“When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.” (Luke 22:66-71).
As we have previously noted, in ancient Israel criminal trials were not considered legal if conducted at night. Therefore, the Sanhedrin waited until daybreak to officially render the verdict of which they had already passed (cf. Matt. 26:66; Mark 14:64). This would constitute the third trial, of six, in which Jesus faced His accusers. We refer to the Gospel of Luke for the details concerning this third Jewish Trial.
Once again, for the official record, the elders, chief priest and scribes asked Jesus if He was the Christ. They demanded Him to tell them if this was so.
Jesus responded with two insightful observations. First, He said that if He told them that He was the Christ, they would not believe Him. Second, He then said that if He asked them if they thought He was the Christ, they would not answer.
The IVP Background Commentary of the New Testament says, “If extant reports of ancient Jewish law are accurate, the high priest could not legally force Jesus to convict himself out of his own mouth. Nevertheless, he asks whether Jesus thinks of himself as a Messiah—hence, to the high priest’s mind, as a revolutionary.”
Dr. John MacArthur explains that, “The Sanhedrin subjected him to the same set of questions he had been asked in the nighttime trial, and the answers he gave were substantially the same (cf. vv. 67–71; Matt. 26:63–66; Mark 14:61–64).”
Jesus then, as He had before, affirmed His identity by saying that they would see the Son of Man, referring to Himself, seated at the right hand of the power of God. So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.”
That was all the confession they wanted. The Sanhedrin affirmed that they needed no more testimony then what Jesus had given them. They found Jesus guilty of blasphemy when He only affirmed to them the truth of His identity.
How are believers in Christ to respond when facing unjust accusations? How are believers to respond when faced with criticism and persecution for affirming their love for God and His Word?
I Peter 3:13-17 says, “Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”
May God’s truth and grace reside here.
Soli deo Gloria!