Summary: A sermon for Resurrection Sunday
“When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe; 68 and if I ask a question, you will not answer. 69 “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.” 70 And they all said, “Are You the Son of God, then?” And He said to them, “Yes, I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
This is the account of the third of six mock trials imposed upon Jesus the day of His arrest and crucifixion.
His first mock trial was in the courtyard of the High Priest Emeritus, Annas, who was the father in law of the current High Priest, Caiaphas. Even though He hasn’t had a real trial at all, although He has not been found guilty of anything, indeed, not even officially accused of anything, He has been beaten and mocked and spit upon while Peter sits at a nearby fire with other enemies of Jesus, denying him out of abject fear.
When that was over Jesus was taken to the Sanhedrin and the High Priest where He was once more tried illegally, since according to their laws no one was supposed to be tried at night and both of these took place before sunlight.
Jesus had spoken truly when He told them this was their hour and the power of darkness (22:53).
They had also brought in false witnesses to lie about Him which was an absurdity, since the hired liars were both brought in by and lying to the ones who wanted Him dead anyway.
Can you picture it? It’s maybe 3 or 4 in the morning – I’m guessing, but it’s not daylight yet – and some representatives of the Chief Priests, possibly Temple Guards, flag these two guys down. What were they doing out at this hour? Were they drunks or thieves? We don’t know. In any case, they are accosted in the middle of the night and told, ‘Hey, come to the counsel chambers of the Sanhedrin with us; we need someone to tell us a story about what some guy might have said or done.” “Well, what should we say?” “I don’t know, stupid! It’s 4 AM! Make something up!”
Of course it didn’t go just like that, we have no way of knowing. But isn’t the very thought ridiculous?
So now it’s finally daylight and they can have a real trial if they want, but they don’t. They want to hear a confession from this badly beaten man before them so they can get rid of him and they want nothing more or less.
So let’s follow into the place of assembly and marvel once more as the Lion of Judah stands surrounded by the Jackals of Jerusalem and holds His ground.
ASKING ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS
This is not the first time we find this challenge being put to Jesus.
In fact, behind the question is a very ancient point of error that marks fallen mankind to this day.
Think back to the Garden of Eden. The woman stands facing the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil as the words hiss in her ear, “You surely shall not die!”
The error? Doubting God’s Word and therefore God Himself. Faith does not say ‘if’. Faith says ‘yay’ and ‘amen’!
Skip ahead to the wilderness journeys of young Jesus. “If you are the Son of God...” said the tempter, not once but twice, and then followed with an ‘if’ of presumption, “…if you fall down and worship me”.
What incredible arrogance! The Genesis account says the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field, and we understand the serpent to be Satan of course. Well, he might be crafty but what an idiot! To think for a second that the Lord of Glory would pay homage to anyone?
Well folks I want you to see today that ever since the day Eve believed the lie the fruit of that original womb, the offspring of Adam’s loins, has without exception questioned God’s Word and God’s authority and damned himself with the faithless question, ‘IF”.
When God has spoken there is no ‘if’. The only proper response to His Word and to His presence is ‘believe’ and ‘do’.
“If you are the Christ, tell us.”
Haven’t we already determined in a recent sermon that they knew exactly who He was? Only a few days have passed since He raised Lazarus from the dead and as soon as they heard about it they started a community whine, because He was doing many miracles and the people were going to believe and they weren’t going to have all the accolades any more.