Tag Archives: messiah

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – WHO WAS ON TRIAL?

WHO WAS ON TRIAL?

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “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.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 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 14:60-65

Jesus’ composure in the face of the hubbub going on all around Him was remarkable. He did not respond to their foolishness, only to the High Priest’s serious question, “Are you the Messiah, Son of the Blessed?” Was Caiaphas genuinely wanting an answer or was this a trick question to trap Jesus into incriminating Himself?

Jesus reply sent Caiaphas into a frenzy. “Do you hear that?” he exploded. “Guilty of blasphemy – out of His own mouth!” Let us examine the situation closely. Many imposters had come and gone, men claiming to be their Messiah but who could not back up their claims. For the Jews, it would have been impossible to recognise the true Messiah without the prophetic fingerprint in the Old Testament. Was Jesus just another upstart who would disappear off the radar soon enough?

But there was one thing different about His claim. If they had taken the trouble to examine the evidence, they would have found a perfect match with Old Testament prophecy. God was smart. He ensured that there would be no mistake about who was telling the truth by writing history before it happened. Time and again, during the Old Covenant era, when His people insisted on worshiping the dumb idols of the surrounding nations, He challenged their gods to do what He did – tell them what would happen centuries later.

Since Jesus’ claim that He was the Messiah was the issue that finally clinched it for the Sanhedrin, was this the question that Caiaphas wrestled with, that drove his conscience in the night hours? Did Jesus’ behaviour and demeanour appear insane when He made a claim like that? His authority, His composure, His utter calmness and serenity in the terrifying circumstances, was disconcerting to them all.

When we put ourselves into this scene, we witness a strange reversal of what should have been happening. We should be seeing a justice system that was running on well-oiled wheels, not a judge and jury that were and behaving like children. We should have seen the accused either defiant or full of fear, trying to deny the charges or prove His innocence and yet – Jesus was in full control while His accusers were in disarray. How did Caiaphas and his cronies and Pilate sleep that night

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – WHOSE SON IS HE?

WHOSE SON IS HE?

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared:
“‘The Lord said to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I put your enemies
under your feet.”’
37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”
The large crowd listened to him with delight. Mark 12:35-37

Jesus had His own question to put to the people. This one seemed like an unsolvable riddle. “How can David’s Master be his son?” That was a real clanger if you didn’t know the inside story. His opponents, the religion scholars (did Jesus use the term with tongue in cheek?) readily acknowledged that David was inspired by the Holy Spirit when he made that claim.

This question delighted the people. Why? Many of them would have witnessed the on-going debate between the religion scholars and Jesus. Were their sympathies with Him at this point? Perhaps they recognised the unfairness of the attacks of the religious leaders in view of His impeccable life and uniquely authoritative teaching. Since questions were more important than answers and were the measure of a person’s intelligence, the people realised that Jesus was head and shoulders above His contenders in understanding God and His ways.

Unfortunately, their sympathies did not go deep enough for them to seek an answer from Him to His question or to be convinced that He was David’s son in the Messianic sense of the word. It is easy for us to understand what He meant from our post-resurrection, post-New Testament perspective but those who were in the moment had no reference point.

What does Jesus’ question mean to us? Here is the meeting point between God, the second person of the Trinity and humanity in the person of Israel’s greatest king. God had promised David that his dynasty would remain forever. How could that be, since Israel didn’t even have a king at that time? They may not have had a visibly reigning king, but David had a bloodline which traced right to Jesus, hence David’s “son”.

The religion scholars, Pharisees and ruling Jewish council made sure that He was enthroned on a cross and crowned with thorns but, in their mockery and unknown to them, that was God’s way of confirming Jesus’ eternal reign because He would, through His own death and resurrection, conquer sin and death. Now He reigns on the throne of heaven forever.

THE GOSPEL OF MARK – WHO ARE THE REAL DANGER?

WHO ARE THE REAL DANGER?

27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”
28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”
29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”
30 Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him.

31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. 32 He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.
33 But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. “Get behind me, Satan!” he said. “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 8:27-38

This incident and its repercussions have opened up to us at least a part of the reason that Christians are the greatest danger and hindrance to the coming of the kingdom of God. Against the backdrop of Caesarea Philippi, representing the way people think and behave when they reject the “tree of life” and eat the fruit of the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, Jesus asked His disciples the most crucial question they would ever have to answer. “Who do you say that I am?”

Peter’s response was, in essence, absolutely correct but, as he later revealed, its content was way off the mark. It’s the content of that confession that validates or invalidates our confession. From Peter’s declaration, Jesus launched into a revelation of the Father’s agenda for Him, exposing Peter’s contradicting the content of the confession he had just made.

True discipleship not only embraces Jesus’ essence and nature as the Son of God. It also fully embraces the implications of that confession both for Jesus and for himself.

Peter refused to embrace Jesus’ yoke – the unconditional love of God that endures humiliation, disgrace, rejection and ridicule in order to overcome the worst man can do, through compassion and forgiveness. He still espoused violence, force and control as the way of victory. He was embarrassed by Jesus’ revelation of suffering and death as the way of overcoming the world. Jesus repudiated that way as the way of Satan.

God’s love is all-inclusive and all-embracing. He opens His arms to anyone who will repent and return (tefilah, teshuvah). By contrast, Jesus said that discipleship is all-exclusive. He is embarrassed by and repudiates anyone who refuses His yoke and chooses to continue on under the devil’s yoke. Such a person is “anti-Christ”, constituting a danger to the growth of God’s kingdom because he misrepresents his Messiah and brings the spirit of the world into the church, and the name of Jesus into disrepute.82

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE – WHO WAS ON TRIAL?

WHO WAS ON TRIAL?

“When it was morning, the religious leaders of the people and the high priests and scholars all got together and brought Him before their High Council. They said, ‘Are you the Messiah?’

“He answered, ‘If I said yes, you wouldn’t believe me. If I asked you what you meant by your question, you wouldn’t answer me. So here’s what I have to say: From here on the Son of Man takes His place at God’s right hand, the place of power.’

“They all said, ‘So you admit your claim to be the Son of God?’

‘”You’re the ones who keep saying it,’ He said.

“But they had made up their minds. ‘Why do we need any more evidence? We’ve all heard Him as good as say it Himself.’ Luke 22:66-71.

This has to be the strangest court case in history! Jesus was the prisoner and yet His subtle answer to their question and their attempt to force Him into incriminating Himself, exposed their guilt, not His. Their charge, punishable by death according to their religious law, was blasphemy. For them, His guilt was cut and dried, if they could get Him to make a confession. ‘If you are claiming to be the Son of God, say it.’

The only witnesses they could produce contradicted one another and, according to Mark’s account, brought an accusation so feeble that their testimony was dismissed. All they could bank on was that Jesus would admit guilt to their charge by His own confession.

His counter charge was: ‘If I am not the Son of God, prove it.’ As the members of the High Council, it was their duty to uphold justice and to do this, they had to provide evidence to support their charge, but they could not even produce at least two reliable witnesses.

Jesus turned the tables on them by His reply to their question. ‘If I said yes, you would not believe me. If I asked what you meant by your question, you would not answer me.’  He dug underneath their hypocritical “justice”, exposed their motive and revealed their wicked hearts. They were not after the truth. They were after an excuse to condemn Him.

Instead of giving them a direct answer, He made a statement which they were forced to weigh up for themselves. Their response would be the verdict on themselves, guilty or not guilty. Their refusal to drop the case drove them deeper into guilt and His resurrection three days later finally sealed their doom.   

Once before, they were caught in the same dilemma when they came to Him with a trick question, ‘Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?’  His answer took them by surprise. They were expecting Him to get Himself into trouble either with Jewish or Roman authorities. Instead, He put them in their place by reminding them of both their civil and religious responsibilities. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” Luke 20:25b (NIV).

Motive and responsibility – Jesus was big on both these issues. Why we do things is just as important as what we do. Taking responsibility for what we do and why we do what we do is the essence of maturity. Adam and Eve tried to play the “blame game” but it did not work with God. Man has been doing the same thing ever since and it still doesn’t work.

Even though Jesus was found guilty, condemned and crucified, He was the judge in the end, and His accusers the condemned. Yes, Jesus was guilty as charged, guilty of being who He said He was, the Christ, the Son of the living God, and He not only claimed it, He proved it by rising from the dead.

Those who tried and condemned Him were the guilty ones, guilty of prejudice, injustice and treason because they betrayed the God they claimed to serve and condemned to death the Son of God because they refused to recognise and believe in Him.

THE GOSPEL OF LUKE – DAVID’S SON

DAVID’S SON

“Then He put a question to them, ‘How is it that they say that the Messiah is David’s son? In the book of Psalms, David clearly says,

“God says to my Master,                                                                                                                                                   ‘Sit here at my right hand                                                                                                                      until I put your enemies under your feet.'”

“David designates the Messiah as ‘my Master’ – so how can the Messiah also be his son?'” Luke 20:41-44.

That got them!

This was no trick question. The one thing that stuck in the throats of His religious opponents was that Jesus, an obviously perfectly ordinary human being, whom they rejected because, to them He was only the son of Joseph and Mary, was claiming to be the Son of God. That was blasphemy, and blasphemy was punishable by death.

Had the claim come from anyone else, they would have had every reason to have him tried and executed, but from Jesus…that was another story. They had all the evidence they needed but they refused to examine it objectively. Jesus was a man; He was claiming to be God; He must die.

Their questions were designed to trick Him into incriminating Himself either by contradicting Moses or teaching something treasonable against Rome. Jesus was too smart to be outwitted by these religious ‘experts’ who were actually ignorant of the truths concealed in their ‘Law’.

So He asked them a question, one that would get them to the crux of their issue with Him. ‘Who are you?’ they kept asking.  Moses, David…these were the heroes of their religion. What they said went. What they failed to realise was that Moses and David wrote about Him and what they said accurately presented Him.

David’s statement, quoted from Psalm 110:1, highlights two of Jesus’ qualifications which they refused to believe and which, incidentally, are still rejected by some sects today. Two phrases are glaringly contradictory — ‘my (David’s) Master’ and ‘his (David’s) son.’ That was a teaser for the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and one which focuses on one of the central truths of our faith.

The Bible clearly teaches that Messiah was fully God and fully man. He is both David’s Master and his son. He is God and He is man of the lineage of David, Israel’s greatest king and the model of kingship in the Old Testament. Therefore Jesus is the rightful king of Israel even though the religious leaders refused to acknowledge Him.

In His own masterful question, Jesus’ answer to their persistent interrogation, ‘Who are you?’ was always the same. ‘The evidence is right in front of you. You decide.’

This is the question that everyone must answer for themselves. Our eternal destiny depends on it. ‘Who do you say that I am?’ Even if we ignore the question, we have still answered it. Whether willingly or reluctantly, this will be our final response:

“And being found in appearance as a man,

He humbled Himself                                                                                                                              and became obedient to death –                                                                                                          even death on a cross!                                                                                                                                                Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place                                                                            and gave Him the name that is above every name,                                                                      that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,                                                                          in heaven and on earth and under the earth,                                                                                  and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord                                                                                      to the glory of God the Father.”                                                                                                          Philippians 2:8-11 (NIV).

Guess what! Even the devil himself will bow on that day, and that will seal his final doom and the doom of those who refused to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord! That was their choice.

What’s yours?

WATCH OUT!