Summary of passages: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the high priest and other teachers of the law and elders. Peter followed Jesus to see the outcome. They were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could kill him but they did not find any despite the false witnesses. Two said Jesus had claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Jesus refused to answer these charges.
Caiaphas asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God. To this, Jesus did reply and said he would be sitting at the right hand of God and coming on clouds of heaven. Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy. The Sanhedrin agreed and they spit in his face and slapped him. Then they led him to Pilate.
John 18:12-14; 19-24: Jesus was arrested and brought first to Anna, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest, who was the one who wanted someone to die for the people.
Jesus, weary of being questioned, told Annas that he has always spoken openly and to ask those who heard him these tedious questions. Jesus was struck in the face for his flippant remarks and asked why for he told nothing untrue. Annas sent him to Caiaphas.
b) Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law and an ex-high priest.
6a) Phase 1: The chief priests and Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60) but they could not find any.
Phase 2: Two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he could destroy the temple and then have it rebuilt in 3 days. Here Jesus refused to reply. (Matthew 26:61-62) The Sanhedrin were trying to get Jesus on a charge of trying to destroy the temple–a crime that would result in death. However, John points out Jesus is speaking about the body (John 2:21) and by Jesus refusing to answer this, the Sanhedrin cannot prove anything.
Phase 3: Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God. He answered in the affirmative and was declared guilty of blasphemy here (even though Jesus was innocent since he is the Son of God), sentenced to death, and smacked around. (Matthew 26:64-67)
b) All of the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin) met officially to confirm the verdict from last night. They came to the consensus to put Jesus to death and they bound him and brought him to Pilate. [Read Luke 22:66-71 for details on this trial].
7a) He quoted Daniel 7, saying in the future they would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.
b) Jesus admits he is the Son of God but also says he will be the final judge when he sits at God’s right hand. The roles will be reversed and he in the end will judge them for all of eternity.
c) Blasphemy according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God; the act of claiming attributes of a deity; irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.” Thus, what Jesus was was true: he is the Son of God and can therefore justly claim attributes of God and in no way be showing contempt for God.
Conclusions: It’s like Jesus, knowing his destiny was set in motion and he was heading for death, was eager to get it over with. He answered no questions and told them to ask others instead. He wearied of watching the sins of man as they tried (and failed miserably) to justify killing him.
End Notes: Annas was a previous high priest so the text can be confusing in John. It is Annas who questions Jesus as well before Caiaphas and Annas is also still called the high priest. Just like we call former governors of states still governors and Presidents still President, etc. He kept his title for life.
Hence, Jesus was questioned several times that night. By Annas. By Caiaphas who gathered some Sanhedrin at his house. And in Luke 22:66-71 the Sanhedrin officially assemble.
Everything about this trial broke Jewish law: a nighttime trial, a trial during Passover, false witnesses who escaped punishment, presumption of innocence, waiting a day after a guilty verdict, etc. This shows how desperate the high priests were to get rid of Jesus.
They ask Jesus about his threat to destroy the temple. Jesus is silent. John tells us Jesus was referring to his body (John 2:21).
Jesus’ silence and refusal to defend himself (although he could very well have with calling all the people he healed and others to testify to his miracles) frustrates Caiaphas to the point he called on Jesus to answer in the name of God. Jesus did, simply, but followed by a warning: I will be judging you in the future.
Finally, the get Jesus to admit he is the Son of God, which is blasphemy (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) if it had been false.
They spit in Jesus’ face and slapped him. Imagine God’s reaction in heaven. It had to take some might to not send angels down and wipe the Sanhedrin off the face of the earth. As parents, I’m sure we all can relate.
Man is born God’s enemy (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21). So we shouldn’t be shocked that they’d treat Jesus this way because probably in their hearts they knew Jesus was God’s Son.
Jesus protects his disciples to the end, not answering questions about them when asked. Peter follows Jesus, determined to show he won’t be the one to deny him. Still naive, huh Peter?