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Thursday morning of Passion Week was now dawning.  Earlier that night Jesus had been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane and brought for interrogation to the palace of the high priest.  Having appeared first before Annas and then before Caiaphas and his cronies, they had settled upon the charges they would present before a formal gathering of the Sanhedrin.  It was a foregone conclusion that the Council would kowtow to their decision that had already been made.  Nevertheless, despite their very short timeline, in punctilious devotion to their law they would now go through the motions of a “fair trial” in order to “legally” deliver Him over to the Romans and have Him put to death.  What does this remind us about the complete deception of sin and false religion that misleads men to such depths of hypocrisy?

At the same time that Jesus was being interrogated, Peter, having followed Jesus and entered with John into the courtyard of the palace “to see the outcome” (Mat 26:58), was facing his own trial of sorts for which he was ill-prepared, having failed to keep watch with Jesus earlier in the garden.  Consequently, not wishing to draw attention to himself, he lied to the door maid about being a disciple of Jesus which immediately raised her suspicions.  For Jesus had just been brought in, it was the middle of the night, he was with John who was known by her to be a disciple of Jesus, and his accent identified him as being from Galilee where Jesus was known to be popular (Joh 18:15-17, Mat 26:73).  In this way, along with the news of Jesus’ arrest, he too became the subject of the workers’ banter that night.  As a consequence of those circumstances, before the night was over and a rooster crowed a second time, he had three times denied Jesus in spite of his pledge just hours earlier that he would never deny Him even if he had to die with him (Mar 14:29-31).  From Peter’s example of failure, if we are really serious about not denying Jesus even if we have to die with Him, what is absolutely necessary that Jesus repeatedly enjoined His disciples, but they neglected to take seriously?  See Mar 14:37-38,40-41.  If we fail to watch and pray, should we suppose that we will be any less likely to deny Jesus than one of His closest disciples, especially in circumstances contrived by the god of this age (Luk 22:31)?

What does Matthew now record happened next?  See Mat 27:1.  How does Mark put it that indicates what time of the morning it was?  See Mar 15:1, and note that early there refers to the dawning of the day as it was becoming light, perhaps even before the sun had risen; cf. Mat 16:3.  What does immediately in Mar 15:1 also communicate about the speedy timeline they were working under to ensure Jesus would be put to death that day before the start of their Passover?  Cf. Joh 18:28 and notice that it was still early (same word) when they led Him to Pilate.  What does this indicate about how long Jesus’ actual trial before the Sanhedrin actually lasted?  Why is it not surprising then that Matthew and Mark only have one verse describing it, having emphasized instead the earlier interrogation where His guilt was already decided?

What does Luke record about this formal trial?  See Luk 22:66-71.  Before whom does he specifically say the trial took place?  See Luk 22:66 and note that the Council of elders is from the Greek word πρεσβυτέριον from which we get our word presbytery and refers to the Sanhedrin or ruling body of the Jews; cf. Act 22:5.  Note too that Sanhedrin is a transliteration of the Greek word συνέδριον that is translated as council or council chamber in Luk 22:66.  The same word is also translated as the supreme court or simply the courts in Mat 5:22 and 10:17.  Hence, a primary role of this governing body was not just deliberative or legislative but judicial, as we often find in the New Testament; cf. Act 4:5-6,8,15, 5:21,27, 6:12,15, 22:30.  Of whom does Luke say this ruling council was composed?  See again Luk 22:66 and note that the chief priests were primarily Sadducees while the scribes were primarily Pharisees; cf. Joh 11:47, Act 23:6.  As this governing council represented all of the Jews, what impact did its decision to follow the lead of Annas and Caiaphas and rubber stamp their charges against Jesus have upon the nation of the Jews?  See Mat 27:25 and consider the destruction of the nation in 70 a.d. and the suffering the Jews have experienced as a people since that time throughout history.  What does this remind us about the implications that the decisions a government of a people makes has for that people, and the guilt they incur if they just go along with it?  What does it also teach us about the dangers of just going along with an agenda so as to not make waves, and the importance of speaking out against things that are wrong, lest by our consent we bring judgment upon ourselves and others?

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