In other words, this supreme tribunal secretly met, indicted Jesus, prejudged his case, and agreed to put him to death, only waiting for an opportunity. They acted as grand jury, prosecutor, and trial court. They entered into a wicked conspiracy, which was formulated by Satan, their father, for the destruction of the Son of God. They conspired with Judas and hired him, for the paltry sum of thirty pieces of silver, to betray the Lord into their hands. Satan himself entered into Judas as the latter executed the betrayal. Then they organized a mob, sent it out after the Master, arrested him, and brought him before this supreme court for trial at night, which was contrary to their own laws. “They that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled,” in furtherance of the wicked conspiracy.—Matthew 26:57.
The meek and defenseless Lamb of God was led into a den of ravenous wolves, who were thirsting for his blood. They did not dignify his case by even filing a formal charge against him. They sought, contrary to the law, to make him testify against himself. They knew nothing themselves against him; and notwithstanding they sat as the high and dignified court of the nation of Israel, they resorted to subornation of perjury. “Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council [the entire court], sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none; yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses.” (Matthew 26:59,60) This exalted tribunal, in violation of every law and every precedent known to Jewish jurisprudence, demanded of Jesus that he testify against himself. “The high priest arose and said unto him, ... I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” (Matthew 26:62,63) And when he told the truth, saying, “Ye say that I am,” they said, “What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth”. (Luke 22:66-71) They immediately voted that he should die—also contrary to their law, which required that each member of the court should consider the case and then vote individually. Holding the session of court at night to convict him, they knew they were proceeding contrary to law; so they convened the court the following morning to ratify the sentence, which was likewise contrary to law.
They condemned Jesus to death, but knew they had no legal power to put him to death. Then they led him before the Roman governor, Pilate, and placed against him the charge of sedition, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King”. (Luke 23:1,2) They knew the Roman governor had power to put Jesus to death, and for this reason they sought his judgment.