Jesus Before the Sanhedrin






The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none.    Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.  Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging,  “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.’  ”Even so their testimony did not agree.  The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?”  But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?”    Then Jesus answered, “I am;

and ‘you will see the Son of Man
    seated at the right hand of the Power
    and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”

At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses?  You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”  They all condemned him as deserving to die.  (Mark 14:55-64)


In the first century, Roman crucifixion was the most brutal, shameful, and despicable way to die.  Jews was condemned for blasphemy by the high priest Caiaphas in the presence of the Sanhedrin — the council of Jewish leaders — and executed by Roman authorities.

Jesus claimed to be the Messiah in his first response to Caiaphas.  Jesus was reluctant to identify Himself as the Messiah during His public ministry, but now He affirmed His messianic identity at the end of His life.  Jesus answers Caiaphas’ question about his identity quoting two passages from the Old Testament in which the Messiah appears to be divine.  Jesus uses the Scriptures to reveal He is not just the Messiah, but the divine Son of God, but Caiaphas considered blasphemy the claim of divine Messiah.


As the visions during the night continued, I saw coming with the clouds of heaven

One like a son of man.
When he reached the Ancient of Days
    and was presented before him,
       He received dominion, splendor, and kingship;
    all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
    his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed.  (Daniel 7:13-14)

A Psalm of David.

The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
while I make your enemies your footstool.”
The scepter of your might:
the Lord extends your strong scepter from Zion.
Have dominion over your enemies!
Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
In holy splendor before the daystar,
like dew I begot you.  (Psalm 110-1-3)


The Sanhedrin confirmed the divine implication of Jesus’ answer, and Caiaphas immediately tore his garments and declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy.

At that the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further need have we of witnesses?”  (Mark 14:63)


The Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death.

“You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as deserving to die. (Mark 14:64)


It was not the first time Jesus was accused of blasphemy.

Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” (Mark 2:6-7)


John’s gospel reports the chief priests and the scribes accused Jesus of blasphemy on the day of His crucifixion.

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” (John 19:5-7)


The chief priests and the scribes referred to the biblical law about blasphemy.

Whoever utters the name of the Lord in a curse shall be put to death. The whole community shall stone that person; alien and native-born alike must be put to death for uttering the Lord’s name in a curse. (Leviticus 24:16)



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