They led Jesus to the Chief Priest, where the high priests, religious leaders, and scholars had gathered together. Peter followed at a safe distance until they got to the Chief Priest’s courtyard, where he mingled with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.

The high priests conspiring with the Jewish Council looked high and low for evidence against Jesus by which they could sentence him to death. They found nothing. Plenty of people were willing to bring in false charges, but nothing added up, and they ended up canceling each other out. Then a few of them stood up and lied: “We heard him say, ‘I am going to tear down this Temple, built by hard labor, and in three days build another without lifting a hand.'” But even they couldn’t agree exactly.

In the middle of this, the Chief Priest stood up and asked Jesus, “What do you have to say to the accusation?”

Jesus was silent. He said nothing.

The Chief Priest tried again, this time asking, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?”

Jesus said, “Yes, I am, and you’ll see it yourself:
The Son of Man seated At the right hand of the Mighty One, Arriving on the clouds of heaven.”

The Chief Priest lost his temper. Ripping his clothes, he yelled, “Did you hear that? After that do we need witnesses? You heard the blasphemy. Are you going to stand for it?”
They condemned him, one and all. The sentence: death.

Some of them started spitting at him. They blindfolded his eyes, then hit him, saying, “Who hit you? Prophesy!” The guards, punching and slapping, took him away.

I love it when there are these gems hidden in plain sight in the Bible.  Things that we don’t see simply because we don’t understand the culture.  Things that make us really realize how much is still to be revealed about God and who He is.
Six words in the middle of this passage seem harmless enough:  Jesus was silent. He said nothing.
I, like most people, always assumed that he simply didn’t want to condemn himself because he didn’t want to face what he knew was coming.  You know, plead the 5th so to speak.  But this isn’t the reason for His silence at all.  Instead, this silence is a revelation about the nature of Christ and just what it is that we mean to Him.
You see, in Jesus’ time, the Jewish court that was started back in the time of Moses had become corrupted by man.  It was not just anymore.  The Sanhedrin manipulated the court system to do their bidding, and here finally before them was a thorn that was in their way: Jesus.
Because of the Roman rule at the time the Sanhedrin no longer could carry out the “justice” that they saw fit, they instead made recommendations to the Roman court about the punishment for religious sins.  That’s what this trial was all about.  They wanted to find Jesus guilty of a sin punishable by death so that they could recommend His execution to the Roman court.
They couldn’t find anything that Jesus was actually guilty of so they brought in false witnesses.  Now, in order to use a witness’ testimony it had to be corroborated by a second witness.  Still, they couldn’t find any two witnesses that agreed on their false testimony.

Finally, two witnesses came forward accusing Jesus of claiming to be able to tear down the temple and rebuilt the entire thing in three days.  Although their stories still didn’t line up exactly the Chief Priest ran with it.  He asked Jesus if this was true.  Jesus remained silent….

…Why?

To answer that question we need to know another important thing about the Sanhedrin.  You see if you gave testimony in court and it was discovered that the testimony you gave was false, that was immediate grounds for death.  So, sure Jesus could have spoken up to defend himself and proven these witnesses were false, but in doing so He would have condemned them to death and we know from John 3:17 that God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world but to save it.

Isn’t it amazing to think that Jesus won’t speak an ill word about us?  It’s our own sin that condemns us, not Jesus.  He isn’t there to point out our sin and show it to the world causing us to be condemned to death.  Instead He is willing to remain silent, even though we don’t always speak truth or obey God, he doesn’t utter a word because He is willing to take the death sentence in our place.

It just amazes me that we serve a God who can say so much by saying absolutely nothing at all.  Jesus said a lot with His silence and the price for it was incredible, don’t let that sacrifice be for nothing.

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