March 21 – Luke 22:66-71
It’s pretty clear from the start, this trial is a setup. Earlier in the chapter Luke told us the council was trying to put Jesus to death (22:2), and their plan was to get Jesus to blaspheme, to claim that he was God (note the irony here), in order to justify the death penalty. The accounts in Matthew and Mark are longer (Matt. 26:57-68; Mrk. 14:53-65), showing just how hard the council tried and how futile their attempts were. They called all kinds of false witnesses, tried to build a case against Jesus, but simply couldn’t manufacture the evidence.
Meanwhile, Jesus is curiously tightlipped. When I read this passage I want so badly for Jesus to pronounce woes on the council, to call down legions of angels, to defend himself somehow, but he refused to do any of that. He let this sham trial play out because he knew his mission—nothing would deter him from the cross. And yet he also didn’t do the council any favors by openly blaspheming or insulting them. He stays mostly silent and lets the guilt rest firmly on them. It’s perfectly clear that their minds were already made up, and the only reason Jesus would be put to death is because they desired it.
For this reason Jesus says, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer.”(22:67b-68) These men had already decided not to believe Jesus, and Jesus, knowing their hearts, knows his testimony would do nothing to change their minds. But their unbelief isn’t unique to them, and if we’re honest, we should see ourselves in the Sanhedrin. All of sin is born out of refusing to believe God and take him at his word; disbelief is the tactic Satan took with Adam and Eve in the Garden (“Did God really say….?”), and it’s the same game he plays with us. What the Sanhedrin displays is what’s true about us, and without the mercy of God we would endure in our unbelief just the same.
Questions for Discussion
• Would someone read Luke 22:66-71 for us?
• What stood out to you in this passage?
• Why is Jesus being interrogated here?
• Why do you think Jesus refused to answer?
• What role does unbelief play in this passage?
• How does unbelief affect the way you relate to Jesus yourself?
• How does this passage make you think about the crucifixion?