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In order to present their case against Jesus to the Sanhedrin at the break of day on Thursday morning of Passion Week, Caiaphas and his yes-men interrogated Him in the middle of the night to come up with whatever they could find to have Him put to death.  Because the false charges made against Him were weak, they supposed they had finally acquired what they needed for their case when Caiaphas adjured Jesus to tell them if He was the Christ.  For although Jesus replied in a way that put it back on them as the charge from their own mouths that they would use to put Him to death, at the same time it also truthfully communicated that yes, He was the Christ, though not in the way they were deceived to believe.  In this way, although they supposed they had caught Him, in fact they themselves were caught in their own devices, and were sealing their guilt with their own words for prosecuting to the death the Son of God who came as their promised Messiah to save them, but whom they couldn’t see or accept because of the deceitfulness of sin that had hardened their hearts to the truth.  See Joh 5:39-40.  What does this remind us about the way that the Lord sifts the hearts of men either into or out of His kingdom through the truth of His word?  Cf. Mat 3:12.  Can a person who does not love the truth ever be saved?  See 2Th 2:10-12.

What was the high priest’s response to Jesus’ confession in regard to being the Christ?  See Mat 26:65.  What did he say there that indicated that he thought he’d hit the jackpot and had obtained what he needed to have Jesus put to death?  What is the significance that he tore his robes?  See Gen 37:29,34, 44:13, Lev 13:45, Num 14:6, Jos 7:6, Jdg 11:35, 1Sa 4:12, 2Sa 1:2,11-12, 3:31, 13:30-31, 1Ki 21:27, 2Ki 2:12, 5:7-8, 6:29-30, 11:14, 18:37, 19:1, 22:11,19, Ezr 9:3, Est 4:1, Job 1:20, Jer 36:24, 41:5, Act 14:14.  In what way do clothes represent a person’s station in life, or glory, and even his wholeness and well-being, in both a physical and spiritual sense, and hence one’s righteous relationship to God?  See Gen 2:25, 3:7,21, 35:2, 37:3,23, 41:42, Exo 19:10,14, 28:2,40, Lev 11:25,28,40, 13:45, 14:8-9, Num 8:6-7, Rut 3:3, 2Sa 13:19, 2Ch 6:41, Job 29:14, 40:10, Psa 109:18-19,29, Isa 61:10, Eze 16:10-13,16-18,39, Joel 2:12-13, Zec 3:3-5, Mat 6:28-30, 22:11-14, Mar 5:15, Luk 24:49, 2Co 5:1-4, Gal 3:27, 1Ti 2:8-10, 1Pe 3:3-4, Jud 1:23, Rev 3:4-5,17-18, 7:9, 16:15, 19:6-9, 22:14.  How do these many verses help us to understand why it became customary to put on one’s “Sunday Best” to attend church?  As one’s garments are an outer representation of an inner spiritual condition, why does the custom of tearing one’s clothing as an expression of extreme grief and loss, or even horror make sense?  Cf. 1Ki 11:29-32.

What was the great horror of Jesus’ confession that was so grievous to the high priest that he tore his robes and twice mentioned it in Mat 26:65?  Why did he consider Jesus’ response to be blasphemous?  Cf. Luk 5:21, Joh 10:33.  What does his response indicate about what he clearly understood about Jesus’ claims that he would then use to prosecute Him to the Romans and have Him put to death?  And yet, although he understood it to be so, why in fact wasn’t Jesus’ confession blasphemous?  Cf. Joh 10:34-38.  Consider again then how the hearts of those most steeped in the very religion that among all others was the true faith were completely deceived to believe the exact opposite about its most important character, the Messiah, whom they themselves were eagerly awaiting, to the point of having Him put to death for simply claiming to be who He in fact was.  Cf. Isa 5:20.  What does this remind us about religion itself being no remedy for sin, and why it is important to understand that the nature of true salvation is salvation from sin?  Is it possible that in the same way today many who are equally steeped in religion, even conservative, evangelical Christians, could be equally deceived about Scripture’s most important Character, even to the point of outright rejecting the true salvation from sin He came to bring?

Although Caiaphas rent his clothes to express in the most forceful terms his outrage at Jesus’ answer and to make a false show of his concern for God’s honor to those about him that Jesus’ confession was so impious and offensive that it was deserving of death, in fact, even if he supposed Jesus was guilty of so great a crime, why would he assuredly have not done so if he as the high priest was truly concerned about actions that honor God?  See Lev 21:10-12; cf. Lev 10:1-7.  As the holy anointing oil represents the anointing of God’s Holy Spirit—the Comforter and source of eternal joy even in the midst of the worst of calamites (cf. Lam 3:19-23)—why was it not appropriate for the high priest to tear his clothes even for the deaths of his two oldest sons or his parents?  Could Caiaphas therefore justify his “grief” over one for whom he had no affection?  What cloth was also rent later that day as if to say that his privileged role as high priest and mediator was forever rent from him?  See Mat 27:51; cf. 1Sa 15:27-28.  Whose clothes might have been torn that day as an expression of the most grievous act ever committed upon the earth, but were not as a prophetic expression that identified the One who is our great and true high priest?  See Joh 19:23-24, Heb 4:14-5:10, 6:19-20.

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