From Heaven With Love


Angels Would Gladly Have Delivered Christ

The angels of heaven longed to deliver Christ. How easily could they, beholding the shameful scene, have consumed the adversaries of God! But they were commanded not to. It was part of His mission to bear in His humanity all the abuse that men could heap upon Him. HLv 467.2

Christ had said nothing that could give His accusers an advantage, yet He was bound, to signify that He was condemned. There must, however, be the form of a legal trial. This the authorities were determined to hasten. They knew the regard in which Jesus was held by the people, and feared a rescue would be attempted. Again, if the execution were not brought about at once, there would be a week's delay on account of the Passover. This might defeat their plans. Should there be a week's delay, a reaction would likely set in. The better part of the people would come forward with testimony in His vindication, bringing to light the mighty works He had done. The Sanhedrin's proceedings would be condemned, and Jesus would be set free. The priests and rulers therefore determined that before their purpose could become known, Jesus should be delivered into the hands of the Romans. HLv 467.3

But first, an accusation was to be found. They had gained nothing as yet. Annas ordered Jesus to be taken to Caiaphas. Though wanting in force of character, Caiaphas was fully as heartless and unscrupulous as Annas. It was now early morning, and dark. By torches and lanterns the armed band with their prisoner proceeded to the high priest's palace. While the Sanhedrin were coming together, Annas and Caiaphas again questioned Jesus, but without success. HLv 467.4

In the judgment hall Caiaphas took his seat as presiding officer. On either side were the judges and those specially interested in the trial. Roman soldiers were on the platform below the throne. At the foot of the throne stood Jesus. The excitement was intense. Of all the throng He alone was calm and serene. HLv 468.1

Caiaphas had regarded Jesus as his rival. The eagerness of the people to hear the Saviour had aroused the bitter jealousy of the high priest. But as Caiaphas now looked upon the prisoner, he was struck with admiration for His noble, dignified bearing. A conviction came over him that this man was akin to God. The next instant he banished the thought, in haughty tones demanding that Jesus work one of His mighty miracles. But his words fell on the Saviour's ears as though He heard them not. In the minds of that hardened multitude arose the question, Is this man of godlike presence to be condemned as a criminal? HLv 468.2

The enemies of Jesus were in perplexity. How to accomplish His condemnation they knew not. Caiaphas wished to avoid stirring up a contention. There were plenty of witnesses to prove that Christ had called the priests and scribes hypocrites and murderers, but this was not expedient to bring forward. Such testimony would have no weight with the Romans. There was abundant evidence that Jesus had spoken irreverently of many of the ordinances of the Jews. This evidence also would have no weight with the Romans. Christ's enemies dared not accuse Him of Sabbathbreaking, lest an examination bring to light His miracles of healing. HLv 468.3

False witnesses had been bribed to accuse Jesus of seeking to establish a separate government. But their testimony proved to be vague and contradictory. Under examination they falsified their own statements. HLv 468.4

Early in His ministry Christ had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He had thus foretold His own death and resurrection. “He spake of the temple of His body.” John 2:19, 21. Of all that Christ had said, the priests could find nothing to use against Him save this. The Romans had engaged in rebuilding and embellishing the temple, and they took great pride in it; any contempt shown it would excite their indignation. Here Romans and Jews could meet; for all held the temple in great veneration. HLv 469.1

One witness who had been bribed to accuse Jesus declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.’” If Christ's words had been reported exactly as He spoke them, they would not have secured His condemnation even by the Sanhedrin. His declaration would only have indicated an unreasonable, boastful spirit, but not blasphemy. Even as misrepresented by false witnesses, His words contained nothing regarded by the Romans as a crime worthy of death. HLv 469.2

At last Jesus’ accusers were entangled, confused, and maddened. It seemed that their plottings were to fail. Caiaphas was desperate. One last resort remained: Christ must be forced to condemn Himself. The high priest started from the judgment seat, his face contorted with passion: “Answerest Thou nothing?” he exclaimed; “what is it which these witness against Thee?” HLv 469.3

Jesus held His peace. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7. HLv 469.4

At last, Caiaphas addressed Jesus in the form of a solemn oath: “I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” HLv 469.5

To this appeal Christ could not remain silent. He knew that to answer now would make His death certain. But the appeal was made by the highest acknowledged authority of the nation, and in the name of the Most High. He must plainly declare His character and mission. Jesus had said to His disciples, “Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 10:32. Now by His own example He repeated the lesson. HLv 469.6

Every eye was fixed on Jesus’ face as He answered, “Thou hast said.” A heavenly light seemed to illuminate His pale countenance as He added, “Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” For a moment the high priest quailed before the penetrating eyes of the Saviour. Never in afterlife did he forget that searching glance of the persecuted Son of God. HLv 470.1