53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” 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.” 63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
I read this passage with a sense of disturbance, as it describes the unfairness, the injustice, the brutality that Jesus faced and endured. Here he was, in front of the entire hierarchy of the religious leaders, having to hear the lies against him, which even by the people were recognised as being inconsistent, and then later in the passage being spat upon, blindfolded, beaten, mocked. Remember, this is the Son of God, the Creator, enduring this humiliation!
What is highlighted to me in this passage is that Jesus did not answer to the false testimonies against him. He remained silent when He listened to the lies, and the twisted comments against Him. He could have called on an army of angels to down his accusers. But he did not. Why?
The only question he answered to, was the question of “Are you the Christ?” I believe Jesus would never be silent to this question, regardless of who asked.
Jesus knew his purpose at this time. He knew he did not need to defend himself. He knew that he would “lose” this battle but would win the war. He even exclaimed this to the Chief Priest etc in v62. He was focussed and had full intent to go through to death, regardless of what he had to endure, for he knew this was to save us.
There are times when we face false accusation, or are wrongly judged, where our first reaction is to defend ourselves. This is a natural response. But Christ’s response shows me great humility and purpose, knowing when to be silent and when to answer.
Lord, may you continue to teach me and transform me into greater humility, and understanding of Your ultimate purpose in all situations.
Written by Stephen Fell