Jesus was charged with *sedition* - this was a crime against Rome.
There were thousands of innocent Jews being crucified on a daily basis. Only the Romans ever practised this method of murder.
Along with Jesus, there were numerous other young Jewish preachers who claimed to be the messiah; most of them were also crucified.
Some key points that any logical person will appreciate:
1 - the gospel authors were not eyewitnesses. Indeed, in the whole of the Christian bible, there is not *one* personal eye-witness account of the 'trial' of Jesus. The accounts were all written decades after the fact.
2 - the gospel authors work very hard to absolve the Romans and especially Pilate, of the death of Jesus, and instead to blame the Jews. Why? The answer is obvious: Christians were going to have to live under Roman rule for a long time. That's why even though Pilate was hated and feared and ultimately REMOVED for his brutality, there is not ONE critical word about the Romans in the entire Christian bible.
3 -Pilate functioned in Judea as a dictator with his power only limited by the Roman Emperor himself. Had he chosen, he could have simply released Jesus.
4 - there is *no* factual basis for the tale of 'Barabbas'. There has NEVER, in over 5000 years, been ANY custom of Jews 'releasing a prisoner' at Passover. Nor is there a single reference to this 'custom' outside of the New Testament.
Indeed, the description of this episode is full of both blatant contradictions and historical inaccuracies.
After a long study of the Barabbas story, Professor S.G.F. Brandon, a Christian historian of the rise in Christianity, concluded that this incident never happened. To cite just one of the incongruities that convinced him that the story is fiction: "The outcome of Pilate's amazing conduct was that he sentenced to death one he knew was innocent, and released a popular resistance fighter, probably a Zealot who had just proved how dangerous he could be." ( Jesus and the Zealots, page 262)
As for Pilate's "custom" of releasing a prisoner at Passover.
This is pure invention - the sole authority given by Rome to a Roman governor in situations like this was postponement of execution until after the religious festival. Release was out of the question. It is included in the gospels for the sole purpose of further removing blame for Jesus' death from Pilate and placing it on the Jews.
And as for the description of Pilate giving in to the mob: This is absurd, in light of Pilate's previous and subsequent history. Josephus tells us that Pilate's method of crowd control was to send his soldiers into the mob and beat them (often killing them) into submission.
Pilate was eventually recalled to Rome because of his brutality.
The gospel authors themselves don't even agree on what happened!
For instance, John tells us something totally different to Mark, Matthew and Luke on the arrest of Jesus.
John tells Judas is arm in arm with the Romans and their Jewish collaborators, not with the main Jewish religious establishment. This is very important, because suddenly, the emphases shifts from all the Jews being involved with Jesus' arrest, to only the very small amount of Jewish traitors (to their own people) and their employers, Rome.
John also reveals valuable historical facts:
1. That Jesus was never tried on a religious charge in a religious court of law,
2. Jesus instead, was arrested as a rebel against Rome and was convicted as a rebel, and
3. Jesus died crucified on a tree just like all the other Jewish rebels.
4. A small detachment of Roman soldiers along with some Sadducees arrested Jesus, not a "great multitude" of Jews.
Rome had been having trouble with the Jews in Judah for almost a hundred years. In the year 6 CE, a Jewish "savior named Judas of Galilee, led an unsuccessful Jewish revolt against Rome (and was crucified on the cross).
38 years later, in the year 44, another self-proclaimed "messiah," Theudas, again led a rebel army against Rome, which was also defeated, and he too died on the cross.
Ten years later still another Jewish revolt led by Benjamin the Egyptian was crushed by Rome and he also was crucified. So you can clearly see the unrest in Judah before, during and after the time of Jesus between the Jews and Rome.
How then, could it be possible that a "great multitude with swords and staves" came to arrest Jesus as the Gospels mention? Mark wrote, regarding the arrest of Jesus, "while he yet spoke came Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders" (Mark 14:43). Matthew wrote, "and while he spoke, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people" (Matthew 26:47). Luke writes a little different, "And while he yet spoke, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him" (Luke 22:47). Luke continues with Jesus saying to the "chief priests, and the captains of the temple and the elders, do you come out as against a thief with swords and staves" (22:52)?
Can you imagine the Roman garrison allowing a large assembly of armed Jewish men marching around the countryside? That is not logical!
The Gospels all says Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high court, to be tried for a capital offense. However, it was a known knowledge that the Sanhedrin ceased to have the power to try capital offenses after the year 30 CE. Even John agreed to this fact when he wrote the Jews said to Pilate, “it is not lawful for us to put any man to death” (John 18:31-32).
In the whole of Luke—not just in his description of the Passion—there is no mention of the Sanhedrin's verdict against Jesus, and John records nothing about an assembly of the Sanhedrin before which Jesus appeared. Thus it seems very probable that no session of the Sanhedrin took place in the house of the high priest where Jesus was in custody and that the "chief priests and elders and scribes" who assembled there were members of the Temple committee (see also Luke 20:1): the elders were apparently the elders of the Temple and the scribes were the Temple secretaries.
According to Mark and Matthew, the so-called trial was held at the palace of the high priest, not the Temple. This was illegal and against Jewish law that states that all meetings of the Sanhedrin were held in the hall adjacent to the Temple.
Every event the Jewish high court took in the New Testament, such as arresting a man on the Eve of Passover, convening a council at night and behind closed doors, desecrating the Sabbath and the Feast day was all in rebellion to Jewish law.
No High Court would even think of doing such things. According to Mark, Matthew and Luke, the Sanhedrin tried to convict Jesus by his own testimony. This was impossible because according to Jewish law a court is not allowed to question a prisoner and a prisoner is not even allowed to plead guilty.
Only if at least two reliable witnesses witnessed the crime would he be tried on their testimony but never on his own confession. The trial which both Mark and Matthew describe as having been held before the Sanhedrin during the night, is another improbability. These Christian authors did not know that Jewish law forbids the opening of a trial at night? It is a known fact that the Sanhedrin could only meet between sunrise and 3 in the afternoon.
Other absurdities are to imagine that the trial before the Sanhedrin took place during the feast of Passover as is related in all three gospels. Jewish law also forbids this. On the same note, the three gospels all agree that the trial took place on Friday which is the day preceding the Sabbath. Yet according to Jewish law no trial for a capital offense was ever allowed to begin on the day before the Sabbath. All four gospels state that the trial of Jesus lasted but a few hours. Too bad they didn’t know that Jewish law required at least two days for a capital trial. One day for the prosecution and one day for the defense.
Nowhere in the gospels does it mention Jesus’ counselor. Here is a man being tried on a capital offense yet it appears he has not been given anyone to defend him. Again this is improbable because it is contrary to Jewish law. The law reads; “if none of the judges defend the culprit and all pronounce him guilty, the verdict of guilty was invalid and the death sentence could not be executed”.
Another improbability is the account given in the gospels concerning the treatment of Jesus by the Sanhedrin; “They spit in his face and buffeted him and others smote him with the palms of their hands.” The Jewish high court was composed of the wisest and best men. This supreme body, this highest court in World Jewry would never act like a bunch of hoodlums. They would only act with dignity and decorum. But the writers could not admit that. As you can see, the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, as related in the gospels, was in nearly every particular contrary to Jewish law.
Are we to believe that the High Priests and the Sanhedrin rebelled against their laws purposely when it came to Jesus? I think not!
Finally, during the Second Temple era, Jewish law stated that there must be a 23-judge court to hear all capital crimes. I find it hard to believe that in the middle of the night (or yet, early morning) that 23 Jewish rabbis and elder