Matthew 26:56-68

56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.

57 And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.

59 Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,

60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward

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

62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”

63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!

66 What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”

67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,

68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

Matthew doesn’t give an account of everything that occurred. See also Mark 14, Luke 22 and John 18. Jesus was taken before Annas (John 18:12-14, 19-23) before He was taken before Caiaphas.

disciples forsook Him (v.56) — fulfilling the Lord’s prophecy in Matthew 26:31.

The false witnesses (v.61) misstated what Jesus had said almost three years earlier (John 2:19, 21).

It is as you said (v.64) — the legal way of saying “yes”

nevertheless (v.64) — probably in response to Caiaphas’ unbelief

Jesus’ response (v.64) is from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13. His reference to “coming on the clouds of heaven” may be a reference to His ascension to heaven to the place of power (see Daniel 7:13) or to His return. Or perhaps both.

By the laws of the Hebrew people it was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet in the night to try a case such as this, but they arraigned Him in the night. It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to pass sentence on the day that the prisoner was arrested, but they did it in this case in a few hours.

It was distinctly ordered (Leviticus 21:10) that the high priest shall not rend his garments in the hour of sorrow or anguish. — Morgan, page 308.

By the act of tearing his robe, Caiaphas was, in effect, ending the Levitical priesthood for all time.

The regular place for the meeting of the Sanhedrin was in the temple, but they led Jesus away to the house of the high priest Caiaphas, situated in a place just outside the present wall of the city, where all the chief priests and elders and scribes had been summoned to meet. Nor was the legal hour of meeting for trials in the night. Other features in the illegality practiced in the trials of Jesus were: undue haste, seeking or bribing witnesses, neglecting to warn the witnesses solemnly before they should give evidence, forcing the accused to testify against Himself, judicial use of the prisoner’s confession, and failure to release the prisoner when there was failure of agreement between witnesses.

In such a case as this, it was required that witnesses be found who could support the accusations made against the accused. the Sanhedrin had been quickly called together to conduct this trial and had had no opportunity to prepare witnesses. thus, though many false witnesses bore testimony, the testimony bore no weight for it was not supported by two witnesses (Mark 14:56). — Pentecost, page 463.

Jesus refused to respond to the false and illegal testimony of the witnesses. Caiaphas than put Him under oath, and under oath, Christ responded.

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