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We read in Matt 27 how Jesus was put to trial before the Roman Governor:

Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed......... For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. ....... The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!” So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.”

The charges levelled against Jesus were blasphemy and misleading of the Jews against Roman empire, calling himself their king. The first one would come under Hebrew law and the trial & punishment was of summary nature, as we see in Jn 8:58-59:

Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.

And we see the Jewish leaders saying to Pilate:

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” (Jn 19:7)

Those days, only the Romans had the power to award death sentence to Jews (Jn 18:31). But blasphemy was not listed by Romans as a crime demanding death sentence.

The second charge could not be substantiated, as we see Pilate putting up the sign of INRI over Jesus' cross, much to the embarrassment of the Jewish leaders (Jn 19:22).

In effect, Jesus was convicted for allegedly breaking Hebrew laws, but was awarded death sentence under Roman laws.

My question therefore, is: Under the laws of which regime was Jesus sentenced to death on the cross? Inputs from any denomination are welcome.

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    In effect, Jesus was convicted for allegedly breaking Hebrew laws, but was awarded death sentence under Roman laws. That is correct. That is how Roman rule worked in those days. I don't see any further information required to fulfil a question.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 9:01
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    The Jews got Jesus killed by the Romans by bring the false charge of sedition against him. “This man has said that he himself is a king”. That was the only charge that interested the Roman governor pilate.
    – 007
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 12:14
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    Jesus the Christ, by James E Talmage has a whole chapter on the trial and condemnation. (while published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe this chapter is mostly a pure historical account)
    – depperm
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 12:17
  • Pilate in his final words, calls Jesus a just person . See Mtt 27:24 : When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Commented Apr 26, 2023 at 10:50

2 Answers 2

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Under the laws of which regime was Jesus sentenced to death on the cross?

The Jews tried to condemn Jesus to death for breaking their own religious laws. But Pilate initially rebuffed them saying: “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” (John 18:)

Both before and after Pilate had Jesus flogged, he repeated to the Jewish leaders that he found no crime in Jesus.

It was not until the Jewish populace stated one last thing that made Pilate change his mind.

12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.”

13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. John 19:12-14

No one can claim to be recognized as a king save by Caesar's authority! This is the trump card the Jews used to get Jesus crucified.

Ultimately, Jesus was condemned to death under Roman law and was crucified for our salvation. The Jews even appealed Pilate to crucify Jesus as they could not put someone to death. Only the Roman Governor had that authority, as Palestine was under his authority as established by Caesar.

Crucifixion is a Roman form of punishment and not a Jewish form of execution. The Jewish form of execution would be by stoning.

Thus to answer your question: Jesus was condemned to death under the Roman regime. Nevertheless, it was initiated by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem.

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  • The answer could be improved by mentioning that the Jews actually charged him with blasphemy for claiming to be the Son of God.
    – Glorius
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 10:55
  • @Glorius. The AHJ did not care about any religious charges the Romans did however have zero tolerance for any hint of sedition. That’s why the Jews trumped up the charge that Jesus was claiming to be a king as if he was planning to lead a rebellion
    – 007
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 14:00
  • Thanks, User14. My point was that the charge of sedition failed in impressing Pilate who would later put up the INRI sign on the Cross. Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 14:04
  • @KadalikattJosephSibichan. Are you maintaining two separate SE accounts?
    – 007
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 16:10
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    @KadalikattJosephSibichan Pilate was not convinced that Jesus was a threat to Rome but he caved to pressure and had him executed on the charge of sedition nonetheless .
    – 007
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 16:14
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Roman Jurisdiction When the Roman conquered a territory it was required that only the Procurator had the power of execution. There were times when the Jews side-stepped this---like when the Roman ruler was out of the territory---. An example is the execution of James the step-brother of Jesus by the corrupt high priest, Ananias (See Josephus for historical notation) When the ruler returned, the priest was deposed for violating the Law.

Note that under Herod---who killed with abandon---the territory was considered a Kingship. But after Herod, Judea became a Roman province, and the Laws about executions changed. {Some territories like Alexandria, Egypt were, at times, more lax in this legal action. But still, Roman citizens were allowed appeal to Caesar (a trial) before any action could be taken.

The Jews didn't want Jesus just punished (Scourged or flogged), they wanted to make sure He was executed. The Romans had a sure method for this, so they made up an accusation of insurrection that Pilate had to act upon in a Roman way: crucifixion.

So it was under ultimate Roman jurisdiction that Jesus was crucified.

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  • That is right, ray grant . But the law followed in condemning Jesus to death i.e. claiming himself to be Son of God ( Jn 19:27) was not Roman.Hence my question. Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 2:42
  • @KadalikattJosephSibchan-"Under what regime?" The high priest (Sanhedrin) sentenced Jesus to death...but only by stoning. The Romans sentenced Jesus to death...but by Crucifixion. Your question was concerning death on the cross. So the answer is THE ROMANS.
    – ray grant
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 19:50

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