“Christ before Pilate” by Mihály Munkácsy, 1881 from Wikipedia
We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[a] 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you? Matthew 26:62-29.
1. False Charges, Phony Witnesses, Perjured Testimony. Everything about this trial was wrong. It was not legal nor religious by any Roman or Jewish standard. Accusations went unchallenged. Jesus remains silent until His authority and relationship to the Father was challenged. Jesus knew this trial was ‘going the way it was predicted and was written’ and the greater redemptive purpose was hours away.
2. Prediction of Future Vindication. Everything about the Kingdom of heaven and Jesus’ standing with the Father was heavenly, not earthly. There would be a time of verification. The Son of Man sitting at the hand of God and coming in the clouds. Remember His words? He could have the Father call down 72,000 angelic warriors. But this was not time or place. The heavenly scenes were coming in the future.
3. Condemnation and Assault and Battery. Nothing about this ‘trial’ justified He is worthy of death. He has blasphemed. Being spit on and struck. But as the Scriptures, He was a lamb being led to the slaughter, and was submitted to the will of God and the heavenly hosts.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth. Isaiah 53:7-9.
Yet in this crucible of suffering and testing, the betrayal of Jesus by his disciples was not complete. Peter’s failure next, and what we can learn from it. Stay well.