Posted by: Akash Vansal | April 5, 2012

The Trial of Jesus

On The Way To The Cross : Jesus Examined By Caiaphas

Matthew. 26:57-68

We saw that only John gave the account of Lord Jesus’ examination by Anna and today we see that the examination by Caiaphas is reported in detail by Evangelist Mark and Matthew whereas Dr.Luke and Evangelist John are silent over this incident. For today’s study we consider either of Mark or Matthew’s passage which are almost identical.

Let’s go through Matthew 26: 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. 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.’” 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. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus  replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 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. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”

Verse by verse…..

Verse 57: Those who had arrested…This was but after being questioned by Anna (John 18:24). Lord Jesus was taken to Caiaphas (residence) and there teachers of the law, the elders and the chief priests (Mark 14:53) were already assembled. Though this was not the way the Sanhedrin (The religious court that dealt with matters related to Jewish religion) functioned during night times with the sole aim of putting someone to death. But since these were the people who made up the Sanhedrin, we may call the group as Sanhedrin.

Verse 59-60: Can you see the high-handedness of the law enforcers? They were looking for false evidences as they were also sure that they won’t succeed in gathering honest evidences as they never existed. But they could not gather even false evidences. Evidences did came forward accusing various things but it did not stand. Mark states that (14:56) many testified falsely against Him but their statements did not agree. Now what does this mean?

The law required and demanded that if someone brought accusation against any person, the same had to be testified by at least one more person to verify for the truth in the accusation. And this was never done in the same chamber , SO, if there was any truth in any accusation, their statement even when recorded separately was sure to match. Based on these, judgments would be passed.

This is also surprising isn’t it that after every possible effort to convict falsely, the judges were wanting (honestly?) two people’s matching witness! And by doing these, it was proved that whatever charges that were leveled against Jesus Christ were false and unacceptable according to the laws (and traditions) of Israel.

Verse 60-61: When they failed to gather identical accusing statements from minimum two people, they admit accusations of two (Mark says some)…that of “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Literally speaking it was true. But spiritually speaking,. Lord Jesus had meant His Body and not the building called the temple. But even their statements did not match!(Mark 14:59). But the judges decide to admit the charge and move forward to verify the charge.

Verse 62-63: Ah! Finally the clueless ‘Sanhedrin’ got some ‘solid’ clue. After persuading, forcing Jesus Christ to defend Himself against those charges, the high priest, we read, is leveling a charge not leveled by anyone. “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Verse 64-66: Upon Jesus agreement to high priests examination, the high priest is convinced that the job has been done and exudes in winning tone, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses?” Now, they had enough evidence to put Lord Jesus to death. What Jesus Christ claimed and agreed ( as being the Son of God) was surely a matter of blasphemy for those who did not accepted Jesus Christ as ‘The Son of Man’, ‘The Son of God’

In Luke 9: 20-21, we read the disciples accepted Jesus as The Son of God and again in John 5:16 So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. 17Jesus said to them, ”My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Blasphemy invited death punishment. The disciples believed and accepted Lord Jesus as Christ. It was revealed unto them by the Heavenly Father (Matthew 16:17)

John the Baptist testified Jesus as The Son of Man which he also believed on. He says in John 1:32-34 32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

But the Jews refused to believe, Jesus Christ tried to explain them in different ways like…

John 8: 54 Jesus replied, ”If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” 57 ”You are not yet fifty years old,” the Jews said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” 58 ”I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, ”before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. 

Or again John 5: 19 Jesus gave them this answer: ”I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,23 that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 ”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.

But they stuck to their adamant of stubborn stand. And then and there they tried to stone Him for His blasphemy.

The Lord had through Moses given the law that had provision of death for blasphemy which we read in Leviticus 24: 12 They put him in custody until the will of the LORD should be made clear to them. 13 Then the LORD said to Moses: 14 ”Take the blasphemer outside the camp. All those who heard him are to lay their hands on his head, and the entire  assembly is to stone him.15 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; 16 anyone who blaspheme the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blaspheme the Name, he must be put to death.

So, by refusing to believe and accept Jesus as Christ, the Sanhedrin implicated Him for ‘blasphemy’.

The Sanhedrin is happy that they got the much-needed breakthrough in their pursuit. And they discuss then and there itself, “What do you think” is the general question put forward to give their judgment, And the Sanhedrin pass the judgment, “He is worthy of death”

The law of Moses also required that the trial take place fairly and impartially. If the Testimony of the witness were found to be false, they were to be put to death or some action had to be taken but we see nothing done

Deuteronomy 19: 16 If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse a man of a crime, 17 the two men involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. 18 The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against his brother, 19 then do to him as he intended to do to his brother. You must purge the evil from among you. 20 The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you.

 The sufferings of The Lord Jesus.

Verse 67-69: One of the hundreds of prophecies concerning Lord Jesus is of His suffering.

Assault is more bearable than insult. Lord Jesus suffered all trials, hardships, bore all insults, faced mocking that I ( and I assume most) can never bear. I just can’t imagine someone spitting on my face, someone hitting me for none of my wrong doings. I may be weak, but still I will try my best to defend self, and resist my persecutor. Jesus bore everything for me and for your sake. The soldiers made fun Him, challenged Him to predict His hitters after blind folding Him. That was very easy for Him, But He did not respond to them simply because nothing fruitful was expected, nothing edifying could have taken place. And also it was prophesied, He did not open His mouth to retaliate His accusers.

This was not the end of Jesus sufferings. This was only the beginning. He was already in deep agony and His soul was overwhelmed with sorrow top the point of death. And now, His enemies were inflicting bodily pains as severe as they could imagine and able.

To Be Continued

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