53 The crowd took Jesus to the high priest. All the chief priests, the elders, and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Not too far away, Peter followed Jesus. He went right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards. He warmed himself at the fire. 55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for something to use against Jesus. They wanted to put him to death. But they did not find any proof. 56 Many witnesses lied about him. But their stories did not agree. 57 Then some of them stood up. Here is what those false witnesses said about him. 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made by human hands. In three days I will build another temple, not made by human hands.’ ” 59 But what they said did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up in front of them. He asked Jesus, “Aren’t you going to answer? What are these charges these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent. He gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah? Are you 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. You will see the Son of Man 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 him say a very evil thing against God. What do you think?” They all found him guilty and said he must die. 65 Then some began to spit at him. They blindfolded him. They hit him with their fists. They said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
The darkest and cruellest event in history since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden. Here we have a man, who has come to bring restoration to the world, who lived a perfect life, demonstrating for all how to live life. This passage recounts the way he was put on trial and condemned to death.
On my reading of this passage this morning, I am struck by verse 62. Jesus may have generally been silent like a lamb led to the slaughter, but here he plainly and undeniably spells out who he claims to be, and it is this claim that they grab on to – for someone to claim to be equal to God was completely unacceptable to the people presiding over this trial.
We might see Jesus’ death as a tragic death of a good man, but here he spells out why he was so good – because he was and is the messiah – the one who brought the kingdom of God to Earth and enable access to heaven for all people. This was more than a tragedy, but a complete abomination of all justice.
But the good news is that it was always God’s plan to allow him to die, because after this dark night, on the 3rd day he rose again, conquering sin and death, proving that he was who he claimed, appearing to hundreds of eyewitnesses, many of whom laid down their own life while holding to their testimony of his resurrection!!
Lord Jesus, you are the one we worship, your death was horrid, but we will praise you eternally, because it was not in vain.
Written by Ps Justin Ware