Mt. 26:57-68, 27:1, 2; Mk. 14:53-65, 15:1; Lk. 22:54, 63-23:1; Jn. 18:12-14, 19-24, 28
The soldiers bound Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God and took Him to Annas, the high priest for “trial.” Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year.
A high priest was appointed by the Roman government each year to serve a one-year term. High priests held this title for life and since Annas was probably the head of the Sadducees, he was the one the Jews looked to first.
Only a few weeks earlier, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. The Sanhedrin had feared that because of His popularity, the Romans would take away their seats in government and even their nation. Caiaphas had determined then that it was necessary that one man (Jesus) should die and not the whole nation. It was clear that He would not get a fair trial by someone who had already determined that He should die.
After brief questioning by Annas, Jesus was led to Caiaphas, where the scribes and elders were assembled.
Several false witnesses were brought in to testify against Jesus, but their testimony was not consistent and Caiaphas did not get the information that he wanted. Later, other false witnesses testified that they had heard Jesus say, “I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.” Jesus had really said, “Destroy this temple (His body), and in three days I will raise it up.”
Caiaphas asked Jesus directly, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
Jesus replied, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Caiaphas pretended to be shocked and stated that Jesus had committed blasphemy. He had his evidence so he could sentence Him to death because the penalty for blasphemy at that time was death.
As Jesus stood before them blindfolded, the people began to spit on, slap and mock Him. They called out, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”
The Jews could condemn a person to death, but they could not execute him without permission from the Roman government. Since the Romans did not count blasphemy as a crime, it was necessary to present a charge that would get their attention.
They decided to twist Jesus’ assertion that He was the Christ to make it seem as though He were going to rebel against the Roman government. By then, it was daylight Friday morning and the Jews led Jesus to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.