Title: Jesus Condemned by the Sanhedrin
Artist: Michael D. O’Brien
Medium: Acrylic on hardboard
Size: 24in x 24in
Date: c. 2005
Location: Private collection
Mark 14:53-65 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together. 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.
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. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.' " Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"
"I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."
The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?"
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, "Prophesy!" And the guards took him and beat him.
Though the council may not have genuinely believed that Jesus had committed blasphemy by allusions of himself to the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13-14), they have an important reason to deal with him quickly: he poses a clear threat to the temple establishment, and as a messianic claimant he threatens the whole roman power structure that they, the Jewish aristocracy, represent.
Michael D. O'Brien (b. 1948) is a Roman Catholic author, artist, and frequent essayist and lecturer on faith and culture, living in