It’s Jesus’ last night on earth. Yesterday, we discussed his betrayal and arrest. Today begins a mockery of a travesty of a sham of a trial that leads directly to the Cross.
After Jesus was arrested he was first brought to an influential religious leader and former high priest named Annas, who questioned Jesus about his disciples and teaching. Here’s how Jesus replied:
“I have spoken openly to the world,” he said. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
“If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”
(John 18:12-14, 19-24)
Annas then sent Jesus to Caiaphas, his son-in-law and the current high priest. Many religious leaders were gathered there.
Peter followed the proceedings at a distance. He entered the courtyard of the high priest and sat down with the guards to see the outcome, warming himself at the fire.
Here’s what happened next:
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
Then two stood up and gave this testimony against him: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet even their testimony did not agree.
Then the high priest stood up before them and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said so,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?” And they said many other insulting things to him. And the guards took him, mocked him and beat him.
(Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54, 63-65)
The religious leaders aren’t done with Jesus. Far from it.
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com / KimsCreativeHub)