Jesus’ Life: Chapter 18 – The Passion And Death Of Jesus
Time: Good Friday: – Approx. 4.00 – 5.00am
The Evangelist, St Luke, tells us that Jesus was held until daybreak while the Sanhedrin were gathering. During that time, the guards subjected Jesus to constant mocking and beatings. They would blindfold Jesus, repeatedly hit Him and then ask, “Prophesy! Who hit you?” In addition, “[They] said many other things against him, reviling him”. (Luke 22:63-64)
Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin high priest, had already made his views clear about Jesus to Sanhedrin members. He told them, “You know nothing at all,” brushing aside their every doubtful comment and pronouncing that, for the greater good of the Jewish people, Jesus must be condemned. (John 11:49-50)
At daybreak, as Jesus was led into the Sanhedrin, he was already “guilty” but what would the charge be and who were the witnesses?
Jesus was questioned by Caiaphas and probably other members of the Sanhedrin on his behalf. Many witnesses were called who gave false testimony but even their testimony was contradictory; no two consistent witnesses could be found, as required by Jewish Law to uphold a charge (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15). When Caiaphas questioned Jesus saying, “Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?” Jesus remained silent; there was no evidence of any wrongdoing to respond to!
When Caiaphas asked Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus replied, “I am and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven”. On hearing this Caiaphas tore Jesus’ clothes and said to the Sanhedrin, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?”
They answered, “He is guilty [of blasphemy – claiming to be the Son of God] and deserves death”. Along with the guards, some of them then, “Spat in [Jesus’] face and struck Him with their fists”. (Matthew 26:66-67) (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:54-71, John 18:13-24)
There were multiple issues one could have raised about procedure surrounding Jesus’ trial.
Was Caiaphas neutral as a Judge?
Did he make his judgement on the basis of specified charges?
Did he allow a fair presentation of the evidence from both sides?
In addition, one could also ask:
Why did the Jewish people present false charges to condemn Jesus?
Why did the Sanhedrin masquerade their prejudices as honest intent?
Why were the many who knew Jesus not invited to present their evidence?
The list of concerns is extensive but the outcome was always going to be the same!
Almighty God, you loved the world so much that you gave your only Son, to be condemned by false trial. Forgive us, Lord Jesus, I pray.
Prayer: Act of Contrition
O my, God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended You,
and I detest my sins above every other evil
because they are displeasing to You, my God.
Who for thy infinite goodness are so deserving of all my love
and I firmly resolve by Your holy grace
never more to offend You and to amend my life. Amen.