Matthew 26:57-68; Before Caiaphas

Those who arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest. Caiaphas had assembled a group of elders and scribe for the expressed purpose of finding a legal reason to put Jesus to death. There is no western thought of “innocent until proven guilty” here. They already know they want Jesus dead, but they need to build a case.

For the chief priests, Jesus is inconvenient. They go along by getting along with the Romans. Anyone who might incite a popular uprising is dangerous to them. That’s why they wanted to snatch Jesus out of the public eye. And if we are to see this meeting taking place in the courtyard of Caiaphas’ house, they are still keeping it on the down low.

We don’t know much about how this kind of council led by the high priest worked at the time. I think they best way to view it is as a group of guys who provide the high priest with council in important matters.

It takes a while, but they are finally able to find some witnesses who heard something they can use. They take the discussion about the Temple as Jesus claiming to have the authority of God himself. Jesus will not answer the trumped up charges. So the high priest asks Jesus plainly if he is the messiah.

Jesus answers indirectly, but positively. But he adds references to Daniel 7 and Psalm 110. No surprise—it ticks the high priest off and sends him into melodramatic paroxysms of robe tearing. The council agrees that Jesus deserves death.

As we know, the Romans do not allow the Jerusalem leaders to execute anyone, so there is more to come Meanwhile, they mistreat Jesus in the way that a discredited prophet would be handled. If they only knew what they were doing.

Meanwhile, Peter has followed at a distance and is sitting with the guards at the gate. That sounds promising. The others have all fled. Peter fled too, but apparently not far. One might have hope that he will prove true to his master. That hope is about to be dashed.

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