Bigger than the Box: Matthew 26:57-68

Focus Passage: Matthew 26:57-68 (NCV)

57 Those people who arrested Jesus led him to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders were gathered. 58 Peter followed far behind to the courtyard of the high priest’s house, and he sat down with the guards to see what would happen to Jesus.

59 The leading priests and the whole Jewish council tried to find something false against Jesus so they could kill him. 60 Many people came and told lies about him, but the council could find no real reason to kill him. Then two people came and said, 61 “This man said, ‘I can destroy the Temple of God and build it again in three days.’”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Aren’t you going to answer? Don’t you have something to say about their charges against you?” 63 But Jesus said nothing.

Again the high priest said to Jesus, “I command you by the power of the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus answered, “Those are your words. But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky.”

65 When the high priest heard this, he tore his clothes and said, “This man has said things that are against God! We don’t need any more witnesses; you all heard him say these things against God. 66 What do you think?”

The people answered, “He should die.”

67 Then the people there spat in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. Others slapped him. 68 They said, “Prove to us that you are a prophet, you Christ! Tell us who hit you!”

Read Matthew 26:57-68 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

In Jesus’ interrogation after the mob has arrested Him the night before His crucifixion, we see an interesting statement Jesus makes when challenged by the high priest.

All through the trial to determine Jesus’ “death-worthiness”, Jesus says nothing. This in itself is interesting, but what follows it amazes me most every time I read this.

The high priest is fed up with the witnesses’ lies not adding up, he is fed up with Jesus’ silence, and he realizes that if he cannot get some momentum in this case soon, it will crash down around him and the whole arrest will fall back on them. So he challenges Jesus in the strongest way he can: “The high priest said to Jesus, ‘I command you by the power of the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’” (v. 63b)

The high priest cannot come up with a stronger command. He challenges Jesus to answer about whether He is the Messiah, the Son of God.

But Jesus’ response is interesting. Jesus begins His response in verse 64 by saying “Those are your words.” By beginning this way, Jesus makes a clear distinction that is not directly denying the implication of the high priest’s challenge, but it tells us that Jesus sees Himself differently. And Jesus was different.

The Jews expected a messiah to come who would free them from the Romans and set up Israel as a kingdom that would exist independently for the rest of history. The implication in the High Priest’s challenge is asking if Jesus was that messiah – and Jesus does not confirm those words.

Instead Jesus continues His response by describing the second coming, when He will return with God the Father: “But I tell you, in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God, the Powerful One, and coming on clouds in the sky.” (v. 64b)

One of the big things I see in this passage is Jesus confirming that He was sent from God, but that He was a different Messiah than what the Jews were expecting. This also prompts me to wonder if Jesus was bigger than the box the Jews wanted to place Him in, He may also be bigger than the box I may try to place Him in.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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