Sanhedrin did not sentence Jesus to death

May 23, 2009

The Editor

The Jerusalem Post

Sir,

I take umbrage at Mathew Wagner’s mistake in his article “Leaps of faith” (May 14) where he pins responsibility on “. . . the Sanhedrin that sentenced Jesus to death . . .”

The Sanhedrin did nothing of the kind because Jesus’ arrest took place supper time, Thursday, the first night of Passover. The trial followed that evening or the next morning* – the first day of Passover, Good Friday – the day of the crucifixion. (*The Gospels are not unanimous.)

Passover was a religious holiday God decreed must be annually commemorated to recall the exodus from Egypt. (Exodus 13). This meant the priests, the Temple police, and the Sanhedrin of 72 judges (‘elders of the law’) would have been at home reading the Hagadah and having their evening meal Thursday. That’s why Jesus was not arrested by Temple police. Nor would the Priests or the Sanhedrin have tried Jesus that night, nor the next day (Luke). Nor would priests ever act as judges.

The Sanhedrin never held court at night or on national holidays. They never passed sentence until 24 hours after conclusion of a trial. Only Romans had power to crucify Jesus. Jewish law mandated death by stoning.

Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus was a Christian episode fabricated decades after the event. Nevertheless, the Gospels still make clear that Jesus’ death was God ordained. Jesus was tried and sentenced to death not for blasphemy, but for being “King of the Jews” as Pilate stubbornly reiterated. (“What I have written, I have written.”)

Pilate, who had Jesus arrested and unceremoniously crucified, should have gone down in history as the real Christ killer despite the Gospel writers’ attempts to frame the Jews for Jesus’ death.

Sincerely,

Jock L. Falkson

Leave a Reply