THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XXXII: Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Trial Before The Sanhedrin
A. Matthew's Gospel was written to explain to Jewish readers how Jesus was their Messiah even if He did not establish His Messianic Kingdom in His first advent, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, p. 1337.
B. A part of that explanation is Matthew's record of Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin in Matthew 25:57-27:1 that offers important evidences of His Messianic identity, so we view the passage for our insight and edification:
II. Christ As Israel's Messiah Seen In His Trial Before The Sanhedrin, Matthew 26:57-27:1.
A. Even facing trial before the Sanhedrin that was seeking to charge Jesus with a life-threatening capital offense, Jesus fulfilled Scripture, not defending Himself even to the high priest's amazement, Matthew 26:57-63a:
1. As Jesus was led away to be tried by the Sanhedrin, Peter followed at a distance and sat down in the court of the high priest with the guards to see the outcome, Matt. 26:57-58 NIV. The fact that he was keeping his distance for his own protection reveals the life-threatening nature of the proceedings.
2. When Israel's religious leaders sought false witnesses against Jesus to put Him to death, they found only two false witnesses who claimed He had said He was able to destroy the temple of God and build it in three days, Matt. 26:59-61, a slanderous charge: Jesus had said that if they would destroy the temple of His body, He would raise it again in three days, not that He would destroy the temple, cf. John 2:19. However, though thus slandered with a charge intended to leave Him guilty of a capital crime, Jesus volunteered no defense, fulfilling Isaiah 53:7 to the amazement of the high priest, Matt. 26:62-63a.
B. When Biblically required to answer the question aimed at incriminating Himself with a capital charge, Jesus not only admitted to the charge, but added further testimony toward enhancing the charge, Matt. 26:63b-66:
1. Jesus did not answer the high priest's question as to why He did not defend Himself, so the high priest ordered Him "by the living God" to tell them whether He was the Messiah, the Son of God, Matt. 26:63.
2. Being put under this sacred oath forced Jesus to answer truthfully (B. K. C., N. T., p. 85), so He said, "Thou hast said," meaning, "Yes," Matthew 26:64a; Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Matthew 26:64.
3. However, further implicating Himself of a capital crime, Jesus added the high priest would see Him hereafter as the Son of man, a Messianic term, sitting on the right hand of Power, the Father's right hand, and coming in the clouds of heaven, a clear allusion to Daniel 7:13, Matthew 26:64b.
4. This claim moved the high priest to tear his clothes, what is forbidden in the Law at Leviticus 21:10, and he said, "He has spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses?" He asked the Sanhedrin for their verdict, and they claimed that He was guilty of death, Matthew 26:65-66.
5. Thus, facing a capital conviction for doing so, Jesus still strongly claimed to be Messiah and Son of God.
C. Though abusively treated while convicted to die, Jesus' prophecy was accurately fulfilled, Matt. 26:67-27:1:
1. Once condemned, Jesus was brutally abused, being spat upon, beaten and ridiculed, Matthew 26:67-68.
2. Though being thus mistreated, His prediction of Peter's denial was precisely fulfilled, Matthew 26:69-75:
a. Peter was sitting in the courtyard while Jesus was being tried, and when a damsel told him he was with Jesus of Galilee, terrified for his own welfare, Peter denied he knew what she was saying, Matt. 26:69-70.
b. He then went out into the porch where another maid saw him and told the others that he was also with Jesus of Nazareth, so Peter denied it again with a divine oath, Matthew 26:71-72.
c. A third party then stated Peter was a disciple of Jesus for his speech as a Galilean betrayed him, so Peter began to call a curse down on himself if he were lying to deny it, Matthew 26:73-74a.
d. Immediately, the cock crowed (Matt. 26:74b), and Peter remembered Jesus' prophecy about his denial, so he went out and wept bitterly, Matthew 26:75.
Lesson: Jesus gave Himself to die in fulfillment of Scripture as God's Messiah as seen in His trial before the Sanhedrin, for (1) though the Sanhedrin tried to convict Him to die, He fulfilled Scripture in not offering to defend Himself even though slandered. (2) When required to speak, He only enhanced His sentence to die and (3) while being mistreated in having been convicted to die, His prophecy about Peter's denial was precisely fulfilled.
Application: (1) May we believe on Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God to be saved, John 20:31. (2) May we follow Jesus' example to yield fully in meekness, courage and truth to perform God's will even under great trial.