JESUS SUFFERED UNJUST TREATMENT BY BOTH HIS HARSHEST ENEMIES AND HIS CLOSEST DISCIPLES WHILE MAINTAINING HIS COMPOSURE AND COMPASSION
How do you respond when you are wrongly accused? We all have the identical natural response. We become extremely defensive; we seek to justify ourselves; we might lash back and attack our attackers; we marshal all the evidence that could possibly support our claims. But Jesus responded differently. He endured more intense injustice than we could ever imagine. But He never lost His poise. And He never lost His compassion.
(:53-54) STAGING FOR THE TWO SCENES OF THIS INTENSE DRAMA
A. (:53) Jesus Before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin
“And they led Jesus away to the high priest;
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together.”
Being led away as a common criminal; not with presumption of innocence; not innocent until proven guilty; but under a predetermined, prejudicial verdict of judgment that was just going to be proclaimed as a matter of rote procedure
MacArthur: Matthew and Mark say Jesus was taken to Caiaphas, but John adds in John 18, that He was first taken to Annas. Well that doesn’t pose any difficulty because they would have lived in the same estate, the same place.
Sproul: His trial was a travesty.
Hiebert: All the gospels make it clear that the trial of Jesus fell into two general parts. He was first tried by the ecclesiastical authorities and then by the political authorities. A comparison of the different accounts indicates that both parts comprised three stages. None of the gospels record all the different stages. . . He was subjected to a preliminary questioning by Annas (Jn 18:12-14, 19-24), was arraigned before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin at a night session (Mt 26:57-68; Mk 14:53-65), and was formally condemned by the Sanhedrin in a brief meeting after dawn (Mt 27:1; Mk 15:1; Lk 22:66-71).
Mark focuses on just the trial before Caiaphas and then combines the two trials before Pilate into one.
How were they all able to suddenly come together in the dead of the night?
71 members of the Sanhedrin – no small gathering; shows how urgently they regarded the situation
B. (:54) Peter Warming Himself in the Courtyard
“And Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers, and warming himself at the fire.”
Commendable that Peter followed him at all – after putting himself in jeopardy by cutting off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest
But noteworthy that he only followed Jesus at a distance – not exactly the commitment that Jesus had called for when he commanded His disciples to forsake all and follow after Him; to deny themselves and take up their cross daily
Hiebert: Peter drawn by love but holds back due to fear.
James Edwards: Peter has forsaken a discipleship of costly following (8:34) for one of safe observation.
The Greek word here for fire is the light – that which could illuminate his face and expose him as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth
JESUS SUFFERED UNJUST TREATMENT BY BOTH HIS HARSHEST ENEMIES AND HIS CLOSEST DISCIPLES WHILE MAINTAINING HIS COMPOSURE AND HIS COMPASSION
TWO INCIDENTS OF UNJUST TREATMENT OF THE SON OF GOD –
TWO CONTRASTING RESPONSES TO BEARING TESTIMONY UNDER PERSECUTION —
I. (:55-65) UNJUST TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF HIS HARSHEST ENEMIES — KANGAROO COURT OF THE SANHEDRIN INTERROGATES AND INDICTS JESUS
A. (:55-59) Inconsistent False Testimony Before the Sanhedrin
1. (:55a) Predetermined Objective of the Inquiry
“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death;”
Deut. 16:18 – God gave instructions to the nation on how to pursue a legal process that would be just and objective
Parunak: According to the law the HP served for 3 life, but from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes on, secular rulers appointed it as a political prize. There were 28 HP’s in the 107 years before the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70, less than 4 years each. Thus at any moment there might be several who had held the position or could hold it. . .
Their motive: they are trying to find witnesses to justify executing him. Instead of investigating his claims seriously, they have already dismissed them. The verdict has been decided in advance; now they must whitewash it with a semblance of legal proceeding.
Hendriksen: As Matt. 26:3 informs us, the high priest was Caiaphas. He occupied that office from A.D. 18-36, and was son-in-law of Annas (John 18:13). He was a rude and sly manipulator, and opportunist, who did not know the meaning of fairness or justice and who was bent on having his own way “by hook or by crook.”
2. (:55b-56) Presentation of Conflicting False Testimony
“and they were not finding any. For many were giving false testimony against Him, and yet their testimony was not consistent.”
3. (:57-59) Preeminent Example of the Problem of Inconsistent False Testimony
“And some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, ‘We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’ And not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.”
John 2:19ff – actual words of Jesus different than how he was quoted; but even this claim was insufficient and found no consistent support
MacArthur: They had no time to get together. They had not time for collusion. They had no time to meet with people and get the same story. They had no time to plot everything out.
Edwards: It is a serious charge. As the center of Jewish worship and the seat of the Sanhedrin’s power, the temple symbolized the essence and hopes of Judaism. In the Messianic Age to come, the temple, along with the city of Jerusalem, would rival the splendor of the Messiah himself.
B. (:60-62) Interrogation of Jesus by the High Priest
1. (:60-61a) Round 1 of Interrogation
a. Question by the High Priest – Why Won’t You Defend Yourself?
“And the high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, ‘Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’”
Hiebert: The belligerent high priest sought to goad Jesus into saying something that could be used against Him.
b. No Response by Jesus
“But He kept silent, and made no answer.”
Isa 53:7-8 He did not open His mouth
Speaks to the Composure and Poise of Christ – submitted to His heavenly Father; was trusting in Him; understood that His day of vindication was coming
2. (:61b-62) Round 2 of Interrogation
a. Question by the High Priest – Are You the Christ?
“Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him,
‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’”
Matthew’s account adds the verbiage that Caiaphas invokes a binding oath: “I adjure you by the living God” – so that now Jesus must answer the question
b Response by Jesus
“And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
Daniel 7:13; Ps. 110:1 – Jesus takes parts from these two famous Messianic prophecies and combines them in powerful fashion
MacArthur: What He is saying is, “Yes I AM and My death is not the end, I will be exalted to the throne of God. I will return in glory to judge and reign over the earth.”
Hiebert: His own position and that of his judges would one day be reversed
C. (:63-65) Indictment and Abuse
1. (:63-64) Indictment
“And tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?’
And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”
“tearing his clothes” – usually associated with extreme grief and sorrow; Overcome here with rage; Jesus claimed the position and power of deity
Edwards: The testimony that the Sanhedrin seeks against Jesus is in the end not provided by the false witnesses but by Jesus himself in the claim to be God’s Son.
Hendriksen: This unanimous verdict was not as yet a formal sentence. Declaring a person guilty and sentencing him are two different matters. In order to create at least a semblance of legality, a short period of time must elapse between these two actions. As was pointed out earlier, according to existing regulations that interval should have been a day. But as the Sanhedrists see it, such a prolonged delay would have been too dangerous. It could have given the friends of Jesus enough time to organize a revolt in his behalf. Now is the time to act. Early in the morning the Sanhedrin will have to be convened once more. That will be for the purpose of sentencing. And even that action will not be final. It must still be approved by Pilate, the governor.
Hendriksen: It has been emphasized by various authors that the trial of Jesus was illegal on several technical grounds, such as the following:
a. No trial for life was allowed during the night. Yet, Jesus was tried and condemned during the hours of 1-3 A.M. Friday, and executed on the Feast, which was forbidden. According to Pharisaic law, no hearings in a case involving capital punishment could even be initiated on the eve of la major festival like Passover. No conviction was allowed at night. To execute a sentence on the day of one of the great feasts was contrary to the established regulations.
b. The arrest of Jesus was effected as a result of a bribe, namely, the blood-money which Judas received.
c. Jesus was asked to incriminate himself.
d. In cases of capital punishment, Jewish law did not permit the sentence to be pronounced until the day after the accused had been convicted.
“deserving of death” – key phrase —
2. (:65) Abuse
a. Filthy Humiliation
“And some began to spit at Him,”
“and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists,
and to say to Him, ‘Prophesy!’
tradition that Messiah could judge by smell without needed sight
c. Continued Abuse – following the pattern of their leaders
“And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.”
Servants of the Sanhedrin
Parunak: Note that the “servants,” last mentioned with Peter in v.54, take part in this torment; it may be that the Lord has been taken from the room in which the Sanhedrin met down to the courtyard, and that Peter actually witnesses this abuse.
II. (:66-72) UNJUST TREATMENT AT THE HANDS OF HIS CLOSEST DISCIPLE — PETER DENIES THE LORD THREE TIMES
A. (:66-71) 3 Accusations and Denials
1. (:66-68) First Accusation and Denial
a. (:66-67) Accusation
“And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, ‘You, too, were with Jesus the Nazarene.’”
MacArthur: Jesus is in a large room, Peter outside in the dark courtyard near a fire with Roman guards, temple police and other servants. He’s caught between curiosity and cowardice
b. (:68) Denial
“But he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out onto the porch.”
Edwards: Mark’s two Greek verbs for “know” are only an apparent redundancy. The first (oida) tends to denote theoretical knowledge, and the second (epistamai) practical knowledge; Peter’s denial is thus a total denial – in theory and practice!
2. (:69-70a) Second Accusation and Denial
“And the maid saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders,
‘This is one of them!’”
“But again he was denying it.”
Hiebert: Luke remarked that “about one hour” passed between the second and third denials
3. (:70b-71) Third Accusation and Denial
a. (:70b) Accusation
“And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter,
‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.’”
If we don’t know you by your face, at least we recognize you by your accent
b. (:71) Denial
“But he began to curse and swear,
‘I do not know this man you are talking about!’”
Calling on something higher and greater than himself to bolster his claims –
Remember what Christ had taught about oaths
B. (:72) Remembrance and Remorse
“And immediately a cock crowed a second time.”
William Barclay: The Roman night was divided into four watches from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. At the end of the third watch, at three o’clock in the morning, the guard was changed. When the guard was changed there was a bugle call which was called the gallicinium, which is the Latin for the cockcrow. Most likely what happened was that as Peter spoke his third denial, the clear note of the bugle call rang out over the silent city and smote on Peter’s ear. He remembered and his heart broke.
MacArthur: Luke 22:61 says, “and the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Straight into Peter’s eyes went the gaze of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps his trial had just ended and He was coming back across the courtyard, headed to prison where he’d be kept for a few hours until the dawn, fake trial, scourging, crucifixion in the morning. His face covered with spit, black and blue puffy from being punched in the face and slapped. His garments covered with sweaty blood that had oozed out of His sweat glands in the agonies in the garden. And as He’s bound, is taken through the courtyard. He looks right into the eyes of Peter. I’m pretty sure that’s a look that Peter never, ever, ever forgot.
Speaks to the Love and Compassion of Christ – did not forsake Peter; in fact this failure served to break his arrogance and self-confidence in a way that equipped him to a greater extent to be a strong spiritual leader in the early church
“And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him,
‘Before a cock crows twice, you will deny Me three times.’
And he began to weep.”
1 Pet. 2:18-25
Big Idea of Book: BY THE GRACE OF GOD, THE PERSECUTED CHURCH FINDS VINDICATION AND VICTORY THRU LIVING FOR ETERNITY, MAINTAINING COMMENDABLE CONDUCT, AND ACCEPTING SUFFERING AS THE WILL OF GOD