The Epilogue

13. Passion and Resurrection of Jesus, 26:1-28:20

v] Jesus before the Sanhedrin


Now arrested, Jesus is brought before Caiaphas the high priest. Peter follows from a distance and ends up sitting with the guards so that he can keep an eye on proceedings. The trial proceeds before Caiaphas, the chief priests and elders. Witnesses are called, evidence given, and finally Jesus is directed to declare himself, which he does. This prompts a declaration of blasphemy, a demand for the death penalty, and is followed up by a number of spiteful assaults on Jesus' person.


Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of Man, the one who comes in judgment, and who reigns at the right had of the Ancient of Days.


i] Context: See 26:1-16.


ii] Structure: Jesus before the Sanhedrin:

Jesus is taken to Caiaphas with Peter following on, v57-58;

Witnesses are presented for the prosecution, v59-63a;

"Jesus was silent."

Jesus declares himself, v63b-64;

"You will see the Son of Man sitting ..... and coming."

Jesus is charged with blasphemy, v65-68.


iii] Interpretation:

Matthew tells us that Jesus is taken to meet with Caiaphas the high priest and other religious leaders, all of who have gathered to undertake a preliminary hearing of his case. The meeting is likely to be a preliminary investigation because of the irregular nature of the proceedings, cf., v67 (even though Matthew has to sunedrion oJlo, "the whole Sanhedrin"). The more formal gathering of the Sanhedrin, to confirm a verdict of blasphemy, is held early the next morning, (cf., 27:1). When the Sanhedrin (a 71-member council chaired by the High Priest) meets that morning, they probably gather in the council chambers (The chamber of hewn stone) in the Temple complex. The civil trial before Pilate follows some hours later. John tells us that the initial investigation is at the home of Annas, Caiaphas' father-in-law. The Roman authorities removed Annas from his position as High Priest years before, but he still carried moral authority, certainly as far as the Jews were concerned, given that a High Priest is appointed for life.

Peter followed the arresting party and is now with the guards watching proceedings from a distance. Filson describes Peter's condition as one of "hopeless despair and dogged loyalty."

The proceedings are probably already underway when Jesus is brought in; note the imperfect ezhtoun, "were looking for false evidence." As Mounce notes, it seems unlikely that they are actually looking for "false evidence", but they certainly come up with some false witnesses. There is a focus on evidence concerning the temple because, under Roman law, the Jews are able to execute someone for desecrating the temple. As Mark tells us, the problem facing the religious authorities is that the witnesses are unable to agree with each other as to what Jesus actually said about destroying temple. So, Jesus doesn't even bother answering the charge, v63a.

With no reliable witnesses to pin Jesus on a charge of desecrating the temple, the High Priest, acting against the Law, heads down the path of self-incrimination and tries to extract an admission of blasphemy. He puts Jesus under oath to answer one way or the other as to whether he is, or is not, the Messiah, the Son of God. The problem is that Caiaphas has a poor understanding of God's Messiah, so although Jesus answers in the affirmative, he "must answer cautiously and with some explanation", Carson. Jesus goes on to explain his messianic credentials and Caiaphas takes the answer as an affirmative "I am", v65.

In explaining his messianic credentials, Jesus draws on the imagery of Daniel's coming Son of Man, the one who comes to the Ancient of Days to administer judgment and receive the submission of all humanity, Dan.7:13, Ps.110:1. As far as Caiaphas is concerned, Jesus has blasphemed God, although it is not clear in what particular sense. Was it Jesus' claim to be the Messiah, Son of Man, or his claim to sit at God's right hand (probably viewed as an assertion of deity)? Either way, they believe theyhave the evidence to put to the official meeting of the Sanhedrin after dawn and conclude the matter by roughing Jesus up.


iv] Synoptics:

Matthew's account is fairly close to Mark 14:53-65, but at a number of points Matthew agrees with Luke. First, Luke, like Matthew, provides an elusive answer to the high priest's question. Luke, like Matthew, has the phrase "tell us who hit you?" The most interesting similarity between Matthew and Luke is Matthew's ap arti, "from now on", v64, and Luke's apo tou nun, "from now on." Matthew, of course, may have expanded on Mark and Luke may then have followed Matthew using his own words (or visa-versa), but it seems more likely that all three are working off a similar Semitic oral tradition producing different Greek translations for "from now on." Other such examples exist, eg., Matthew's oJpwV + subj. for Marks eiV + articular inf., v59.

Text - 26:57

i] Jesus is taken to Caiaphas with Peter following on v57-58. If we accept John's account, Jesus is probably taken to the home of Annas where an initial investigation of his crimes is undertaken by Caiaphas and his associates.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative.

oiJ .. krathsanteV (kratew) aor. part. "those who had arrested Jesus" - the ones having seized, arrested, [jesus led him away toward caiaphas the high priest]. The participle serves as a substantive, subject of the verb "to lead."

oJpou adv. "where" - where [the scribes and the elders were gathered together]. Adverb of place.


Obviously, the disciples are not pursued by the lynch-mob, and so Peter is able to follow on. This is not a rescue mission by Peter, but rather, "it seems he was motivated by curiosity", Morris.

de "but" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a further step in the narrative; "From a distance, Peter followed on."

autw/ dat. pro. "[Peter followed] him" - [peter was following] him. Dative of direct object after the verb "to follow."

apo "at [a distance]" - Adverbial use of the preposition + the local adverb makroqen, "far off", to reinforce the the sense of separation, "from far off" = "at a distance."

eJwV + gen. "as far as" - until [the courtyard of the high priest]. Spacial, expressing a measure up to a point, here of distance. Peter followed on until he reached the courtyard of the high priest, at which point he entered and sat with the guards; "Peter followed him at a distance, right into the court-yard of the High Priest's house", Barclay.

eiselqwn (ercomai) aor. part. "he entered" - [and] having entered [inside he was sitting down with the servants, assistants = guards]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to sit down", as NIV, but possibly temporal, "when he got inside, he sat down", Moffatt.

idein (oJraw) aor. inf. "to see" - to see [the end]. The infinitive is adverbial, final, expressing purpose, "in order to see"; "to see what was going to happen", CEV.


ii] Witnesses are presented for the prosecution, v59-63a. As if prosecuting the case for war by assembling all the intelligence that favors a decision to go to war, the Jewish religious authorities are out to assemble all the evidence "that would enable them to put him to death", Morris. Not really "false evidence", more likely malicious evidence.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative (for us, a paragraph marker).

oJlov adj. "[the] whole [Sanhedrin]" - [the chief priests and the sanhedrin] all. Attributive adjective, limiting "the Sanhedrin", although, what about Nicodemus? There would have been waverers among the authorities, and not all would have been present for this informal inquisition, but in general terms, most members of the Sanhedrin were out to have Jesus eliminated. Note that chief priests are priests who are qualified to serves as the high priest.

kata + gen. "[false evidence] against [Jesus]" - [were seeking false testimony] against [jesus]. Here expressing opposition. As noted above, it is unlikely that the authorities are after "false testimony" as such, but rather, "malicious testimony" against Jesus (contra Fortana who argues that Matthew chose the word to express "both evil intent and illegal action" by the religious authorities). This is indicated by the authorities attempt to pin Jesus on the crime of desecrating the temple, a crime for which they had the authority to condemn a person to death by stoning (a fact contested by some scholars). It is likely that the authorities were unable to press this case because the witnesses couldn't agree on exactly what Jesus said. Note that Mark has just "witnesses", Mk.14:55.

oJpwV + subj. "so that [they could]" - that [they may put to death him]. This construction introduces a final clause expressing purpose; "in order that they might put him to death."


The authorities come up short, but they do find two witnesses willing to provide malicious testimony against Jesus with respect to the temple. Matthew doesn't tell us that the evidence is conflicting, as does Mark, but he does tell us that Jesus doesn't bother responding to the charge, and so the high priest is forced to move on to a new inditement, the implication being that the evidence provided is not sound (contra France + who argue that the evidence is sound, supported by the phrase uJsteron de, "but in the end"). Yet, as already noted, if the charge of desecrating the temple could be proved by two reliable witness, then the authorities would have acted to stone Jesus to death. The matter remains unresolved because some scholars hold that the religious authorities have no right to execute anyone, even for desecrating the temple.

kai "but" - and [they did not find]. Here adversative, as NIV. The object must be supplied; "they did not find one = a false / malicious testimony against Jesus that would enable them to put him to death."

proselqontwn (prosercomai) gen. aor. part. "though ..... came forward" - [many false / malicious witnesses] having come to, come forward, approached. The genitive participle, its modifying adjective, "many", and its subject "malicious witnesses", forms a genitive absolute construction, usually taken here as concessive; "but they could not find none, although a number of witnesses came forward", Moffatt.

yeudomarturw (uV uroV) gen. "false witnesses" - false / malicious witnesses. The genitive subject of the genitive participle "having come forward." If the word does actually mean "false witnesses" then the verse may read something like, "Many witnesses, who were prepared to perjure themselves, came forward, but the court was unable to find any evidence upon which it could legitimately proceed (to have Jesus executed)", Barclay.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative; "However, two false / malicious witnesses finally came forward and said ...."

uJteron adj. "finally" - The accusative complementary adjective "later" is used here as a superlative temporal adverb, "at last, finally."

proselqonteV (prosercomai) aor. part. "came forward" - having come to, come forward, approached [he said]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say" (v61), "At last two came forward and said", ESV.


The confused testimony of the witnesses obviously relates to Jesus' prophetic words on the future of the temple complex (the desolating sacrilege about to overcome God's historic people Israel) and his prophetic words concerning himself, his temple / body (upon his death he will rise in three days). Profound theology is found behind the words because the shekinah glory is no longer found in a building of stone, but in the person of Jesus; he is God's living temple.

katalusai (kataluw) aor. inf. "[I am able] to destroy" - [this one said, i am able] to destroy [the temple]. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to be able." Note that the use of the demonstrative pronoun ou|toV, "this one", is probably derogatory, "This fellow said", NRSV. The aor./imperf. verb "to say" introduces direct speech / quote here.

oikodomhsai (oikadomew) aor, inf, "rebuild it" - [and within three days] i am able to rebuild. The infinitive is complementary, as above.

dia + gen. "in [three days]" - within. Adverbial use of the preposition, temporal, expressing a period of time "within which", Zerwick #115. Semitic idiom.


As D&A note, the high priest's standing up aligns with what wicked accusers do in Psalm 27:12 and 35:1l - particularly relevant if the accusation has no merit.

anastaV (anisthmi) aor. part. "stood up" - [and] having risen up [the high priest said to him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say"; "At this, the high priest rose up and said to Jesus", Cassirer.

ouden adj. "[are you] not [going to answer?]" - [do you answer] nothing? Accusative direct object of the verb "to answer."

it pro. "what" - what / why. Interrogative pronoun serving to introduce an indirect question. A question, "Why are these men ....?" is unlikely. Note, the NIV has two separate questions. This is possible, as is a single question, eg., "Are you not answering in any way what these are testifying against you?", Quarles.

sou gen. pro, "you" - [these ones witness against] you? Genitive of direct object after the kata prefix verb "to testify against."


de "but" - but/and [jesus was silent]. Transitional, indicating a step in the narrative, a move in focus from the high priest to Jesus. "Jesus kept silent", Peterson.


iii] Jesus declares himself, v63a-64. In Mark, the high priest simply asks Jesus "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?", whereas in Matthew, he invokes the authority of God in demanding an answer. It's interesting how the high priest uses the term "Son of God", rather than the normal title, "Son of David." Jesus' use of the term "Son of God" has prompted controversy and will aid in the task of convicting Jesus of blasphemy. In John's gospel, the use of the title "Son of God" by Jesus, prompted a hostile reaction from the religious authorities because, as far as they were concerned, it was a claim to equality with God.

autw/ dat. pro. "to him" - [and the high priest said] to him. Dative of indirect object.

kata + gen. "by [the living God]" - [i adjure you] by. This preposition, used after a verb of swearing, indicates the one by whom / what the oath is made, cf., BDAG, 522.2.a. Often expressed in the NT as "in the name of." "I put you under oath by the living God", Rieu.

tou zwntoV (zaw) gen. pres. part. "the living [God]" - The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "God".

iJna + subj. "-" - that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the high priests adjures / charges Jesus to declare, namely that he says plainly whether he is the Messiah.

ei "[tell us] if" - [you say to us] if. When this conjunction is used in an indirect question, as here, the sense is usually "wheather"; "tell us whether you are the Anointed One, the Son of God", Cassirer. For "Son of God" see 14:33.

su pro. "you" - you [you are the christ, son of god]. The pronoun here is emphatic by use and position.


In Mark's gospel, Jesus' answer is clear, "I am", but with Matthew it is somewhat unclear; "You said" = "You have said so." Turner argues that the answer is purposely ambiguous, but this seems unlikely. Jesus is most likely saying "yes", but qualifying his answer because the high priest and his associates have little understanding about the Messiah, certainly not in the terms revealed by Jesus. So, Jesus goes on to give a short outline of his messianic claims. Jesus is Daniel's coming "Son of Man", the one who comes to the Ancient of Days to administer judgment and accept the submission of all humanity, Dan.7:13, Ps.110:1

ap (apo) "from [now on]" - [jesus says to him, you said, but i say to you] from [now you]. Adverbial use of the preposition, temporal, with the adverb arti, "now", giving the sense "from now on, hereafter." For "Son of Man" see 8:20.

kaqhmenon (kaqhmai) pres. mid. part. "sitting" - [you will see the son of man] sitting. The participle, as with ercomenon, "coming", serves as the accusative complement of the direct object "the Son of Man" standing in a double accusative construction. Jesus identifies his messianic task as both "sitting" and "coming". A ruler sits to command (unlike the high priest who stands), and Jesus is about to take his seat and reign at the right hand of the Ancient of Days. This will involve his "coming", a coming in judgment. In movement terms, Jesus' coming is to the Ancient of Days, a move which results in divine judgment. There have been many divine comings in judgement from the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, through to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, but this coming is the sum of it all, a coming in judgment that will end the age of human habitation.

ek + gen. "at [the right hand]" - Local, expressing separation, "away from", although when used with either "right hand" or "left hand" it takes the sense "at", as NIV.

thV dunamewV (iV ewV) gen. "of the Mighty One" - of the power. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. This identifier is used for God and is often translated "the Almighty"; "you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Almighty God", Barclay.

epi + gen. "on" - upon. Spatial. John, in the Revelation, has coming meta, "with", the clouds. The cloud is no earthly cloud, but the mist associated with the Shechinah glory that radiates when the divine is present. Alluding to Dan.7:13, and referring to Christ's "coming" to the Ancient of Days.

tou ouranou (oV) gen. "[the clouds] of heaven" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / local, "the clouds located in heaven", or source, "originating from heaven."


iv] Jesus is charged with blasphemy, v65-68. The CEV is probably close to the mark when it translates the words of the high priest "This man claims to be God", for the Gk., eblasfhmhsen, "he has blasphemed." Setting aside the political motives the authorities have in seeking Jesus' execution, the theological heart of their issue with Jesus is that he seems to claim equality with God (an issue unpacked in John's gospel, cf., Jesus the Divine Son, Jn.5:19-30). The high priest views God's Messiah, the anointed one, as a Davidic deliverer, and given his contempt for Jesus, he takes his messianic claims as a claim to deity. Jesus "had affirmed a kinship with God closer by far than any human could possibly claim in the judgment of Caiaphas and his helpers", Morris. Yet, Jesus does not claim deity, even though he may rightly make that claim, he only claims the messianic status of the Son of Man.

tote "then" - then [the high priest tore the garments, robes, of him]. Transitional; temporal adverb used to indicate a temporal step in the narrative. A high priest may only tear his robes in an extreme situation, cf., Lev.21:10-11.

legwn (legw) pres. part. "and said" - saying [he has blasphemed]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to rip, tare", as NIV. In legal terms, Jesus has not blasphemed because he did not use the divine name.

ti pro. "Why" - what, why. Interrogative pronoun introducing a question seeking a reason; "Why do we still need witnesses?", NRSV.

eti adv. "any more" - still, yet = further [need]. Temporal adverb.

marturwn (uV uroV) gen. "witnesses" - [do we have] of witnesses. The genitive is adjectival, usually treated as verbal, objective, "need for further witnesses", as NIV.

nun adv. "now [you have heard]" - [look, behold] now [you have heard the blasphemy]. Temporal adverb, emphatic by position; "You heard this blasphemy just now", Rieu.


uJmin dat. pro. "[what do] you [think]" - [what seems] to you. Dative of reference / respect, "what does it seem with respect to you?" The sense may be informal, "What think you?", or formal, as in a formal trial, "What is your verdict?", Barclay.

qanatou (oV) "of death" - [but/and they having answered said, he is deserving of, liable to] death. Genitive complement of the adjective "deserving of."

apokriqenteV (apokrinomai) aor. pas. part. "they answered" - having answered. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to say."


In Mark, Jesus' head is hooded, which explains why in v68 those who assault Jesus ask "Prophesy for us, Messiah. Guess who hit you", TEV - a kind of violent blind-man's-bluff. Matthew leaves out the covering of Jesus' face because he wants to emphasize the despicable nature of the assaults against Jesus. "They show Jesus their contempt and their brutal scorn. Spitting into a person's face is an expression of the deepest contempt", Luz.

tote adv. "then [they spit in his face]" - then [they spat into the face of him, and they struck him, and they slapped him]. Transitional; temporal adverb used to indicate a temporal step in the narrative. The verb ekolafisan, "they struck him", means to strike with the knuckle, ie., to strike with a closed fist, as NIV.


legonteV (legw) pres. part. "and said" - saying. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verbs "spit", "struck" and "hit", as NIV, or possibly adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of their slapping, "And some slapped him, saying", ESV.

hJmin dat. pro. "to us" - [prophesy] to us. Dative of indirect object. "The mocking includes the request for him to 'prophesy', ie., tell supernaturally, who was striking him", Hagner.

oJ paisaV (paiw) aor. part. "who hit you?" - [who is] the one hitting [you]? The participle serves as a substantive, subject of the verb to-be.


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