2010-03-02 - Bad Guys of Lent: The Sanhedrin
Background: Per the text notes of the NIV Bible, the Sanhedrin was the high court of the Jewish people, made up of chief priests, elders and teachers of the law. (The last Sanhedrin met in 368 A.D.)
I hope you will reread with me, the passages in this study. Today we will concentrate on Matthew 22:66-71. This is the rendering of Young's Literal Translation.
Matt 22:66-71 And when it became day there was gathered together the eldership of the people, chief priests also, and scribes, and they led him up to their own sanhedrim, 67 saying, `If thou be the Christ, tell us.' And he said to them, `If I may tell you, ye will not believe; 68 and if I also question [you], ye will not answer me or send me away; 69 henceforth, there shall be the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of th power of God.' 70 And they all said, `Thou, then, art the Son of God?' and he said unto them, `Ye say [it], because I am;' 71 and they said, `What need yet have we of testimony? for we ourselves did hear [it] from his mouth.' (YLT)
Throughout the centuries, we in the Christian church have tended to think of the Sanhedrin as the "bad guys" in this scene. But are they really? What if we had been there in that leadership body - would we have reacted any differently? Today, in 2010, we have the advantage of "20-20 hindsight." But what if we had been among the leaders who were entrusted with enforcing the laws against blasphemy? What if we heard someone, who seemed to be an ordinary mortal, claiming to be the Son of God, and who didn't show any remorse for it? They were "just doing their job." From what I can see - with no speculations (which the Apostle Paul instructs us to avoid), but simply studying what is actually in the Bible - the Sanhedrin thought they were "doing the right thing," prosecuting someone for blasphemy.
They didn't have 2000 years of testimony, nor the New Testament. Their judgement had to be based on what they could see and hear for themselves.
Additionally, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who cared "properly" for Christ's body after his crucifixion, were themselves members of the Sanhedrin.
So what can we take from this story, about the Sanhedrin? Even when we are convinced we are in the right, we just may not be - and we should always retain teachable, humble and open spirits. Also, we should not be too hasty to judge others, as Christ taught us ("judge not, lest ye be judged yourselves.").
In our next installment, we will look at Simon Peter.