after the Resurrection… “He appeared to Cephas [Peter], then to the twelve. 6After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now… 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8and last of all… He appeared to me also.” For those forty days between the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus, He taught His disciples, ate with them, walked with them, let them put their fingers in the nail prints in His hands and side. HE WAS ALIVE!