Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
In the coming weeks churches all around the globe will be revisiting the ancient story of Christ’s love for the world – and how it was expressed through a sordid story of betrayal and abandonment.
It is not a pleasant story, to say the least. It is not the happy stuff of Christmas – “Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come!” It is the story of the Upper Room, the Last Supper, Golgotha, and a tomb.
Of course, the good news is that all this is the prelude to talking about an empty tomb, Easter morning, resurrection, hope and love triumphant.
So don’t lose heart. It is a dark way ahead – for awhile – but the story ends with the brightest of lights.
In the meantime, we should work on our own spiritual disciplines, whatever they might be. Prayer, meditation, Bible reading, fasting, service to others – it has been many different ways. But the goal is always the same. It is to focus our hearts, minds, and souls on life as followers of Jesus Christ.
I hope that you have already found some new ways this year to live out your devotion and love for the One whose love knows no bounds.
Enjoy the journey – even when it takes you into some dark places. It is the way to life.