They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54 Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”
-Gospel of Mark 14
Gary: Why would it have been false testimony to claim that Jesus had said that he would destroy the temple if Jesus had said the following just one chapter earlier:
As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!” 2 Then Jesus asked him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
-Gospel of Mark 13
According to New Testament scholar Raymond Brown in his book, The Death of the Messiah, the above passage in Mark 14 has puzzled scholars for two millennia. On the surface, the allegation against Jesus seems to be accurate! So what about it was “false testimony”…unless Jesus never made a prediction about the temple!
(Spoiler alert: Raymond Brown believes that the claim that Jesus had predicted the destruction of the Temple was part of early Christian tradition. He does not believe that the Gospel authors invented this prediction. Whether Jesus actually said it is of course unprovable.)