Summary: Passion Week: A careful examination of the text reveals there were really 2 people being tried. Not only Jesus, but also Peter. Link inc. to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Template.
Two on Trial
There were 2 phases to Jesus’ kangaroo court. There was the religious phase where He stood before Jewish religious leaders, and then there was the civil phase where He stood before Roman government leaders. But a careful examination of the text reveals there were really 2 people being tried. Not only Jesus, but also Peter.
Jesus was being asked the question, “are you the Son of God?” Peter was being asked, “are you a child of God?”
Like a drama, Matthew takes us back and forth between the two trials, let’s look at Jesus’ trial first...
1. The arraignment of Jesus.
v. 57 They have already decided to seek the death penalty, but they need to decide what charges to seek. Originally the high priest served for life, but when the Roman Empire took over the region they changed all that and appointed a high priest they chose. Jesus first stood before Annas, who had been the high priest for 13 years and will still the power behind the throne...then Caiaphas. These 2 guys were the ‘Godfathers’ of the corrupt temple worship, which had been reduced to just a religious scam, taking advantage of the people. Jesus had overthrown their tables and exposed them as frauds, and they hated Him.
Everything about the trial of Jesus was illegal, from start to finish:
• He was considered guilty before the trial even began.
• It was conducted at night, also illegal. Jesus was not allowed to call any witnesses. He could have called formerly blind, deaf, and lame people He healed.
• The Sanhedrin served not only as judges, but also as the prosecutors!
• False witnesses were secured, even tho’ the price for perjury in those days was to receive the punishment of the accused.
• Death penalty sentences were to carry a 3 day waiting period, during which period the religious leaders were to fast and pray and make sure their decision was correct.
The whole thing was a travesty of justice...a mockery for sure!
The arraignment of Jesus...
2. The accusations against Jesus.
v. 59-60 No corroborating evidence could be found. Finally 2 witnesses made a claim...
v. 61 In John 2:19 Jesus said something like this, but they misquoted Him. He actually said if THEY tear it down, He would raise it up. They also misunderstood, because they thought He was talking about Herod’s temple being destroyed, and it was really the temple of His body that He said would be raised up again!
Their whole testimony was perverted, but it doesn’t matter, because when you are not really seeking the truth, any old testimony will do.
v. 63 This is fulfillment of Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Why didn’t Jesus set the record straight? 2 reasons:
-He knew they weren’t seeking the truth
Sometimes in counseling I perceive people to be simply seeking my stamp of approval to be placed on what they have already decided to do. But it’s very refreshing to have many in the church today who are genuinely seeking to know the truth. I get a lot of email asking questions, and it is obvious they are trying to pick a fight, or to change my thinking on a matter, and I don’t answer those questions. Jesus was the same way.
“Unasked for advice is seldom appreciated, never heeded, and sometimes resented”
-The statement He made was a spiritual one which carnal men couldn’t ever understand.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Our eyes are only open to truth once we are saved. Don’t get dragged into theological discussions when the cults come by, they won’t ever see the point. Just give them the simple gospel and send them on their way. They walk in darkness until their spiritual light is turned on.
v. 63 The high priest plays his trump card, and thinks he’s backed Jesus into a corner. If Jesus says yes, I’m the Messiah, the Romans will be upset. If He says yes, I’m the Son of God, the Jews will be upset.
v. 64 What an ingenious answer! He says, you got it right, now say it again and mean it with your heart and you’ll be saved!! Caiaphas didn’t believe it, but today he does, and he’ll someday bow the knee and confess it to be true!
v. 65 On the inside he’s very happy, he’s got Him. But outwardly it’s a mellow drama. He’s like the first televangelist making his plea before the crowds! He rent his clothes [why not buy?] in blatant disobedience to OT law, the high priest violates the law. Ironic, because Jesus on the cross is about to abolish the need for a priest anyway!