We all know that Jesus had to die.

Here’s something you may not have known. If the High Priest and Great Sanhedrin—the Jewish Supreme Court—followed their own laws they would have had to let Jesus go! They broke so many of their own laws that, if the Judge was truly impartial and just, he would declared a mistrial and let Jesus go free. For example,


  • All meetings of the Court were to take place in the Hall of Hewn Stone IN THE TEMPLE. It was forbidden to hold Court anywhere outside this Hall. The first two of Jesus’ Jewish trials were held in the homes of Annas and Caiaphas.
  • The meetings of the Court were to be held in the Temple in order that the meetings be public and open to the people. Jesus’ trials before Annas and Caiaphas were held in private.
  • The law forbade the Court from passing and imposing the death sentence before it even arrests, indicts, and tries the accused. Death could not be meted or imposed before the accused has had a chance to defend himself before the Court. Jesus was condemned to death before He was even arrested.
  • The death sentence was passed only as a last resort. A cardinal rule of law was that the Court was to be consumed with life and not with death. A single reasonable doubt—even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary—was sufficient to spare the accused from death. The Court was to make every attempt, exhaust every means, to preserve the life of the accused. The Court in this case made absolutely no attempt to preserve Jesus’ life.
  • Jesus’ arrest was conducted by night. According to law, it was forbidden to conduct any criminal proceedings after sunset.
  • The arrest was conducted with the aid of a paid accomplice, hence involving bribery. The giving and receiving of bribes was expressly forbidden by law.
  • Some members of the Court, who themselves were judges, participated in the arrest, hence prejudicing them against the Lord.
  • Contrary to law, Jesus was arrested without a charge and without evidence or witnesses against him. There was no legal grounds to arrest Him, therefore, He should not have been arrested.


  • Jesus’ hearing before Annas was conducted privately in Annas’ palace. The law required all trials to be held in public. A defendant could not be tried in private.
  • A defendant in a capital case could not be tried, judged, or condemned by one judge. A minimum of twenty-three judges was required.
  • Annas sought to obtain a charge against Jesus without the law’s requirement for witnesses.  
  • Annas tried to get Jesus to incriminate Himself. By law, no man could testify against himself, hence, such testimony would not be admissible in Court.
  • It was unlawful to abuse a defendant during the trial. Jesus was slapped without reprimand from the High Priest.
  • It was unlawful to detain a person without charge, evidence, or witnesses against him. Instead of letting Jesus go, Annas sent Him to Caiaphas for further trial.

THE PRELIMINARY TRIAL BEFORE CAIAPHAS IN CAIAPHAS’ HOUSE, Matthew 26:59-68, Mark 14:55-65, Luke 22:63-65

  • The appointed meeting place of the High Court was in the Hall Of Hewn Stone in the Temple. Any meeting outside this Hall was deemed illegal. Caiaphas brazenly held court in his house.
  • The High Court could meet only during the day. Trials in a capital offence could not be conducted by night. Jesus’ trial was conducted in the darkness of night.  
  • The Court could not hear, or try, a capital offence on the day before Sabbath or a feast day. Jesus was tried the night before Passover.
  • The judges were disqualified from judging our Lord because they were already determined to put Jesus to death. The verdict and sentence had already been determined—even in the absence of a formal charge and witnesses.
  • In the absence of valid witnesses, the law ordained that the defendant be immediately released. Caiaphas did not do this as required by law.
  • Caiaphas stepped outside the boundaries of the law by interrogating Jesus and acting as prosecutor against Him when, as yet, Jesus was not charged with any criminal mischief.
  • Caiaphas asked Jesus a question that the law forbade him from asking. By the use of adjuration, he forced Jesus to answer it. And, in the process, he got Jesus to incriminate Himself. By law, a defendant could not be asked to incriminate himself.
  • Although Jesus was charged with blasphemy, He was not formally tried on that charge. He was condemned without being put on trial for blasphemy.
  • By law, once witnesses were found, the trial must proceed with arguments for the defense. Prosecution could not begin until the defendant presented his defense. In Jesus’ trial, no witnesses were summoned in His defense. He was charged and condemned without being given the chance to defend Himself.
  • The judges in Jesus’ trial acted as witnesses and prosecutors against Him. Their job was to defend Him, not prosecute Him.
  • The decision to convict and condemn our Lord was unanimous, which automatically rendered it null and void. The law stipulated that at least one judge must vote to acquit the defendant.  
  • By law, the death sentence could not be passed anywhere except in the Hall of Hewn Stone. In Jesus’ case, it was passed in Caiaphas’ house.
  • The death sentence was passed on the same day as the trial. Legally, it could not be passed until the next day. The law required that the Court take a whole day to consider the punishment when the defendant’s life was at stake.


  • It was forbidden for the Court to meet in session during a holy day.
  • The trial began with the verdict and sentence already determined. The judges were already prejudiced against the defendant before the case was heard in Court.
  • It was unlawful for the Court to act as prosecutors in a life-and-death trial.
  • No witnesses were called at this trial. No charge was preferred against Jesus. He was unindicted, hence, innocent in the eyes of the law.
  • Jesus was condemned solely by His own testimony. By law, a man’s confession—apart from the testimony of eyewitnesses—can’t be used against him to condemn him to death.
  • Jesus was charged and condemned for blasphemy, but He was never tried on that charge. The Court did not investigate the falsity or truthfulness of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. By law, a man could not be condemned if he was not tried.
  • Jesus was not given the opportunity to defend Himself against the charge of blasphemy. No witnesses were called in His defense, which automatically rendered the trial null and void.
  • The Court convicted Jesus on the same day as the trial—something it could not do legally. Conviction had to come the day following the trial.
  • The death sentence was executed on the same day as the trial—something it could not do by law. At least a full day had to pass before the death sentence was carried out in order to give the Court every opportunity to spare the life of the defendant.


  • Upon conviction in a capital trial, the Court was to remain seated and convened in the hopes that new witnesses or evidence could be found in favor of sparing the defendant’s life. In Jesus’ case, all seventy-one judges vacated their seats and escorted Jesus to Pilate.
  • When new witnesses or evidence presented themselves before the Court in favor of the defendant’s innocence, the Court was obliged to summon the defendant back to Court for another hearing. The High Court failed to do this when Judas stepped forward with his confession of Jesus’ innocence.
  • Whereas it took two or three witnesses to condemn, it only took one witness to acquit. By law, Judas’ confession alone was sufficient to acquit and free our Lord. But the chief priests and elders refused to bring that confession to Court and to light.
  • The Court was obligated to execute false witnesses and set a condemned defendant free. The Court did neither.

So what’s the point in all these? Beside the obvious one that I mentioned at the start of this post, if Jesus was a chicken and wanted to save His own skin, He could have  argued for a mistrial and conceivably, or justly, gone scot free. By law He should have been freed!

But instead of insisting upon His rights and going free, He willingly chose to suffer the injustices and abuses of the Court so that He could save you! Friend, do you grasp the extent of Christ’s love for you? He could have walked out of court a free Man! But He didn’t! Do you know why? Because He loved you and felt that you were worth dying for and saving. Calvary is  irrefutable proof that God loves you. Don’t let the devil, anyone, or yourself, tell you otherwise.


Luke 5:1 tells us of a time in Jesus’ life when He was at the seaside in Capernaum. Gobs of people were pressing upon Him. The word press means  to crowd. When people saw Jesus at the seaside a whole mess of them converged on the spot. They kept coming from all over the city. And as people kept coming, Jesus kept getting pushed to the water’s edge. Finally, Jesus got in Peter’s boat and, after paddling out a little way, Jesus taught the people from the boat. Can you imagine the scene? Get the picture. Gobs and gobs of people converging on Jesus with very little elbow room. Doubtless, the people were crammed like sardines around Jesus.

What were they there for? Why did they come? Luke tells us that they came to hear the word of God. They came because they were hungry to hear God’s Word. They didn’t come for miracles. They came for a sermon! They came to hear and learn what God had to say to them. They had a hunger for the Word. A hunger for the truth. A hunger to learn.

Spiritual hunger is something that is largely lacking or missing in the church today. It’s reflected in the attendance at our adult Sunday School classes, our Sunday evening services, our Wednesday night Bible studies, our small group meetings, or our Bible study groups. It’s like a lot of us don’t want to hear, study or learn. We don’t want to take the time to listen, think, or learn. We despise Bible study. We hate it. We don’t do it. A lot of us aren’t as scholastically-inclined as others. We’re not students. We don’t like learning. Bible study is boring. We don’t get anything out of it. It isn’t fun. But, truth be told, we really don’t have a hunger to hear. We don’t have an appetite for God or the Scriptures. How these Capernaumites in Luke 5 shame us!

I’m a minister and I love to teach the Bible. Whenever I teach, I tend to get animated. I try to bring the congregation into the historical scene so that they’re right in the middle of what went on in the Biblical text. The Scriptures come alive. And, all of a sudden, the people like the Bible lesson or study. They’re on the edge of their seats. They want more. It gets to them. And they go home remembering the lesson for a long time…because they feel as if they were there in the Biblical scene.

Bible study can be that way. It’s not just an educational routine where you sit down, open the Bible, and read mindlessly until you’ve read enough to satisfy your guilty conscience, then you close the book and give no further thought to what you read. If you view Bible study this way, then it’s no wonder you don’t enjoy it or get anything out of it.

Let’s change things a bit. Bible study is, first and foremost, a personal relationship with God. It’s an interactive type of thing. In school you have a teacher and a classroom, with lots of other students around. Let’s cut the other students out. Now it’s just you and the teacher in class. Whenever you read your Bible, that’s your classroom. The teacher is the invisible God. God is standing over you, or sitting beside you. And, as your Teacher, He’s teaching you something. He’s speaking to you through the written text. And the Holy Spirit helps you understand what you’re reading. If you see Bible study in this interactive way—just you and God together, all alone in this classroom—you’ll get a different perspective of what Bible study is all about. It’s all about giving God the time and opportunity to speak to you through His Word and teach you a few things.

Like the Capernaumites, are you pressing about Jesus in the classroom, hungry and eager to hear? If not, ask God to give you a hunger for His Word. You ought to have a hunger for God and His Word. If you aren’t hungry you don’t eat. And if you don’t eat over time, you know what will happen to you. It’s the same way with your soul. If you don’t feed your soul with the milk and meat of God’s Word, you’ll famish and die spiritually. It isn’t normal, or right, for a Christian not to have an appetite for God and the Bible! If this is you, then ask God to make you hungry. Ask Him to give you an appetite for learning. Ask Him to change your attitude about Bible study. He will.

Then every time you open the Bible to read and study it, ask God to make the Word come alive. Ask Him to show you what it means. What He wants you to know. He will. When the townspeople pressed about Jesus to hear God’s Word, what did Jesus do? He taught them. He satisfied their craving or hunger. God will do the same for you. When you ask God to help you learn, He’ll teach you and you’ll get something out of it.

There are so many different approaches or tools to learn God’s Word. Dictionaries and commentaries are one such tool. Here’s another simple tool that doesn’t cost you a dime. Place yourself in the Biblical text or scene. Step into the sandals of the Biblical characters. They were human just like you. If you put yourself in the Biblical scene you’ll get so much more out of the Bible study. Try it. And the more you try it the more you’ll learn. And the more you’ll have an even bigger appetite for God and learning. May God bless you with a hefty appetite for Him and His Word!


Luke 5:27-28, And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. {28} And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

Levi was a tax collector. Back in the day, tax collectors were not paid to do their job. In fact, many of them actually paid to get that non-paying job. Huh? I know it doesn’t make any sense at first sight, but let me explain it to you.

Tax collectors made their living by charging more tax than what Rome actually required. Let’s say that Rome charged 40% tax on produce. So if a produce merchant had a $100 worth of produce, the tax would be $40. But tax collectors always charged more because they had to make a living. Remember. Rome didn’t pay them a dime to do the job. They got their money by charging more tax than what was actually owed or due. To make matters worse, the tax collectors had to pay the higher-up tax officials, called chief publicans, a portion of the tax money because chief publicans weren’t paid either: they made their money by charging the tax collectors beneath them a certain portion of the tax. So the tax collectors would charge the produce merchant 80% and collect $80 tax money: they’d give $40 to Rome, $20 to the chief publican, and the other $20 was theirs to keep. That’s how tax collectors made their money.

The only thing about it was, there were no set rates on how much extra tax should be charged. The greedier the collector, the more tax was charged. Unfortunately, people didn’t have any choice but to pay up. It was either that or else have your goods confiscated and get hauled off to prison. So people paid whatever the tax collector demanded and that’s how the tax collectors got rich. It was quite a lucrative business. And that’s why these tax collectors paid the higher tax officials to become tax collectors.

Anyways, not all tax collectors were dirty crooks and greedy. But, the fact of the matter still remains: Matthew was in all likelihood well off. How else could he throw a big party for Jesus and his publican friends (Luke 5:29)? Matthew has a gravy job and he’s got dough.

Then Jesus comes along one day, calls him to be a disciple, and what does Matthew do? He gets up right away from his tax booth, walks away from it, and follows Jesus. At that moment, he quits his job to become a disciple.

Matthew makes it look easy. So easy that we’re thoughtless about what he really did. He makes a decision on the spot to quit his job and follow Jesus. So he’s got no job. No income. No money coming in. He’s either going to live on his savings, or else he’s going to count on Jesus to take care of his needs. In any case, he’s not getting the piles of dough that he’s accustomed to getting on a daily basis. It’s like money no longer matters to him. He wants Jesus more than wealth. Wow!

How many of us would give up our job to follow Jesus full time as a minister or missionary? I know we’d all say we’d give it up to follow Jesus. But, really, would we? Some of us can’t seem to tithe or give an offering to the Lord on a weekly basis. When we do give, our offerings are a pittance compared to the money we spend on ourselves and our luxuries. Some of us are so tight with money that we don’t support missions, don’t give to the building fund, don’t give to disaster relief. Golly, there’s always someone asking for money, there’s always a need, that we get tired of it and we just don’t give anymore. We’ve got money coming it and we give so little to the Lord. And we say we’ll quit our job, lose it all, to follow our Lord? I find that hard to believe. If we can’t give up a little more of our paycheck to give to the Lord, how in the world are we going to give up the entire paycheck, along with the income and job to boot?

What am I getting at? Definitely no criticism or put-down intended because I’m as guilty as anyone around. All I’m saying is we sometimes say things—we make glowing promises—that we really aren’t in a mindset to follow through on. Matthew made it look easy because, for him, it was easy. He’d already left his dough in his heart and that’s how he didn’t bat an eyelash when he left his job and toll booth behind. I guess if we say we’d leave our job to follow the Lord, we’d better start proving it by giving the Lord more than what we’re already giving. Just saying.


Jesus was preaching a fine sermon one day, crammed tight in a house full of folks, when everybody’s attention was suddenly turned upwards to a commotion on the roof. There were these four guys up on the roof, tearing it apart! Apparently, no one stopped them—not even the home owner. So for the next several minutes, they made this humongous hole in the roof, then proceeded to lower a paralyzed chap lying on a stretcher. These guys wanted Jesus to heal their buddy. When they couldn’t get in the house because of the crowd, they got creative and found a way to get to Jesus by lowering their paralyzed friend through the roof.

When Jesus saw what was happening He looked at the hapless chap on the stretcher and said, My son, your sins are forgiven (Mark 2:5). Well, it just so happened that there were scribes in the room. These were the guys who really knew the Word. It was their job to painstakingly and accurately copy the Scriptures by hand. They knew every jot and tittle of the Scriptures. And they knew it better than anyone else around. So, they’re the foremost authorities on the Word. When they heard Jesus forgiving this guy’s sins, they instantly went through the roof and said quietly to themselves, This is blasphemous! Who can forgive sins but God alone?

Do you know what? They were absolutely right! Only God can forgive sins. It’s blasphemous for a man to pretend he has the right, or the power, to forgive sins. So the scribes were right. They had Scriptures on their side.

To our shocked surprise, however, the incident is a lamentable reminder to us that we can be scripturally right and still be wrong! Now that definitely sounds like an oxymoron. How in the world can you be right on with the Scriptures and be wrong?

Well, the scribes were right as far as God being the only One who can forgive sins. But these learned men, in the passion of the moment, forgot all about Isaiah 7:14. The prophet foretold that a virgin shall conceive, and have a son, and shall call him Immanuel (which, by interpretation, is God with us). In other words, the prophet foretold of a time when God would one day come into their midst in the form of a man. He’d be born as a baby and grow up looking just like any other Jewish man. The only difference is, He’d be God in the flesh (see also Isaiah 9:6-7). This Man would be God. And, being God, this Man would have the power and right to forgive sins.

Of course, these Scripture scholars didn’t believe that Jesus was God incarnate. To them, Jesus wasn’t the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14. Jesus wasn’t God. He’s just a man. And because He’s just a man, they felt He committed blasphemy by pretending to forgive this paralytic’s sins.

You see, these learned men were Scripturally right about God alone forgiving sins. But, they were nonetheless Scripturally wrong because Jesus was God. God said so Himself (see Matthew 3:17). The Scriptures they knew and stood on made them right. It was the Scriptures they didn’t know or believe that made them wrong. Their not believing Jesus, that is, their unbelief, made them wrong.

Brethren, you can be Scripturally right in a sense and still be wrong. The Word you know and believe makes you right. But it’s the Word you don’t know or believe that makes you wrong. IF YOU WANT TO BE FULLY, ENTIRELY RIGHT YOU’VE GOT TO STAND ON THE WHOLE OF SCRIPTURE AND NOT JUST A PART.YOU’VE GOT TO BELIEVE JESUS IN ORDER TO BE RIGHT. Disbelieving Him, like the scribes, will make you wrong.