Walking in Truth Devotional Update, The Trial of Our LORD
The Trial of Our Lord
(Mat 26:57, 58, 69-75; Mk 14:53, 54, 66-72; Lk 22:54-62; Jn 18:13-18, 25-27).
Jesus’ trial—(Matt. 26) which begins in verse 59 with the Council gathering in order to find a way to put Jesus “to death” and ends with their verdict in verse 66, “He deserves death”—there is nothing remotely amusing about this miscarriage of justice. It was a kangaroo trial.
In verse 57 we are introduced to “Caiaphas the high priest,” as well as “the scribes and the elders.” Then verse 59 mentions “the chief priests and the whole Council.” This “Council” was called the Sanhedrin. You can think of the Sanhedrin as the Jewish “supreme court” over Judea.
The Sanhedrin began by trying to convict Jesus on the testimony of others. Mark records: The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.’” Yet even then their testimony did not agree. (Mark 14:55-59)
Early in Jesus’ career, he said, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). The Jews thought he was speaking of Herod’s Temple, when he was referring to his body. This misinterpretation could have earned him a capital conviction, for a mere threat against the Temple appears to have been punishable by death. Even though they had the best witnesses money could buy, those who lied without a twinge of conscience, their testimonies were not in harmony.
Matthew says that Caiaphas put Jesus under oath by the living God (Matthew 26:63) when he asked, “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 14:61-63). Caiaphas was asking him two questions: if he was the Messiah, and if he was God, for “Blessed One” is used exclusively in the New Testament for God. Jesus did not have to answer, but now was the chosen time. “I am,” said Jesus, and as their mouths dropped in surprised pleasure he said, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:64). “You are judging me, but I will judge you,” Jesus was saying.
In a contrived expression of horror and indignation, “The high priest, Caiaphas, tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!’ and the guards took him and beat him” (Mark 14:63-65). Unwittingly they were fulfilling a real Messianic prophecy: “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6).
It was the earth’s longest night, but as Peter would later say, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).
How did Jesus remain unmoved? How did he do this as a man, considering the weakness of human flesh? The answer is, Jesus stood rock-like before the Sanhedrin, then Pilate, and then the Cross because he did not rely on his flesh, but on God the Father. Thus, he became the perfect example for all who seek to live out their faith in a hostile culture.
As we bow in prayer to thank Jesus for His supreme example and at the same time weep for what He suffered, we must remember it was for our sins that Jesus was willing to suffer as He did. What a Savior!