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?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. 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, verses 60-62.
Words mean things, and the way, order, and even the cadence in which Jesus replies to the chief priest here matters very, very much. Jesus deliberately said exactly what He said to state not only some powerful truths but also to offer the erring high priest yet another lifeline.
Men versus God; the age-old conflict. Notice how the high priest talks about what men are doing. He doesn’t believe this Jesus is God, that Jesus is the Son of Man who He claims to be. Since the days of Aaron, it had been the high priest’s life to revere God, to live his life in service to God. Each priest had awaited and anticipated the coming of the Christ, the deliverer sent to redeem Israel from its sins. Now there came a man who said He was the Christ, who proved He was the Christ, whose followers believed He was the Christ. What does the high priest do? He falls back on “what did these men x or y?” Would we do the same?
I am. That’s a powerful thing. In a way, Jesus was just answering the question in the affirmative; that’s true. Yet this translation of the Bible says something extraordinary because, when one of the ancient Jews would answer this particular question the way Jesus did, He was (once again) proclaiming Himself to be God by taking on Himself God’s holy name. Remember that Moses asked God what name he should use when the Israelites asked who God was and God answered “I AM. Tell them I AM has sent you.” In being asked if He was the promised divine Messiah, Son of God, Jesus answered not only “yes” but using I AM as His own title. To an unbelieving priest, that would be heresy worthy of death.
You will see. This is a promise. Jesus knew what was happening, that this little drama was going to conclude at Calvary. He was using what time He had now, with the authorities, to tell them what would happen. It wasn’t just a prophecy about His resurrection. It was also a promise that they, even though they disbelieved Him, would see Him clearly revealed as who He said He is in the time to come. It’s a promise for us as well.
Finally, “coming on the clouds,” predicting His eventual post-resurrection return. It’s not different from how God Himself predicted Jesus’ eventual victory on the cross (now at hand in Mark) from the very instant He confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden. Jesus doesn’t give them a day; none is needed. Instead, He tells them how to know it’s real, to understand that this is a fact and that God will reveal it in this way in His own due time.
In all of these words, Jesus spoke out of love, offering His beloved, yes the priests, a way out and the hope of salvation even as they conspired to violently end His life.
Lord, thank You for all You said and did for these people.
Read Mark 14, verses 53-65.