Matthew 26:57 MEANING

Matthew 26:57
(57) To Caiaphas the high priest.--St. John alone, probably from the special facilities which he possessed as known to the high priest, records the preliminary examination before Annas (John 18:13; John 18:19-24). It was obviously intended to draw from our Lord's lips something that might serve as the basis of an accusation. Caiaphas, we must remember, had already committed himself to the policy of condemnation (John 11:49-50). The whole history that follows leaves the impression that the plans of the priests had been hastened by the treachery of Judas.

Where the scribes and the elders were assembled.--It was against the rules of Jewish law to hold a session of the Sanhedrin or Council for the trial of capital offences by night. Such an assembly on the night of the Paschal Supper must have been still more at variance with usage, and the fact that it was so held has, indeed, been urged as a proof that the Last Supper was not properly the Passover. The present gathering was therefore an informal one--probably a packed meeting of those who were parties to the plot, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea, and probably not a few others, like the young "ruler" of Luke 18:18, not being summoned. When they had gone through their mock trial, and day was dawning (Luke 22:68), they transformed themselves into a formal court, and proceeded to pass judgment.

Verses 57-68. - Jesus before Caiaphas, informally condemned to death. (Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:54, 63-65; John 18:24.) Verse 57. - Led him away to Caiaphas. The synoptists omit all mention of the preliminary inquiry before Annas (John 18:13, 19-24). His palace was nearest to the place of capture, and the soldiers appear to have received orders to conduct the Prisoner thither, Annas having vast influence with the Romans, and being the principal mover in the matter. What passed before him is not recorded, none of the disciples being present at the examination. The synoptists take up the account when Jesus was sent bound to Caiaphas, who St. John (John 18:14) notes was the one who for political reasons had urged the judicial murder of Jesus. Where (i.e. in whose house) the scribes and the elders were assembled. This seems to have been an informal meeting of the leading Sanhedrists, hastily convened, not in their usual place of meeting, but in a chamber of Caiaphas's palace. Some years before this time the right of pronouncing capital sentences had been removed from the council; and hence the necessity of assembling in the hall Gazith (where only such sentences could be delivered) existed no longer.

26:57-68 Jesus was hurried into Jerusalem. It looks ill, and bodes worse, when those who are willing to be Christ's disciples, are not willing to be known to be so. Here began Peter's denying him: for to follow Christ afar off, is to begin to go back from him. It is more our concern to prepare for the end, whatever it may be, than curiously to ask what the end will be. The event is God's, but the duty is ours. Now the Scriptures were fulfilled, which said, False witnesses are risen up against me. Christ was accused, that we might not be condemned; and if at any time we suffer thus, let us remember we cannot expect to fare better than our Master. When Christ was made sin for us, he was silent, and left it to his blood to speak. Hitherto Jesus had seldom professed expressly to be the Christ, the Son of God; the tenor of his doctrine spoke it, and his miracles proved it; but now he would not omit to make an open confession of it. It would have looked like declining his sufferings. He thus confessed, as an example and encouragement to his followers, to confess him before men, whatever hazard they ran. Disdain, cruel mocking, and abhorrence, are the sure portion of the disciple as they were of the Master, from such as would buffet and deride the Lord of glory. These things were exactly foretold in the fiftieth chapter of Isaiah. Let us confess Christ's name, and bear the reproach, and he will confess us before his Father's throne.And they that had laid hold on Jesus,.... Who were the band, and the captain, and the officers of the Jews, as John 18:12, or as the Jews themselves say (q), the elders of Jerusalem; who not only laid fast hold on him, but bound him; and that both for greater security of him, some of them perhaps knowing how he had made his escape from them formerly; or at least taking the hint from Judas, to hold him fast, and lead him away safely; and by way of reproach and contempt, thereby showing that he was a malefactor, and had done some crime worthy of bonds; and having him thus in fast and safe custody, they

led him away to Caiaphas, the high priest; who was high priest that year; for the priesthood was frequently changed in those times, and men were put into it by the Roman governor, through favour or bribery. The year before this, Simeon, or Simon ben Camhith, was high priest; and the year before that, Eleazar, the son of Ananus; and before him, Ishmael ben Phabi, who were all three, successively, made high priests by the Roman governor: as was also this Caiaphas, this year; and who by Josephus (r), and in the Talmud (s) likewise, is called Joseph. From whence he had his name Caiaphas, is not certain: Jerom (t) says, it signifies "a searcher", or "a sagacious person"; but may be better interpreted, he adds, "one that vomits at the mouth"; deriving the word, as I suppose, from "to vomit", and "the mouth"; See Gill on Matthew 26:3. It was to the house, or palace of this man, the high priest, that Jesus was led,

where the Scribes and elders were assembled: a council was held about a week before this, in which Caiaphas assisted, and then gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient, that one man should die for the people, John 11:47, whether that was held at his house, or elsewhere, is not certain, very probably it might; however, it is clear from Matthew 26:2, that two days ago, the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, were assembled together in his palace, to consult about putting Jesus to death; and here they were again met together on the same account, waiting to have him brought before them,

(q) Toldos Jesu, p. 16, 17. (r) Antiq. l. 18. c. 14. (s) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 47. 1.((t) De Heb. nominibus, fol, 104. Colossians 4. Tom. 3.

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