Mark 14:53-15:15 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Jesus' Trial
Comments for Study 30

Mark 14:53-15:15
Memory Verse: 62


I. Before the Sanhedrin (53-65)

>1. Who did the crowd take Jesus to? (53)

* Mark 14:53 "They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together."

* This group was called the Sanhedrin (55). The Sanhedrin was broken down into two courts of law; religious and political (civil). They were the Jewish ruling council especially anything concerning the Mosaic law. The civil branch is similar to America's Supreme Court in that it is the highest judicial branch. The Jewish Sanhedrin had their own civil police.

* The religious branch of the Sanhedrin had 71 members. It was the highest court of law. (Peter stood up before them in Acts). They judged only religious violations. They seldom imposed capital punishment. If anyone could prove his innocence they would let him go. Most of the time they meet in a religious place.

* The political branch of the Sanhedrin was a counsel with permit statues. The High Priest could summon the meeting anytime he wanted to at his house. They could try anyone with a rebellion. They could sentence him, but no authority to invoke that sentence.

* They knew all the Old Testament and Roman law.

* Most were the best Bible teachers in their day.

* They had sent people to watch and question Jesus during Jesus' three year ministry. Many of them, if not all had also questioned him at one time or another.

>Why? (11:18; 14:10,11,55a)

* Mark 11:18 "The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching."

* Mark 14:10-11 "Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over."

* Mark 14:55a "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death..."

* This group of leaders wanted Jesus killed for a long time. So they looked for a way to do it and in Judas found a way to arrest Jesus. Now they were going to have a trial to find evidence so they could reach that goal.

>How did they try to reach their goal? (55b)

* Mark 14:55 "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any."

* They looked for evidence against Jesus that was worthy of death.

* Jesus was before the political Sanhedrin first, very early in the morning. Mark does not record the second meeting which was the religious Sanhedrin and then a meeting at the high priest's house. The religious Sanhedrin backed up the political Sanhedrin's decision.

* They usually took two days to sentence people, but in this case they wanted to do it quickly before anyone would know. The authors of the four gospels pointed out that they feared the crowds.

* No reason was given on why Jesus was arrested. No charges were made.

* "but could not find any" -Jesus was blameless. This didn't stop evil people from doing harm in Daniel, Joseph, and the other prophets.

>What problem did they have in finding evidence against Jesus? (56)

* Mark 14:56 "Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree."

* Those who presented evidence against Jesus had conflicting reports. Therefore, their testamonies could not stand because according to Deut. 19:15-21 there needs to be more than three witnesses against anyone accused of a crime. Deuteronomy 19 was written to insure a complete investigation is made before someone is sentenced. Therefore, they had to drop all of these charges.

>What specific charge was made against Jesus? (57,58)

* Mark 14:57-58 "Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'"

>How was this charge false? (59)

* Mark 14:59 "Yet even then their testimony did not agree."

* Many people had not paid attention to what Jesus said. They heard, but they did not listen.

>Why? (John 2:19-21)

* John 2:19-21 "Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days. The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" But the temple he had spoken of was his body."

* They misquoted and misunderstood Jesus. Before someone is a witness in trial they are coached to ensure they say the truth and are sure of what they say. In Jesus' cause they Jewish leaders acted so quickly that they did not have time to coach those who gave witnesses against Jesus.

* It is important to understand the word of God correctly. Often, like Eve in the garden, people misquote the Bible.

>2. Why did Jesus remain silent during all the false accusations? (60,61a)

* Mark 14:60-61 "Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer."

* He did not want to answer to foolish accusations although most men would do it quickly.

* He was like a lamb before her shearers, silent (Is. 53: 7).

* Jesus knew their hearts. He knew they were only looking for a way kill him and be justified in doing it. He knew they would do what they intended no matter what he said. Defending oneself in such a circumstance is useless. I have a hard time following Jesus' example when before people who hate and/or are dead set on destroying my name.

* Jesus had decided to do God's will for his life in Gethsedeme. So he did not want to vindicate himself, because it would hinder God's will, but not necessarily stop God's will. (1 Peter 2:23)

* Many did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah especially the religious leaders and the high priest. They were suppose to be teachers of the Bible, but they had little correct understanding of the Messiah. Jesus tried to help them see the truth of the Messiah, but they did not accept Jesus' words because he was not one of them.

>When asked about his identity, who did Jesus say he is? (61,62a)

* Mark 14:61b-62a "Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" I am, said Jesus."

* "Again the hight priest asked him" -He had asked Jesus this before. This question was always on the high priest's mind. Earlier they had asked, "If you are the Christ, tell us ..."

* When Jesus answered this question he knew he would be condemned to death.

* Jesus did not hide his identity.

* Christ is Greek for the Hebrew word Messiah.

* "the Son of the Blessed One" -another title for the Messiah only recorded here. Blessed One is a way of saying the LORD God (YHWH Elohim) because the Jews had such high regard for the LORD God that they dare not say his name.

* "I am" -Jesus answered in the word that God gave Moses at the burning bush. Exodus 3:12-15 says, "And God said, "I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain." Moses said to God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The Lord, the God of your fathers--the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob--has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation."

* In the Exodus 3:12-15 quote above these are the English and Hebrew equivalants of the underline words (names) for God in order as they appear:
    God = Elohim
    you will worship God on this mountain = abad Elohim har
    God = Elohim
    God of your fathers = Elohim ab
    God said to Moses = Elohim amar mosheh
    I AM WHO I AM = Haya Haya
    I AM = Shalah
    God = Elohim
    the LORD = YHWH
    the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob = Elohim abraham Elohim yishaq Elohim yaaqob
    This is my name forever = shem olam

* Jesus used "I AM" thus claiming he is Elohim (creator God of Genesis 1:1), Haya Haya (I AM WHO I WILL BE), Shalah (I AM), and YHWH (LORD of the covenants).

* Elohim is a singular/plural word. When a Hebrew word ends in "im" it is plural, similar to the way English adds a "s" to make a nown plural. However, "Eloh" is singular in meaning and use. Thus, in the word Elohim God is stating that he is singular/plural or as Christians says, "Three in One and yet One."

>What does this mean to you and me?

* Jesus stood up and told the truth about his identity before enemies. He was not afraid to. Nor should I be afraid to tell my identity before others.

* Mohammed, the Jehovah Witnesses, the Mormons, and other false christs take away from who Jesus said he is.

>What did he say he would do? (62b)

* Mark 14:62b "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

* "and you will see" -seeing with their own eyes either happened when Stephen was stoned or has not yet happened.

* "the Son of Man" -Jesus was referring to his humanity when he used this phrase.

* "sitting at the right hand" -a place of highest authority. Jesus was saying that he was equal to God.

* "of the Mighty One" -Greek word "dynamis" meaning power, strength, and authority.

>Why did he say this?

* Jesus was warning them that he will come as judge and in power, the Messiah that they taught everyone to believe was coming.

* Jesus knew that death wasn't the end.

* "coming on the clouds of heaven" -coming in glory to judge and save Israel and Judah. The cloud of heaven is the bright shining glory of the Lord. Glory is kabad in Hebrew meaning a bright shinning cloud surrounding the LORD God. The glory of the Lord came on Mt. Sinai just after the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt (Ex. 16:7-10, 24:16-17), in desert Tabernacle (Ex. 40:34-38; Lev. 9:6, 23; Num. 14:10), and in the Temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10-11; and 2 Chronicles 5:14, 7:1-3, Isa. 6:1-4). Jesus coming in the glory of the Lord is prophecies by Isaiah (Isaiah 4:2-6, 35:1-2, 40:4-5, 59:19-20, 60). Ezekiel also saw the glory of the Lord. (Ezekiel 1:25-28; 3:12, 22-23; 9:3-4; 10:3-4, 18-22; 11:22-23; 43:1-5; 44:4). Luke 2:9 says the glory of the Lord shown over the shepherds when they angles said Jesus was born. Paul calls Jesus the "Lord of glory" in 1 Corinthians 2:8 and the "radiance of God's glory" in Hebrews 1:3.

* Jesus knew his past glory and future glory. John saw Jesus in the glorious resurrected body (Rev. 1:7-18; 4:1-11)

>3. How did the high priest and the other Jewish leaders react to Jesus' testimony about himself? (63)

* Mark 14:63 "The high priest tore his clothes. Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked."

* "the high priest tore his clothes" -According to Lev. 21:10 the high priest was not allowed his robe. If he tore his robe he would be disqualified to offer the Passover Lamb. This made it possible to offer himself as the Lamb of God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek. (Heb. 2:17; 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:1-10; 6:19-20; 7:1-9:28)

* "Why do we need... What do you think" -the high priest was suppose to be the last to speak. He was not to sway the vote with is opinions and comments.

>How did they reach their goal? (64)

* Mark 14:64 ""You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as worthy of death."

* "the blasphemy" -With Jesus' words that he was the Son of the Blessed One, the Son of God, the LORD God himself; the Jews had a reason from Jesus' own lips to crucify him.

* "They all" -no exceptions.

>What did they do to Jesus? (65)

* Mark 14:65 "Then some began to spit at him; they blinded folded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy! And the guards took him and beat him."

* It is against the law to strike a prisioner.

* "Prophesy" -they knew that Jesus had often spoken prophesy.

>In what way are they in contrast to Jesus?

* Jesus was calm and full of self control. They went out of control, very emotional.

II. Peter Disowns Jesus (66-72)

>4. After Jesus' arrest, what did Peter do? (54)

* Mark 14:54 "Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire."

* This verse gives an indication of the atmosphere at Jesus' trial. Peter was a man of courage, but he followed Jesus at a distance. It was held late at night which was illegal. They had it late at night because they did not want him to be crucified on the Sabbath.

* Peter tried to blend in.

* He was humanly faithful

* He was unprepared. He didn't know what to do; but he knew he had to do something.

* "at a distance" -not close up and so he failed. When I follow Jesus I should not follow from a distance.

>What does this show about his attitude and spiritual condition?

* On the one hand Peter loved Jesus and did his best to be loyal to Jesus. All the other disciples (but John) ran away. Peter at least followed Jesus. He could not forget Jesus and his own words.

* However, Peter followed Jesus at a distance. He did not want to be arrested with Jesus as he earlier had claimed he would do.

* He was weak and confused, with no understanding of God's will and the power of resurrection.

* Did not pray to do God's will.

* He tried to be faithful to his promise to Jesus, but at no cost to himself.

* He was ashamed of Jesus who willfully let himself be arrested, mocked and beaten.

* If we don't listen to Jesus' words, don't pray, and don't watch we are subject to Satan and his minions. Prepare before the crisis comes; and they will come.

>5. How did Peter come to disown Jesus the first time? (66-68)

* Mark 14:66-68 "While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. "You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus," she said. But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway."

* Being brave and boastful is easy when our peers and friends are around. We can be willing to suffer for others when we want to, even though it is not what God wants. However, remove the peers and go against God's will and our strength and will go away even though we may still want to what we boasted about.

* Her words got the the heart of Peter's problem.


* He was afraid of suffering and losing his life

* He was weak in faith and belief, fearing for his life.

* He had forgotten what Jesus had said.

* He wasn't fully converted. He was still

* She was bold. Peter wasn't.

>How did he deny Jesus the 2nd and 3rd time? (69-71)

* Mark 14:69-71 "When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, "This fellow is one of them." Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean." He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, "I don't know this man you're talking about.""

* Jesus had said that Peter would deny him three times.

* Jesus was prosecuted by the Jewish and Roman leadership and stood. Peter was prosecuted by a servant girl and he fell.

>What does losing control of himself show about him?

* He was spiritually immature.

* Emotions like fear began to control him.

* The power of fear kept growing in him.

>6. What was the significance of the rooster's crow? (72a,30)

* Mark 14:72a "ImmediatelY the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.""

* Mark 14:30 ""I tell you the truth," Jesus answered. "today--yes, tonight--before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."

* When the rooster crowed Jesus looked at Peter; thus Peter remembered. (Luke 22:61)

* There were not roosters in Jerusalem. However, a rooster crow was the name of the changing of the Roman guards because they would sound a trumpet.

>What effect did this have on Peter? (72b)

* Mark 14:72b "And he broke down and wept."

* Peter realized that Jesus was right and he was wrong. He knew who Jesus fully This snapped him out of his pride.

* If Jesus would not have taught Peter what would happen to him, he might have stayed and harm would have come to him.

* Peter realized that Jesus was correct and loved him.

* He was full of condemnation and guilt.

III. Jesus Before Pilate (15:1-15)

>7. Who was Pilate? (15:1)

* Mark 15:1 "Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate."

* Pilate was the Roman appointed governor (procurator) of the area; probably appointed by Ceasar. Many in Rome were anti-Semite including Pilate. His reign started in A.D. 26. Tablets with his name on it have been found in Palestine. LUke 13:1 records where he mingled Galelean's blood with their sacrifice. He had put up a Roman emblem in the temple and removed it only when the Jews said they will die trying to move it themselves. He commited other acts that upset the Jews and the Samaritans. His position was in jeopardy at this time. Shortly after Jesus crucifixion he was called back to Rome.

* He was a highly successful man until shortly after he was made governor of Palestine.

>How did he coincide with the chief priest's plans for Jesus?

* The Jewish leader wanted to kill Jesus, but they had no authority under Roman law to do so. Somehow they had to convince Pilate to kill Jesus.

* If Pilate would condemn Jesus their own guilt would be blurred. They could tell the people they did not do it, that it was Pilate, whom everyone hated anyway. Why take the blame when they could blame a hated man.

>Why did they change the charge against Jesus? (2)

* Mark 15:2 ""Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied."

* Roman law did not dictate that people would be crucified for claiming to be king of the Jews. However, Roman law did dictate that anyone claiming to be king other than Caesar would crucified. Therefore, in order to have Jesus killed the religious leaders had to change the charge against Jesus.

>Why did Jesus affirm this charge? (3)

* Mark 15:3 "The chief priests accused him of many things.

* Jesus gave Pilate a testimony of his true identity.

* Pilate would now know that Jesus was a spiritual leader, not a worldly leader.

>What did it mean to him to be King of the Jews?

* Jesus was Israel's shepherd all throughout their history. He was the one who was Abraham's friend and LORD. He was the one who called Moses from the burning bush that was not consumed. He was the one who came on Mt. Sinai after he brought them out of Egypt. He was the one who led the Israelites around the desert for forty years with a column of fire and smoke. He was the one who meet with Moses in the tabernacle and gave Moses the words of the first five books of the Bible. He was the one who occupies the temple with the glory of the Lord wrapped around him. He would now lay down his life for them.

>8. How did Jesus amaze Pilate? (3-5)

* Mark 15:3-5 "The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed."

* Usually a prisoner would plead for his life and counter the charges against him. Jesus did not.

* Pilate was a politically smart man. He could read the politics going on in front of him.

>How did Pilate find a way to release Jesus? (6-9)

* Mark 15:6-9 "Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate,"

* Pilate thought that the crowd was in favor of Jesus and would let him go.

* Pilate turned out to be a typical politician, seeking only to keep his power, authority, and control. He was selfish.

* Pilate's mistake was that he tried to get some political gain out of Jesus' situation.

* Technically Jesus wasn't accused of any crime against Rome. Pilate assumed that the people liked Jesus and would accept him.

>Why? (10)

* Mark 15:10 "knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him."

>Why did he fail? (11)

* Mark 15:11 "But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead."

* He was controlled by the opinions of men rather than truth and even Roman law.

>Why did he do what he knew was not right? (15)

* Mark 15:15 "Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified."

* He wanted to please the crowd and save his political career.

>Was Pilate wrong?

* Yes. After the crowd said this, Pilate still could have released Jesus. He knew Jesus was innocent. He knew he was being used to do an evil deed.

>9. When asked what did the crowd say to do with Jesus? (12,13)

* Mark 15:12-13 ""What shall I do then with the one you call the king of the Jews?" Pilate asked them. "Crucify him!" they shouted."

>When asked why what did they say? (14)

* Mark 15:14 ""Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder. "Crucify him!'"

>Was the crowd wrong?

* Yes.

>How did the chief priests, Pilate, and the crowd coincide with God's plan for Jesus?

* In order for us to be freed from a trial on judgment day, Jesus had to be tried in our place.