Mark 14:55-64 NLT
Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’” But even then they didn’t get their stories straight! Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah? The Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus said, “I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” “Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
At that time, the highest spiritual council in Jerusalem consisted of the most evil and immoral religious men and their associates. They set up a kangaroo court to condemn an innocent man to death. Not just any innocent man, but the Son of the Blessed One. Let’s study this passage for today’s reflection.
Evidence that Jesus was the Messiah
Less than two years previous this trial, a very important conversation took place just before John the Baptist was beheaded (Luke 7: 19-22). John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the Messiah. He responded to John’s men by referencing Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 35:5-6; 61:1-2) concerning the Messiah; the blind could see, the lame could walk, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf hear and the dead were raised. John's men knew that Jesus had performed all of these miracles, and thus concluded that He was the real deal. By the way, at least several of these miracles were witnessed by the very religious leaders who were scrutinizing Jesus at His mock trial.
Also evidenced by the public and close associates was Jesus’ spotless reputation for honesty. He never lied, not one time. In fact, a religious leader acknowledged that Jesus was known as someone Who only spoke the truth (Matthew 22:16; Mark 12:14). The religious leaders were liars, were acknowledged as such, and Jesus publicly called them children of Satan, the father of lies. When they questioned Jesus if He was the Son of the Blessed One, His riveting response was “I AM”, the same name God had given to Moses from the burning bush. So, when it came down to Jesus' word against theirs, it was obvious that He gave a truthful answer to their accusations.
Jesus let this court know He would resurrect from the dead and they would see Him returned to earth, seated at a place of total authority, God’s right hand. The word cloud (1) is the same word used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, referring to where the dead in Christ reside. Allow me to paraphrase Jesus’ response at that counterfeit trial;
These religious leaders will see with their own eyes the resurrected Jesus as Judge, and they will stand in His courtroom of heavenly witnesses as condemned men.
The crowd’s reaction
Terrified, the silenced crowd closely observed the head leader's reaction. Here was the opportunity for mercy and repentance. All the high priest had to do was ask for forgiveness and the men would have followed his example. But, God’s top representative on earth realized his plan would lose momentum and dissipate if he demonstrated any credence to Jesus’ words. Panning his audience, he spewed over with fury, tore his clothes, and wildly exhibited disbelief and outrage in front of his followers. The high priest called Jesus a blasphemer, someone who cursed God by claiming He was His Son. Trusting his judgment, the crowd took on the high priest’s offence and pronounced the Son of God worthy of death.
Father, My love and reverence for Jesus grows as I study His life. Jesus presented the opportunity for repentance every step of the way, even in the midst of hopeless situations. Father, if I should ever find myself in such a despairing place, please enlighten me by Your Holy Spirit to turn my face towards You and accept Your grace and forgiveness. If I am ever in such a place where others condemn me unfairly, I want to be like Jesus and extend the hand of grace and forgiveness to them. You may do with my life as You will. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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