Mark 14:53
14:53-65 We have here Christ's condemnation before the great council of the Jews. Peter followed; but the high priest's fire-side was no proper place, nor his servants proper company, for Peter: it was an entrance into temptation. Great diligence was used to procure false witnesses against Jesus, yet their testimony was not equal to the charge of a capital crime, by the utmost stretch of their law. He was asked, Art thou the Son of the Blessed? that is, the Son of God. For the proof of his being the Son of God, he refers to his second coming. In these outrages we have proofs of man's enmity to God, and of God's free and unspeakable love to man.

Mr 14:53-72. Jesus Arraigned before the Sanhedrim, Condemned to Die, and Shamefully Entreated—The Fall of Peter. ( = Mt 26:57-75; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-18, 24-27).

Had we only the first three Gospels, we should have concluded that our Lord was led immediately to Caiaphas, and had before the Council. But as the Sanhedrim could hardly have been brought together at the dead hour of night—by which time our Lord was in the hands of the officers sent to take Him—and as it was only "as soon as it was day" that the Council met (Lu 22:66), we should have had some difficulty in knowing what was done with Him during those intervening hours. In the Fourth Gospel, however, all this is cleared up, and a very important addition to our information is made (Joh 18:13, 14, 19-24). Let us endeavor to trace the events in the true order of succession, and in the detail supplied by a comparison of all the four streams of text.

Jesus Is Brought Privately before Annas, the Father-in-Law of Caiaphas (Joh 18:13, 14).

Joh 18:13:

And they led Him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year—This successful Annas, as Ellicott remarks, was appointed high priest by Quirinus, A.D. 12, and after holding the office for several years, was deposed by Valerius Gratius, Pilate's predecessor in the procuratorship of Judea [Josephus, Antiquities, 18.2.1, &c.]. He appears, however, to have possessed vast influence, having obtained the high priesthood, not only for his son Eleazar, and his son-in-law Caiaphas, but subsequently for four other sons, under the last of whom James, the brother of our Lord, was put to death [Antiquities, 20.9.1]. It is thus highly probable that, besides having the title of "high priest" merely as one who had filled the office, he to a great degree retained the powers he had formerly exercised, and came to be regarded practically as a kind of rightful high priest.

Joh 18:14:

Now Caiaphas was he which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. See on [1509]Joh 11:51. What passed between Annas and our Lord during this interval the beloved disciple reserves till he has related the beginning of Peter's fall. To this, then, as recorded by our own Evangelist, let us meanwhile listen.

Peter Obtains Access within the Quadrangle of the High Priest's Residence, and Warms Himself at the Fire (Mr 14:53, 54).

53. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled—or rather, "there gathered together unto him."

all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes—it was then a full and formal meeting of the Sanhedrim. Now, as the first three Evangelists place all Peter's denials of his Lord after this, we should naturally conclude that they took place while our Lord stood before the Sanhedrim. But besides that the natural impression is that the scene around the fire took place overnight, the second crowing of the cock, if we are to credit ancient writers, would occur about the beginning of the fourth watch, or between three and four in the morning. By that time, however, the Council had probably convened, being warned, perhaps, that they were to prepare for being called at any hour of the morning, should the Prisoner be successfully secured. If this be correct, it is fairly certain that only the last of Peter's three denials would take place while our Lord was under trial before the Sanhedrim. One thing more may require explanation. If our Lord had to be transferred from the residence of Annas to that of Caiaphas, one is apt to wonder that there is no mention of His being marched from the one to the other. But the building, in all likelihood, was one and the same; in which case He would merely have to be taken perhaps across the court, from one chamber to another.

Mark 14:52
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