I love reading all four gospels and finding places where one gives a little more detail than the others. Today we come upon one of those places. Luke takes us to the council chambers of the Sanhedrin. This is after Jesus was taken to Caiaphas’ home where He was confronted by Anais and later Caiaphas and a select group of the Sanhedrin. Now He is before the full council so they can rubber stamp the proceedings from a few hours ago.
We looked at Matthew and Mark’s accounting of Jesus at Caiaphas’ home in earlier blogs. When we looked at Matthew’s account we did so in first person for Jesus first trial. In Mark’s account we looked at all the legal issues with Jesus’ trial as Jesus was before the council. We are going to look at Luke’s extra titbit today for our discussion.
Jesus doesn’t just go before the council but He is taken by them to their appointed meeting place. This speaks volumes about the impropriety of their activities so far. When I started thinking about this “rubber stamp” meeting, I thought back to the illegal issue we looked at when looking at Mark’s account. Then I tried to find the original source I used when researching that post. I should have gone to the post to look for that info, but I tried Google instead. While searching I believe I found the same posts I had previously used. Before I got very deep into the post, the first concept jumped out at me. One that I hadn’t highlighted earlier. And that was the fact that none of the Jewish trials that Jesus underwent were impartial trials.
When Caiaphas said days ago that it was expedient that one man die for the nation, he was rendering his verdict. He was ready, no matter what the evidence showed, to pronounce a sentence of death. This is a dangerous and forbidden attitude for any judge to hold, especially the highest judge in the land. This presupposition of guilt guaranteed the verdict the religious leaders were seeking.
We know Jesus’ trial was unjust and illegal, but it is interesting to see the lengths these men went through to try and make it look legitimate. The false witnesses spoken of in Matthew and Mark are just the beginning. Now they are bringing Jesus to the “halls of justice” to give this trial a proper look. Problem there is the timing of the meeting and the time required. They don’t fit with jurist prudence either.
The part that struck me most in my reading today was when the full Sanhedrin confronted Jesus; “If you are the Christ, tell us” (verse 67). He had told Caiaphas during His preceding questioning but He wasn’t going to make it easy on this full group. Caiaphas needed the push to get him fully on board with God’s timeline and agenda. This group didn’t need it. But I don’t understand why Jesus would back off now. Was it for the benefit of those who would turn to Him later?
Is His reason for not confirming the truth to them as straight forward as He said; “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer” (verse 67b-68). They still refuse to accept the truth, even though He did, and continues, to tell them. This brings to mind a child putting his fingers in his ears and singing loudly to drown out the sound of the truth being spoken in front of them.
I believe they knew the truth all along. They denied that truth then and now. Jesus’ words, “You say that I am” bites even deeper with the truth. They wouldn’t have fought so hard if He wasn’t proving who He was right before their eyes.
Lord Jesus, did You ever chuckle inside at the lengths these men would go to? I know this whole ordeal was NOT a laughing matter, but did their behavior make You secretly smile? I know it made You weep. These men were supposed to be the men in charge of teaching the people about God. Now they were running as fast as possible away from Him.
Thank You that You didn’t stop sharing the truth just because they wouldn’t listen. Thank You for getting through my thick skull too. You are so worthy of all praise and any effort I could ever put forth for You.