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Luke 22:66–71

“[The council members] all said, ‘Are you the Son of God, then?’ And [Jesus] 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’” (vv. 70–71).

Various irregularities characterized the trial of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, the ruling council of the Jews. For instance, part of the trial took place at the high priest’s house, but Jewish practice was to hold the entire trial at the temple. Also, the trial and conviction took place within a day even though the Jews tended to require two days of trial before convicting someone of a capital crime. Luke condenses the details of the trial, so he does not specifically record the questioning of Jesus at the high priest’s home, though Mark 14:53–56 tells us about it. Luke does make clear, however, that it took the Sanhedrin less than twelve hours to render its verdict because it convicted Jesus the morning after He had been arrested (Luke 22:7–71). The willingness of the Sanhedrin members to dispense with custom to put Jesus on trial demonstrates that they did not really care about justice. They had made up their minds about Him before their legal proceedings, which they conducted only to ratify a conclusion that they had already drawn.

Today’s passage confirms that the Jewish leaders cared little for justice when they put Jesus on trial. In the course of their asking Jesus whether He was the Christ—the Messiah—Jesus told them that they would not believe His answer and that they in turn would not be forthcoming about their view of His authority (vv. 66–68). After all, He had earlier asked them about John the Baptist’s origin, and they refused to answer (see 20:1–8). It did not matter what Jesus said; they were going to convict Him of a crime anyway. Note, however, that although Jesus was on the witness stand, as it were, He gave confident answers to the Sanhedrin. Though it seemed otherwise, He was in control and the Sanhedrin was on trial, and the council members were failing the test.

Jesus next declared that He would be sitting at God’s right hand and did not dispute with the leaders when they accused Him of claiming to be God’s Son. Thus, they convicted Him of blasphemy (Luke 22:66–71; see Matt. 26:57–68). Certain extrabiblical writings indicate that many first-century Jews held a view of God’s transcendence that meant that it was dishonoring to God’s majesty for a man to sit at His side, the place of authority over creation. Instead of honestly searching the Scriptures to see whether Jesus’ claim might be true, they judged Him by their erroneous views in the greatest miscarriage of justice in history.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

It is a severe miscarriage of justice for magistrates to decide a matter before all the evidence has been presented. It is all too common, however, for even those who do not judge criminal cases to accept accusations against a person without hearing all the evidence. Such actions are contrary to true love of neighbor.

For further study
  • Deuteronomy 17:6
  • Proverbs 18:17
  • John 9:39–41
  • 2 Corinthians 13:1
The bible in a year
  • Ezekiel 22–24
  • James 2

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From the November 2023 Issue
Nov 2023 Issue