The Theological Implications of the Trial of Jesus - Part 2 : Christian Courier
That functionary, whether Annas, or Caiaphas is a matter of inference, night; their purpose was to convict the Prisoner in time to have Him brought before the It will be remembered that in connection with the first clearing of the temple, near. Two High Priests are mentioned during Jesus public ministry - Annas and Caiaphas. The high priest was taken from the Sadducees They figure prominently into the events of His death. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas - the high priest who was in office at the time of Jesus. Bible History Online presents Jesus Before Annas and Caiaphas. by the leading Sanhedrists, who had been hastily summoned for the purpose. It sounds And still His Father, and this also specially in His Messianic relationship to man.
False Witness Unlike the American system, under the Hebrew scheme of law an accused person was not represented by an attorney before a jury of citizens. Rather, members of the Sanhedrin, i. It was therefore demanded by the law that this panel of men be honorable and utterly free of the taint of partiality; if anything, they were to be disposed in favor of the defendant.
In glaring contrast, the Jewish Sanhedrin already was set against Christ before they even heard one word of the case. The council had manipulated the arrest of the Lord see Matthew Never was there a more blatant breach of jurisprudence. Inconsistencies Justice demands that once a charge is made, it must be pursued consistently; the accusation is not to be switched mid-way through the process Wingo, In the proceedings against Jesus, though, this is precisely what happened.
At first Christ was accused of claiming that he would destroy the temple, and then build another in three days Matthew When that charge proved spurious, Jesus should have been acquitted and the court dismissed. Finally, since the Romans were not disposed to execute people for theological reasons Sherwin-White, 46Jesus was accused of being a rival of Caesar Luke The utter hypocrisy of this charge is highlighted by the fact that the Jews asked for the release of Barabbas, a convicted insurrectionist and murderer, instead of Christ Mark The comment of the French rationalist Ernest Renan is telling.
They accused him on this ground of sedition, and of treason against the Government. Nothing could be more unjust; for Jesus had always recognized the Roman Government as the established power No such procedure was employed in this case.
In addition, witnesses were strictly and separately questioned, and it was imperative that their testimony be consistent Westcott, Goldin, the Jewish authority, also affirms that: But the witnesses who testified that Jesus was a false prophet were notoriously at odds with both the truth and one another. First of all, when Jesus purged the temple at the commencement of his ministry John 2: The inspired writer, however, specifically comments: Christ was foretelling His resurrection!
When the bogus witnesses testified against Jesus, they said this: That was a lie, pure and simple. Secondly, the witnesses contradicted one another see Mark The trial should have been terminated then and there. But it was not, because justice was not the goal. But behold, the hand of the one who betrays me is with me at the table.
That idea is nowhere to be found in the original Bible texts — not surprisingly, since it implied ritual vampirism and cannibalism, both pagan rituals. Superstar was making an entirely other point, that these men and women thought about what Jesus meant in their lives as little as they thought about what food or wine they put in their bodies — not complete apathy, but only minimal consideration.
This was an accusation, not a clue to eternal salvation. The greatest objection from the religious critics was that the show did not include the resurrection. Rice told an interviewer that he did not believe Jesus was the son of God, but for him, that made the story all the more amazing.
Though Jesus has some doubt in the biblical version of the story, those doubts are articulated so completely and so intensely in the show that they sounded to some like more blasphemy. Critics also found the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene uncomfortably sexual. Another complaint was the periodic humor in the show, though it was minimal.
Who Were the High Priest's Annas and Caiaphas?
The drunken apostles at the Last Supper and King Herod's frighteningly wacky song and dance did not amuse some people. Rice and Lloyd Webber both felt the story of Christ, especially the crucifixion, had been too much romanticized into a beautiful, graceful event, instead of the brutal, savage act that it had been.
To re-open our eyes to the horror and tragedy of the story, they decided they needed to shock the audience. After all, the youth movement of the sixties had been about newfound spirituality but also about a rejection of institutionalized religion. Their drug use was not just an escape; it was also a means to help them find the spirituality they believed their parents had lost in the meaningless hypocrisy of organized religion in the s. Looking at their parents and the rest of the "older generation," they saw evidence that mainstream religions had reduced religious experience, the act of living through faith, to nothing more than symbols and metaphors, subverting and short-circuiting the religious experience itself.
They believed that mainstream religious traditions and rituals got in the way of true faith and the search for ultimate truths. The opening images of the film version of Superstar created stunning visuals metaphors for this cultural tumult, panning across actual ruins in Israel, literally showing us the crumbling edifice of organized religion; and there in the middle of the ruins, the camera reveals modern-day scaffolding, the hint of a coming "reconstruction" of the philosophy of Jesus for modern times; and finally, the camera revels a busload of The Younger Generation coming toward us in the distance.
And all this in one shot. Though this did not automatically discount all of Christianity for them, it did throw its claims of absolute and unique truth into question. As a result, many young adults began exploring the older Eastern religions. In the song "Superstar," Judas speaks for these young people as he grills Jesus: Tell me what you think about your friends at the top.
Could Mahomet move a mountain or was that just PR? That, more than anything else, is why the single sold so well all over the world.
Judas asks what so many people still ask today: Or more pointedly, why should we believe in any religion at all? It will vanish and shrink. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. Christianity was in crisis as it remains todayand far from mocking it or capitalizing on its woes, Jesus Christ Superstar was a legitimate, artful response to the crisis.
Judas and his angry anthem became a rallying cry for youth all over America and Europe. On the jacket of the original single, "Superstar," the record company printed a quote from Martin Sullivan, the Dean of St. I ask them to listen to it and think again. It is a desperate cry. Who are you, Jesus Christ? The record probes some answers and make some comparisons. In October they released the full-length, double-album rock opera — not the first of its kind; Tommy gets that distinction — but certainly a landmark.
By February, the single reached the top of the American charts. Some stations played the entire double album without commercial interruption. Ministers began using the lyric as a basis for their sermons. Unauthorized touring companies sprang up all over America, performing the show in concert, usually in churches. This is a work on a heroic scale, masterfully conceived, honestly done, and overflowing with splendid music and apt language.
He first hired Frank Corsaro, a veteran theatre director who been working in opera. Corsaro seemed perfect for the project. But Corsaro was in a severe auto accident and was unable to do the show.
It started its run selling out every night, but the enthusiasm diminished quickly and the show never made it to its second birthday. Clive Barnes wrote in the New York Times, "Nothing could convince me that any show that has sold two-and-one-half million copies of its album before the opening night is anything like all bad.
But I must also confess to experiencing some disappointment when Jesus Christ Superstar opened last night. Not at all uninteresting, but somewhat unsurprising and of minimal artistic value. This time, the things got too big. For me, the real disappointment came not in the music, but in the conception.
There is a coyness in its contemporaneity, a sneaky pleasure in the boldness of its anachronisms, a special undefined air of smugness in its daring. I has all gotten a bit out of hand — the orgy, the Superstar buttons and pocket calendars, the pickets, the T-shirts, the pirated concert versions touring around purporting to be the real Superstar…" Yvonne Elliman Mary tells a story in the book Rock Opera about a young girl who came backstage to ask "if I would come visit a friend of hers in the hospital.
She just wanted me to go and touch her. He got one letter that said it was from "the real Judas. Ben Vereen as Judas was nominated for a Tony Award, and nominations were had for best score, scenic design, costumes, and lighting all lost to Follies. It opened in London in and ran for eight years and 3, performances, breaking all West End records. Inproducer Robert Stigwood opened an outdoor production of the show in Hollywood starring the understudies from the Broadway production, Ted Neely and Carl Anderson — both of whom would go on to star in the film.
Today many people don't like Lloyd Webber's work, but the composer of Superstar is a different Lloyd Webber from the one who wrote Phantom of the Opera. When he began his career thirty years ago, he wrote in the rock and roll idiom, a musical language he knew and loved.
No one can deny that he can still write a breathtaking melody, but his harmonic vocabulary is limited. Consequently, he excelled in the relatively simple, repetitive language of rock and roll with Superstar, but when he tries today to write in a more classical, more sophisticated style, his limitations show through. What seems driving and primal in Superstar sounds merely repetitious in the classical European sound of Phantom or the pseudo-jazz style of Sunset Boulevard.
His writing ability hasn't diminished, but when he changed styles, our expectations changed as well, and he couldn't meet them. His critics believe that, unlike other theatre writers, Lloyd Webber has not grown as a composer over time. Luckily, we can still enjoy Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, both set on the cynical, literate, and provocative lyrics of Tim Rice.
Though that's not exactly what they ended up with, Judas still emerged as the protagonist, more important and complex than Jesus. Judas is in an impossible situation; there is no easy way out. Tim Rice wrote, "We made him an everyman. He could see Christ becoming something he considered harmful to the Jews. Judas felt they had been persecuted enough. Judas is passionate, fiery, impatient, smart as hell and a real control freak. Judas thinks this movement has accidentally evolved into one of those.
And more importantly, is he? It leaves Jesus as a difficult character to define, but it makes the story infinitely richer, more complex, more human. He knows that the minute Jesus becomes famous, the authorities will clamp down on him. He may be killed — they all may be killed. The perspective of the Jews, they were an occupied nation under the tyranny of Rome. Judas sees Jesus lessons of love and peace and brotherhood as a path straight to the gallows.
The dichotomy between Judas and Jesus is a fascinating one.
Judas is the practical one, concerned with image, message, public opinion, money, etc. Jesus is concerned only with the Message. Like Judas, Annas is the practical one, trying to see the obstacles ahead, worrying about public opinion; while Caiaphas is utterly single-minded, just like Jesus.
That central relationship shows us a mammoth tug-of-war between pragmatism, represented by Judas, and ideas, represented by Jesus. Each of them is missing what the other has. Judas finds himself constantly frustrated and confused by Jesus' refusal to look at the practical side of their situation, as verbalized in "Heaven On Their Minds," "Superstar," and the fragment of "Superstar" at the end of the Last Supper.
They fight because they both care passionately about the cause and about each other. There are three main arguments that break out between them, during "Strange Thing Mystifying," "Everything's Alright," and at the Last Supper — the second two set to the same music.
Judas acts as a kind of business agent and PR man, concerned over the political message they're sending out, at the perceived inconsistencies in Jesus' teachings, and the money wasted on Mary's ointments and oils.
He believes in Jesus' philosophy, in his ability to lead, but not in his methods and his choices. The lyric to the chorus of the title song originally just repeated "Jesus Christ" every time the melody repeated. But before recording it, Tim Rice wanted to give the lyric some variety. The word superstar was just beginning to be widely used, mostly to refer to rock and pop stars. Rice changed the second repeat of the chorus to include the word superstar because that's what Christ was, a superstar of his time, widely popular, complete with his own groupies who cared more about his star status then about his message.
He was thronged when he went out in public, and like many rock stars today, he was considered dangerous and corrupting by the establishment. Jesus had a new message for the people, and they embraced it for a while, at least. Despite his intentions to the contrary, he became a controversial political figure as well as a spiritual leader. The songs "Hosanna" and "Simon Zealotes" point out to Jesus the tens of thousands of followers who are hanging on his every word.
Simon wants Jesus to use his power to bring about a rebellion against Rome; but Jesus doesn't want to be a political figure. From the biblical perspective, an important question is ignored: From the point of view of the Bible, the answer is that he was divine; but from a purely historical, sociological angle, there's more to it.
Like our country today, the people wanted a new message, a change, relief from the tyranny of Rome. Jesus came at the right time with the right message, just as the Religious Right did in the U. As Jesus grew to adulthood, Galilee was in turmoil. The region had been conquered by Rome and Herod Antipas had been installed as a regional governor or sorts.
But the Jews suffered under the weight of incredible taxation, both from Rome itself and also from Herod, who taxed the Jews so heavily in order to build new cities. Meanwhile, the rich got richer while the poor got poorer. The Zealotes emerged as a secret group of vigilantes, insurgents, revolutionaries, guerilla warriors, never hesitating to use violence, rising up to protest their oppression by Rome and its surrogates.
Don Stewart :: Who Were the High Priest's Annas and Caiaphas?
Like Americans today, most Jews of the early first century wanted an alternative to the violence, corruption, and economic strangle-hold under which they were straining. More and more, it was what the people wanted.
But it made him dangerous. Other central characters in the story are never fully drawn in the Bible, but Rice had to thoroughly characterize them in the musical in order for us to understand them and their relationship to Jesus and Judas.
Because secondary characters get very little "dialogue" in the Bible, those questions aren't really answered; but in Superstar, we see Mary as a complete, living person. She just wants to comfort Jesus and help him relax; the only way she knows how to do that is by soothing him physically. She bathes him in ointments and oils, rubs his feet, massages his head and shoulders. But Jesus is different from other men. He and his followers treated women as nearly full equals — they ate together, discussed politics together, his women disciples performed their poetry at feasts, and in the most radical departure from the norm, the women were welcomed alongside men as serious students worthy of an education.
This was a movement worth financing. On a personal level, Jesus treats Mary with real respect, with genuine love, something almost unheard of.
The Theological Implications of the Trial of Jesus – Part 2
He appreciates her efforts. How does she respond to his treatment of her? Her first impulse is to return that affection physically, but she knows that's not appropriate. She doesn't know how to express love without physical forms of affection; she literally does not know how to love this man. Judas hates her because he sees Mary and her relationship with Jesus as a PR liability. He also seems at times to be jealous of her.
He is a man full of frustration, and one of the ways that anger manifests itself is in jealousy against the one other person to whom Jesus is that close.
Mary cares about the movement but she cares about Jesus more; in contrast, Judas cares very much about his friend Jesus, but he cares about the movement more.
At least in the world of Superstar, Judas and Mary dance a spiritual, emotional tug-of-war over Jesus throughout the entire story.Jesus Lauro & Evelyn Almaguer
Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, is a fascinating character, and is another person Rice and Lloyd Webber discussed writing a musical about, again with Jesus as a minor character. They also briefly tried a show about Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
During his ten years as prefect, Pilate's tenure was associated with "briberies, insults, robberies, outrages, wanton injustices, constantly repeated executions without trial, and ceaseless and grievous cruelty. It seems likely that he would have been eager to end the potential threat to the existing order presented by the subversive theology of Jesus.
The form of execution used — -crucifixion — establishes that Jesus was condemned as a violator of Roman, not Jewish, law. Like Judas, Pilate finds himself in a no-win situation in this story.
The region is in turmoil. Several Jewish insurgencies have already been put down, thousands executed by the state. In the past, this had led to violent political uprisings. Pilate needs to keep a lid on the unrest this year. And then this Jesus thing is dropped in his lap… The song "Pilate's Dream" paints a subtle portrait of Pilate as a politician trying desperately to avoid controversy, and more than anything, responsibility.
In his dream he sees all that will happen, and knows that despite his efforts to the contrary, he will end up being blamed for Jesus' death. He may even have an inkling that once Jesus dies, the whole thing will get ever bigger. In the midst of the hassles of Passover week, he is told that the priests have convicted Jesus of blasphemy. Caiaphas makes a political calculation, suggesting that it would be better for "one man" Jesus to die than for "the whole nation" to be destroyed.
In this Caiaphas is stating a rabbinic quotation Gen. Pilate tells the priests to judge Jesus themselves, to which they respond they lack authority to do so.
Pilate questions Jesus, after which he states, "I find no basis for a charge against him. Sanhedrin trial of Jesus In the Gospel of Matthew They are looking for false evidence with which to frame Jesus, but are unable to find any.
Jesus remains silent throughout the proceedings until Caiaphas demands that Jesus say whether he is the Christ. Jesus replies "I am: Political implications[ edit ] Caiaphas was the son-in-law of Annas by marriage to his daughter and ruled longer than any high priest in New Testament times.