Matthew 26:59-61. “Now the chief priests and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death: But found none: yea, though many fals witnesses came, yet foundthey none. At the last came two false witness, and said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.”
The only way the Sanhedrin (the council) could condemn Jesus to death was to accuse Him, and prove Him guilty of, blasphemy. Of course that was impossible. In one of His discourses, Jesus had asked the crowds, “Which of you convinces Me of sin?” And no one could. He was not guilty of anything, and there was no evidence, no proof, of His guilt.
How frustrated the leaders must have been. Here they had Jesus, finally, bound and brought before them as a criminal, and though many false witnesses came before them with stories against Jesus, they could prove nothing. It was going to be a long night.
Then, two men came forward. They accused Jesus of saying that He could destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days. Aha! Finally, they had something they could work with!
The trouble, of course, was that it was a wrong quotation of His words, and a wrong application. And we can read in Mark’s gospel that the witnesses couldn’t even agree with each other. It would be impossible to convict Him of such a charge. The chief priests and scribes were so angry by now that they taunted Him, trying to get Him to respond.
There was one thing left to try, one way they could trap Him into saying something they could use against Him. At this point, He had said not one single word. His silence drove them crazy. He MUST be made to speak!