And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. Matthew 26:57
Jesus was not a victim of circumstance. He was not swept up by the events around Him. Every moment of His entire life was part of a divine plan laid down before time began. Each stop on the journey to Easter was purposeful and planned. We’ve stopped at the Upper Room and the Garden. Today’s stop is the Chamber of Caiaphas, the High Priest.
Everything about Jesus’s trial was sketchy.
It was held in Caiaphas’s home, not the Temple.
It was a secret trial, not a public one.
It was held at night, not during the day.
It was held during a feast. (Plus, a death sentence required a three-day fast by all the members of the court before carrying out the sentence. Observant Jews weren’t supposed to fast during a feast.)
The Sanhedrin couldn’t nail down a specific crime Jesus has committed, even with bribed witnesses. They finally settled on Christ’s own confession to seal their verdict. Incidentally, in a typical Jewish trial, the defendant’s confession was NOT sufficient evidence for a conviction. The legal system God designed for the Jewish nation was structured to give the accused every advantage and allow for every reasonable opportunity for overturning the conviction.
Of course, that wasn’t the goal for this trial.
There was no time for a reasoned examination of the evidence. There was no desire to interview all the available witnesses. The verdict was pre-decided. This was a formality. A rubber-stamp. A kangaroo court.
The members of the Sanhedrin had regularly been embarrassed and called out by Jesus for their hypocrisy and self-righteousness, for their lack of compassion toward others and their cold-hearted formalism.
This stop on the journey to Easter is uncomfortable. The longer we linger in the Chamber the more we realize we have in common with Jesus’s accusers.
Do we have an expectation of who Jesus should be?
Are we offended when He suggests our righteousness is really just a show?
Do we demand He answer our questions or recognize our position?
Do we fail to thoroughly investigate His words and claims to discover the Truth?
Do we bring our preconceptions to Him and demand that He fit them?
Do we value our status and position so much that we are blinded to who He is and what He says?
Jesus didn’t receive a death sentence because of the skillful prosecution of the Sanhedrin lawyers. He received the death sentence because He willingly chose to carry out the Father’s redemption plan. He knowingly endured the injustice. The stop at Caiaphas’s chamber underscores what Jesus went through to redeem us. It also confronts us with the outworking of justice. If we received justice from the hand of God, we would be hopeless. Instead, He pours out His grace on us.
Next stop: The Governor’s Hall