MATTHEW 26:57-68
Pp Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:54,63-65, John 18:24,28

The three Jewish hearings
The false witnesses
The oath
The answer
   1. Seated at the right hand of Power
   2. Coming on the clouds of heaven
The two high priests
The tractate Sanhedrin and the illegality of Jesus’ trial
Map of Jerusalem in the time of Christ

Following the arrest, all four Gospels have Jesus led towards the high priest’s house to stand trial. The actual location of this residence is still open to question and the bottom line is that we’ll probably never be able to be sure of the actual place.

However, it would seem logical to presume that it must have been situated fairly near the Temple for the high priest not to have to journey through Jerusalem’s many streets in which he could encounter ceremonial defilement in a number of ways (though, as the high priest was a Sadducee, there would have been less of an obligation from all the intricacies which the Pharisees interpreted the Law to infer) and the two locations normally suggested lie south of the current city walls - but these probably lay within the Roman enclosure of the city in the first century.

The plain titled ‘House of Caiaphas’ is the furthest west of the two and, if we assume that Jesus was taken not across the valley in a straight line but round the more usual path which skirted the valley, the distance from Gethsemane would have been not more than two miles. The other site - Church of St Peter in Gallicantu - lies only a mile and a half from the general area of the Garden but there would remain the possibility here that a more direct route would have been beneficial and logical to take across the Kidron.

The guides I’ve seen usually favour the former of these two locations as the more likely to be authentic and they seem to rely on the fact that it stands at an elevation which places it within view of the Temple. While this may have been beneficial to the high priest, I’ve visited the latter location which has incorporated into the present building a prison cell where the ones held would be raised and lowered into the dungeon below by means of ropes through a round hole in the floor.

When you think about the types of people who would have had such a facility in their house, you have to admit that it would probably only be high ranking officials who would have been allowed to hold men and women to be charged in this manner and, though it’s impossible to be certain about anything in and around the city, it seems the more logical vicinity for the high priest to have lived in and it was nearer to the Temple as well.

As the commentators make no mention of any location in which the high priest was known to have lived, Jeremias only states that tradition places Annas’ residency in the Upper City (and, therefore, really can’t be relied upon too heavily) and the Mishnah appears to be silent, any location can be no more than a speculative guess.

Whatever, the journey back to the residency of the high priest couldn’t have taken much longer than half an hour even if they dawdled - and this was a group of soldiers who would have been acutely aware that the longer they stayed in the open with their prisoner, the longer they might be attacked by a reforming group of religious revolutionaries who could spring on them suddenly and cause significant losses. As I noted on the previous web page, the numbers of Roman soldiers present cause us to infer that they thought that a popular uprising could take place and their speed of departure from Gethsemane and journey back would have been carried out in the briefest of time.

A couple of questions need to be answered as to why John’s Gospel has Jesus first led to Annas (John 18:13-14,19-24) and why it’s Annas who’s mentioned as being the high priest (John 18:14, 18:19-23) when Matthew observes plainly that it was Caiaphas who was high priest (Mtw 26:57).

As to the first, it must be realised that the meeting - rather than ‘hearing’ - before Annas doesn’t resemble an official (or unofficial) gathering together of the Sanhedrin and the only other mention of people present are some officers, one of whom strikes Jesus with his hand when He answers Annas’ questions (John 18:22).

It appears, then, that Annas examined Jesus about both His teaching and His disciples (what exactly was he trying to ascertain? Their names? Where they lived? Whether they’d feel called to arms now that their Master had been arrested?) during a brief interval when the council was gathering to prove Jesus’ guilt under their own Law before He was to be brought before the Roman Governor on charges which would require them to sentence Him to death. Johncar observes that Annas sends Jesus to his son-in-law, Caiaphas when he’s sure

‘...that he will get nowhere with this Man...’

but there seems no point in this statement if it’s considered to have been some sort of official hearing. Annas’ intentions seem solely to find out some background on Jesus and to reap some details about His followers than to press charges. The authority for sentencing a Jew resided solely in the decision of the Sanhedrin whose head was the reigning high priest and it may be that Annas was absent from such a meeting - unfortunately, silence is no indication but this may have been his only chance to deal with Jesus on a personal level - it was Jesus, as we saw previously, who had attempted to destroy the trade in the Temple courts which was generally regarded as ‘the bazaars of Annas’.

Although Annas still retained some importance in religious and national affairs, this preliminary ‘hearing’ seems to have been no more than a personal questioning of their prisoner while the court prepared itself to receive Him.

When the scene moves to the hearing before Caiaphas, Jesus appears not to be so much questioned as expected to answer the charges which were being brought against Him by the witnesses that had been gathered to bear testimony to the things which He’d said in the past. They are, therefore, two very different scenes and we may expect that the time before Annas was fairly brief and a stop gap to occupy the prisoner until the ‘official’ hearing could take place.

The transfer of Jesus from Annas to Caiaphas is significant in John (John 18:24) simply because Peter is seen to be warming himself both before and after Annas’ meeting and doesn’t appear to change his location when the trial begins before Caiaphas. It shows the reader that the likelihood is that the two residencies couldn’t have been very far apart and, if it’s presumed that the structure of the houses was similar to a lot of places during the first century, the buildings would have surrounded an open courtyard where Peter stood and Jesus is moved simply from Annas’ quarters to those of Caiaphas - from one side of the square to the other.

The other question which needs answering is why Annas is mentioned as being the high priest (John 18:14, 18:19-23) when Matthew observes that it was Caiaphas (Mtw 26:57). This is only half an observation, however, for John also notes that Caiaphas was the high priest (John 11:49, 18:13) something which is often overlooked by those who would cry ‘contradiction’!

But this isn’t the only place where Annas is mentioned as being the high priest for Luke notes as much in Acts 4:5-6 where a hearing before the Sanhedrin notes that present were

‘...Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander and all who were of the high-priestly family’

while Luke 3:1-2 is even more illuminating when it firstly ties down John the Baptist’s appearance to

‘...the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar...’

and then goes on to note that it occurred

‘ the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas...’

where the indication is that the high priest was, in fact, seen to be in none other than two people. As Lukgel observes, the Greek is singular, not plural, and has the effect of drawing to the attention of the reader the single office but with dual holders.

It’s unlikely to be the case that both individuals held the office at different points in that year for Annas ruled as high priest from 6-15AD before being deposed by Pilate’s predecessor, Valerius Gratus, and, only after this period, did Caiaphas - not Annas - recover the priesthood during 18-36AD who was Annas’ son-in-law (John 18:13).

Commentators make much of the statement that, in the OT, the high priesthood was for life and that, applied to this situation, it indicates that, even though Annas was deposed, the appointment was impossible to be annulled. Actually, the OT speaks more about the lineage to whom the high priesthood is given and its eternality than on its insistence that one individual was to serve as high priest until the day of his death (a statement which proves the latter, I can’t find!).

Therefore, even though Caiaphas was now the high priest who performed the duties in the Temple and was recognised by Rome as such, Annas was still regarded as the high priest because his appointment to that office was not accepted as being annulled by the civil authorities.

However, Lukmor, commenting on Luke 3:2, observes that the author

‘...appears to mean that Caiaphas was officially in office but that Annas still exercised great influence...’

This, however, is more an observation of what the situation was than necessarily a reason why there were two individuals considered to share the high priesthood.

The three Jewish hearings
John 18:19-23 (Annas), Mtw 26:59-68, Mark 14:55-65 (Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin), Mtw 27:1, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66-71 (the Sanhedrin in the courts of the Temple)

We’ve already noted above that there’s a distinct ‘hearing’ before Annas before Jesus reaches the trial before Caiaphas during the early hours of the morning (John 18:19-23) and, although this is more likely to have been a personal confrontation than an official trial, it’s still listed here as the first of the three Jewish hearings that Jesus underwent before being delivered into the hands of the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate.

The second hearing which we’ll look at in the following articles on this web page seems to have been concerned to prove - not ‘determine’ as this had already been decided (John 11:53) - Jesus’ guilt under Jewish Law (Mtw 26:59-68, Mark 14:55-65).

Luke gives us details of a third hearing that took place in the morning, presumably when the sun had risen (Luke 22:66-71), while the other two writers mention it only in passing (Mtw 27:1, Mark 15:1). It seems that it was held so that the Sanhedrin could decide upon the charge that could be levelled at Jesus that He might be found deserving death by crucifixion under Roman law. Therefore Mtw 27:1-2 notes, firstly, that

‘...all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death’

before going on to note that, once this had been done

‘...they bound Him and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor’

because they had no authority to put a man to death (John 18:31). The contrast, therefore, is between the second hearing which was aimed at determining His guilt under Jewish Law and the third which was more a PR exercise in how to persuade the Roman authorities that He was deserving death even though they examined Jesus to make sure that He confessed Himself to be their Messiah.

Luke’s account varies too widely from that recorded in both Matthew and Mark for it to be regarded as the same hearing and that it’s simply been placed out of sequence because the details are significantly different. For instance, whereas Matthew mentions the use of witnesses (Mtw 26:59-62), Luke records none present and whereas Matthew records that the high priest asks the questions (Mtw 26:62-63), in Luke it’s the Sanhedrin (Luke 22:67).

Not only is the person who asks the question different but, in the former, the question is supported by an oath whereas Jesus answers plainly after a direct second question is asked. Indeed, in Luke’s account, the presence of the high priest is clearly in doubt by its silence and we might presume that he was busying himself with the offering of the morning sacrifice in the Temple though this would be to add too much to the text and, besides, it appears that it wasn’t the high priest’s obligation to offer this sacrifice in the first century Temple except on special days such as Yom Kippur.

But the chronology should also be clearly noted here where Luke 22:66’s statement that the hearing occurred

‘When day came...’

can mean very little other than daybreak in this context, along with Mtw 27:1’s

‘When morning came...’

and the three Synoptic passages which deal with Jesus’ mocking at the hand of the religious leaders clearly separate the two incidents (Mtw 26:67-68, Mark 14:65, Luke 22:63-65).

Having made the distinction between these two hearings (the second and third - where the one before Annas will be called the first of the three), we should note that it isn’t very easy to determine the difference in their structure as both are in the form of trials, ending up with Jesus’ condemnation by the Jewish leaders.

Of the second hearing, it’s recorded (Mtw 26:59, Mark 14:55) that

‘...the whole council [Sanhedrin]...’

were present, while Mark 14:53 further emphasises (my italics) that

‘...all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled’

And, of the third, we read (Mark 15:1) that

‘...the whole council...’

were present and (Mtw 27:1 - my italics) that

all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel...’

So, what was the difference? In what way can we say that the structure of both courts were any different to one another? It may be that there wasn’t any difference in the composition at all and that the Sanhedrin only met in the official place for making such decisions come daybreak to finalise their intentions - but there’s another possibility, for it may be that the legal requirement of a council of twenty-three persons were present in the second hearing, the number which was allowed to try capital cases under Pharisaic law (Sanhedrin 1:4 - but it must be remembered that the council was composed of many Sadducees) but that a decision was required by the full council of seventy-one in order to condemn Him under the charge of ‘false prophet’ (Sanhedrin 1:5) even though Jesus’ guilt had already been decided upon.

If this is correct, the references to ‘all’ and ‘the whole council’ would refer to the required number of persons present to make the decision in much the same way as we talk about the entire football team being on the pitch ready for the start of the game but we don’t mean that the entire squad’s there including the coach and physiotherapists!

It should also be noted that Luke 22:66’s statement that

‘...they led Him away to their council...’

is a possible reference to the morning trial being conducted in the Chamber of Hewn Stone where the Sanhedrin met within the Temple precinct (Sanhedrin 11:2). The Mishnah notes that this was the place of the ‘Great Council’ where

‘...the Law goes forth to all Israel’

and the progression of Jesus’ movements towards the Roman authorities is steady and continuous rather than it to be seen that He was dragged both here, there and everywhere throughout the morning (with the one possible exception of His movements across the city to see Herod - Luke 23:6-12)..

Whatever the exact structure of the Courts which sat, it’s hard to imagine either Joseph (Mark 15:43) or Nicodemus (John 3:1, 7:50-51) - who were both part of the Sanhedrin - being present and yet failing to speak up. Mathen sees the second trial as determining the verdict while the third as fixing the sentence. If this was the case, a full council would have been necessary at both hearings but, if the guilt had already been determined, it may have been that a full gathering wasn’t necessary if just the sentence was being pronounced (Luke 22:67-70). It would be possible, therefore, that the ‘full meeting’ at daybreak in the Temple was only ‘full’ in the sense that it had the full number present that was necessary.

Beyond these suggestions, however, there’s very little about the structure of the second and third hearings which can be said.

The false witnesses
Mtw 26:59-61, Mark 14:55-59

This second of the three Jewish hearings before Caiaphas began with the testimony of witnesses who were called upon to declare what they’d specifically heard Jesus say - and probably what they’d seen Him do as well. Both Matthew and Mark employ words related to one another which show that they were false (Strongs Greek numbers 5575 and 5577 in Matthew and 5576 in Mark - though Mattask observes that there’s some textual support for the assertion that Matthew refrains from calling the witnesses ‘false’) where Kittels defines the word group as meaning

‘...a witness who declares something that is untrue’

But, alternatively, Mark 14:56 notes that

‘...their witness did not agree’

rather than they were deliberately being falsified, so that the Jewish religious and civil authorities were left with the problem that the Mosaic Law specifically commanded (Deut 17:6 - see also Num 35:30, Deut 19:15 and Makkoth 1:7 where the Mosaic principle is clearly being upheld as applicable to court cases) that

‘On the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses he that is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness’

The procedure for examining more than one witness is laid out in Sanhedrin 3:6 where it clearly shows that the witnesses which were to follow were not allowed to hear the testimony of the former people who were to testify and that, only if their testimony agreed, could the judges discuss the matter to the end of pronouncing the verdict (I will look at the illegality of this trial in more detail in the final section of this web page).

The ‘falseness’ of the witnesses should be taken to indicate not that the Sanhedrin thus brought together had specifically arranged for men to declare things which they knew to be incorrect, but that the only evidence which they were able to obtain as evidence to be presented against Jesus was from the lips of men who weren’t concerned to necessarily uphold what was right, but who would declare what they thought needed to be heard - hence Mtw 26:59’s clear statement that they had ‘sought’ false testimony.

And, even though they would, no doubt, have brought in each witness one after the other according to the general methodology of the Mishnah, they were still generally unable to find two of them who agreed with one another and didn’t contradict. Mattask is correct when he observes that

‘What Caiaphas was most concerned about was not so much the accuracy or inaccuracy of particular allegations but the discovery of at least two witnesses who were in agreement...’

so that they might reach the conclusion which they had already predetermined was necessary. One would have expected them to take a great deal of care in the examination of the witnesses (Sanhedrin 5:2) but the expediency of the situation demanded that they take anything which was offered them.

We should say, however, that the council was striving to fulfil the Mosaic Law as quoted above and we can, at the very least, uphold their sincerity towards the Law. What they did in effect, though, was to take any evidence that substantiated the verdict they’d already agreed upon and upheld it over and above any testimonies which pointed away from their prisoner’s guilt.

That the witnesses failed to agree on the facts of events which would have caused Jesus to be condemned before them should indicate that the arrangements of the trial were such that there must have been a great amount of haste in it being convened, for they would have surely arranged to have determined what the testimonies would be ahead of time so that they were in agreement.

So, eventually, they found two witnesses who agreed and, leaving aside everything else which had gone before, used these words as the basis of their accusation. Matthew records their testimony as a simple statement that they’d heard Jesus pronounce (Mtw 26:61)

‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God, and to build it in three days’

though Mark’s concluding observation (Mark 14:59) that

‘...not even so did their testimony agree’

is borne out by his alternative record of their observation recorded as (Mark 14:58 - my italics)

‘I will destroy this Temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands

and which seems to go back to something which Jesus had said at the very start of His ministry at the time of His first cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem (John 2:13-22). When asked what sign He did to justify His actions (John 2:18), Jesus responded by announcing (John 2:19) that He would

‘Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up’

a statement which was clearly misunderstood by most of the Jews present (John 2:20) for He was speaking about His own body, the death and resurrection (John 2:21). It may have been understood by the religious leaders, however, if the statement in Mtw 27:63 is the conclusion which was based upon it. Although we might, in this present day, take the words thus interpreted as being the statement of a madman who was clearly unhinged and dismiss all charges out of court, they related back to a Messianic sign that inferred that Jesus was claiming to be the One who’d been promised so that the high priest’s subsequent questioning is solely along these lines.

In Zech 6:12-13, the prophet Zechariah announced concerning Joshua (and Jesus’ name was Joshua in Hebrew and Aramaic), the current high priest, that he was

‘...the man whose name is the Branch...and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honour and shall sit and rule upon his throne...’

which, as Edersheim points out in one of his appendices (Appendix nine - ‘List of OT passages Messianically applied in Ancient Rabbinic writings’)

‘ universally admitted to be Messianic’

Coupled with the statements from chapter 40 in the Book of Ezekiel concerning an as yet unbuilt Temple, and you have, as Matfran writes

‘...a widespread expectation that the destruction of the existing Temple and its replacement with a new and perfect one would be a feature of the Messianic age’

Clearly, the pronouncement that this would happen wasn’t what Caiaphas and the Court were looking for in itself but when Jesus claimed that He would be the fulfilment of the prophetic pronouncement it was, therefore, sufficient evidence to confirm that Jesus claimed to be none other than the Messiah and it served to justify their condemnation of Him as deserving death for blasphemy.

Mattask observes that to speak against the Temple in Jerusalem was something which deserved the greatest condemnation within not only Israelite society but throughout the civilised world when applied to any deity’s holy place. But this doesn’t appear to be the point of the witnesses - it relies solely in the association of such an action as being that which Messiah was expected to achieve that made it so applicable as a relevant charge with which to condemn Jesus and, as Markcol notes

‘...such charges could not justify a legal death sentence, the more so as the saying contained a prophecy of rebuilding’

It should be realised that, throughout His three and a half year ministry to the nation of Israel, Jesus had never publicly said ‘I am the Messiah’ but that those who saw what He did could come to no other conclusion than that He was the One who’d been promised - if their eyes were open to receive it. His opponents attacked Him on the grounds that He was claiming to be the Christ, but it was the very things which He’d done in their midst which was the necessary proof that He was.

Jesus had announced Himself to be the One promised, however, privately to individuals (John 4:26, Mtw 16:16-17) but never as a specific statement which said as much - otherwise they would have been able to have used this in their prosecution at the trial (John 8:58 was just about as close as He could get without stating it publicly, as it inferred that Jesus was claiming divinity). Even so, these private declarations of who He was were never on His own initiative but as a response to what was said to Him.

Concluding, it was important for the religious leaders to prove conclusively that there was evidence to support the assertion that Jesus thought Himself to be the Messiah and it’s on these grounds that they must find Him guilty. When the high priest turns to Jesus (see the next section), he’s wanting Jesus to respond to the charge and so condemn Himself before them.

The oath
Mtw 26:62-63, Mark 14:60-61

The witnesses had proven Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah before the court called together in Caiaphas’ house, even though it appears from the text as if this was a last gasp declaration from a string of people who testified and that it was only these two people who said something similar which could be accepted as evidence.

Jesus, however, remained silent before the witnesses and before Caiaphas’ subsequent question which asked for an explanation of the statements (Mtw 26:63). But Jesus can’t here admit the quote because it’s obviously a misrepresentation of what He’d said (as we saw in the previous article) and He can’t deny the quote because it’s the Father’s will that, through this trial, He’ll be condemned to death.

There’s certainly a fulfilment of Is 53:7 here but, on a more practical level, Matfran notes that Jesus’ silence

‘...may be construed as another example of His refusal to prevent the course of events’

and probably a perception as well that whatever He would say wouldn’t be accepted, for He knew that the will of the religious leadership was already set on achieving their aim of putting Him to death (Mtw 20:18).

The testimony of the witnesses seems to have been aimed solely at some memory of Jesus announcing Himself to be the Messiah in His opponents’ hearing. Only if they could prove this, could they justify a judgment of execution for blasphemy for it was in taking upon Himself the attribution of being the Messiah that there would be grounds with which they could bring a charge also against Him before the Roman authorities.

The high priest’s response to Jesus’ silence was a very cunning method to compel Jesus to tell the truth and so to condemn Himself with His own words. His opening phrase (Mtw 26:63)

‘I adjure you by the living God...’

parallels Lev 5:1 (see also Lev 5:5-6 for the solution to the possibility of sin) where it’s written that

‘If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify and though he is a witness...does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity’

and it’s this Scripture which many commentators draw the reader’s attention to. However, it isn’t certain that this has a direct application to the situation at hand simply because it seems to bear the hallmarks of an announcement in the streets of a village or a town when witnesses are encouraged to come forward and give their own testimony of the issue at hand. In the house of Caiaphas, the adjuration is a direct call for the testimony of the prisoner to comment on the charges which have been brought to the court’s attention - that is, that He was proclaiming Himself as the Messiah.

The Jewish background is found in Shebuoth 4:3 but even this seems to be a situation which is public rather than one to be observed in the setting of a court hearing. But what it does clearly show is that the phrase ‘I adjure you’ was a formula which had the effect of rendering culpable those who had responded incorrectly to a call to bear witness - that is, that they said they had nothing relevant to say when it was obvious that they did.

So, for Jesus to have remained silent and to refuse to answer was as much a sin as telling a lie. Jesus had to make a response to Caiaphas’ question - if the background in the Mishnah is relevant - and He was obliged to tell the truth. The high priest had also demanded the truth to be spoken and his question be answered in the name of God, the highest of oaths which could be spoken and laid upon an individual.

Silence was doing their cause no good at all for there was nothing that was emanating from Jesus’ lips that they could use to substantiate a charge against Him. By the adjuration to testify, they forced Him into saying something and, no doubt, the high priest was hoping that he might say something which would prove His guilt or, at the very least, be turned on its head against Him.

But the high priest’s concept of who the Messiah was to be and Jesus’ own perception of what He was called to do were totally different. To the former, it probably means something like a political leader who will destroy the authority structures in which they received their power and influence or, at the very least, simply a revolutionary who would attempt an overthrow of the way things were and so bring the wrath of the Roman Empire down upon them.

To Jesus, however, Messiahship meant service and suffering on the behalf of others (Mtw 20:28) and that, even as He stood before Caiaphas, the will of God was being ultimately and finally outworked. There may have been a tinge of sarcasm in the high priest’s question and the implication that Jesus could hardly claim to be the Messiah if He’d allowed Himself to be taken and captured by both Roman and Jewish soldiers - but it was, as Caiaphas could never conceive, the way that the true calling of the Messiah was to be made known.

What Caiaphas didn’t stop to consider was that, if Jesus was bound to tell the truth as a witness of His own guilt, it meant that he was also bound to accept it as being the truth. Caiaphas was only using the truth as a tool with which He would be able to condemn Jesus to death and wasn’t interested in the ultimate integrity of the case.

His question, also, was heavily flawed for, instead of asking

‘Tell us if you claim to be the Christ, the Son of God’

he actually asked (Mtw 26:63)

‘Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’

Mathag comments that Caiaphas’ question was so phrased to ask whether Jesus considered Himself to be the Messiah but this is entirely lacking from both places in the text where the question has been recorded. The question, then, is phrased as a matter of fact and no provision is being made for the possibility that their prisoner might genuinely think of Himself as the Messiah even if He wasn’t.

But, as we began to note above, the content of the question betrays how Caiaphas should have taken the answer he received. If the first question of the two possibilities I’ve just noted had been asked, the prisoner’s guilt would still have remained because there was only a declared attribution of Messiahship to the accused - but the actual question asked for truth and demanded it by the use of an oath, asking not whether Jesus considered Himself to be the One promised but whether He actually was.

Caiaphas, therefore, was obliged to take whatever the declaration was which came from Jesus as being an absolute declaration - and that he was forced into accepting it - but he shows himself here not to be concerned with it and, like many a politician, will use the truth to bring about his own purposes.

The answer
Mtw 26:64, Mark 14:62

Jesus’ silence appears to have only infuriated Caiaphas and his adjuration was delivered so that the prisoner might put Himself into a position where whatever was said might be used to condemn Him. Certainly, the high priest would have been equally displeased and angry that Jesus was being heralded by the people as being the earthly deliverer that the nation had been awaiting and, as previously noted, there must have been an element of sarcasm in the question (Mtw 26:63)

‘...tell us if You are the Christ...’

for here was the Messiah, bound in chains and captive before His accusers, making no attempt to struggle and be freed from their hands. Certainly, the concept of who the Messiah was to be in general Jewish thought is thwarted by the picture being presented to him. But it was the concept of Messiahship which was being misunderstood for, to the high priest, it meant glory and honour, a position of unequalled power without the need for the humility of manhood - for Jesus, this was an integral part of what it meant.

Therefore, we see Caiaphas using the title ‘Son of God’ in his questioning (Mtw 26:63) where Jesus responds by proclaiming facts about the ‘Son of man’ (Mtw 26:64 - see my notes here for a discussion of this title) before going on to speak about enthronement, power and authority. For Jesus, His ministry was all about humanity and the title was something which He took upon Himself repeatedly when speaking about Himself to others. Upto this point in the Gospel of Matthew, the title ‘Son of God’ had only been put upon Him by the devil (Mtw 4:3,6), the demonic (Mtw 8:29) and the disciples after the miraculous sign of walking on the water (Mtw 14:33).

Jesus was more concerned to emphasise His humanity than He was to declare His divinity and, even though the high priest is delighted at Jesus’ own proclamation of His Messiahship, he failed to notice that Jesus doesn’t speak in terms of His divinity (that is ‘Son of God’) when He goes on to mention the clouds of Heaven and the authority of sitting at God’s right hand, but in terms of His humanity (‘Son of man’).

His declaration, therefore, is to emphasise ‘humanity enthroned’ as the fulfilment of the Messiah and not, as Caiaphas supposed, of divinity’s strength. We should note this carefully for it shows us that Jesus could never have been accepted as the nation’s Messiah because He failed to live up to their expectations of who that One would be - Jesus saw His Messiahship in terms of humility and service, in doing great things for others rather than it being an extension of His own glory and supremacy. And, therefore, whilever such attributes are denied as being an integral part of the One who is expected to come, the true Messiah and His work of service in and through the cross will never be able to be understood and accepted.

Jesus’ initial answer, however, is simply an affirmation of Caiaphas’ statement even though He goes on to correct the high priest’s concept of who the Messiah was to be. His enigmatic saying (Mtw 26:64)

‘You have said so’

is repeated both prior to this incident where Jesus responds to Judas’ question as to whether it’s he who’s the betrayer (Mtw 26:25) and, after, before Pilate when He’s asked whether He’s the King of the Jews (Mtw 27:11). In each of these places, however, the statement means, simply, ‘yes’ (as the parallel ‘I am’ in Mark 14:62 demonstrates) or, perhaps better and to put it into modern slang

‘You’ve got it!’

But these words should retain the reluctance with which Jesus is finding Himself forced into answering the question, the reason being that the high priest’s concept of Messiahship is wholly different to that which, in reality, it is. His reply is almost along the lines of meaning

‘These are your words, not mine’

before He goes on to correct the mistaken concept as we noted above (Mattask’s eighteen line paraphrase of Jesus’ reply is rather long-winded but he seems to capture the general feel) where He will proceed to declare humanity’s enthronement in the Messiah, something which was about to happen in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension.

This enthronement is demonstrated in two specific areas.

1. Seated at the right hand of Power

Firstly, Jesus talks about what should be expected from that moment forward - that the high priest would

‘...see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power’

where the word ‘power’ is capitalised simply because it’s a word which could be substituted for God Himself and it’s this concept which seems to be in mind here. Jesus, then, is speaking about humanity being elevated to the right hand of God, a position of unequalled power and authority.

In my notes on the Ascension - the following notes have been taken and adapted from this web page) - a doctrine which is sadly neglected in today’s Church though certainly not denied as erroneous - I noted that there were various NT Scriptures which inform the reader that Jesus is now at the right hand of the Father (Mtw 26:64, Mk 16:19, Acts 2:33, 5:31, 7:55-56, Rom 8:34, Eph 1:20, Col 3:1, Heb 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2, I Peter 3:22). If we’re to gain a correct understanding of what this position means, we need to refer to other Scripture where the meaning appears to be straightforward.

Firstly, Gen 48:8-20. Here we find Jacob (Israel) being brought Joseph’s two sons, laying his hands upon them shortly before his death and blessing them both. In verse 17, we see Joseph trying to remove his father’s hands from off his children and swapping them over so that his right hand rested on the firstborn, Manasseh, for it was the firstborn who had special rights concerning his inheritance (see, for instance, Deut 21:15-17. Even though this law was given after the incident recorded in Genesis, it presupposes that some sort of extra honour was already being distributed to the firstborn within Israelite society - Manasseh therefore had the right to receive more than Ephraim).

But Israel prophetically saw that Ephraim would be greater than his elder brother, Manasseh (Gen 48:19), and so had deliberately laid his right hand upon Ephraim’s head.

The right hand is, therefore, a position of superiority over and above others (notice that in Gen 48:19 Jacob says clearly that Ephraim ‘...shall be greater...’) and of greater blessing than being positioned at the left hand.

In short, the right hand is a place of honour above all else and all others.

Secondly, Ps 16:11 speaks of the great blessing and provision that there is at God’s right hand for all His saints. In this context of OT Scripture, when David speaks of the Messiah as being seated at the right hand of the Lord (Ps 110:1), he’s saying that the Christ is to be given a position of great power and authority, a place of unequalled honour and blessing. As Petgrude notes on I Peter 3:22

‘ the ancient world, to sit at the right hand of a king signified that one acted with the king’s authority and power...’

and Petstib on the same verse notes the elevation of Jesus as implying ultimately (my italics) that He’s

‘...enthroned at God’s right hand, the place of supreme privilege and sovereignty in the universe

It’s these two concepts that are at the heart of the Matthean record of the usage of the saying before the high priest, that Jesus will from that time forward be seen to be elevated to the right hand of the Father in Heaven. He’s been elevated into a position that can be neither equalled nor bettered and is the supreme Head over all things. There’s no other position that can possibly exist that’s more elevated than the One that Jesus now occupies.

Jesus’ self-declared position is, therefore, seen to be one of co-equal rule with God. As this statement may confuse us with reference to the deity of Christ - for how can God reign co-equally with Himself? - a little explanation is required.

There are numerous Scriptures where Jesus was proclaimed as being the Son of God and, therefore, in some way, a revelation of the self-existent God, YHWH. But, when we think of Jesus being elevated into a position of authority, second only to God, we’re thinking of Jesus in His humanity (that is, as a man) rather than in His deity (as God).

These statements are not saying that God has elevated Himself into a position where He has subjected Himself to Himself (?!), but that the Father has elevated a man, Jesus Christ, into a position of sovereignty that it had been His original intention at the start of Creation to do (see my notes on the web page ‘Creation/Restoration of Creation’ part 2 section 3).

We must view this elevation to God’s right hand, then, from the perspective of Jesus’ humanity and not His divinity. As I noted above, Jesus proclaimed the new position as humanity enthroned, a fulfilment of God’s original intention for mankind since the sixth day of Creation (Gen 1:28).

For a consideration of the reason for Jesus to be spoken of as being seated see my notes on the Ascension page.

2. Coming on the clouds of heaven

Secondly, Jesus talks about Himself in Mtw 26:64 (my italics) as

‘...coming on the clouds of heaven’

while the RSV’s translation of Mark 14:62 (my italics) notes a slight difference in that He’s recorded as saying that the high priest would see Him

‘...coming with the clouds of heaven’

There’s very little difference in meaning between the two variations, however, and we should move straight on to an interpretation even though there certainly appears to be quite a wealth of possibility here. I remember hearing a very well-respected teacher speak on this passage and comment that the ‘clouds’ referred to were the clouds of incense which were a necessary requirement of Aaron’s entry into the Holiest of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:12-13).

Although this interpretation is quite possible - but a very personal one directed only at the high priest who could possibly witness such a thing - I’ve never fully understood what significance such a statement was designed to have.

It has to be recognised, however, that Jesus says specifically that ‘hereafter’ the high priest would see both the sitting and the coming and, even though the phrase is still disputed, it seems most likely that it must mean ‘from now on’ and refer to something which was to take place for Caiaphas (and probably those present) to witness.

Therefore, to parallel it with the future return of Jesus as being a fulfilment and an echo of Jesus’ previous words in Mtw 24:30 where He says to the disciples that

‘...then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’

can only be an ascription to an event which was expected by Jesus to have occurred within the lifetime of the high priest.

As we saw on the web page where I dealt with Matthew chapter 24, this isn’t a problem because Mtw 24:34 indicates this. But the commentator who sees such a statement as initially meant to be fulfilled at a distant time cannot realistically reconcile this statement before the high priest with it because it expects an eye witness fulfilment.

It seems best, however, to relate the verse back firmly into the OT context of Dan 7:13-14 where the prophet recorded (my italics) that

‘I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed’

where the italicised words tie in well with the other words which Jesus speaks. Both refer to a ‘Son of man’, both speak of the clouds of heaven and both refer to unequalled authority being given to Him (Jesus’ phrase ‘seated at the right hand of Power’ as we saw above).

The phrase, I believe, should be taken as no more than a declaration that Jesus was to be enthroned as Sovereign Messiah by God Himself and that, consequently, the high priest and those present were about to witness the event after the ascension through the continued operation of His ministry in the disciples’ proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel.

I’ve already noted above that the entire phrase speaks about humanity being enthroned, is fundamental to a correct understanding of the need for the ascension back into Heaven and that, without such an event, mankind could not be seen to be raised with Christ into the heavenly realm to co-rule (see my notes on the Ascension).

Before we close, we should note one point in Edersheim which, because it was written so many years after the events of the first century, can only be read with interest rather than with a specific application to the context in which these words were spoken. He notes that Daniel 7:13

‘ curiously explained in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 98a) where it is said that, if Israel behaved worthily, the Messiah would come in the clouds of heaven; if otherwise, humble, and riding upon an ass’

That the actual events of Jesus’ final march on the city of Jerusalem would substantiate a fulfilment of this statement is certainly intriguing but we have no way of knowing if, perhaps, the known events of history might have, somehow, influenced the statement - and that, even, it was seen to be an undermining of the authenticity of Jesus’ mission to Israel.

The two high priests
Mtw 26:65-68, Mark 14:63-65

Once Jesus announces the type of Messiah He is - He uses the title ‘Son of man’ to emphasise His humanity rather than ‘Son of God’ which points to divinity - the high priest tears His garment and announces His assessment of the matter that Jesus has uttered blasphemy. The problem was not, however, that Jesus was the Messiah but that the religious leaders had already assumed that He couldn’t be. In other words, it really didn’t matter who came as the Messiah, they didn’t seem to want to accept that He could possibly come if He came as Someone who they didn’t approve of.

But the real significance of Caiaphas’ response here is his action of tearing his robes for the two characters who stood face to face represented two high priests.

Caiaphas was high priest according to the flesh (that is, the office was given to someone of the lineage of Aaron - even though the Romans chose who were to be the high priests from the members of the Sadducean religious party) and the Mosaic Law, performing rites and duties in accordance with the written code.

Jesus, on the other hand, was high priest according to the Spirit of God (Heb 5:5 - His mediation for mankind on the cross was according to the will of God) and promise (where Ps 110:4 shows that YHWH had given the priesthood to David’s Lord by a promise that would not be revoked).

In the OT, the high priest’s robe was specifically constructed so that it could not be torn (Ex 28:31-32, 39:23) and Aaron and successive high priests were commanded not to tear their garments (Lev 21:10). Even when Aaron’s sons died before YHWH, he was forbidden to show his grief in this manner (Lev 10:6) for the robe and the symbol of His calling to the priesthood had to be kept in tact.

When, however (Mtw 26:65)

‘...the high priest tore his robes...’

he tore the priesthood away from himself and all those who were to follow, violating the covenant with God. Sanhedrin 7:5 (my italics) notes that the correct response when one heard a blasphemer pronounce the divine name was for the judges to

‘...stand up on their feet and rend their garments and they may not mend them again

another indication that the tearing away of the priesthood was something that was here symbolic of the total repudiation of the OT sufficiency of the Mosaic order of sacrifices and offerings.

There may also be an allusion to this garment of the high priest in John 19:23 where the writer notes specifically that the tunic which Jesus wore was

‘...without seam, woven from top to bottom...’

and that, because of this, the Roman soldiers cast lots for it rather than divide it into four parts amongst themselves. Symbolically, then, the record points towards the eternality of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The new priestly line began in Jesus Christ as He offered His blood on the cross as the mediator securing what the old line could never achieve - that is, forgiveness of sins (Heb 9:26) and freedom of access into the presence of God (Heb 10:19-22).

Having decided upon Jesus’ guilt and judging that He’d blasphemed at the conclusion of the high priest, there was only one verdict which could be pronounced upon Him which was death (Lev 24:16) even though the Mosaic Law called for the entire congregation to have a hand in the execution and that the method was to be stoning.

Both in the levitical passage and Sanhedrin 7:5 (a Pharisaic record, it has to be observed), it’s noted plainly that a person wasn’t culpable unless the name of YHWH was specifically pronounced and this was something which Jesus is never recorded as doing - unless both Matthew and Mark have rendered the divine name which Jesus used at the trial by their word ‘Power’ rather than to record the name as being spoken.

In this case, Caiaphas would have paid little or no regard to the content of Jesus’ words but only to the divine name which had been uttered. It seems more likely, however, that Caiaphas summated the statement as ‘blasphemy’ because it was a declaration that Jesus was assuming some of the unique characteristics of God Himself where the Messiah was to be thought of as being divine.

Again, we should come back to the titles which both men use in this question and answer, for the high priest structures the question with the title ‘Son of God’ but Jesus responds with the title ‘Son of man’. Even though it remains plain that Jesus is the Son of God, He only proclaims His humanity before His accusers and, as previously noted above frequently, is declaring that the time has come for humanity to be enthroned by God Himself.

Finally in this passage, there’re the details about the way in which the Jewish religious leaders greeted the pronouncement from Jesus that He was the Messiah (Mtw 26:67-68, Mark 14:65, Luke 22:63-65), a subject which I don’t intend to deal with in a very detailed manner both here and in the subsequent passages which record them.

Some readers may wonder why that is and I offer this as an explanation. The first century writers don’t seem to have gloried in the physical sufferings of Jesus but elevated the time on the cross as being the one unique moment in world history when man was once for all time reconciled back into a relationship with God.

The physical sufferings were events which occurred in the process of Jesus reaching that point where the work was possible and, even on the cross, the physical pain and anguish must have been terrible. But all that pales into insignificance before the spiritual pain of separation from the Father (Mtw 27:46), the means whereby man was reconciled to God.

We speak of the physical death of Christ and His sufferings thinking that, somehow, this was the way that the slate of man’s sin was washed clean - but Jesus shouted (John 19:30)

‘It is finished’

before He died to show that it wasn’t in what happened immediately afterwards that had the effect of doing for man what he couldn’t do for himself. When we look at the cross, we must always remember that separation from God, spiritual death, was what brought man back to God and not something physical and temporal.

Many have stood up to share the grotesque experiences of Christ in those final twelve hours before He breathed His last while congregations have gasped or become sorrowful over what He went through, sometimes completely failing to mention the work which brought us back to the Father. Although such messages increase a believer’s love and appreciation for Jesus, they undermine the truth of the Gospel and cause the believer to think upon physical suffering as being an atoning sacrifice.

Therefore, in these couple of verses - and in the other subsequent places where Jesus’ physical sufferings are mentioned - I shall only briefly consider them when necessary. Indeed, if the reader carefully reads the Scriptural passages, they’ll note that the writers give very little graphic detail in their information surrounding such events.

What these couple of verses do show us, however, is that the religious persecute the righteous - and this not only here but down through the subsequent pages of Church history even upto and including the present day.

You would have thought that, if the Church had really learnt from the story and experience of Jesus, it would have long since ceased to create divisions amongst itself and to put down and oppose those men and women who have an experience of God which challenges their own.

But, even today, there are boundaries which remain and which cause ‘believers’ to split from others because of small differences which are blown out of all proportion to become major divisive structures, alienating bodies of believers from one another.

Even worse is the record of past years where the recipients of the previous revival have often been the persecutors of the next move of God - where a group of people dig their heels in to going any further and then attempt to deny any new experience to anyone else who’s bold enough to allow God to use them beyond the established rigid boundaries.

We must realise that the Jewish religious leaders thought they had God on their side in what they were doing (John 11:49-52) and, besides, weren’t they the ones chosen by God to have the oversight of the people of God, Israel? So it was wholly natural that, when Jesus came along, they would have to condemn the move of God through Him as being demonic simply because it undermined the authority of their own position (Mtw 9:34, 12:24) and threatened to pull men and women away to follow after Jesus.

So, we should be careful not to think that the Jews were the guiltiest of men in their rejection and dealing with Jesus Christ in the first century, because they did no more than the established Church has done throughout its long history.

We should note the words of Luke 22:65 which are obscured by the RSV’s rendering of the verse. The Nestle-Marshall Interlinear Greek text runs (my italics)

‘And many other things blaspheming they said against Him’

where the italicised word (Strongs Greek number 987) is the identical one which is used by the high priest in his assessment of Jesus’ words in Mtw 26:65. Luknol observes that the author’s use of this word

‘...may be due to an inverted use of the charge in Mark 14:64 that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy...’

but this does little except undermine the authenticity of the observation which should be fully accepted.

The writers are making it plain to the reader, therefore, that, even though Jesus was condemned for blasphemy by answering truthfully to the question posed, the real blasphemy was displayed in the way the religious leadership dealt with Him once the charges had been confirmed. The people who accuse others of blasphemy are often the very ones who commit it themselves.

We should, with great care, note this verse in the context of what I’ve previously written about how the religious have persecuted the righteous throughout Church history, for the persecution of Jesus Christ in His followers is the same as persecuting Him directly (Mtw 25:40). Indeed, it seems to me that, at the close of the age, there will be more professed believers in God who have committed blasphemy against God than there will be on the side of those who confess no relationship with Him at all.

The tractate Sanhedrin and the illegality of Jesus’ second trial

The tractate Sanhedrin in the Mishnah presents a perfect scenario of how the Pharisees would have expected court cases to have been conducted not only in the Great Sanhedrin which sat in Jerusalem but in the lesser sanhedrins which were scattered throughout the nation and which dispensed justice to Israel.

But, because the tractate is written by the Pharisees, a comparison between what took place on that night when Jesus stood before them and the rules and regulations in the Mishnah may be somewhat misguided depending on the procedure which was accepted by the Sadducean members of the Sanhedrin or the compromise which might have had to have been worked out when the mix of Sadducees and Pharisees sat together in council.

We know that some of the great crowd which came out to arrest Jesus were sent by the Pharisees (John 18:3) but it doesn’t follow that those gathered in the high priest’s house were from the ranks of that sect at all and it’s possible - though not provable - that a ‘quorum’ of twenty-three might have been present at this second of the three Jewish hearings and that they may have been comprised exclusively of those who owed their allegiance to the high priest.

It certainly seems to be the case that the third of the Jewish hearings which took place in the Temple courts was comprised of the full council (Luke 22:66) - at least, that’s the inference - even though I noted previously that the presence of both Joseph of Arimathea (Mark 15:43) and Nicodemus (John 3:1) in any or all of the proceedings would be extremely difficult to imagine.

Many have attempted to show that Jesus’ trial was ‘illegal’ according to the Rabbinic records available so this section is by no means new (and the contents are not exhaustive, either) but it’s necessary that we at least compare a few of the rules and regulations so that we can settle it in our own mind that expediency was the order of the day rather than justice.

That the council met during the night to settle for themselves that they had enough proof to bring a charge against Jesus shouldn’t blind us to the fact that they’d already decided upon Jesus’ guilt long before they ever summoned their first witness to bear testimony (John 11:49-53).

Sanhedrin 4:1 holds a wealth of information. Firstly, it notes that

‘ capital cases a...verdict of conviction [may not be reached] until the following day...’

confirmed by Sanhedrin 5:5 which states that

‘If they found him innocent they set him free; otherwise they leave his sentence over until the morrow’

It’s plain from Mtw 26:66, however, that Jesus’ guilt and His sentence were pronounced at the same time and, even if we were to push the instruction forward to the hearing which occurred in the Temple courts the following morning (Luke 22:66), the illegality of the trial is still plain. Sanhedrin 4:1 also notes that

‘...trials may not be held on the eve of the sabbath or on the eve of a Festival day’

where Mtw 27:62, 28:1 and Luke 23:54 show that the following day, beginning at sundown, was a natural sabbath. The night of the trial and the morning were both on the eve of a sabbath and, therefore, there was a prohibition for the trial never to have taken place but delayed until, presumably, the day following the sabbath when an execution could be pronounced on a non-sabbath day following the trial.

Again, the Mishnaic verse comments that

‘Capital cases must begin with reasons for acquittal and may not begin with reasons for conviction’


‘In capital cases, all may argue in favour of acquittal but not in favour of conviction’

The first can only be argued from the silence of the Gospel accounts but the second is plainly shown not to have taken place by Mark 14:64 which states that

‘...they all condemned Him as deserving death’

Finally - for Sanhedrin 4:1 - it notes that

‘In capital cases they hold the trial during the daytime and the verdict also must be reached during the daytime’

but it was even before morning came that the trial had been held and concluded (Mtw 27:1). This one verse in the Mishnah, then, bears a great amount of information on how the trial should have been carried out if we assume that such regulations were in force in first century Israel. But there are other indications that such a trial was soundly against the guidelines which were held by the leaders as obligatory for, in Sanhedrin 5:2, we read that

‘...the more a judge tests the evidence, the more he is deserving of praise...’

The council had already decided Jesus’ fate before the council met - even before He was arrested - and rushed the trial through ignoring conflicting evidence (Mtw 26:57-68, 26:3-4, John 11:49-50,53, Mtw 12:14). Concerning the specific charge of blasphemy, Sanhedrin 7:5 states that

‘The blasphemer is not culpable unless he pronounces the Name [of YHWH] Himself’

but Jesus appears to have used a title of God which was accepted as a substitute (Mtw 26:65-66 - the ‘Power’) even though the council went on to uphold the charge of blasphemy. I noted above, however, that the Gospel writers may have replaced Jesus’ word with one which was more acceptable to their readership and to safeguard their writing at the hands of the Jews - after all, there would have been many Jewish believers who would have read the Gospels once they started to be circulated and discretion is the better part of valour. This isn’t provable, but it’s a possibility.

The place for trials to take place according to Sanhedrin 11:2 was in

‘...the chamber of Hewn Stone...’

(see Middoth 5:3-4 for its exact location within the Temple precincts) and it was only this court who had the authority to try a false prophet (Sanhedrin 1:5), but the second trial clearly took place in Caiaphas’ house (Mark 14:53-54).

There was also the statement of Sanhedrin 5:2 that

‘If [two witnesses] contradict one another, whether during the inquiries or the cross examination, their evidence becomes invalid’

where Mark 14:59 indicates that the two witnesses who eventually said similar words concerning Jesus still didn’t agree with one another precisely enough so that their testimony should have been rejected.

Finally, Sanhedrin 7:1 states that the Sanhedrin had the power to put to death - but commentators point out that the Jerusalem Talmud explains that the right to inflict capital punishment was taken from Israel forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple. The Jewish leaders, therefore, would have needed the co-operation of Rome if they were to be able to carry out their verdict of Jesus deserving death and the meeting in the Temple courts the following morning seems to have been called to decide not so much upon Jesus’ guilt but upon the charges which they felt would be able to be brought against Him before the Roman governor that would justify condemning Him to death.

Map of Jerusalem in the time of Christ
(not drawn to scale)


1. Gethsemane
2. Residency of the high priest, Caiaphas
3. The Temple area (see 8, 9 and 10)
4. Antonia Fortress
5. Herod’s Palace
6. Traditional site of Calvary (Church of the Holy Sepulchre)
7. Pool of Siloam
8. Outer Court (Court of the Gentiles)
9. Inner Court (Court of the Women)
10. Inner Court (Court of Israel)
11. Holy of Holies
12. Upper City area


These represent generalisations for, within Antonia Fortress, Jesus was moved about considerably and, within Caiaphas’ house, he was seen by Annas first before being moved to the place where Caiaphas had gathered the Sanhedrin even though these appear to have been in the same locality.

A. From Gethsemane to the house of Caiaphas (Mtw 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54, John 18:13,24)
B. The house of Caiaphas to the Chamber of Hewn Stone (Mtw 27:1, Mark 15:1, Luke 22:66)
C. Chamber of Hewn Stone to the Praetorium in Antonia Fortress (Mtw 27:2, Mark 15:1, Luke 23:1, John 18:28)
D. Antonia Fortress to Herod’s Palace (Luke 23:7)
E. Herod’s Palace to Antonia Fortress (Luke 23:11)
F. Antonia Fortress to the place of the Crucifixion (Mtw 26:27-33. Mark 15:20-22, Luke 23:26-33, John 19:17)