A Biblical Examination of Jesus’ Trial Before the Religious of His Day


The path to the Cross finds it judgment before the religious. Matthew 26:57-68 holds truths that should shock all who read them. The Jewish religious leaders question our Lord’s authority, seek for false witnesses, mock and beat the heavenly final high priest, Jesus Christ. We read, “Those who arrested Jesus took Him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.” (Matthew 26:57)

There are several key truths to Jesus standing before a religious spirit which needs to be considered. Understanding these truths will keep our spiritual hearts in good order for the Easter season.

1.) Jesus was taken before an illegal trial, Jews were not to hold trials at night or during festivals. (Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 85). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books; Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (Mt 26:57). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press; Barbieri, L. A., Jr. (1985). Matthew. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 85). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.) Jesus faced opposition from the religious. The Apostle Paul face oppositions from those in the synagogue and from Jews who claimed to be God’s children. We have just observed St. Patrick’s Day, he faced opposition from the church of his day. Martin Luther face opposition from the established church of his day. Christians will face opposition from a religious spirit of their day. Especially if their work for the Lord challenges the cancer of traditionalism produced by the will of mankind not birthed by the whole counsel of God’s Word. 

2.) The religious were looking for false witnesses. “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus…” The Gospel of Mark tells us,  “Many testified falsely against Him, but their statements did not agree.” (Matthew 26:59; Mark 14:55-56)  It is not uncommon to see the so called church attack those in a Christ appointed work. They search to find evidence to bring down a work that does not fit in with the cancer of traditionalism. God pronounces a truth through Hosea, The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.” (Hosea 9:8)   God sends His message of warning and direction, yet “those who have abandon their faith in the true Christ” will reject the words sent through the watchmen of God.  (The Pulpit Commentary; Craigie, P. C. (1984). Twelve prophets (Vol. 1, p. 59). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press)  All through church history there has been hostility to God and His servants among those who are like the Israelites of old, a people who claim to be a people of God, yet the fruit of hostility arises as the whole counsel of God’s Word is taught. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. (1996). Commentary on the Old Testament (Vol. 10, p. 81). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson.)

3.) Jesus Testifies About Himself: The Gospel of Mark tells us, “…the high priest asked, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus answered, ‘I am.'” (Mark 16:61b-62a)  The Jewish Church of Jesus’ time boldly proclaimed their verdict, “The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at Him, they blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!'” (Mark 14:63-65)  The Religious have only two choices. Jesus is the Messiah: aa.) They give their entire life in adoration, worship, and service or bb.) They reject Him.

A question that should never be asked, but sadly is, “Why was Jesus despised and rejected by religious people who claim to be God’s people?”  Psalm 22 is often called the psalm of the Cross, catch this heart breaking truth, “scorned by everyone, despised by the people.” (Psalm 22:6)  Isaiah hold’s another truth, “He was despised and rejected by mankind…” (Isaiah 53:3)

Getting to the heart of the reason why religious people despise the true Christ. He opposes traditions of worship which are not of the whole council of God’s Word. Jesus addresses the issue clearly with the Pharisees as He quotes Isaiah, “…people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” (Mark 7:6-7; Isaiah 29:13)

A.) Churches will fight over key Biblical Christian observances, while neglecting the heart of the purpose of the observances. aa). There is the conflict of mode of baptism while neglecting the heart of baptism. bb). There is the conflict how often to observe Communion, what happens during the Communion service, while neglecting the heart of the Lord’s Supper and it purpose. cc). There is the conflict on were and how Christians should congregate while missing the heart of God’s purpose. Like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time the cancer of traditionalism blinded their eyes to what all God is doing. An elderly pastor stood before a congregation and insulted an expanded view point of preaching the Word of God which would have been a fulfillment of 2 Timothy 4:2. “Preach the Word.” The congregation was incorrectly influenced, thus the expanded vision from God’s Word had to be exercised with a different ministry. Unfortunately, the cancer of traditionalism often prevents the expansion of God’s work in the church He wants to do a work in.

B.) Churches will select church officials, leaders and workers without even considering God’s Word on the Biblical qualifications of a person desiring a certain position. aa.) A Bible teacher giving a church recommendations of Bible studies on how to select elders, deacons, pastors, teachers, etc. was met with such opposition, the church eventually had a church split, of which it has never fully recovered. bb.) A Bible Scholar was teaching a group of church overseers of a key truth asking this question of candidates desiring to take on the task of church oversight, “Is the Holy Spirit moving you to be an overseer?” He was told in that meeting, “That does no bear witness with my spirit” – Someone in that meeting failed to read and study his Bible. The New Testament says, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28) The religious leaders of Jesus’ time was so focused on their traditions they insulted our Lord’s disciples, (Mark 7:1-3) on which the Lord replied. “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” (Mark 7:8)

C.) Church attendees will determine their relationship with God based on their attendance record, not on their sacrificial exercising of their Spiritual gifts which are given for the purpose of serving the Lord, other Christians and for the good of all mankind. This is the result of modern day Pharisees failing to Biblically teach all the Holy Spirit Gifts. A quality mature Bible teaching ministry will have some way of:

aa.) Teach how to Biblically determine Holy Spirit Gifts.

bb.) Teach how to Biblically mature Holy Spirit Gifts.

cc.) Teach how to sacrificially exercise those endowments.

You can find list after list of some of the Holy Spirit gifts, but to find a complete list, along with Biblical instructions on how to determine, mature and exercise those gifts, not likely.

Illustration.) A Bible teacher was visiting a church of certain denomination which is known for it’s hunger for the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When the God appointed watchman pointed out that the church as a whole around the world is guilty of not having teaching manual’s which can be handed out. The teacher did not feel as welcome as he did before he spoke up.  Several places in the Bible give instructions of the importance of writing down God’s truths so they can be passed on and we are to be diligent about it. (Romans 12:6; 2 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:13-15; Exodus 17:14; Isaiah 8:1; 30:8; Jeremiah 45:1; Malachi 3:16)

Application: Khole’s Kicking camps trains place kickers. There is a book they hand out to those participating in the camps. This training manual hold’s important content: 1.) Accountability, a list of several hundred of the names of place kickers who are presently kicking in college football all the way to the NFL.  2.) Key points to being a place kicker or punter. 3.) Conditioning program for kickers and punters. 4.) How to approach a potential college. 4.) They back their kickers by assisting them. They have determined, the kickers who go the farthest, are the ones who will read and make disciples of others.

Imagine what God would do with a church that takes her call seriously enough to do the hard work of Biblically teaching about the Holy Spirit Gifts, writing it down, then offering it out.  Imagine what the Lord could do with a church who enables Christians to determine their gifts, develop their gifts, and challenges them to exercise their Holy Spirit Gifts under the influence of Agape love. One could only imagine what the Lord will do with such a church.

Examining the lives of the religious dead at the time of what is called passion week should cause us to pause, think and make the proper adjustments. Jesus told the religious leaders of His day, those who said they were God’s children, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44) When Christians make time to observe the Lord’s Supper, they are called to examine themselves, (1 Corinthians 11:28)  The Communion Service was instituted when the Jesus met with His disciples, while having last supper. Jesus spoke a truth that should shake every living soul. While speaking about Judas, who was the betrayer who led the religious dead to Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said, “…but owe to that man whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had never been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

The Bible teaches, a true love relationship with the Lord has the heart which examines itself before partaking in the Communion Service, so one may not be guilty of participating in an unworthy manner. (1 Corinthians 11:27)  The Bible holds a truth written by the Apostle Paul, a truth which should guide all Christians, who have placed their sins under the blood of Christ, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself be disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27)

We should let the Holy Spirit of the resin Christ place truth within us as we take a Biblical look at the trail of Jesus before the religious spirit, the need of a disciplined heart.