Matthew 26 57-67
Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome. 59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.
The Sanhedrin was the supreme ecclesiastical court of the Jews, centred in Jerusalem. The Romans were ultimately in control of all judicial proceedings, but allowed their subjects some freedom to try their own cases.
Finally two came forward 61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
So what had Jesus said?
John 2:19 “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body.
His words were misquoted, taken out of context and distorted. They led to his death.
But his Father saw to a resurrection.
Which means, one need never fear. Our father will provide a second act.
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.
Why does he remain silent? Because he would have not been believed anyway? Because it would have been pointless.
There is great dignity in silence, and Jesus sets us an example in remaining silent when to speak would have been pointless.
Jesus’s silence fulfills Isaiah 53:7
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
Caiaphas wants Jesus to admit to this charge so that he can be accused of insurrection against Rome and tried before Pilate for treason.
NIV Jesus refused to answer the question of v. 62. But when the high priest used this form, Jesus was legally obliged to answer.
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
You have said so: A Greek expression which deflects responsibility back upon the one asking the question.
Jesus declares that he is not only the human Messiah anticipated by the Jews, but also the divine Son of God, who sits at the right hand of God, and who will come on the clouds in power to reign on the earth.
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
Few of us will survive life without unjust accusation. At least, the Messiah has gone before us.
ESV–If Jesus lied by claiming to be the son of God, then he deserved death from the standpoint of the Jewish law. The irony is that he will be executed for telling the truth.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
Mark and Luke record that they blindfolded Jesus, which explains their mocking question. I believe that mockery–saying something other than what you truly believe– is despicable to God, the straight-talker.
One of the traits of those who are blessed in Psalm 1 is that they do not sit in the company of mockers.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,