Summary: Message about Jesus’ declaration before the Sanhedrin after His arrest.
“Yup – I’m the One.”
September 6, 2009
NOTE: THE ME/WE/GOD/YOU/WE FORMAT IS FROM ANDY STANLEY’S BOOK, "COMMUNICATING FOR A CHANGE."
I loved comic books growing up. Especially Spider-Man and other super-heroes like Batman, Superman, and the Avengers.
In fact, I still like them. If you had a comic book collection, especially of comics from the mid-70’s, I’d be all over them.
Anybody else like that?
When they made the first Spider-Man I was ecstatic. I don’t go to movies very often, but I’ve seen all the Spider-Man movies.
One thing about all the super-hero comics: they featured someone who had to hide who they really were.
They either wore a mask, or in Superman’s case, put on a pair of Buddy Holly glasses and moved a lock of hair to disguise themselves.
And by the way – were Superman’s friends totally blind, or what? Who couldn’t catch the resemblance? Say no to drugs, folks!
But anyway, the point is that these superheroes had to hide who they really were, and just hope they didn’t get caught.
God: In our passage today, we find Jesus revealing who He really is.
But unlike a comic book superhero, Jesus hadn’t been running around trying to hide who He really was.
He had been out there for over three years, teaching, healing, and all sorts of things to show people who He was – the Messiah who had come to save His people from their sins.
But in our passage, the religious leaders finally realize what Jesus is trying to communicate, as they put Him on trial to try to get rid of Him.
Matthew 26:57-68 (p. 704) –
As we go through the passage I’m going to stop and just explain a few things, and then I’m going to focus on a couple things after we’re done reading the passage.
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.
So Peter, after fleeing in the garden when Jesus was arrested, follows the procession and actually ends up with a seat at the proceedings before the Sanhedrin.
The Sanhedrin was, for the simplest definition, the supreme law of the land of Judea, up to the boundaries of what the Romans would allow.
They weren’t just the “religious Supreme Court” as some say, but these guys could try criminal cases and punish up to certain limits.
For cases where the death penalty was called for, they had to get permission from the Romans.
They had a lot of power within Judea, and these guys saw a major threat in Jesus. So here Jesus is, probably before dawn.
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 Sanhedrin wanted evidence to convict Jesus of a crime deserving death, but they did not find any. The obvious conclusion should have been that Jesus was innocent of any crime.
But this wasn’t a trial for justice; it was a trial to accomplish an evil purpose.
Let’s talk for a moment about the witnesses, shall we?
There was no shortage of witnesses, according to verse 60. The problem was in finding two witnesses who agreed. According to Moses’ law, no one was to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness; there had to be two or three agreeing witnesses.
This must have been totally exasperating for the religious leaders. They had to be afraid that Jesus would get away on a technicality!
Finally, two men were found who claimed that Jesus had said he could destroy the Temple of God.
The problem for these guys, however, Jesus had not said that He would destroy the temple.
And he didn’t said anything linking his words with the Temple building.
Instead, Jesus said, according to John, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days."
Jesus, of course, was talking about his body, not the building.
Ironically, the religious leaders were about to destroy Jesus’ body and three days later He would raise it up. (LACNT)
And then we come to the conversation on which hinges everything and seals Jesus’ fate with the Sanhedrin (but of course, Jesus knew that this would be just another step to fulfilling His mission.)