Mark: According To
Before the Sanhedrin
53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. 54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. 56 for many bore false witness against Him but their testimonies did not agree.
Have you ever wondered why there are two testaments to the Bible? The Old Testament, and the New Testament. I have often referred to them at Witness one (the Old Testament) and Witness two (the New Testament). Levitical law required that there be two witnesses to testify before the Elders in the matter of civil or criminal matters. Therefore for a person to be acquitted or convicted of a crime, there had to be at least two witnesses and their testimony had to agree. Any variance between the two testimonies and the accused was allowed to go free. Both Testaments, Old and New, witness to or bear testimony as to God’s or Christ’s dealing with humanity from before the fall of man until the end of time. Even the final book in the Bible bears the name, The Revelation of Jesus Christ and bears testimony on Christ and his dealings with our sin problem and how he has dealt justly and fairly with those concerned. But this isn’t the only book that bears this kind of testimony concerning Christ’s end time dealings with our sin problem. The book of Daniel in the Old Testament bears witness to this as well.
But there are two other aspects to the Jewish court system that we need to further explain before continuing. It was not lawful to hold a trial under the cover of darkness. It must be performed after the sun was up and must conclude before the sun set in the evening. The second aspect is that a person accused of a crime was not required to speak in fact they were discouraged from speaking during their trial. It had to be on the testimony of at least two witnesses that they were either found guilty or innocent. And as I stated earlier, the testimony of the witnesses must match exactly. And oh, before I forget, if false witness was brought against another in the court of law and it was determined that they had lied in their testimony, then those bearing false witness would be subject to the same penalty has the person that was convicted.
In the early morning long before the light of day, they brought Jesus, according to Matthew’s account to Caiaphas the high priest, and the other elders. It is also important to note that Jesus trial consisted of two phases, the first the ecclesiastical trial before the Jewish religious authority and the second the civil trial before Pilate and Herod. Why two trials? Because they could not bring Jesus before Pilot wanting him to be killed without first establishing something that would cause the Romans to want Jesus to be killed. The Jews were not permitted to carry out capital punishment as they had when they were a free and independent people. In order for this to work, religious and civil authority had to meet, and agree for the religious authorities failed to have the power to actually kill anyone, for that they needed the civil authorities.
Because they could not find any witnesses that could agree, they began seeking false testimony and finally thought they found just cause, but as it says in Mark 14:58, 59; “’We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands,’ But not even then did their testimony agree.”
As I stated earlier Jesus was not required and in fact was discouraged from saying anything in his defense. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
To the direct question of who Jesus was, Jesus had to respond, not by Jewish Law but because they asked if he was the Son of God, the True Messiah. Jesus went on further to say that “Not only am I the Son of God, the true Messiah, but there will come a time that you will see Me coming in the clouds of glory at My second coming. Throughout all of the Old and New Testaments Christ is referred to the “great I Am.” I am the bread of life, I Am the “river of life, I Am the door, I Am that I Am. Jesus clearly identified himself as God.
63 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.
Leviticus 24:13-16 And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, “Take outside the camp him who has cursed; then let all who heard him lay their hands on his head, and let all the congregation stone him. Then you shall speak to the children of Israel saying whoever curses his God shall bear his sin.”
This was the law that the High Priest and Elders attempted to hand around the neck of Jesus, for in their eyes, he had broken the third commandment where it says in Exodus 20:7; You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
But the High Priest himself was now subject to the very law he accused Jesus of breaking. How is it you say? Because of what is says in verse 63 of Mark chapter 14, where the High Priest tore his robes.
Leviticus 21:10 says; “He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tare his clothes.” The High Priest was to be God’s representative on earth. As Christ was to be spotless, free from sin and any defect, so must the high priest be free from defect. The Garments that the High Priest represented Christ and his righteousness and thus it was never to be torn and if it was, then the High Priest would forfeit his right to be priest.
Caiaphas, the representative of Christ on earth was to lead by example exemplifying the character of Christ, bearing the sins of the people until they could be cleansed from the Sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. When Caiaphas tore his clothes, it signified the fact that Israel had rent themselves from God and they were left a desolate people.
65 Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.
It was Satan’s desire that Christ never make it to the cross. If he could not temp Jesus to sin, then perhaps he could tempt Jesus to call down angels from heaven to protect him, so Satan caused the Priests and Elders to begin to spit upon Jesus and to beat him with an open palm which was the ultimate insult to be struck with an open palm. If Satan could inflict enough humiliation and pain upon Jesus, then, then perhaps Jesus would use his divinity for his own purpose and thus the plan of salvation would be done away with in one quick deed.
Yet as tired, and lonely for his Father that Jesus was, he endured all this at the hands of the Elders and Priests to secure our salvation.
Our next post will be Peter, Oh Peter.