We are coming to the close of our study in the Gospel of Mark. My plan is to finish up our study by the end of November; this lesson and 3 more is it. This morning we are in Mark chapter 14. Let’s catch up the action.
--Jesus has taught his last teaching in the Upper Room. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
--Jesus, sang a hymn, left the upper room and traveled out of the city to the Garden of Gethsemane.
--Jesus has struggled with the cup. He has announced... “Yet not what I will, but what you will."
--Judas has betrayed Jesus with a kiss.
--Peter is watching from a distance.
--Now, Jesus stands before the Council...
Mark 14:53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Parts of the Sanhedrin have gathered to judge Jesus. The Sanhedrin was the Jewish ruling body, the Jewish court; their justice system. But on this night, the Sanhedrin is not interested in justice. They are out to eliminate a problem. They are out to make sure this Jesus does not cause any more trouble. Jesus needs to be shut up.
Throughout most of Mark who Jesus is has been kept a secret. Listen to these sample of verses.
Mark 1:34 And Jesus healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mark 1:42-44 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone...”
Mark 3:11-12 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God." And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
Mark 5:41-43 Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. And Jesus strictly charged them that no one should know this,
Mark 8:29-30 And Jesus asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
Mark 9:9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Jesus knew that if who he was is revealed, too early... it would precipitate his death before the right moment. So, Jesus keeps it a secret, as best he could, until this moment in Mark chapter 14, before the Sanhedrin!
During his trials the Messianic Secret is revealed! The moment has come. Watch how the Secret is reveal as three accusations are made against Jesus during his trial.
Accusation One: Claimed to destroy the temple
Mark 14:55-59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, "We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'" Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.
The Council is having a problem. They know Jesus is anti-temple.
--They saw him turn over the money-changers tables.
--They witnesses the pigeons flying all over the temple.
--Perhaps, they had heard about the fig tree... cursed for bearing no fruit.
--Maybe, word had come to the council that Jesus had said their wonderful new temple would be destroyed.
But, they were having a problem getting two witnesses to agree on what Jesus said. The witnesses testified that Jesus threatened to destroy the temple. And build another one back.
Mark does not record Jesus saying this. It is in the Gospel of John...
John 2:19-21 Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
The witnesses could not agree on their testimony because it was a bit cryptic. Jesus has taught that their wonderful temple was going to be destroyed in 70 AD, but there was a new temple being constructed from the rejected stone. He was to be the foundation of a new kind of temple.
A new temple filled by the glory of God! Filled with his Spirit. Build out of believers! I need to read...
2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jesus stands before the Council listening to their witnesses botch up what he has taught. But it is close enough. The temple of Jesus; the temple of his body, is about to be destroyed. But it is going to be built back in 3 days by the power of the Spirit. It is going to be built back into this new marvelous temple in which God dwells, we know as the church.
Accusation One: Jesus claimed he would destroy the new wonderful temple... is false. But Jesus as the new Temple... is true.
Then, Jesus is accused by the high priest with accusation #2.
Accusation Two: You claim to be the Christ.
Mark 14:60-61 And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?" But he remained silent and made no answer.
So far, in these proceedings, Jesus has remained silent. The accusations weren’t sticking. There was no reason to respond. We are reminded of Isaiah 53:7; a prophesy of Jesus.
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Jesus is fulfilling Isaiah 53! He is quietly going to the slaughter; for the moment. The silence does not last. The secret is about to be revealed.
Then, in frustration the high priest straight up accuses Jesus...
Mark 14:61-62 Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."
Wow... Jesus offers one sentence in answer to the high priest. But it is a whooper of a sentence. This sentence ends the silence. This sentence reveals the secret!
-- I AM... What? Echoes of the burning bush. Flashback to Exodus 3. Moses askes God what is your name? God answers from the bush...
Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'"
Are you the Christ? Do you claim to be the Messiah? Are you the Son of the Blessed? That is the King. The high priest is asking Jesus straight up to you claim to be the coming King. Jesus answers in the affirmative. Jesus knew he was the Messiah, but not the messiah they had in mind. A different and more powerful messiah! I AM the messiah!
Jesus goes on to add he is the Son of Man from Daniel 7. Daniel predicted Jesus...
Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
What? Jesus is claiming to be the fulfillment of Daniel 7. Jesus is the one who comes before the Ancient of Days, YWHW and Jesus is the one to whom is given dominion and glory and a KINGDOM! This kingdom is the kingdom that will never pass away. This is the kingdom that has been longed for since the days of Solomon! Jesus claims to be the king of this everlasting kingdom!
Then Jesus mixes in Psalm 110, just to be more powerful!
Psalm 110:1-6 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool..." The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.
Yes, I AM! I am the Temple. Yes, I am the Messiah; you will see me vindicated! My vindication will mean that I share the very throne of Israel’s God. At last the masks are off, the secrets are out, the cryptic sayings and parables are left behind, the silence is over. The son of man stands before the official ruler of Israel, declaring that God will vindicate him in the resurrection. Jesus reveals he is the I AM; the messiah; the King of an everlasting Kingdom! Bam!
That is more than enough for the high priest...
Mark 14:63-64 And the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?" And they all condemned him as deserving death.
Accusation #2... Do you claim to be the Messiah? “Yes, I AM!
It is only blasphemy... if he wasn’t. The proof came three days later.
They passed the sentence of death upon Jesus... Jesus was guilty of claiming to be the Messiah. But the Sanhedrin could not legally put Jesus to death. So, there is one more person to accuse Jesus.
Accusation Three: Are you King of the Jews?
Mark 15:1-5 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole Council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" And he answered him, "You have said so." And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you." But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Pilate is the Roman appointed governor of Judea. He is the ultimate authority. He decides who lives and who dies. Pilate is no more interested in justice than the Sanhedrin. Pilate feels under no obligation to hold anything approaching a fair trial. His main aim is to prevent riots. He wants to get through the Passover season without major trouble. He has no love for the chief priests or their little power games. This wasn’t a particularly bad day for Roman justice; just business as usual.
Pilate’s job was to squash rebellions and collect taxes. So, he asks Jesus are you the King of the Jews... I’m sure Pilate snickered at the phrase... “king of the Jews”, “King of the pointless.” But Jesus answers... Yes! “You said it!”
Then Jesus goes back to Isaiah 53:7... so he opened not his mouth.
Mark 15:17-20 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
Six times in this chapter Mark reminds us that Jesus in the King of the Jews!
The irony of Pilate is Jesus has preached not to go to war with the Romans. Jesus has not preached insurrection but that the temple was under judgment because they were not the blessing to the nations. Jesus was not a terrorist, out to cause war with the Romans. But Pilate crucified him anyway.
Who do you say I am? It makes a difference.
--If Jesus was just a good teacher, then we value his teaching.
--If Jesus was just a humanitarian, who demonstrated how to treat people... then we perhaps treat others better.
--But... if Jesus is the new temple... we become the image of God in this new temple!
--If... Jesus is the Messiah, sitting at the right hand of God... we should fall down in worship! We join him on his throne!
--If... Jesus is the King of an everlasting Kingdom... then we sign up to be citizens of the Kingdom of God!
It is no longer a secret! Mark is writing to Christians in 64 AD during the persecution of Nero. Who Jesus is, is no longer a secret. They should not keep silent. Those Christians of the first century are to stand up and boldly proclaim that Jesus is the I AM; that Jesus is the New Temple; the Messiah; the King of the everlasting kingdom!
Who do you say I am? It is no longer time to keep the secret. It is time to announce the I AM!
November 5, 2017
Los Alamos Church of Christ