Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “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.” (Mark 14:61-62)
Following his arrest, the religious leaders had Christ under their control, alone and abandoned. They did not have the crowds to worry about, but they still wanted to maintain some semblance of justice. The accusation was to be blasphemy, the punishment for which was death.
The witnesses they had arranged could not agree, so the high priest asked, “Are you the Messiah?”, urging Christ to be his own accuser.
The inability of the religious leaders to see Jesus as the Messiah can only be described as spiritual blindness. It was urged on by their own pride and jealousy. They did not stop to consider that he could be. It did not occur to them that he had the credentials to be the Messiah: his teachings, his calling, his miracles, and the many scriptures he fulfilled.
He was elevated from obscurity: Often God exalted people into leadership from seemingly no where, revealing his own power and authority. In the Bible Joseph had been brought out of prison to be exalted as the prime minister of Egypt, resulting in “the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:20), speaking of the family of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. Samuel had been led by God to anoint young David, having been brought from tending sheep, to be the future king of Israel. So even in their own history God had exalted the ordinary and obscure to high positions. But yet their blindness closed their hearts to Jesus.
His miracles testified to his credentials: In John’s gospel is plainly laid out the importance of the miracles. Christ said:
If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true…I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:31-40)
They knew the Scriptures but not the Author of them. Many people today also confuse knowing the Bible with knowing the Lord.
He fulfilled prophesy: There was one he had fulfilled in this very confrontation – his silence. He at first said nothing to the accusations, and that was the fulfillment of Isaiah:
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)
In the face of all of these credentials, they chose not to believe, not even to investigate, not even to be open to the possibility that he was the Messiah. Later in Acts we read of the wise counsel of Gamaliel who advised them not to persecute the followers of Christ, saying that if the work was of God they would not be able to stop them, and that if that was the case, then they should not oppose his work (Acts 5:38-39). But Gamaliel was either absent or silent when they questioned Christ.
He is coming: Christ told them that the day of reckoning would come. At that time they seemed to hold all of the power, but the time would come when the roles would be reversed. “Sitting on the right hand of power,” refers to Christ as being the one who is exalted and who acts for the Father. “Coming in the clouds of heaven,” refers to the return of Christ.
Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is the Savior who died for our sins. He is also the exalted one, the anointed one, the Son of the blessed one, the coming one, and the saving one today. How this world needs to open its eyes to see him as he truly is, and to turn to him in repentance and faith.
As we replay this scene in our own imaginations, we realize the helplessness and vulnerability that he seemed to display while sitting there in their midst. But yet even then he was not truly helpless. John records Jesus saying,
No one has taken [my life] away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father. (John 10:18, NASB)
Christ willingly was laying down his life even for the very people who were preparing to put him to death. Some of them would eventually believe in him. We read in Acts,
The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. (Act 6:7, NASB)
For those of us who believe, we are touched by his love and commitment. Though he sat there alone, he had within his ability the power to call upon all of the angels of heaven to come to his rescue.
Like those priests, so we have the choice today to receive him as Savior or to meet him as Judge. We who have trusted in him, who know him as our Lord, see him as the one who loves us and gave his life for us. we also know him as the one who lives inside us and who walks with us in life. He is the one who calls us his friends and promises to return and take us to be with him for eternity.