Matthew 26:57-75

Matthew 26:57-75 … Two things are covered in these verses: first the judicial trial of Jesus by the religious rulers (v.57-68); and second, Peter’s denial of Christ (v.69-75). To get a complete picture of the trials of Jesus, each of the four Gospels needs to be consulted. The criminal processing began with the midnight arrest and continued throughout the night with interrogations and brutal beatings, all without a moment’s rest. That night is an infamous night of hatred, illegal scheming (v.59-60), and judicial abuse.

The Jews had a system of oral, legal rules called the Mishna. Many of the Mishna’s rules were violated that night, including a rule that trials could not be conducted at night. Two high priests are mentioned in Scripture: Annas in the Gospel of John and Caiaphas here. High priests were appointed for life, and Caiaphas was the high priest in office at the time. But the influence of Annas (Caiaphas’ father-in-law) was evident as well. The verdict of the council was based on the supposed blasphemy of claiming to be the Christ, the Son of God (v.64-65). They arrived at their verdict without ever examining the evidence.

The late James Montgomery Boice (Presbyterian pastor and teacher) makes the telling point that, had the Sanhedrin (the Jewish ruling council) examined the evidence, they could have proven that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. They would have thus eliminated the blasphemy charge because Jesus spoke the truth. Boice continued by saying that millions today make the same error the Sanhedrin made; they never examine the evidence to answer the most important question of life, “What shall we say about Jesus Christ of Nazareth?”

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