Summary: We’re stopping at the house of Caiaphas, & what we see there is rank hypocrisy. So let’s to look at it. But after we do, we’ll also look at the genuineness of Jesus, & point out the contrast between the two. (Powerpoints available - #173)
MELVIN NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #173.)
When people are invited to attend church, an excuse we sometimes hear is this: “I don’t go to church because there are so many hypocrites there.” Have you ever heard that excuse? It’s been around a long time.
Those who love the church have come up with rebuttals like, “Saying you won’t go to church because of the hypocrites there is like saying you won’t go to the hospital because it’s full of sick people.”
ILL. Zig Zigler used to respond to those who said, “I don’t go to church because there are so many hypocrites there,” by saying, “Go anyway. There’s always room for one more.”
PROP. Well, this morning we’re stopping at the house of Caiaphas, & what we see there is rank hypocrisy. It is everywhere. So let’s take a few minutes to look at it. But after we do, we’re also going to look at the genuineness of Jesus, & point out the contrast between the two.
I. THE HYPOCRISY OF CAIAPHAS
Our Scripture text this morning is Matthew 26:57-75. And in it we see the hypocrisy of Caiaphas. Our Scripture text begins with these words, “Those who had arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law & the elders had assembled.”
I want you to notice that he is called “the high priest,” & that tells us that Caiaphas was supposedly an extremely religious & righteous man. He wore the garb of a religious leader over the nation of Israel.
As the High Priest, he was viewed as a man of God, a man of prayer, one who walked with God, who knew & followed His Word. And he was the only one who could go into the Holy of Holies to represent the people & to seek atonement for their sins.
But while that was how he appeared to others, inside, Caiaphas was actually just as evil & unrighteous as he could be. In fact, as you examine him you discover that Caiaphas had a vendetta against Jesus. He saw Jesus as an enemy to be destroyed
Listen to John 11:49-50, “Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.’”
Do you see the inconsistency? He is a religious leader who is supposed to be a peacemaker, one who loves his fellow man. But his agenda is to get rid of Jesus, & he is perfectly willing to break law after law to do it.
Legal scholars tell us that Caiaphas & his co-conspirators broke at least 40 Jewish laws in the arrest & trials of Jesus. Let’s notice just a few of them.
A. First of all, Caiaphas ordered an illegal arrest. To minimize opportunities for intrigue & injustice under cover of darkness, Jewish law said that you could only arrest someone for a capital crime during daylight. But Jesus was arrested at night. In fact, if you’ll remember, when he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, it was very late at night – around one or two o’clock in the morning.
There never should have been a trial. Jesus should have been released because they had violated the law in arresting Him as they did. But Caiaphas ignored that law.
B. Secondly, Caiaphas presided over an illegal meeting of the Sanhedrin. As High Priest, Caiaphas headed up the Sanhedrin, a gathering of the 71 elders who served as the supreme judicial authority in Israel. And again, it was against the law for them to hold any judicial meeting at night. Yet, Caiaphas called them together & presided over their illegal meeting. That should have caused a mistrial right there.
C. Thirdly, Caiaphas permitted false testimony. Now the purpose of a trial is to
determine the truth, is it not? Yet he permitted & even encouraged false testimony. Listen to Matthew 26:59, “The chief priests & the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death.”
They were looking for what? “False evidence”! Vs’s 60 & 61 say, “But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward & declared, ‘This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God & rebuild it in 3 days.’”
Now Jesus did say something like that, but they twisted it completely out of context because Jesus was talking about His body, not the temple in Jerusalem.
D. Caiaphas also forced self-incriminating testimony. Now in our system you do not have to incriminate yourself, right? But in this trial, self-incriminating testimony was forced by the high priest.