Luke 22:63-23:12

by | Apr 16, 2024 | Luke, New Testament

63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.
64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?”
65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

Jesus is beaten and mocked

Jesus is under arrest at the home of the high priest; and even though He is in such a “spiritual” place, He is treated in this gross way – both beaten and mocked

The children’s rhyme goes, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” – a patently false statement, for words can hurt far past the time a broken bone is healed.
But Jesus endured the worst of both of these kinds of abuse

Of course, Jesus not only could tell the one who struck Him, but he could also tell everything about the man – the physical description, his life story, the number of hairs on his head, and every sin he had ever committed – but Jesus did not

The idea of Jesus taking this mocking without reply is painful to us; we wonder why He, who had all the right and all the power to put an end to it immediately, why He endured it without a word

He did it to demonstrate that the proper reply to hate is not more hate, but love

He did it to demonstrate His trust in God the Father, that God would vindicate Him and He did not need to defend Himself

He did it so that every time we are humiliated, we can find refuge in a God who can say, “I know exactly what you are going through”

66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying,
67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe.
68 “And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.
69 “Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.”
71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

Jesus’ second trial before the Sanhedrin

It will be helpful to fill in the gaps provided by the other gospels

Before Jesus came to the home of Caiaphas, the official high priest, he was led to the home of Annas, who was the ex-high priest and the “power behind the throne” of the high priest (John 18:12-14; 19-23)

Then Jesus was led to the home of Caiaphas, the sitting high priest; where He was placed on trial before an ad-hoc gathering of the Sanhedrin still during the night (Matthew 26:57-68), when false witness were brought before the council and the high priest demanded to know of Jesus if He was the Son of God, to which He replied: “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! “What do you think?” They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.” (Matthew 26:64-66)

After that, the beating described in Luke 22:63-65 begins

When dawn breaks, the Sanhedrin gathers again – this time “officially,” and conducts the trial described in Luke 22:66-71

Why did the Sanhedrin meet to put Jesus on trial again, after they had already condemned Him during the trial in the night?

Because by the Sanhedrin’s own laws and regulations this trial was a mockery of justice; to begin with, according to Jewish law, all criminal trials must begin and end in the daylight; this second trial was held because they knew the first one – the real trial – had no legal standing

According to Jewish law, only decisions made in the official meeting place were valid; the first trial was held at the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, so they called together this trial, held at their council

According to Jewish law, criminal cases could not be tried during the Passover season

According to Jewish law, only an acquittal could be issued on the day of the trial; guilty verdicts had to wait one night to allow for feelings of mercy to rise

According to Jewish law, all evidence had to be guaranteed by two witnesses, who were separately examined and could not have contact with each other

According to Jewish law, false witness was punishable by death; nothing is done to the many false witnesses in Jesus’ trial

According to Jewish law, a trial always began by bringing forth evidence for the innocence of the accused, before the evidence of guilt was offered; this was not the practice here

Of course, Jesus is right when He says If I tell you, you will by no means believe; because He has just told them, and they found Him guilty – and this present trial is all for show!

They were trying Him as a criminal, instead of a candidate.
Israel expected a Messiah.
They expected Him at Passover, which it was.
There were no other candidates that stepped forward.
Jesus had done many miracles, testifying to His Messiahship.
They should have been asking His credentials so as to prove He was Messiah.
Instead, they questioned Him so as to disqualify Him.

“But,’’ saith he,
(1.) “If I tell you that I am the Christ, and give you ever such convincing proofs of it, you are resolved that you will not believe.
Why should the cause be brought on before you who have already prejudged it, and are resolved, right or wrong, to run it down, and to condemn it?’’

(2.) “If I ask you what you have to object against the proofs I produce, you will not answer me.’’
Here he refers to their silence when he put a question to them, which would have led them to own his authority, ch. 20:5-7.
They were neither fair judges, nor fair disputants; but, when they were pinched with an argument, would rather be silent than own their conviction:
“You will neither answer me nor let me go; if I be not the Christ, you ought to answer the arguments with which I prove that I am; if I be, you
ought to let me go; but you will do neither.’’

3. He referred them to his second coming, for the full proof of his being the Christ, to their confusion, since they would not now admit the proof of it, to their conviction (v. 69):
“Hereafter shall the Son of man sit, and be seen to sit, on the right hand of the
power of God, and then you will not need to ask whether he be the Christ or no.’’

4. Hence they inferred that he set up himself as the Son of God, and asked him whether he were so or no (v. 70):
Art thou then the Son of God?
He called himself the Son of man, referring to Daniel’s vision of the Son of man that came near before the Ancient of days, Dan. 7:13, 14.
But they understood so much as to know that if he was that Son of man, he was also the Son of God.
And art thou so?
By this it appears to have been the faith of the Jewish church that the Messiah should be both Son of man and Son of God.

5. He owns himself to be the Son of God: Ye say that I am; that is, “I am, as ye say.’’
Compare Mk. 14:62. Jesus said, I am.
This confirms Christ’s testimony concerning himself, that he was the Son of God, that he stood to it, when he knew he should suffer for standing to it.

6. Upon this they ground his condemnation (v. 71):
What need we any further witness?
It was true, they needed not any further witness to prove that he said he was the Son of God, they had it from his own mouth; but did they not need proof that he was not so, before they condemned him as a blasphemer for saying that he was so?
Had they no apprehension that it was possible he might be so, and then what horrid guilt they should bring upon themselves in putting him to death?
No, they know not, neither will they understand.
They cannot think it possible that he should be the Messiah, though ever so evidently clothed with divine power and grace, if he appear not, as they expect, in worldly pomp and grandeur.
Their eyes being blinded with the admiration of that, they rush on in this dangerous prosecution, as the horse into the battle.

It is a terrible thing to pretend openness about Jesus.
We must never act or talk as if we really wanted to know who Jesus is if we really have already made up our minds

But Jesus at the same time stands His ground: you may sit in judgment of Me today, but I one day will sit in judgment of you, when you will see that the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God

What further testimony do we need? is an interesting statement; at this trial, they made no effort to find testimony against Jesus, because the witnesses at the first trial had hopelessly contradicted themselves – so they don’t
bother bringing forth witnesses