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