We are here told, as before in the other gospels,
I. How our Lord Jesus was abused by the servants of the high priest. The abjects, the rude and barbarous servants, gathered themselves together against him. They that held Jesus, that had him in custody till the court sat, they mocked him, and smote him (Luke 22:63), they would not allow him to repose himself one minute, though he had had no sleep all night, nor to compose himself, though he was hurried to his trial, and no time given him to prepare for it. They made sport with him: this sorrowful night to him shall be a merry night to them; and the blessed Jesus, like Samson, is made the fool in the play. They hood-winked him, and then, according to the common play that young people have among them, they struck him on the face, and continued to do so till he named the person that smote him (Luke 22:64), intending hereby an affront to his prophetical office, and that knowledge of secret things which he was said to have. We are not told that he said any thing, but bore every thing; hell was let loose, and he suffered it to do its worst. A greater indignity could not be done to the blessed Jesus, yet this was but one instance of many; for many other things blasphemously spoke they against him, Luke 22:65. They that condemned him for a blasphemer were themselves the vilest blasphemers that ever were.
II. How he was accused and condemned by the great sanhedrim, consisting of the elders of the people, the chief priests, and the scribes, who were all up betimes, and got together as soon as it was day, about five of the clock in the morning, to prosecute this matter. They were working this evil upon their beds, and, as soon as ever the morning was light, practised it, Mic. 2:1. They would not have been up so early for any good work. It is but a short account that we have here of his trial in the ecclesiastical court.
1. They ask him, Art thou the Christ? He was generally believed by his followers to be the Christ, but they could not prove it upon him that he had ever said so totidem verbis—in so many words, and therefore urge him to own it to them, Luke 22:67. If they had asked him this question with a willingness to admit that he was the Christ, and to receive him accordingly if he could give sufficient proof of his being so, it had been well, and might have been for ever well with them; but they asked it with a resolution not to believe him, but a design to ensnare him.
2. He justly complained of their unfair and unjust usage of him, Luke 22:67, 68. They all, as Jews, professed to expect the Messiah, and to expect him at this time. No other appeared, or had appeared, that pretended to be the Messiah. He had no competitor, nor was he likely to have any. He had given amazing proofs of a divine power going along with him, which made his claims very well worthy of a free and impartial enquiry. It had been but just for these leaders of the people to have taken him into their council, and examined him there as a candidate for the messiahship, not at the bar as a criminal. “But,” saith he, (1.) “If I tell you that I am the Christ, and give you ever such convincing proofs of it, you are resolved that you will not believe. Why should the cause be brought on before you who have already prejudged it, and are resolved, right or wrong, to run it down, and to condemn it?” (2.) “If I ask you what you have to object against the proofs I produce, you will not answer me.” Here he refers to their silence when he put a question to them, which would have led them to own his authority, Luke 20:5-7. They were neither fair judges, nor fair disputants; but, when they were pinched with an argument, would rather be silent than own their conviction: “You will neither answer me nor let me go; if I be not the Christ, you ought to answer the arguments with which I prove that I am; if I be, you ought to let me go; but you will do neither.”
3. He referred them to his second coming, for the full proof of his being the Christ, to their confusion, since they would not now admit the proof of it, to their conviction (Luke 22:69): “Hereafter shall the Son of man sit, and be seen to sit, on the right hand of the power of God, and then you will not need to ask whether he be the Christ or no.”
4. Hence they inferred that he set up himself as the Son of God, and asked him whether he were so or no (Luke 22:70): Art thou then the Son of God? He called himself the Son of man, referring to Daniel’s vision of the Son of man that came near before the Ancient of days, Dan. 7:13, 14. But they understood so much as to know that if he was that Son of man, he was also the Son of God. And art thou so? By this it appears to have been the faith of the Jewish church that the Messiah should be both Son of man and Son of God.
5. He owns himself to be the Son of God: Ye say that I am; that is, “I am, as ye say.” Compare Mark 14:62. Jesus said, I am. This confirms Christ’s testimony concerning himself, that he was the Son of God, that he stood to it, when he knew he should suffer for standing to it.
6. Upon this they ground his condemnation (Luke 22:71): What need we any further witness? It was true, they needed not any further witness to prove that he said he was the Son of God, they had it from his own mouth; but did they not need proof that he was not so, before they condemned him as a blasphemer for saying that he was so? Had they no apprehension that it was possible he might be so, and then what horrid guilt they should bring upon themselves in putting him to death? No, they know not, neither will they understand. They cannot think it possible that he should be the Messiah, though ever so evidently clothed with divine power and grace, if he appear not, as they expect, in worldly pomp and grandeur. Their eyes being blinded with the admiration of that, they rush on in this dangerous prosecution, as the horse into the battle.