Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin
Then when daylight came, the assembly of the elders of the people, which included both chief priests and scribes, met and marched him off to their own council. There they asked him, “If you really are Christ, tell us!” “If I tell you, you will never believe me, and if I ask you a question, you will not answer me. But from now on the Son of Man will take his seat at the right hand of almighty God. 70 Then they all said, “So you are the Son of God then?” “You are right; I am,” Jesus told them. 71 Then they said, “Why do we need to call any more witnesses, for we ourselves have heard this thing from his own lips?” (Luke 22: 66-71) J.B. Phillips translation
At daylight, the trial of Jesus begins. The leaders of God’s People congregate together to excitedly wield their power over the renegade Teacher. Priests, Elders, Scribes, setting aside their differences to bring the Nazarene, Jesus down.
The fact that the trial was wholly illegal was, to them, irrelevant. They rose up as one in a symphony of accusation to confront this dangerous renegade who had long been a thorn in their sides. All they needed was enough "evidence" to convince their occupying overlords (the Romans) that this man was worthy of execution.
Out of this bubbling cauldron of pompous, self-righteousness came the question, “If you are the Christ, the Messiah, tell us”. This was not a request for enlightenment, there was no desire here to learn or understand, they were not inquiring of Jesus in the hope of coming to a greater understanding of the truth. They simply wanted a “confession”. They wanted Jesus’ own words to provide the substance they needed to complete the charge, that He was a dangerous, deluded insurrectionist, a criminal, a blasphemer ..... an enemy of Israel and of Rome.
With great calm, Jesus took control of the proceedings. “If I tell you, you will never believe me, and if I ask you a question, you will not answer me. v68.
As He had done so many times, He stood in the face of angry accusation and revealed the darkness in their hearts. The accusers now became the accused. It was clear, justice had not been invited to this party. There was no quest for truth here, no humility, no righteousness, no mercy, no evidence of the characteristics that should adorn the leaders of the people of God.
Jesus stood before them, not as the weak and frightened figure they thought He would be, intimidated by their authority, but as the model Old Testament Prophet. He dropped the plumb line of truth beside their crooked wall and condemned it with a stroke. They were enraged.
Jesus then made a statement that poured gasoline on the raging fires within them, “But from now on the Son of Man will take his seat at the right hand of almighty God.” Jesus was stating, not just that He was the promised Messiah, but that He is Justice. He alone is fitted to weigh the hearts of men and dispense a verdict.
With these words, Jesus gives hope to those whose lives have been shattered by the cruel sword of injustice. Certainly, through time and patently in our own day, injustice causes more harm than disease. It is a cruel weapon in the hand of Satan, one that he wields in order to steal, kill and destroy. John 10:10 Jesus stood before the Sanhedrin to declare that as Messiah He will one day stand on the Earth and dispense Truth and Justice, the poor, the broken, the disenfranchised, the orphan, the refugee, will all be released from their prisons – and their cruel oppressors will be thrown to the ground. God hates injustice and there is coming a day when it will be removed from the earth.
This court was a sham, The Lord of Justice declared it so.
It was clear, there was only one in this chamber that had authority …. All others were pretenders. What a glorious figure He appears, like a diamond in the dirt.
“So, you are the Son of God then?” They had not seen Him. They had not heard Him. They were “blind leaders of the blind” Mat 15:14, all they could see was a dead man walking and they were intent that He should be finally put down.
Jesus replied once more time, “I AM”
If only they could have seen who was standing before them they would have fallen on their faces in Worship and their hearts would have exploded with love and desire for more of who He was. As it was they stumbled on, ignorant of His Majesty, and raced on to condemn and destroy Him.