“Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, 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.”—Mark 14:61–65 (NIV)
As noted yesterday, Jesus’ trial was going nowhere because the bogus, contradictory evidence against Him wasn’t enough to convict Him. So, Caiaphas, the high priest “stood up before them” (Mark 14:60 NIV), which F.F. Bruce called, “the action of an irritated, baffled man.” Charles Spurgeon pointed out, “It was a tacit confession that Christ had been proved innocent up till then. . . . The trial had been a dead failure up to that point, and he knew it, and was red with rage. Now he attempts to bully the prisoner that he may extract some declaration from him which may save all further trouble of witnesses, and end the matter.”
And so, now Caiaphas goes in for the kill: “Are you the Messiah?” Matthew 26:63 (NIV) tells us that he even took it as far as saying, “I charge you under oath by the living God.” He basically puts Jesus under oath to answer this question so he can either convict Jesus for blasphemy or have Jesus state on record He wasn’t what the people were hoping for, which would have likely killed the movement and following of Jesus.
So, how does Jesus respond? He lays it all on the table and reveals His full identity as Messiah and as God in the flesh! He said, “I am,” invoking the very name of God that was given to Moses. He goes on to say that one day He will come again out of the clouds of heaven. So, not only is He claiming to be the Messiah and God Himself, but with this testimony, He is also basically saying, “Today you stand in judgment of Me (which they are only able to do because He is allowing it for the fulfillment of all that is necessary to complete the work of salvation for the world), but when the times comes, I will be the ultimate judge.
At this, the high priest got exactly what he wanted. He tore his clothes, which John Gill points out, “to show his zeal for the honor and glory of God, his grief and concern at the profanation of his holy name by a false oath, and his abhorrence of, and indignation at the blasphemy he supposed Christ to be guilty of, in asserting himself to be the Son of God.” The Sanhedrin then convicts Jesus of blasphemy and sentences Him to death.
While He seemed to lose His case, as evidenced by the treatment He received afterward, the truth is He wasn’t actually the One on trial to begin with. His accusers were actually the ones on trial. And friends, in the same way, every one of us will be held to account for what we do with Jesus. Our surrender to Him or rejection of Him will be the thing that will determine our eternity!
Pause: How is the Jesus’ trial in actuality a trial of the men who accused Him? How does this trial actually mirror the account we will have to give before Jesus?
Practice: Everyone will have to stand before the Judge to give an account. Knowing this, consider how you are living your life to help others come to know the good news of the gospel that removes their sins and makes them innocent before God.
Pray: Jesus, thank You that You endured this on my behalf so I could receive Your gift of salvation and be found in You. Thank You I can surrender my life to You and, in that, find my life and be saved! Help me to share this good news with others so they may be found and saved as well. By Your Spirit, give me the words to speak and the compassion and courage to reach out to them with the truth. Amen.