Summary: The Sanhedrin represented a supreme Jewish court of justice that could
exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction. The council was comprised of high
priests, elders, scribes and lawyers, and included both Pharisees and Sadducees.
Scripture identifies Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus as being members
of the Sanhedrin (Y:1:25), with Nicodemus serving as the leading Pharisee among the
council (Y:27:44). The influence of both Joseph and Nicodemus led many of the Sanhedrin
to believe in Yeshua. However, there were also members of the Sanhedrin who were
opposed to Yeshua and his ministry.
Caiaphas, the High Priest, was often at odds with the Sanhedrin and strove to either
corrupt its members or secretly by-pass their authority in his efforts to have Yeshua
assassinated (Y:21:22; 28:99-100). During his campaign against Yeshua, Caiaphas rallied
support from certain members of the Sanhedrin, which members presented false accusations
against Yeshua during his illegal trial (Y:46:46-47). Hearing that Yeshua had been
arrested and secretly put on trial, Nicodemus went with fifteen others of the Sanhedrin
to the house of Caiaphas, hoping to deter the High Priest and defend Yeshua. But
the group was too late, as Yeshua had already been delivered to Pilate through the
“treachery and deceit” of Caiaphas (Y:47:15-16). To protect himself and ensure the
death of Yeshua, Caiaphas ordered his guards to imprison Nicodemus and murder many
of the fifteen members who had come to defend Yeshua. Then, hoping to further sway
Pilate toward convicting Yeshua, Caiaphas blamed the murders on Yeshua, accusing
him of ordering his disciples to kill the council members (Y:47:17).
And Nicodemus, when he read these things, went and told many which were of the Sanhedrin
concerning all which Joseph reported concerning Yeshua.
And there were many which believed the words which Joseph wrote, and together did
they elect that Nicodemus should go and speak privily with the Master, lest they
which ruled in the temple take some measure against them.
Now when it was but three days before the feast of the Passover, there assembled
secretly together in the house of Caiaphas, the chief priests and elders; but many
which were of the Pharisees would not consent;
For many which were of the Sanhedrin believed in Yeshua and would not permit that
any evil should fall upon him.
But they which were of the Sadducees and the scribes consulted whereby they might
take Yeshua by subtlety and put him to death according to the law.
Now there came unto Caiaphas’ house, Nicodemus and fifteen others which were of the
Sanhedrin to contend against the High Priest for Yeshua’s sake.
But Caiaphas, through treachery and deceit, delivered the Master unto Pilate; and
calling forth the guard afterward, they did set themselves upon Nicodemus, and many
did they kill and Nicodemus did they cast into prison.
And Caiaphas sent word unto Pilate, saying: “Behold, this man has proclaimed himself
king over all Israel, and against Rome has he set all his disciples, evensomuch that
they have this night killed many which were of the Sanhedrin.”