The trial of Jesus before Caiaphas could only be described as a kangaroo court. They had already pronounced judgement before he was brought to trial. All they needed was for someone to provide a reason for taking their drastic action and give them reason to put the Lord to death.
However this was not as easy as they presumed. Many false witnesses were brought forward to accuse him, but none of their testimonies corroborated. Under the Law of Moses, judgment could be made on the evidence of two witnesses. However they could not find two that agreed. Their witnesses were false and their legal process was a mockery.
Eventually two people came forward testifying that Jesus had said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.” (Verse 61) However they were wrong for Jesus was not saying he would destroy the temple of God. In John 2:19 it shows he said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then in Mark 14:58 it says, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.” In both instances he is not speaking about the destruction of the temple of God in Jerusalem, but as John showed, “…he spoke of the temple of his body.” (John 2:21) Their testimony was wrong for they misinterpreted his words for they could not understand what Jesus was speaking about.
In fact what the Lord was telling them was that when he was put to death he would rise after three days. His death and resurrection would then indeed have the effect of destroying not the temple of God, but the temple worship. All of the practices and customs followed under the Law of Moses would cease to be relevant when the New Covenant was ratified in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. People would no longer need to go to worship God at the temple in Jerusalem under the processes of the law. Instead they would need to worship God in spirit and truth. Jesus explained this matter in some detail in his conversation with the woman at the well in John 4:20-24.
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.”
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
When Jesus was standing before Caiaphas, his accusers had no understanding of what this statement meant. And despite all of the miracles, healings and wonders he performed, not to forget the teachings of life that he brought to the people, they still did not recognise him as the Christ. In verse 63 we see the high priest ask again saying, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” When Jesus said that it was so and that they would only see him in future coming on the clouds and seated at the right hand of Power, that is the Father, his accusers called his statements blasphemy. Jesus was speaking the truth and they called his truth a lie. They used their lie then as justification for putting the Lord to death and treated him shamefully, striking him and spitting in his face.
This was indeed a low time and a time of great sorrow. Jesus did not deserve this treatment for he had spoken the truth. He is the Son of God, he is the Christ and he is the Lamb given as a sacrifice so that we may be set free from sin and death. He is the Saviour of mankind and the death he was about to go through at the hands of these men would be their undoing and our pathway to righteousness and freedom. He is the door to life and we enter life through him and through his death when we enter baptism. The power of his blood as a sacrifice is greater than the power of the blood of goats and bulls offered under the law for the forgiveness of sin. The power of his blood was to remove sin once and for all and forever and to set us free from the law so that we could walk in righteousness and stand in the presence of God. His sacrifice was our blessing and we should praise him always and forever for what he did on our behalf, for we are undeserving of this wondrous gift. May we praise the Lord always and thank him for his inexpressible gift of grace and love that we could find life in Jesus Christ.