Jesus before the Council
They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am; and
‘you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power,’
and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.
What do you do when you are angry? Do you yell? Throw things? Punch a pillow? Grit your teeth? What do you do when you grieve? Cry? Hold it in? Talk? It was an ancient custom in the time of Jesus to tear clothes as a sign of grief, anger, sadness. The high priest here tears his clothes as a sign of his anger and maybe his grief at what he considers to be blasphemy on Jesus’ part.
Its easy for us as later readers to think we would have been any different, but would we? If we were in the position of this leader or the others who were around him, or if we were the disciples around Jesus, what would we have done? Would we have scattered when the authorities came to arrest Jesus? Would we be the ones crying blasphemy and tearing our own robes because we could not believe this Jesus could say such a thing?