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Matthew 26:57-68


Intro: The passage before us describes in detail the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ before the Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin. It was this trial that paved the way for His subsequent trial and conviction before Pontius Pilate. This was the first step, as far as the Jews were concerned, in getting rid of Jesus of Nazareth.

As we enter this precious time of the year, a time when we all should stop to contemplate the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord, this is a good time for us to reflect on what He endured for us, in order that He might redeem us from our sins. Over the next four Sunday mornings, I will preaching about the King of Kings. We will consider Him in His Condemnation, in His Crucifixion, in His Conquest and in His Coronation. I want to focus our attention on Him and what He did for you and me.

This morning we are going to study The Condemnation Of The King. I would like for us to see how the Judge of the universe allowed Himself to be judged by His Own creation, and what His trial before the Jewish leaders has to say to us today. There is a word here for our hearts as we consider The Condemnation Of The King.

The last night our Lord lived here on the earth, before the crucifixion, was a night filled with many events. The Lord partook of the Passover with His men. He taught them many truths concerning Himself, the Holy Spirit and what their relationship to Him should be like. They learned about Servants (John 13), Steadfastness (John 14), Service (John 15), The Spirit (John 16), and the Savior (John 17). They heard about the Cross and the Crown. They learned that one of their own would betray Him. It was as eventful a night as the world had ever known.

After Jesus and His Disciples left the upper room where they had observed the Passover, Jesus led them out to Gethsemane where He prayed for all His followers, including you and me. After He finished praying, a mob led by Judas the traitor came to arrest Jesus. Even in His arrest, He displayed the power that was His as the Son of God, John 18:2-8.

I would like for us to focus in on the events that occurred just after Jesus was arrested in the garden. I want to look at His trial before the Jewish authorities this morning and preach for a time on The Condemnation Of The King.


A. The Place Of His Arraignment - After Jesus is arrested, He is taken to the home of Annas, the father-in-law of the High Priest, John 18:13. Then, He was taken to the home of the High Priest, Caiaphas. According to history, the homes of these two men were connected by a courtyard. While Caiaphas may have been the high Priest, Anna was the real power in Jerusalem. He was over the business of the Temple and he was the person who oversaw the tables fo the moneychangers. He was a man who hated Jesus for obvious reasons, John 2:15-17. They arranged for the trial of Jesus to be held in a private setting to conceal what they were doing from the people.

B. The Participants In His Arraignment - We are told that the "scribes and elders" were already assembled. This proceeding had been planned in advance and all the people necessary were already present when Jesus arrived. The term "scribes and elders" refers to the Sanhedrin. It was comprised of 71 men, presided over by the High Priest. This would be the Jewish equivalent of the Supreme Court. Jesus is arrested and immediately arraigned before the highest court in the land. These were men who should have been doing everything in their power to being men to God, instead they were doing everything in their power to keep men away from God! (Ill. Isa. 53:3; John 1:11)

C. The Problems With His Arraignment - The trial of Jesus was plagued by many illegalities. For instance:

      • •The Sanhedrin was designed to save life not take it away. Yet, these men have gathered for the sole purpose of putting Jesus to death.
      • •This trial was conducted at night. The Law specified that any trials were to be held during the day.
      • •The accused was always allowed to call witnesses in is defense. Jesus was not given the privilege of calling a single witness.
      • •The Sanhedrin was to judge the case, not prosecute it. In the trial of Jesus, they assumed both roles.
      • •If any witnesses were found to have given false testimony before the court, they were to be given the same punishment being sought for the accused.
      • •If the death penalty was being sought, the Sanhedrin was required to observe a three-day waiting period of prayer and fasting before judgment was rendered. Jesus was tried, convicted and dead before 24 hours had passed!
      • •The Sanhedrin could not condemn anyone to death on a unanimous vote. A unanimous vote for condemnation suggested that the element of mercy was missing. Yet, Jesus is condemned by all!
      • •Trials were only to be held within the Temple
      • •It was illegal to bribe witness to give false testimony.
      • •It was against the law to force a prisoner to testify against himself.
      • •It was against the law to use a prisoner's confession.

There are more errors that could be pointed out, but these are enough to demonstrate the fact that Jesus did not receive fair trial, but He was convicted by a kangaroo court that had its mind made up before the trial ever convened!


A. V. 59-60 The Treachery In This Trial - as we have already demonstrated, this was not a fair trial, Jesus was already convicted before He ever entered the room. This was not a court of law, it was a lynch mob! These men were out for blood and they got it!

B. V. 60-64 The Testimony In This Trial - As the trial progressed, the Jews sought for people to testify against Jesus. They found many willing to give false testimony, but evidently, their testimonies did not agree, which was required under the Law for a conviction, Deut. 17:6.

1. V. 60-61 The Testimony Of The Sinners - Finally, two men came forward who agreed in their statements against Jesus. They twisted His Own words and accused Him of speaking against the Temple. Under Jewish Law, this was blasphemy and was punishable by death, Lev. 24:14-16. Of course, Jesus was not speaking about the Temple in Jerusalem, but of His Own body that would be nailed to a cross and raised three days later, John 2:19-21. His words were taken out of context, but they held a ring of truth for the Jews who were looking for any excuse to put Jesus to death.

(Note: Could Jesus have found any that would have testified for Him? What about the man He had healed at Bethesda? What about the woman He had spared who had been taken in adultery? What about a blind man who had been healed in Jerusalem? What about a little family that lived just 5 miles down the road, in which was a man named Lazarus who had been raised from the dead? What about the thousands He had fed in the wilderness? Yes, thousands could have been called in His defense in that day. Why, there are people in t his room who could testify to His power and His identity. He has made all the difference in your life and you know Who He is! There is still a need for me to testify about Him today!)

2. V. 62-64 The Testimony Of The Savior - When pressed by the High Priest to answer the allegations, Jesus remained silent, as Isaiah had prophesied He would, Isa. 55:7. However, when the High Priest said, "I adjure thee by the living God", this put Jesus under oath and compelled Him to answer. And answer He did! He boldly proclaimed His identity as the Son of God. Further, He proclaimed His Own resurrection, exaltation and return to rule and reign on the earth.

(Note: Imagine the scene. Here stands a man covered in blood. He is weary from being up all night. He looks totally helpless. Yet, He talks about being on a throne! He talks about His Own glory. He identifies Himself as the Son of God and claims that there is coming a day when He will rule the world! Those claims must have sounded ridiculous to those who heard them, and yet they were 100% true! Friend, don't be mistaken! The claims of Jesus to be the only way to God may sound foolish to modern ears, John 14:6, but it does not change the fact that he is Who He says He is and He is the only way anyone in this room, or in the world for that matter, will ever see God.)

C. V. 65-66 The Tragedy Of This Trial - When the High Priest heard the words of Jesus, he had what he wanted! He had just heard the truth, but he dismissed the truth as blasphemy! He really puts on a show for those assembled. He tears his garments, pronounces Jesus guilty of blasphemy and calls for a vote! The tragedy in this trial lies in the fact that the creature has the audacity to judge and condemn his Creator!

(Note: What Caiaphas does in rending his garments is worthy of note. The High Priest was forbidden from doing this under the Law, Lev. 21:10. For a High Priest to rend His garments was to disqualify himself from his office! Do you see what is happening here? The pretender has disqualified himself before the TRUE High Priest! The inferior was stepping down in the presence of the Superior! You see, Jesus was on the way to the cross to abolish the old Jewish sacrificial system forever. Caiaphas didn't realize the significance of what the was doing, but he was last High Priest of the end of the sacrificial system, he was merely abolishing the role of the human priest forever! Once Jesus died and rose again, He would serve forever as the perfect, eternal High Priest. Now, men do not have to access God through other men. We access Him through our High Priest, the Lord Jesus, 1 Tim. 2:5. He and He alone makes intercession for us before the Father, Heb. 7:25; Rom. 8:34.)

(Note: Caiaphas might have denied Jesus when he met Him the first time, but the day is coming when this same little man will cry out for the mountains and te rocks to fall on him to hide him from the wrath of the Lamb! Jesus Christ is the ultimate destiny for every man! One day, Caiaphas will stand before Jesus and he will be forced to give an account of His life before the judge of all hearts. On that day, Caiaphas, along with everyone who denies Jesus will receive a just trial and a righteous sentence. Friend, you may walk away from Him today, but there is a day coming in which you will be made to face Him, bow to Him and give an answer before His throne, Rev. 20:11-15. Are you ready for that day?)


(Ill. The accusation has been made, the testimony has been given and the verdict has been rendered. Jesus has been declared guilty of blasphemy. The mob now unleashes their anger against Him in a most brutal manner.)

A. It Was Pathetic - They spit upon Him. They punched Him. They hit Him. They slapped Him. Here are religious men, preachers if you will, attacking the Son of God! What a brutal scene this must have been! Imagine the blood beginning to flow as they beat His face. Imagine His face beginning to swell as they brutalize Him. Then, remember, it was all for you! He did this because He loves you! If you want to see the depths of human depravity, then look no further than this moment in time. Here man is revealed at his worst! He brutally rejects His Maker and attacks Him in anger. If anyone ever needed proof that Rom. 3:10-12 and Rom. 3:23 were true need look no farther than this episode!  While this scene displays in graphic detail the fallen and totally depraved nature of humanity, this scene also pictures the boundless depths of the love of God for those whom He would save.  Here is God in the flesh!  At His word, His tormentors would have dropped dead.  Yet, He endured their abuse and went to the cross to die for us so that we might be saved.  What love!

(Note: As they beat Him, they demand that He identify those doing the beating. They say "Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee?" They have rejected His claims to be the Son of God and their Messiah. They abuse Him and mock Him openly!

Did you know that the question they asked that night is still valid this morning? Who is this room is guilty of smiting the Lord Jesus? You say, "I would never spit on Him or hit Him!" I say that if you reject His offer of free salvation, then you are essentially spitting in His face and telling Him you want no part of Him! Yes, if you reject His call to come to Him, you are guilty of abusing the Lord Who loves you!

However, the blow that hurt the worst that evening was not inflicted by any member of the Sanhedrin. You see, out in the courtyard, beside a small fire was a man named Peter. Three times he was asked about his relationship to the Lord, three times he denied even knowing Him, Matt. 26:69-75. That was the cruelest blow delivered the evening! "Who is he that smote Thee?" The answer is this: every one who claims a relationship with Jesus, but who denies Him by the life they live is still guilty of spitting in His face. You, sir, are guilty of punching Him. You, ma'am, are guilty of slapping the blessed face of our Redeemer! It is absolutely pathetic how some people treat the One Who died to redeem them! You need to make that right today!)

B. It Was Prophetic - All the events that took place that night were bad, but they were all part of God's plan! The prophets had foretold the sufferings of the Christ, "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.", Isa. 50:6-7. Even though these events were foretold centuries before the transpired, each participant was responsible for his part in what happened. You see, there was at least one member of the Sanhedrin, possibly two, who was probably absent that evening. That man's name was Nicodemus! He had met Jesus one evening, John 3, and had later defended Jesus before the Sanhedrin, John 7:50-51. Had he been there, he would have taken the part of Jesus! Another member of that body who came to faith in Christ was Joseph of Arimathea, Mark 15:43. After the death of Jesus both of these men took the body of Jesus and prepared it for the burial, John 19:38-42. If these two men could see the light and be saved, the rest could have as well! The bottom line is this, you are responsible for what you do with Jesus! You can try to blame it on anything you may choose, but you are responsible before God for yourself!

C. It Was Productive - This trial and the abuse that followed was horrible beyond description, but it was glorious in that it prepared the way for the cross to come to pass. For it was on the cross of Calvary that Jesus demonstrated the love of God for lost humanity. Rom. 5:8. Thank God for the events that led to the cross, for it was there that our redemption price was paid, 1 Pet. 1:18-19.

Conc: I would just remind you that what Jesus suffered that night He suffered just for you! He went through this so you might be saved and so you might miss Hell when you die. Here is the question you must answer: Since the Bible says Jesus died for your sins, and since the Bible also says that He is the only way to God, have you ever trusted Jesus as your personal Savior? Have you been born again? If you have never been saved, this altar is open to receive you will you will come. Jesus will save you if you will call on Him by faith!

For those who are saved, are you guilty of abusing your King? Does your life spit in His face? Do the things you do and say sting Him like brutal blows in the face? If your Christian walk in not all it should be, I call on you to get before Him this morning, repent of your condition and get back in line with Him!

Whatever the needs may be, He has already met them. Whatever the burdens, He is the answer. Get to Him today, while there is time!

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