Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Trial of Jesus Christ and The Last Supper

Luke's Account

The account by Luke Chapter 22, verses 47-71; Chapter 23, verses 1-24, very likely adapted from Mark, adds a few details, and differs slightly in some of Marks items.   Jesus heals the ear that was cut off, identifying the victim as the servant of the High Priest, and identifying it as the right ear.  Luke adds a few additional words to Jesus response to the question of whether he is the Son of God.

What occurs next differs from Mark.   After this initial confrontation with the High Priests (without the chief priest losing it), Jesus is immediately led off to Pilate. The time-line of events is not clear. Among the charges added is that Jesus is perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.  This is patently false, since earlier in the Gospels Jesus has said that one may render unto Caesar that which is Caesars.  Pilate, as in Mark, asks if Jesus is the King of the Jews, and Jesus again answers, Thou sayest it.  Pilate then says the famous words that occur in every Good Friday service, I find no fault in this man.

Herod Antipas, profile on coin
Herod Antipas, profile on coin
Luke describes the crowd as more fierce, telling Pilate that Jesus had been spreading his sedition all the way from Galilee.   In a sudden stroke of political expediency, Pilate decides to send him to Herod Antipas, King of Galilee, who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

This is a new wrinkle in the story.   Herod had evidently heard of Jesus, and wanted to see him perform a miracle.  He questions Jesus, gets no answers, while the chief priests and scribes are vehemently accusing Jesus.  The scene was most chaotic.  Herods men mock Jesus, dress him in a gorgeous robe, and send him back to Pilate.

An odd detail is added at this point.   Luke says that Pilate and Herod ceased their enmity with one another and were made friends together.  Perhaps Luke is attempting to depict Herod and Pilate as reluctant co-conspirators in the ultimate fate of Jesus.  It seems to be an unnecessary detail to the story.

Anthony Quinn as Barabbas, movie still
Anthony Quinn as Barabbas, movie still
However, it has one point of relevance.  Pilate again says that he can find no fault in Jesus, and points out that Herod also found nothing that would require execution.  He tells the noisy crowd I will therefore chastise him, and release him.  This will not do for the crowd, who cry out for the release of Barabbas (not mentioned by Luke before this point) and the crucifixion of Jesus.  Pilate again protests, but the crowd was insistent.  And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

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