53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.
1. What is the greatest irony in v. 53? Who is really able to offer a sacrifice for the peoples’ sins?
2. Which do you think was the greater distance between Peter and the Lord in v. 54? Was it physical, emotional, spiritual? Try each of those on for size?
3. What does it say about the Sanhedrin that they were seeking testimony against Jesus to death but could find none? That all the false witnesses couldn’t agree?
4. Silence is always much more powerful than words? What does Jesus’ silence in v. 61 mean?
5. Jesus told the truth to the high priest about whom He is. The tearing of the high priest’s garments was a sign of mourning, essentially declaring Jesus a dead man right then. What happened to the high priest? How is this a commentary on those who today sit in judgment of God’s Son Jesus?
6. Given the Lord Jesus’ answer to the high priest in v. 62, what is the greatest irony in v. 65?
7. Do you know anyone who violently and vehemently wants to get rid of Jesus today? Is there any part of your life in which you are trying to get rid of Jesus? Don’t answer too quickly. He knows you better than you know yourself!
Come, Holy Spirit, and help me to see past all the present day critics of Jesus who offer such reasonable explanations for why they have no use for Him. When I am tempted to treat Jesus as just a man, as do so many reasonable and even very religious critics, help me to see the essential narcissism in that viewpoint. Give me the fearless honesty to admit I will die and that all the world’s wisdom will be so much rubbish in the dustpan of eternity. Grant me grace to see myself under divine judgment and to cry out for God’s saving help given by His Son. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Place 41 pennies, nickels, or dimes in a large bowl with the intent to provide farm animals to help the global poor support their families.
Pastor Samuel D. Zumwalt, STS
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Wilmington, North Carolina
The Daily Readings are from English Standard Version, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers