Jersey’s Everyday Court is not the Royal Court. Nevertheless it is a real court because it reaches a verdict – every single day of every year.
A great deal about the workings of Jersey’s Everyday Court (JevCourt, for short) can be seen through a most informative record of a trial in Jerusalem in AD 33 when the Sanhedrin, sitting as a judicial body, undertook the trial of Jesus of Nazareth.
Jersey folk will readily recognise the structure of the Sanhedrin – a legislative body with judicial functions. The Privy Council itself meets to give assent – or not – to Laws passed by the States of Jersey and its Judicial Committee is also the ultimate appellate court for Jersey legal disputes. The House of Lords, the second chamber of the UK legislature, is also the supreme court of appeal (in criminal cases) for the whole of the UK except Scotland, although this will change in October this year.
When the Sanhedrin sat that Friday morning as a Court with criminal jurisdiction it had no power to carry out a death sentence because that was the prerogative of Rome. JevCourt also.
1. The proceedings started - see bold above. The Sanhedrin had decided its verdict before hearing the evidence. “The whole Council was seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death.” JevCourt does the same. It wants nothing to do with this man – and is happy to hear anything against him. What evidence is there that Jesus deserves to be excluded from polite society? “None.” He did only good – but let’s use his names as a swear word. And use the word “bloody” (his own that he shed for others) as a swear word too.
2. The next step was to call false witnesses against him. “But their testimony did not agree.” JevCourt relies on “conflicting” evidence as a very good reason to have nothing to do with this good man. The more conflicting the better: it provides a good excuse for claiming, one future day, that nothing could be proved about Jesus.(Yes, who Jesus is and what he did can all be proved beyond reasonable doubt but, hey, that’s not the verdict that’s been decided upon.)
3. After that, the Sanhedrin heard some very credible witnesses. These were half-truth witnesses – the most dangerous of all witnesses in the Courts of Jersey and the UK. Half-truths are so, so difficult to counter. “We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.” JevCourt too appreciates this kind of evidence. Jesus – Christianity – is the source, isn’t it, of destruction – of all the evil ever perpetrated in the world. Think about the Crusades. Think about the Spanish Inquisition. Yes, Jesus and his followers are notable for causing wars. But did Jesus say he would destroy the Temple? No – he said the Temple would be destroyed because it had ceased to be a holy place. In AD 70 it was destroyed by Rome. And....(the true part) he did say that, after three days in the grave he would become the final glorious temple, where messed-up folk could meet Almighty God and receive forgiveness.
4. Then the President of the Sanhedrin pretends that all the evidence is absolutely convincing and asks Jesus to defend himself with that in mind. “Have you no answer to make?” JevCourt too. If Jesus is real, he’d better speak to me personally.” Jesus doesn’t answer – so he deserves to be ignored, “put to death” as far as I am concerned.
5. Finally, the President of the Sanhedrin finds a way forward. (As with JevCourt – the boss decides, the ME decides.) “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” That’s very, very convincing. The President tears his clothing and demands a verdict. Result: “All condemned him as deserving death”. Yes, it’s unanimous.
JevCourt agrees. This last statement of Jesus is true. One must have nothing whatsoever to do with man. Keep him out of everything – make him, in effect, a dead man so as to get on with our own lives.