Time, Time, and What We Do with Our Time

“And, when the day came, the Elders of the people gathered with the Chief Priests and the Scribes and they led him to their Sanhedrin.”

(Luke 22:66)

 

“And they led Jesus away to the High Priest and all of the Chief Priests, the Elders, and the Scribes.”

(Mark 14:53)

 

The scriptures record that after Jesus’ interview with Annas he was sent to Caiaphas, but we don’t know a lot about the initial confrontation with the official High Priest of the people. Instead, the focus shifts to Peter in the courtyard and his denials. What we do know is that these events took place very late at night and towards the morning, thus, as Jesus is brought to Caiaphas, Caiaphas then takes Jesus before the Sanhedron — the formal legal body of the Jewish people centered in Jerusalem. Here, the “formal” trial will begin.

There is some degree of concern as to Luke’s reference of the day coming while Mark and Matthew do not mention the morning rising until later in the narrative. One might be tempted to resolve this dilemma by pointing to the difference in how the Jewish culture and the Roman culture marked time — the Jewish people marking a new day as starting at sundown (reflecting the creation account that there was “evening and morning…”) and the Roman people typically marking the start of a new day at midnight.

Yet, this approach raises more questions than it answers for two reasons. The first is that the Romans, being a world power, accommodated themselves to the territories in which they ruled, so there was a great deal of flexibility between the official Roman timetable when it came to festivals or political events and the common recording of time marked by people under the Roman Empire. The second reason, and a more significant one, is that Mark records Jesus’ death as taking place during “the ninth hour” (Mark 15:33). As Jesus is typically understood to have been on the cross from 12:00-3:00 PM, that means that Mark was beginning his day at 6:00 AM.

A simpler way to harmonize this is to see Matthew and Mark’s later, but more specific reference to “morning” as just that, the morning of the new day as the sun has risen and the hours of daytime are beginning to be counted (likely around 6:00 AM, or the “first hour”). Thus here, in Luke’s account, what we find is that the day is beginning to be near — arguably the first lightening of the darkness has begun and the new day is anticipated. And foreseeing the new day, Caiaphas takes Jesus to the Sanhedron for a pre-arranged trial to end Jesus’ ministry permanently.

Perhaps what is most important, though, is the presence of the whole council of Jewish leadership that will now be present. Indeed, this was required for major offenses to be tried, but it also makes all of them culpable in the execution of our Lord. How sad it is when those who have committed themselves to a study of God’s word are so blind as to miss seeing the one to whom the Word points. And, what is also important to remember is that these men stand as representatives not only of the Jewish people of their time, but of we Gentiles as well. It is because of all of our Sin that Jesus had to face these hostile men and die a sinner’s death. We were the one’s rightly condemned in this trial, but Jesus took that condemnation upon himself.

Loved ones, pursue Christ and do so with all your heart. Do not miss Christ in the scriptures as these scholarly men did and do not miss him in the person in the Gospel accounts. All of our hope rests in Jesus and in his completed work — not in anything we might do or achieve. He is worthy not only of our praise, but also of our sacrifice and service — may we all live our lives accordingly.

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