Who is really on trial?


And the high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, “Do You make no answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But He kept silent, and made no answer.

Coty Pinckney on Mark 14:60-62

Frustrated, the High priest tries to get Jesus to incriminate himself. Jesus gives no answer, in accordance with Isaiah’s prophesy:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

There is not need for Jesus to defend Himself against false charges. His purpose here is to proclaim the truth of Who He is, not to convince the court of His innocence. For this reason, He breaks His silence when asked the next question:

  1. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, 62 “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.” 63  And tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64  “You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Here we have the central point of the passage.

  • When they accuse Jesus of saying He will tear down the temple, He says nothing.
  • When they accuse Him of inciting a riot, leading a rebellion, He is quiet.
  • But when questioned about His identity, He answers: this is His witness. Now is His time. He declares Himself.

Jesus’ response is emphatic: “I AM,” with allusions to the name of God spoken to Moses at Mt Sinai. But He doesn’t stop there: He quotes Psalm 110 and Daniel 7, claiming for Himself power and authority. Look here at the wider context of those verses:

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand, Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

Daniel 7:13-14  “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”

In these few words, Jesus proclaims that He is not the one on trial – they are on trial. The High Priest is not His judge – rather, He is the judge of the High Priest and all others in the room. God will destroy His enemies, and all glory, dominion, and power belong to Him. All people – including these who hate Him – will bow before Him.

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