September 10, 2007

Mark 14.53-64

And they led Jesus to the High Priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled.

And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the High Priest; and he was sitting with the guards, and warming himself at the fire.

Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.

For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this Temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.' "

Yet not even so did their testimony agree. And the High Priest stood up in their midst, and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?"

But he was silent and made no answer.

Again the High Priest asked him, "Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed?"

And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of Heaven."

And the High Priest tore his garments, and said, "Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death.

1 Comments:

At 7:34 PM, Blogger forrest said...

This of course goes against everything Jewish sources have to say about established Sanhedrin practice. Meeting at night, for example, was forbidden.

So at best, what we find described here would not be an official trial, but (a distorted account of) an informal meeting, probably of a few members of the Temple establishment, dealing with the strictly practical question of "What can we do with this guy, anyway?"

Threatening to destroy the Temple is not a blasphemy. Claiming to be the Messiah is not a blasphemy. Even if the claimant is wrong, it is not a blasphemy. Claiming to be the son of the Most High is not a blasphemy, but is rather another way of claiming to be the Messiah, the presumably God-appointed king of the Jews.

Blasphemy, as a matter of Jewish religious law, is strictly defined as an unauthorized utterance of The Name. The punishment required is not crucifixion, but stoning.

That's local religious law and the Romans normally aren't even interested. They appoint the High Priest to take care of that sort of thing for them--mainly for the purpose of keeping a lid on opposition to their rule. People claiming to be King of the Jews, for example. Anyone disrupting Roman rule--particularly around the Passover (a festival celebrating liberation from slavery to pagans)--would be punished brutally by the Romans--but said Romans, of course, would prefer to have such victims chosen by friendly local authorities. This "High Priest," for example. The Romans not only chose him; they keep his official robes locked up between major festivals, lest he do anything with those robes they wouldn't like...

Is Peter really warming his hands at the guards' fire? Sounds like a real lapse in security...

 

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