Are You the Christ, the Son of God?
At the Jewish trial of Jesus, the high priest Caiaphas found himself in a dilemma. He was losing his case before the Roman governor Pilate. The evidence did not add up. The false witnesses did not agree with one another (Mark 14:59; Matt. 26:59-62).
The star witness did not show. According to Jewish law, Judas who arranged for the arrest of the offender had to be the person to make the formal legal accusation. Because Judas realized he had betrayed innocent blood he did not arrive at the hastily arranged trials and the Sanhedrin lost valuable time trying to come up with witnesses to sustain their accusations. By not being at the trial Judas was actually testifying the opposite that Jesus was innocent.
Pilate, knowing Jesus was innocent tried to set Him free.
Jesus had remained silent before His accusers, and this astonished Pilate, and frustrated the high priest.
Suddenly in desperation, The Rabbi Caiaphas turned on Jesus and demanded, “I charge You under oath by the living God that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). (In other words, “Are you the Messiah?”)
The form of the question put to Jesus was brilliant. If Caiaphas had asked if Jesus were the Messiah, it would not have been a capital offense. Instead, Caiaphas told Jesus to tell them himself without being asked.
Furthermore, concerning the question of being the Son of God Jesus earlier had quoted Psalm 82:6, “You are gods, and all of you are sons of the Most High.” In the context God was calling the Jewish judges “gods,” therefore they could not accuse Him of blasphemy for calling Himself God’s Son. God was not speaking of a divine nature in man when He called them “gods” (Ex. 21:6; 22:8).
Moreover, they called themselves “gods” because they were created in the image and likeness of God, and were His representatives. The point Jesus made was, if God calls human judges “gods” then they have no legal grounds to stone Him. He proved to the Sanhedrin judges that when He referred to Himself as the Son of God, He did not blaspheme God (Jn. 10:34-36). His whole life was done in the perfect will of the Father. Jesus used the Psalm to contrast His divine sonship, prior to time, with theirs which began only in the present time.
However, the high priest so phrased his calculating question in such a way that He would have to respond to it. “I adjure You by the living God,” he asked Jesus, “that you tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
How did he know to ask that question? Judas had instructed him.
Now if Jesus answered, “Yes” to the statement it would be blasphemy to His accusers.
Jesus spoke up for the first time in the proceedings saying, “You have said it yourself” (Matt. 26:64). This is an affirmative reply in the original language. “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied (NIV). “Plainly, I am” (Mk. 14:62).
Then Jesus quoted the Old Testament prophet Daniel to give evidence to the declaration. “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heavens” (Matt. 26:64).
Jesus clarified for His judges the kind of Messiah and Son of God He was by quoting 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.”
Caiaphas got more than he wanted. He got a conviction from the lips of the accused. Jesus told the truth (because he cannot lie) and he admitted the evidence that would get him killed. But Caiaphas also got the powerful evidence that would one day convict himself, Caiaphas, before God’s great throne of justice. The day will come when Jesus will be the Judge of Caiaphas. Caiaphas has admitted to being a sinner, as every Jew does during the High Holy Days. But, he has never declared that Jesus is the Lord of All and begged for forgiveness. The law is quite precise in this matter. If you beg for forgiveness you shall (an ordering word) be forgiven. If you do not beg forgiveness you have committed the only unforgivable sin. You have been unwilling to accept Jesus as your King and you have never requested to be his subject. Therefore you must “die the second death.”
What exactly that second death/condemnation/Hell means is not exactly clear. Scholars debate the subject vociferously. (Loudly, with angry tones.) Some say those who go to Hell will be burnt up and that will be the end of them. Their energy returns to God. The End. Others insist one goes to eternal misery forever and ever, which makes no logic for me, and I frankly can’t believe it. In any case, it appears Caiaphas and his friends are going to meet God and have a very bad experience.
Jesus quoted a passage that will be fulfilled at His Second Coming (Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Rev. 11:15; Psa. 2:6-9; Phil. 2:11). The Son of Man will establish “an everlasting dominion.” His kingdom will never be conquered and will never come to an end. He will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords for all eternity (Matt. 24:30; Mk. 13:26; 14:62; Lk. 21:27; Rev. 1:7, 13; 14:14).
“The high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’
‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered” (Matt. 26:65-55).
The judges came to the right conclusion, but the wrong judgment.
According to the testimony of the Jewish Scriptures Jesus is “the Messiah, the Son of God.” But the judges refused to personally believe the evidence before them. They remained in their stubborn, willful unbelief. They were blind spiritually and dead in their trespasses and sins. A dark veil remained over their minds.
As a child born of Jewish parents who were not devout, I sought after this truth. Was Jesus the Messiah or not? Breaking with family traditions can be a socially awkward experience. Effectively for these past 41-years, I have had no family and no people! I don’t fit in anywhere amongst polite society – well not exactly.
However, we read in Luke 12: Not Peace but Division (NIV)
51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
And so it has been for many who accepted The Christ as their savior! Many in our modern era have died, are dying, and will continue to die horribly because they accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Being rejected by family is nothing compared to entire communities being wiped away because of doctrinal differences!
Jesus is the only legitimate Jewish Messiah. He is the King of righteousness (Isa. 32:1-10; Jer. 23:5-8; 30:8-9; 33:14-18); the Divine servant of Yahweh (Isa. 52:13-15); born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Lk. 1:26-30; Matt. 1:24-25); in the town of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Lk. 2:1-7); from the royal line of King David (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Isa. 11:1-23; Matt. 1:1-16; Lk. 3:23-37); he performed the works of righteousness (Isa. 61:1-2; Lk. 4:16-21; Matt. 11:1-6); the coming Messiah Prince (Dan. 2, 7, 9, 12); he entered Jerusalem as a king (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-11); he was betrayed by a friend (Psa. 41:9; Matt. 26:14-15; 27:3-8); He was the precious fountain opened (Zech. 13:1-7); He IS the Messenger of the Covenant (Mal. 3:1); and the Sun of Righteousness (Mal. 4:1), etc.
Jesus the Christ is the only unique Son of God (Psa. 2:7; Isa. 9:6; 7:14; John 3:16). He is God with us (Isa. 7:14; John 1:14, 18; Lk. 1:35; Rev. 21:3; John 20:31). He is the child with many names (Isa. 9:1-6), and our blessed hope (11:1-12).
“Why do we need any more witnesses? . . . What do you think?”
We, too, are in the same position as Caiaphas and his friends. What will you decide to do with Jesus based upon the facts from God’s Word? Just like Caiaphas your decision will determine your eternal destiny.
For a more detailed study of these great evidences in Scriptures, I refer you to this study: Christ in the Old Testament.