Jesus is not content, however, to merely answer the question. He goes on to describe that their roles would one day be reversed. He would be the judge and they would see His divine power and might. It is possible that He may have the final judgment in mind, or it could be that He is referring to the destruction Jerusalem would suffer in A.D. 70 (cf. Matt. 24:30).
"Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, 'He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!'" (Matt. 26:65). Although Jesus had given the answer that the high priest was hoping to hear, he hypocritically pretended to be shocked at it. He tears his clothes and acts horrified. He sinned in so doing (cf. Lev. 21:10). Could it be that he feared the effect of the clear, calm answer of Jesus and sought to counteract its influence on his colleagues?
Of course, if Jesus' claim was not true, then He would have been guilty of blasphemy. But since it was true, He had not blasphemed. These religious leaders aren't even willing to accept the possibility that Jesus is speaking the truth! Sadly, there was plenty of evidence to substantiate Jesus' claim, but these wicked Jews simply did not want to believe.
The high priest asks his colleagues what they think should be done with Jesus, and they declare that "He is deserving of death" (Matt. 26:66). This was not the final formal sentence but more of a preliminary hearing. However, they had decided long ago that He was worthy of death. They had made this decision out of hatred and jealousy. Tragically, it had nothing to do with justice or considering the evidence objectively.
"Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands" (Matt. 26:67). Spitting in one's face has always been an insult (cf. Num. 12:14; Deut. 25:9). Their rage has carried them beyond any form of dignity. They degraded themselves by heaping such abuse upon Jesus. They beat Him to manifest their supposed hatred of His "blasphemy," but truly, they merely showed their long-time bitterness against Him. The real irony of this situation is that these religious leaders, in their treatment of the innocent Son of God, were guilty of the very sin they claimed Jesus had committed--blasphemy!
"Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?" (Matt. 26:68). Little did they realize the self-control our Lord had to exercise, not to refrain from telling their identity, but from utterly destroying them! I wonder if these men felt that their actions were righteous and justified because Jesus was silent? If so, they were terribly mistaken!