Matthew’s narrative does not allow the believer — in particular the articulate and educated believer, the teacher, the expert — any fixed answer to the question of how I might know that I am still with Jesus rather than with Caiaphas. As soon as there seems to be an answer to such a question, it becomes part of just that system of religious words and religious fluency that helps to make possible the exclusion of Jesus. In the presence of Jesus at his trial, faith unavoidably takes on something of a catch-22 dimension. What matters is to hold still before the question.

Yes, of course we may discover specific acts, specific patterns of behaviour and speech that put us on the side of Caiaphas, and there are things we can do to change those and to make reparation. There is no escape, however, from the summons to be in the presence of Christ on trial. It is as if he said to each believer, ‘Stand where I can see you,’ and my faithfulness to him is going to be bound up with the whole diverse process of keeping myself ‘in question’. This is not a matter of obsessional self-scrutiny, the search for an impossible transparency to my ‘real’ motives or desires. It is only a sober and consistent recognition that I have no final and satisfying account to give of myself, and must wait in Christ’s presence to learn who I am.

— Rowan Williams, Christ on Trial