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 Messiah, the Son of God.”
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.”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, Messiah. Who hit you?”
Big Idea: Making Jesus look like how we think he should look is always a mistake.
This trial took place immediately after the brief hearing before Annas and was the main trial as far as the Jews were concerned. However, since only the Romans could sentence someone to death, there was still more to come if Jesus were to be found guilty here.
And it appears as though there were no chance that Jesus wouldn’t be found guilty here. This trial occurs just a day or so after Christ’s confrontation with the leaders in the temple and probably featured many of the same people. There were many false witnesses testifying falsely about Jesus throughout the night. The religious leaders had lost every public argument they had ever had with Jesus, they were making sure that they weren’t going to lose this.
Finally 2 witnesses came and testified something that Jesus had actually said, that he would tear down the temple of God and rebuild it in 3 days. According to the commentaries that I’ve looked at, this was seen as a blasphemous and anti-Jewish statement. Israel’s enemies had attacked and torn down the temple in the past, they had even defiled it. And here Jesus was claiming to be about to do the same thing.
The messiah was also said to be someone who would restore the temple, not tear it down. That’s why the high priest explicitly asked Jesus if he was the messiah. Jesus said, “you have said so.” But continued on to refer to himself as the Son of Man (his own personal preferred way to refer to himself). He did this to avoid all of the connotation that the high priest wanted to put on that phrase “messiah.”
The leaders and Pharisees had an image in their mind of what the messiah should look like, and what he should do. Here, right before their eyes, the messiah was standing and they hated him.
Application: We all have expectations of what Jesus is like, what he wants, and what he would do in a given situation. Some of us even had the bracelets to remind us 😉 But the Pharisees had a What Would Messiah Do bracelet on and they wound up crucifying him! So how do we avoid their mistake? How can we prevent our own imperfect picture of Jesus from corrupting our ability to see the real thing right in front of us?
First of all, we have been given the Holy Spirit. This amazing gift cannot be understated. But not using the Holy Spirit means wasting a blessing that Old Testament saints and prophets would have given anything for. To use the Spirit, to see Jesus, we need to humble ourselves. The first step is to admit to ourselves that we don’t perfectly know and understand Jesus. This shouldn’t be that hard. It is hard just to wrap our heads around the duality of his very nature, being both fully God and fully man. However, the next step is the hard one… admitting that someone else might know something about Jesus that we don’t! It is much easier to admit that I might be wrong than it is to admit that someone else was right. That is our pride blinding us to the Spirit who, so often, speaks to us through others. And finally, humility brings the joy of the pursuit of getting to know Jesus. When you first fell in love with your spouse, spending a dinner together, getting to know each other was fun! After years of marriage, we often then we have a better understanding of our spouses than they do themselves. We’ve forgotten the joy of getting to know them.
But while, it is probably true, that my wife does know me better than I know myself, it is not true that I’ve completed grasped the fullness of 2nd person of the trinity. I am looking forward to getting to know him better, and I’m looking forward to the part that you will play in my own understanding. Without the church, without our fellow brothers and sisters, our own understanding is limited. Thank you for the role you’re playing!