1998-02-26 - Long Suffering
The Cross Series, Part 28
Luke 22:63-65 And the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him, and beating Him, 64 and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, "Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?" 65 And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.
In the Gospel of Luke, just after Peter leaves in grief after the rooster crowed, we find Jesus being beaten. Were these the Temple Guards? It is not clear who the group is that beat Jesus. One could get the impression it was the Sanhedrin itself, or the group that arrested Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Matt 26:67-68 Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, 68 and said, "Prophesy to us, you Christ; who is the one who hit you?"
In the record of Matthew, it appears that the beating could have taken place right in the room in which the trial had just taken place. Here we get a stronger impression it was the members of the Council who had just tried and convicted the Master of blasphemy.
Mark 14:65 And some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.
Mark records that one group, probably members of the Council beat the Messiah and the officers who took charge of Him slapped Jesus as he became their charge.
John 18:18-24 Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19 The high priest therefore questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, "I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues, and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 "Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; behold, these know what I said." 22 And when He had said this, one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying, "Is that the way You answer the high priest?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?" 24 Annas therefore sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
John has a few more details here. For whatever reason, he had access to the Temple grounds that was beyond what the average person had. Perhaps his Father was a member of the Council. John does not seem to be questioned about access, or even allowing Peter access enough to come in out of the night air. John recorded a bit of the dialog from the mock trial of his beloved Lord.
Jesus asks Annas, who was the Father-in-Law of the High Priest, Caiaphas. Annas had been the High Priest from 6-15 A.D. There is no recorded procedure for the High Priest to retire. Annas also had enough authority within the leadership community that Jesus was led here first.
John makes it a little clearer as to who it was who struck Jesus. The Lord turned the question back to Caiaphas wondering who He was being questioned by the Council on His teaching when His teaching was openly, publicly proclaimed routinely. It was no secret. One of the Temple Guard then rebuked and struck the prisoner. Rightly, the High Priest should have severely punished the guard. Any prisoner was under the protection of the court under the law.
Was it a single blow? Was it multiple groups of people at different times? What is clear is the Jesus was mistreated badly by a hostile court and Council. Beaten with fists for His limited response. His teaching was known clearly to the members of the group. This must have pained Joseph of Arimathea deeply. He had gone to meet Jesus secretly only a few evenings before. Joseph had been fascinated, practically spellbound by the gentle questions and prodding of the Master. Now he watches powerless as he can do nothing to defend the man who must be the Messiah.
Who struck Jesus? It is not crystal clear. It is plain that he was struck on a few occasions in just this brief space of time. This would not be the last beating or horrific abuse He would suffer before the cross. His questions to the council may have been sarcastic. The irony of the questioning was almost ludicrous. Even that rebuke was thrown off in pride and arrogance. They refused to see what Joseph had seen. They had stood in the same places and seen totally different things.
Who struck Jesus? I dare say it was you and me who put Him in that council chamber. If we had been in the same place, would we have seen the threat to our position and been blinded to the truth Jesus offered? Would we have seen the healings and multitudes fed and fume with hate over coins scattered in the Court of the Gentiles? Joseph of Arimathea was able to see past the trappings of his office and authority to the fact that he was merely a mortal where others could not. It is possible we might have sided with Joseph. We are also merely flesh and blood. Before we hold these men in raging contempt, we need to make sure there are none of those Matthew 7 logs in our own eyes.
Jesus did not pull rank on these men. He did not rise up in His omnipotent power and set the record straight. In doing so, He would have taken away the chance for these men to believe in faith, not unlike Thomas. Instead, He allowed Himself to suffer at their hands, and the hands of others. This is an extreme example of long suffering. Jesus is taken from mock trial to meetings where He is mocked, to another feeble trial where the mob overrules the judge in a capital trial, to beatings, to a forced march, to crucifixion.. At no time does he rebuke even the thief who does not repent. Nor does Jesus rebuke us as He calls to us.
Matt 11:28-30 "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 "Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. 30 "For My yoke is easy, and My load is light."
And while there may be a loving rebuke from time to time for the believer, we are secure in our station with Jesus.
Rom 8:1-2 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
If you don't know Jesus, He wants nothing less than to have a wonderful relationship with you. He has things to show you that will blow your mind. Not that there will never be problems again. But even the problems will become things to learn from. If you do know Jesus as Savior, draw closer. Nothing you have done, said or thought could ever cause Him to turn away from you. When you finally stop trying to run away, you will find Him right there waiting to welcome you back home. Come.
Lord Jesus, You show us such amazing restraint and patience all through the scriptures with people from ever walk of life and level of faith. Give us the courage to trust in that long suffering patience and draw a little closer to You. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.