We’ll be looking at several scriptures today, all from Matthew, Mark, and Luke. My husband gifted me some time ago with a wonderful little book called The Harmony of the Gospels. I had remembered using it in Bible college, and had mentioned it several times, I suppose, as I worked through the book of Matthew. Terry finally found the book online, and I am still delighted to have it. All that to say that, as many times as I’ve read through John, I was startled this time to read in v. 24 that Jesus was sent by Annas to Caiaphas; then, in the next verse, He was standing before Pilate.
Wait! What happened to Caiaphas? I remember that Jesus actually did stand before Caiaphas, and yet it is not mentioned in this chapter.
I want to remind you again that each gospel had a specific targeted audience and a specific way of presenting Jesus.
Matthew was written to the Jews, presenting Jesus as Messiah.
In Mark, He is the Suffering Servant. There is no genealogy in Mark because a servant didn’t get his genealogy recorded. He is seen as the fulfillment of Isaiah 53. The gospel targeted all who would hear.
Luke presents Jesus as the Son of Man, and is the only gospel that gives us a tiny glimpse into His early years. The book is written to show how Jesus fulfills every prophecy of the coming of Christ to be the Redeemer of all mankind.
John presents Jesus as the Son of God. It starts with a bang–“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The emphasis in John is always on Jesus as the incarnation of God. He is central.
Understanding the presentation of Christ in each gospel helps us understand why they are not identical; why some things appear in one gospel, but not in another. Also, as I’ve said before, each writer had his own perspective, led by the Holy Spirit, and wrote as He directed.
With all that in mind, let’s look first at Matthew 26:57-68.
“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.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 false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against theeBut Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. The high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?”
I will refer you here to my study in Matthew for a more complete look at this passage. Go to this link and read up from the bottom, following the arrows at the bottom of each post as you travel to the next verse or two:
This is perhaps the most complete, and dramatic, description we have of the confrontation between Jesus and Caiaphas. You will find similar but less detailed accounts in Mark 14:53-65 and Luke 22: 66-71. In every account, Old Testament prophecy is fulfilled. In every account, Jesus remains mostly silent. He did finally say that yes, He was the Son of God, and mentioned far prophecy when He would come back as Messiah.
It drove Caiaphas and the people surrounding him to rip their clothes, a customary sign among the Jews of great distress. At this point, Jesus was only steps away from appearing before Pilate and being condemned to the horrible scourging and crucifixion that the Romans had established as the punishment for insurrection against their authority.
Of course we know that Jesus was already physically weakened by the beatings he took from the crowd and the officers; from the evil genius who created the crown of thorns that tortured His head, face, and neck; from being shoved, slapped, punched and mocked before He was led away to Pilate. He was already a mess when He stood before Pilate, yet His true character was never in doubt.
Tomorrow, we’ll start back in John 18:28.