Sep 302017

Matthew 26:57-75

Jesus Before Caiaphas and the Council

57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.

  • I wonder if they were working off a bounty?
  • They went directly to the High Priest – waiting with him the scribes and elders.
  • Try to imagine an enemy of state so dangerous that he would be hauled in before the President and his Cabinet for questioning.

58 And Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and going inside he sat with the guards to see the end.

  • Two points here (1) it’s from a distance – the sheep are scattered and Peter is not going to get too close to the action – he does not want to be identified as one of the followers, and yet oddly he will be identified.
  • (2) To see the end. What was Peter expecting to see – the end Jesus spoke of – or just an ordinary execution?

59 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,

  • Note that they were seeking false testimony – here we have a court set up to draw in false testimony.
  • I am not a lawyer, but have watched enough Law & Order to know that is suborning perjury.
  • Who did Jesus die for? Sinners! He sits at their tables for food & drink and he stands in their courts.

60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward

  • I guess they could not find someone whose false testimony would stand up in court.
  • Then they found 2.

61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

  • Well at least they listened to what he said which is more than we can say about the disciples.
  • How many of us can quote from the pastor’s sermon later in the week?

62 And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”

  • It is funny that Jesus has told his disciples that they would be brought before the governing authorities (Matt 10) – but here now is Jesus, as usual doing it first. Going before them, showing them the way.

63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

  • Interesting question – adjured is kind of like being put under oath.
  • Jesus remained silent until being put under oath – even Jesus puts himself under the governing authorities and answers.
  • Jesus is being obedient to the law and fulfilling the law.

64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

  • And he testifies – again he speaks the Daniel 7 words ‘Son of Man’
  • With these words Jesus declares himself to be the one who establishes God’s kingdom – he is equating himself to be God.

65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.

  • I never understand people who say ‘Jesus never claimed to be God.’
  • Anyone who denies that Jesus ever called himself God just does not read the scriptures.
  • As usual, the enemies of Jesus always hear him loud and clear.

66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”

  • Judgment passed – the verdict is in — Death!!

67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him,

68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

  • Why the mockery? If you are truly God (the son od man) this stuff should not be happening to you.

Peter Denies Jesus

69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.”

  • Here is Peter’s moment to fulfill his previous claim to never deny Jesus.

70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”

  • It’s funny that the text does not say “and Peter pondered his answer.” No, he just blurted it out.
  • I try to imagine Peter’s body language and his hand motions as he really tries to sell this denial.

71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

  • Another servant girl – it is interesting that the Lord used servant girls to allow Peter to confess Christ – no pressure with servant girls.

72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.”

  • 1st time – I don’t know what you mean
  • 2nd time – I don’t know the man
  • 3rd time – he adds an oath – he is not just making a statement.

73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.”

  • Now the crowd turns to Peter. He is now in deep – earlier it was just dealing with a couple of servant girls – now it’s a crowd.

74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed.

  • Invoking the curse is like saying God Damn it! Or I’ll be damned if I know that man.
  • Perhaps like ‘I swear to God I don’t know what you are talking about’ or ‘I swear to God I don’t know that man.’
  • Peter denies being with Jesus but by the end of this gospel Jesus declares “I will be with you always.”

75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

  • Conviction!
  • And in the end we are all Peter. When Peter said he would die for Christ, all the others said the same — and like Peter, they all denied Jesus.