Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trial of Jesus Christ and The Last Supper

Loose Ends

In addition to the problem of relying on sources that may be embroidered through decades of story telling, we do not have other written sources upon which the writers of the Gospels may have relied.   Was there a Book of Q?  If so, when was it written, and by whom?  While it is possible to prove that Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate truly existed, where do the other details in the Gospel accounts come from?  Until someone discovers a document about the trial of Jesus, we will remain unsure.

Finally, the other Gospels, those that were not included in the compilation by the Council of Nicea in the fourth century that became the New Testament, intrigue me.   What, besides the often hilarious and disquieting childhood Gospels, were left out?  Did any of those non-canonical accounts present the trial of Jesus, and, if so, were they substantially different from those of Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John?

There are enough historical facts that support the general outline of the Gospels to validate them as a source for information about the trial of Jesus.   However, enough inconsistencies and missing details make it impossible to know the whole story.

But who is guilty?   The simple answer is everyone and no one.  The Jews called for Jesus crucifixion.  In the person of Pilate, the Romans could have prevented it, but instead they acquiesced to it.  Jesus could have saved himself by giving the interrogators what they wanted, but was compelled to fulfill the prophecies and his destiny.  All are guilty.

On the other hand, there is an air of inevitability in this story.  Expediency and the need to preserve political power made it necessary for the Jews and Pilate to rid themselves of this troublesome prophet.  They could do no other.  Jesus had to behave as he did, for it was ordained that the Son of God must be sacrificed for the sins of the whole world.

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