The 6 Trials of Jesus: 8 stormy hours

The Jews found Jesus guilty 3 times.

The Romans found Jesus Innocent 3 times.

The Six Trials of Jesus:

Three religious (Jewish) trials where he was found guilty and three civil (Roman) trials where he was found innocent.




A. The Six Trials of Jesus:

1.      Jesus had six trials: Three religious (Jewish), and three civil (Romans). Here are the results:

2.      All these six trials were carried out on Good Friday, from 2 AM to 10 AM, in 8 very stormy hours.

B. Three Jewish religious trials where he was proclaimed a sinner:

1.      First Religious Trial (Jewish): Annas, Jn.18:12-14… Decision: Go signal given to execute Jesus.

2.      Second Religious Trial: Caiaphas, Mt.26:57-68… Decision: Death Sentence, charge of blasphemy, because Jesus proclaimed himself the Messiah, God the Son.

3.      Third Religious Trial, Sanhedrin, Mt.27:1-2, Lk.22:63-71… Decision: Death.

C. Three Roman Civic trials where Jesus was proclaimed innocent.

1.      First Civil Trial (Roman): Pilate, Jn.18:28-38… Decision: Not guilty.

2.      Second Civil Trial: Herod, Lk.23:6-12… Decision: Not guilty.

3.      Third Civil Trial: Pilate again, Jn.18:39-19:6. Decision: Not guilty, but turned to the Jews to be crucified (Mt.27:26).

The Jews found him guilty but the Romans found Jesus Innocent.


Pilate said as he washed his hands, "I am innocent of this man's blood" the Jews actually responded, "His blood be upon us and our children".


I. Who was High Priest: Annas or Caiaphas since both are called high priest. Annas was the father in law of Caiaphas.

1.      “the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas” Lk 3:2

2.      Caiaphas was the High Priest through whom God prophesied that a man should die for the people. Jn 11:49-52; 18:14

3.      “The high priest (Annas) then questioned Jesus” Jn 18:19

4.      “Is that the way You answer the high priest (Annas) ?” Jn 18:22

5.      “So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.” John 18:24

6.      “Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent.” Acts 4:6

7.      Our conclusion is that Annas was the Jewish appointed High Priest, while Caiaphas was the Roman appointed High Priest but we cannot know for sure. Although the Law said that the High Priest was appointed for life, Exodus 29:9; Numbers 3:10, Annas had been deposed by Rome. Annas was appointed high Priest in 6 AD by Quirinius (Lk 2:2) and was deposed by Valerius Gratus in 15 AD.


II. The charges against Jesus:

A. Caiaphas’ accusations:

1.      “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’ Mk

2.      I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days Mt

3.      tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. He has blasphemed Mt

4.      “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? “You have heard the blasphemy Mk

B. Council of elder’s accusations:

1.      When it was day, the of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. “But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”Luke 22:66-71


III. The Denials of Peter

Peter follows

But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. Matthew 26:58

Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest;

Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance.

Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.

Time for Fire to be Kindled, then first denial


Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”

 and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire. Mark 14:54

As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.”

After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”

Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself. John 18:15-18

Second denial


When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

And he went out onto the porch, and a rooster crowed. The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!” But again he denied it.

A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it, and said, “I am not.”

Peter’s third denial


A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!”

And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.” But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”

After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.”

One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied it again,

Rooster Crows

And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.Matthew 26:69-75


Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.Mark 14:66-72


Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. Luke 22:54-62

and immediately a rooster crowed.John 18:25-27



IV. The 6 Trials of Jesus





Time AM



3 Religious trials by Jews


Mt 26:57-58; Mk 14:53-54; Luke 22:54-55; Jn 18:12-23



House of High Priest

Jesus answers freely


Mt 26:59-75; Mk 14:55-65; Lk 22:56-65; Jn 18:24



House of High Priest

Peter’s three denials. One hour between second and third denial: Lk 22:59

Jesus would not answer


Mt 27:1, Mk 15:1; Lk 22:66-71



Court of Sanhedrin

In the early morning

3 Civil trials by Romans


Matt 27:2-14; Mk 15:2-5; Lk 23:1-6; Jn 18:28-38




Death of Judas


Lk 23:7-12



Herod visiting Jerusalem



Matt 27:15-26; Mk 15:6-15; Lk 23:13-25; Jn 18:39-19:16






V. Bible texts for the 6 trials of Jesus






1.     Annas

Mt 26:57-58

Mk 14:53-54


Jn 18:12-23

2.     Caiaphas

Mt 26:59-75

Mk 14:55-65

Lk 22:56-65

Jn 18:24

3.     Sanhedrin

Mt 27:1

Mk 15:1



4.     Pilate

Matt 27:2-14

Mk 15:2-5

Lk 23:1-6

Jn 18:28-38

5.     Herod



Lk 23:7-12


6.     Pilate

Matt 27:15-26

Mk 15:6-15

Lk 23:13-25

Jn 18:39-19:16


VI. The 7 Trials of Jesus










2:00 AM


Preliminary ex­amination

Annas, ex-high priest of Jews

John 18:13-23

Pre–trial trumped–up charges. General questioning, nothing specific

Illegal because it was unauthorized inquiry held at night at residence of Annas. Prejudice. No specific charges. Violent.

Purpose was to gain evidence for the trial. “Guilty” of irreverence. Taken to Caiaphas.


3:30 AM


Caiaphas, current high priest, and members of Sanhedrin

Matt. 26:56-68; Mk. 14:53-65; Jn. 18:24

Blasphemy; claimed to be the Messiah, Son of God

Illegal because held at night at residence of Caiaphas. Perjured witnesses could not agree. Violence.

Guilty of blasphemy by common consent. Sent to the Sanhedrin


6:00 AM


Sanhedrin (Jewish ruling authorities)

; Lk. 22:66-71

Charged with blasphemy; claimed to be Son of God. Rome not interested in blasphemy.

Formal trial to con­firm capital sentence of the illegal night trial. Put Jesus under oath. Caiaphas made each member of Sanhedrin accredited witnesses.

Declared guilty of blasphemy by Sanhedrin. Sent to Roman Governor, Pilate, for legal sentence of death.


6:30 AM

Roman Civil Trial

Pilate, Governor of Judaea, at official residence (first time)

Matt. 27:1-2, 11-14; Mk. 15:2-5; Lk. 23:1-7; Jn. 18:28-38

Accused Him of treason which was worthy of capital punish­ment in Rome.

Illegal, yet held even though found innocent by Pilate. No defense attorney. Violent.

Innocent, Jn. 18:38. Should have ended trial, but sent to Herod Antipas. Mob overruled Pilate.


7:00 AM

Roman Civil Trial

Herod Antipas, Governor of Galilee

Lk. 23:8-12

No accusation. Mock trial. Mob violence.

Illegal because no grounds. Mockery in courtroom. Violence. No defense attorney.

Mistreated and mocked, returned to Pilate without decision by Herod


7:30 AM

Roman Civil Trial

Pilate (second time)

Matt. 27:15-26; Mk. 15:6-15; Lk. 23:13-25; Jn. 18:39-19:16

Treason. Bargain with mob, put on trial with Barabbas

Illegal because Pilate had no proof of guilt, allowed innocent man be condemned

Found innocent, but Pilate bowed to political pressure of Jews.




You are the judge.

The whole Bible

Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior

This decision is legal and eternally binding

What did you do with Jesus?



1.      The six trials of Jesus were a total miscarriage of justice that involved Jewish envy, political pandering, evil and pure cowardice.

2.      Contrary to the popular view held by today's Jewish community, it was the pagan Romans who found Jesus innocent and the chosen race of Jews who crucified him out of envy and hard-hearted evil.

3.      Pilate said as he washed his hands, "I am innocent of this man's blood" the Jews actually responded, "His blood be upon us and our children". So be it! And such is the gospel. We are all guilty of crucifying Jesus if we have committed even one sin which Jesus needed to shed his blood for to bring about forgiveness and the hope of eternal live in heaven!

4.      The seventh and final trial of Jesus takes place in your heart right here, right now! Do you think he was innocent or guilty of sin?

By Steve Rudd


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