Events are moving quickly. Those who had sent the armed guards to arrest Jesus were expecting the prisoner to be brought to them. An extraordinary nightime assembly of the Sanhedrin follows at the Chief Priest’s (Caiaphas) residence.
Mark is sure to stress two things at least:
1. There is no legitimate evidence against Jesus. He is innocent and without fault. In Jewish law, for a capital case, two independent witnesses needed to give evidence that agreed in every detail. The witnesses appear ‘staged’, ready to testify in the middle of the night. But they cannot agree and so their testimony is void.
2. And Mark is also sure to introduce Peter into the narrative – he sits outside in the courtyard as a council meet inside. His denials will coincide with the sealing of Jesus’ fate.
It is within such narrative details that huge theological themes would later be worked out. Themes of the innocent substitute, the righteous sufferer, and the sheer undeserving and restorative grace of God.
I’m struck reading this that not only does Christian faith stand or fall on the historicity of these events, but that all Christian truth is worked out the ‘narrative of life’ – in day to day events, decisions and actions.
Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.