So they arrested Him and led Him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there.Luke 22:53+55
The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating Him. They blindfolded Him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit You that time?” And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at Him. At daybreak all the elders of the people assembled, including the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. Jesus was led before this high council, and they said, “Tell us, are You the Messiah?” But He replied, “If I tell you, you won’t believe Me. And if I ask you a question, you won’t answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand. ” They all shouted, “So, are You claiming to be the Son of God?” And He replied, “You say that I am.” “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard Him say it.”Luke 22:63-71
Luke covers the First and Second Phase of Jesus’ Trials in just three verses. Did you notice what I did to you this time round. In the segment I clipped for Luke I included the verses to the end of the chapter. But only verses 22:63-65 parallel the portions of Matthew and Mark which are included in parallel columns for comparison. Luke 22:66 to the end of the chapter deals with the start of Phase Three which is Jesus’ second appearance before the Sanhedrin the next day. All of what is included in Matthew and Mark’s account in our comparative columns relates to the night trial before Caiaphus and the members of the Sanhedrin.
Now that is remarkable.
Luke’s version of the first and second phases is reduced to just three verses:
54 So they arrested Him and led Him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance.
63 The guards in charge of Jesus began mocking and beating Him.
64 They blindfolded Him and said, “Prophesy to us! Who hit You that time?”
65 And they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at Him.
Verse 54 Luke shares with Matthew and Mark. The blindfolding he borrows from Mark and the “Prophesy to us! Who hit you that time?” comes from Matthew. The other elements are Luke’s own. Verse 54 is used by the other synoptic gospel writers as the bridge to the first phases of Jesus’ trial, whereas Luke uses it to introduce the fulfilment of Peter’s earlier denial. For Luke, Peter’s denial sequence takes precedence. Matthew and Mark include the fulfilment of Peter’s denial, but only after they have finished the account of the 2nd phase of the trials. It is also clear to us the emphasis the synoptic writers place on these two pericope. Matthew and Mark make a big deal of the trial. Luke sums it up in three verses. Most of which are borrowed and two lines of which are his own additions. In the first he makes it clear that those in charge of guarding Jesus mocked Him. Following which he sums up all of the activity Matthew and Mark record with the words “and they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at Him”.
Note that Luke says nothing about the first and second phase of the trials as such and focuses only on the treatment the guards in charge of Jesus gave to Him. Luke didn’t focus on the formal things that are happening, he focused on the informal. Clearly before the trial began the guards were killing time by mocking and beating Jesus. The members of the Sanhedrin were ultimately in charge and could have stopped the activity with a single command but didn’t. They appear content to let the tormenting continue. The word “mocked” means “ridicule”, “make fun of”, “scoff”. It is in the imperfect tense which carries the force of on-going mocking. It was not just a brief period of mocking. Clearly this was fun for them while they filled in time before the trial began and possibly continued on during the trial. If that was the case then it happened with the full awareness of the members of the Sanhedrin and with their approval. I.e. The guards were mocking Jesus in the midst of the trial as well as before. I suspect that was the case because the account is mixed with the comments made, which were likely made during the trial. The word to beat was not a beating with clubs or other instruments but more the use of the hands – fists or palms, a punch or slap. Matthew and Mark spell it out for us in Matt 26:67 and Mark 14:65 when they describe both actions of punching and slapping. Again the action was on-going.
Both Mark and Luke tell us Jesus was blindfolded, likely as not something put over His head so He could not see His attackers and tormentors. No doubt the stories about Him had spread far and wide, including the possibility that He was The Prophet who was to come in the Order of Moses. The woman at the well in Sychar had exclaimed, “I can see that you are a prophet” when Jesus had laid bare her life history without having met her before. (John 4:19). The focus of attention from these guards with the approval of the Sanhedrin was to belittle Jesus and disparage the stories which abounded of His prophetic insight and the ability to know things others didn’t know, see things others didn’t see and hear things others didn’t hear. So this being the background they make fun of the fact that He is supposed to be a prophet by covering His eyes, likely His whole head, while punching and slapping Him and asking, “Prophecy to us! Who hit you that time?” Notice in Matthew’s account the added words, “You Messiah”. Those words were not said seriously, pointing to the fact He was the Messiah, they were said in derision. Notice also the word “THAT time” – inferring there were other times, probably lots of them. Maybe it started with slapping and ended in punching. I can imagine the torment escalating as these guards took courage from the actions of the ones before them to make their punch or slap more severe than the others.
In addition to the physical abuse, the verbal tirade escalated as well. Luke tells us “they hurled all sorts of terrible insults at Him.” I suspect all of it to denigrate that notion that He was the Messiah come to save as Luke tells us but not doubt in their minds to establish the Kingdom of God and to rule. The word “blaspheme” is used. Literally the verbal attack was against God and this “so-called” appointed messenger. But that is exactly who He is – notice I used the present tense, not the past tense. So they blaspheme against God by their actions perpetrated against the Son of God and in their words as they heap scorn on the possibility that This One could be a prophet, Messiah, the One coming to rule. Luke is thinking of the big picture as he uses the word blaspheme. This act is perpetrated by His own beings which He created. In my comments on John 1:11 in Gems 6 I wrote: (not linked)
He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.John 1:10-11
What a hugely sad statement. Jesus, its creator, entered this world and dwelt in it and yet the creatures he created rejected him.
Verse 11 repeats the thought but adds intensity to it. John very skillfully uses a Greek grammatical construction to shock his readers.
He says He (Jesus) came to His “ta idia” but his “hoi idioi” rejected Him. Wow. Effectively He came to his inanimate created things (neuter plural objects – puppets) [his things] and after he had given them life his (masculine plural people) [his creation] rejected him. What would you do if you were Creator? I know what I would do. I would squash those puppet things in anger and remake them again. He made them inanimate, He breathed life into them, then when He came to them to seek relationship with them but they rejected Him. Yet in His grace He allowed them to reject Him.
How do I sum that up in one Twitter sentence?
Once again Creator God allows His creation to blaspheme Him by their actions and this time the Sanhedrin are implicated. What a shocking moment.Ian Vail
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done.Romans 1:28
The thought that the Creator allows His created beings to ridicule Him in return for the grace He has extended to them is immense.Ian Vail
If I were God I would wipe them off the face of the earth. How glad I am that God is God.Ian Vail