2018-03-06 - Bad Guys of Lent: The Sanhedrin
Originally Published 2010-03-02
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
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
In our next installment, we will look at Simon Peter.
Comments or Questions?
Janice P. Moser
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All verses are from the New American Standard Version (NASB) unless otherwise noted.
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