JERUSALEM — Archaeologists in Israel believe that they have located the site of Jesus’ trial in Jerusalem after 15 years of digging underneath a prison in the country.
According to reports, the location was adjacent to the Tower of David museum in Jerusalem, under the floor of a building that had been abandoned. Almost two decades ago, researchers began exploring under the building, which once served as a prison when the area was under Turkish and British rule. They found what they believe are the remains of a palace.
Now, after years of digging, archaeologists believe that the location is actually King Herod’s palace—where Jesus stood trial before being crucified.
Luke 23 explains that as Jesus stood before Pilate, He was sent to Herod as it was learned that Jesus was from Galilee, which was under Herod’s jurisdiction.
“And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time,” it reads. “And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad, for he was desirous to see Him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned with Him in many words; but He answered him nothing.”
The exact location of the site where Jesus was on trial before Herod has been debated as some have varying definitions of the Bible’s use of the word “praetorium,” which to some denotes a military tent and others a residential palace. However, if Jesus was indeed inside Herod’s palace, historians express surety that the palace was in the vicinity of the dig site. Some also believe that the discovery lines up with Scripture.
“There is, of course, no inscription stating it happened here, but everything—archaeological, historical and gospel accounts—all falls into place and makes sense,” Shimon Gibson, an archaeology professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, told the Washington Post.
The site is now open for touring by the public, and some believe that Christians may take interest in visiting the location.
“For those Christians who care about accuracy in regards to historical facts, this is very forceful,” said Yisca Harani, a Holy Land expert. “For others, however, those who come for the general mental exercise of being in Jerusalem, they don’t care as long as [their journey] ends in Golgotha—the site of the Crucifixion.”
As previously reported, archaeologists in Israel also believe that they have found an ancient synagogue where Jesus may have taught. Those digging in Magdala, just five miles from the biblical city of Capernaum, uncovered evidence of a first century Jewish synagogue, including an ornately-decorated stone block that was most likely used as a platform for reading the Torah.
Experts believe Magdala was the home of Mary Magdalene, who is described in the New Testament as a follower of Jesus “from whom He had cast out seven demons.” Due to the site’s proximity to Capernaum, where Jesus lived for a time, archaeologists say Jesus likely taught at the Magdala synagogue. Numerous Bible verses, including Matthew 12:9 and 13:54, state that Jesus regularly taught at synagogues throughout Israel.
Photo: Wayne McLean