Tests for Jesus at night

The Life of Jesus Christ - Chapter 10 - Jesus' arrest and appearance at court - Part 9

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The High Priest's court did not obey the Jewish law

The men took Jesus to Annas. Annas had been the *High Priest. The men asked Jesus questions there. This lasted through the night. There were no witnesses. The men were cruel, and they struck Jesus. None of this was legal, but there was more behaviour like this to come.

Jesus and Caiaphas

Then the men took Jesus to Caiaphas. Caiaphas became the *High Priest that year. Some Jewish leaders quickly went there (Mark 14:53-60). It was still night. They could not accuse Jesus about anything at all. They looked for false witnesses who would tell lies about him. Even then, the false witnesses did not agree with each other (Mark 14:59).

The *High Priest was desperate. He should have obeyed the law completely. But now he himself asked Jesus questions. This was not legal. But Caiaphas' questions achieved what the men wanted. Jesus replied to Caiaphas clearly. Jesus said that he was the Son of God. This was true. Jesus really is the Son of God. But the Jewish leaders did not believe Jesus. They supposed that he was just an ordinary man. So, they decided that his words were very wicked. For the rest of the night, they hit and struck Jesus (Mark 14:65).

Peter denies Jesus

While this was going on, Peter had been able to get near the court. He was outside, in the yard. He watched what was happening. First, a servant girl came. She said to him, ‘You also were with Jesus.’ Peter denied it. Then Peter went out to the gate. Another girl saw him, and said, ‘This man was with Jesus.’ Peter swore and denied it. Then the people who were near him spoke. They recognised his accent. So, they knew that he was from Galilee. Peter denied it, and even cursed himself. At that moment, Jesus looked straight at Peter. Peter went out and wept bitterly. He had promised to be loyal to Jesus always. Now Peter had denied that he knew Jesus. After Jesus came alive again, he would meet with Peter. And Jesus would forgive Peter.

The meeting of the Jewish leaders

When the next day began, the Jewish leaders met together. They approved of the events during the night, although those events had not been legal. The Jews could have killed Jesus themselves. They could have thrown stones at him, as they did to Stephen later. But the Jews wanted to *crucify Jesus. Their law did not allow them to do this. Probably they wanted the Romans to be partly responsible for the death of Jesus.

The death of Judas

At some time early on that day, Judas regretted what he had done. He did not *repent. Instead he killed himself.

But now, the Jewish rulers had Jesus as their prisoner.

 

Laws that the *High Priest's court did not obey

The Jewish leaders were proud that they obeyed the law. But they did not obey their own law when they arrested Jesus. It seems that they broke all these laws:

·  You must not decide about a prisoner’s punishment if he is not present – Matthew 26:3,4.

·  If you make men tell lies as witnesses, you should die – Matthew 26:59-62.

·  You must not kill a prisoner on the first day when he is in court.

·  Annas asked Jesus questions without any witnesses. This was not legal – John 18:19-24.

·  The court should not have happened at night. This was not legal – Matthew 27:1.

·  To go to the *High Priest was not legal – Matthew 26:63.

Everything that the Jewish leaders did was wrong.

 The Jews probably had power to kill Jesus, as they did Stephen (Acts 7). But they wanted the Romans to share the blame. They also probably wanted Jesus to die by *crucifixion. They did not have the power to order this. Only the Romans could order *crucifixion.

 

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