Day 24: Jewish Trial

Matthew 26:59-68
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. 
 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two came forward  and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”  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?”  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 Messiah, the Son of God.”  “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.”  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.  What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.  Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him  and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”

I use the word “trial” here, since technically, it was an ecclesiastical trial. But really, it was a lynching- a murder plot. Under Jewish law, no capital trial or conviction was allowed at night; no conviction or death sentence could be carried out on a feast day. But the law was of little or no concern to the Jewish leaders.

Notice how they sought false evidence and false witnesses, and even the two who came forward gave a false account. They were not interested in truth or justice; they had earlier decided that Jesus must die (John 11:49-53). Initially, Jesus makes no response to their false accusations, fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53:7). However, when the high priest, Caiaphas, asks Jesus if he is indeed the Messiah, Jesus says, “Yes,” and then makes clear references to Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13-14. Now Caiaphas says, “We’ve got him! He blasphemed!” And the others agree: “He must die!”

Do you see how pathetic the Jewish leaders are in their unbelief, and their hatred of Jesus? Do you see how Jesus alone speaks truth? Do you see how Jesus speaks not of his coming sacrifice and death, but of his continuing reign and coming return? Indeed, as Hebrews tells us, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God,” (Hebrews 12:2). All glory be to the Messiah, the Son of God!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place, condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior! (Philip Bliss)