This article on Matthew 26:63-65 is about the trial and suffering of Jesus Christ before the Sanhedrin

Source: The Outlook, 1988. 2 pages.

Matthew 26:63-65 - The Messiah Before the Sanhedrin

The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," replied Jesus. "But I say to all of you: in the future 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

Matthew 26:63-65

The trial of Jesus before Annas and Caiaphas was very slow. Little progress was made at first. They searched the crowd for witnesses, they considered the testimony of two men regarding the temple, and they asked Jesus several questions which He did not answer. But He had to be put to death. Concerning that they were determined. The high priest therefore resorts to a final method of procedure. He will place Jesus under oath regarding His identity and claims.

Placing Jesus under oath implied that up to this time they were not completely sure about the truth of His statement. With an oath one is placed as it were in the very pres­ence of God, and then surely is ex­pected to tell the truth. For Jesus this was very painful. Didn't He al­ways live in the presence of God, His Father? He was always very con­scious of telling the truth. All His words were oaths as it were. All the scorn that He later had to endure was no worse than this, "I charge you under oath..."

Jesus submits to the authority of the high priest. He recognizes the of­fice of the high priest as of the Lord. "Yes, it is as you say" was the reply. These Jews as leaders of course claimed to believe in the Old Testa­ment. The implications of His answer are that He is the Shiloh of Jacob, the Son of David, the Promised One.

These words of Jesus bring Him to the very climax of His revelation to Israel, the Church of that day. This oath, with the subsequent payment on the cross as the Son of God will bring about the last meeting of the Sanhedrin. Soon the veil of the temple will be rent and before God the Sanhedrin will be dismissed.

But following this dark night will come the break of a new day, the most important and momentous of all earthly days, Good Friday. And Good Friday will be followed by the resurrection and then the ascension and Pentecost. And He will be Lord of heaven and earth but also judge of all people.

The clock strikes twelve. The judg­ment of the world has come. They will condemn Him exactly because He confessed to be the Son of God.

This is the confession Jesus had made in all of His ministry. Again and again He taught and proved with miracles that He was Divine, God's own son. But in the mind and hearts of these godless rulers of Is­rael and the church this is blas­phemy. Neither heaven or earth can tolerate such spiritual profanity. He must die.

And Caiaphas rends his clothes. Such acts were considered to be sym­bols of grief. According to Law this was forbidden to the high priest. He was not supposed to have his eyes bent to the earth, but raised towards heaven. Aaron, for example, was not allowed to mourn when his two sons died, struck down by the Lord on ac­count of their sins. The high priest al­ways had to hold the dignity of his office. But at Jesus trial laws are dis­regarded; Caiaphas rends his clothes, pretending to be intensely grieved by such blasphemy in the body of God's people. What a sham!

Jesus "came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (John 1:11). Not only the "people of God," but God Himself (behind the official declaration of the high-priest) sen­tenced Jesus to death. According to Caiaphas He was guilty, because He had blasphemed, but according to God, because He had taken the blas­phemy of others upon Himself. When Jesus made the greatest of all confessions, the "church" openly rejected and condemned Him. This was before the world. A father will punish his children in his own home. But this is different from doing it in public before the world. Here Israel disowned the Promised Messiah before the whole world. This sen­tence of the high priest no doubt weighed more heavily on Jesus than the death sentence of Pilate. Pilate saw this man's death as a way out of a difficult situation. Caiaphas de­clared it an act of justice before the holy Judge of heaven and earth. For Pilate, the peace of Caesar might not be disturbed; for Caiaphas the peace of God would be taken away if He were not killed.

In this hour of darkness the "church" condemned the Son of God.

When such verdicts are given in the court room all is often quiet. On the announcement of the death sen­tence people may quietly leave the court room. Here they linger. Much worse than that, they spit in His face to show their hatred. When little children in a fit of anger act in this way they may be reprimanded. Here grown-ups, "church" leaders know no such limits. They hit Him with their fists and struck Him with the palms of their hands. And no one restrained them. As if this were not enough, He was blind-folded. The crowd hadn't forgotten that He claimed to be a prophet. That claim was mocked first by Israel, next by the world of heathendom in Pilate, then by the false brother, Herod, a descendant of Esau, and finally at the cross by all of the crowd together. "Who struck you?" they asked. Man, fallen man, even when he seemed "refined," did this — even the "church" of that day! In the deepest sense, God brought all this suffering upon His own Son.

No one defended Jesus. He did not try to defend Himself, even though the greatest injustice was done. All proper procedure and court room decorum was completely ignored. Jesus fulfilled the Scrip­tures, "As a lamb is led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth." He was willing to "take" it all — to go the way that was necessary to make payment for the sins of His people.

He would "save His people from their sins." He would redeem us from the curse, even though it cost Him His life.

Look at Caiaphas the high priest, with rent clothes. Look at the people — leaders of the church, mem­bers of the Sanhedrin, elders and scribes, reject and hate Him. It is more fitting to look at ourselves, and "rend" not our clothes, but our hearts! The end of Caiaphas, the earthly high priest, was the torn gar­ment, but the beginning of being found in Jesus is a broken and a con­trite heart. Such hearts God does not despise.

Later Pilate would say, "Behold the man." But the Word says to all believers, "Behold your Savior" – and see the love of your God.

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