Jesus on Trial

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Reading the Word

Matthew 26:57–66 (ESV)

57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. 58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’ ” 62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”

Parallel Text: Mark 14:53-64

Understanding and Applying the Word

The religious leaders were desperate to get rid of Jesus. In fact, they were so desperate that they were seeking false testimony to use against him. False testimony was a serious offense under the Old Testament law, yet here are the high priest and the chief priests working together to use lies to condemn Jesus. Why were they so fixed on condemning Jesus? Why were they willing to stoop so low? Because Jesus and his teaching was a threat to their power and authority. So, they sentenced him to death.

Opposition to Jesus today is primarily for the same reasons the priests wanted Jesus killed. Jesus challenges our power and authority. He tells us that we are not the ones who get to decide right and wrong. There is absolute truth and we will be judged based on that truth. All of us are guilty before God and stand condemned. The only way that our debt can be payed is through repentance and trusting in Jesus, the One who took our punishment on himself as a substitute. We must come to the end of ourselves and admit that we have been wrong. Just as in Jesus’ day, many would prefer to find a way, any way, to bury Jesus and his teachings so they can retain their autonomy, but the word of God will not go away. It continues to confront, convict, and even condemn all who hear it. The question is, what will we do when we are the ones who are confronted by Jesus?

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