The Jewish Trial, Part 2. Son of God, Son of Man

See The Jewish Trial, Part 1

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Illumine our hearts, O Master Who loves mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to understand Thy gospel teachings. Implant in us also the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things that are well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

"Christ before Caiaphas". The High Priest is depicted tearing his robe in grief at Jesus' perceived blasphemy (Giotto, Life of Christ, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua). Photo: Wikipedia "Christ before Caiaphas". The High Priest is depicted tearing his robe in grief at Jesus' perceived blasphemy (Giotto, Life of Christ, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua). Photo: Wikipedia
    

At this point we are approximately halfway through the Jewish trial. I want to read for you again this passage in Matthew and conclude it. When we last met, Caiaphas was just about to question Christ and we were going to hear the exchange between them. So now let’s hear this section of Matthew’s Gospel from chapter 26 verse 57 and then 59 through 66 (Revised Standard Version).

Then those who had seized Jesus led Him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought false testimony against Jesus, that they might put Him to death. But they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last, two came forward and said: “This fellow said ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days’.” And the high priest stood up and said: “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” but Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to Him: “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God?” Jesus said to you Him: “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said: “He has uttered blasphemy! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard His blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered: “He deserves death.”

So let’s take a look at the verse where we left off, verse 62. “And the high priest stood up and said: ‘Have you no answer to make?’”. The high priest, we all know, was Caiaphas. Matthew had told us this earlier in the narrative. Caiaphas was an extremely powerful man in his day. The high priest was the most powerful man in the nation and he exercised supreme authority in both the political and the religious realms. Under Jewish law the position of the high priest was supposed to pass through a specific family, much like a royal succession. However, long before the birth of Christ the position had become politicized and different families had managed to take control of the high priesthood. Some Jewish factions did not recognize the authority of Caiaphas or the other high priests of this period because they did not descend from the correct high priestly family. In addition, the high priest was supposed to serve a life tenure.

Corruption in the Roman Empire

Now let’s talk about the family question. I’ll just give you one example. One example is the Essenes, the Qumran community, the people on the shores of the Dead Sea, who wrote down the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were living there because they rejected the religious leadership in Jerusalem, because Caiaphas and other high priests did not come from the correct family lineage. Now let’s talk about the tenure. The high priest was supposed to serve for life, but the Romans preferred to change the high priest every year. When the Romans took control of Judea they began to appoint and to depose the high priests. Why did they do this? Because by controlling who held the office of the high priest and only choosing men who would protect Roman interests, the Romans could effectively control the Jews. And what is really surprising is that the Romans even kept in their possession the ceremonial robes, the vestments, of the high priest. They would give it to him when he needed to officiate for some major feasts such as the upcoming Passover. That was another way that they controlled the office. Now I don’t know if you recall, a few podcasts back I told you, how we know about these details. Who told us this? Because it’s quite shocking to imagine that the Jews had to give the sacred robes of the high priest over to the Romans, who just by touching them or keeping them within the Roman quarters, defiled them. So the Jews would have to go get the ceremonial robes in advance and go through some kind of ritual of purification before the priest could even put on the robes. How do we know about this? We know this from Flavius Josephus, the first century Jewish historian I had told you about a few weeks back.

So the Romans not only controlled who became the high priest, but they created for themselves an opportunity for financial gain, because being assigned to the province of Judea was not exactly very appealing for procurators. Many of these provinces were in remote places of the Empire, and one reason to go to these places was for financial gain. The governors received bribes from people for appointing them to positions of power. And this was actually a very serious problem in the Roman Empire at this time—the corruption of the governors. So the appointment of high priests was a very lucrative source of income. Why appoint one for a lifetime? Why not appoint one every year? And this may be the reason why only a few families at this time controlled the ranks of the high priesthood, because only they could afford the cost that was involved. So men in Rome sought positions as procurators in these distant provinces so they could get rich, basically. Of course, this created a lot of corruption. And Pilate—we’ll talk about him later—was recalled to Rome for corruption and cruelty.

We can assume that Caiaphas was not only powerful but also extremely wealthy, because he had to pay Pilate and the other governors for his position. Now Caiaphas held this office for 18 years, a very long time considering that he had to keep reapplying for it every year. That was much longer than Pilate was in Judea, so he was serving as high priest when Pilate arrived and he was there when Pilate left. And the fact that Pilate allowed Caiaphas to remain as high priest during his tenure suggests that Caiaphas had a tremendous amount of political power and savvy, and that he cooperated well with the Romans.

Jesus’s silence

So what does Caiaphas say to Christ? “Have you no answer?” Remember, there were two false witnesses who came forward and said that Jesus said He would destroy the Temple and in three days build it up again. And, of course, this is not correct because what he was really saying was that they would be destroying the Temple, that is, His body, and He would raise it again in three days. So although the charges about the Temple are serious because they thought Christ was claiming that He would destroy the Temple, this is really not a capital offense. Caiaphas wants something stronger, he wants something better to convict Christ with, and so he tries to elicit a statement that will result not only in a conviction but unequivocally call for the death penalty. Saying, “I’m going to destroy this Temple,” even though it was considered serious, really is not serious enough to kill someone. At this point Christ could have extricated Himself from the situation, He could have denied making that statement because He never made it, or at least not in the manner in which the witnesses said it. He could explain that He was referring to the destruction of His own body, not the destruction of the Temple, etc. But in verse 63 it says, “But Jesus was silent, and the high priest said to Him: ‘I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God’.”

Let’s take that first part, “But Jesus was silent.” Christ maintains His dignity by His silence. Now some consider the silence itself an offense, but He is not intimidated by the high priest or the members of the Great Sanhedrin. He’s surrounded by the most powerful men in the entire nation, but having accepted the will of the Father He remains silent and makes no defense or attempt to save Himself. He is completely obedient to the Father’s will and answers only to the Father. Far from being a victim, Christ places Himself above the proceedings and shows that He is in control of His own destiny. St. John Chrysostom also notes that Jesus sees no point in defending Himself to people who are not interested in hearing the truth. I had mentioned this a few podcasts ago, when they asked Him about His authority. He simply did not engage in these kinds of discussions or proofs by miracles for people who were not open to the truth. And we see this in Luke’s Gospel when Christ responds to this question by the high priest by saying, “If I tell you ‘yes,’ you still won’t believe it.”

So then the high priest uses another tactic, because Christ was silent. He now puts him under oath. “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Now why is it that the statement about the Temple leads him to ask Christ whether He is the Messiah? That’s what it means when he says, “Tell us if you are the Christ.” This is because at that time a promise to destroy and rebuild the Temple was associated in the Jewish mind with the coming of a Messiah king, a descendent of David who would reign as wise and just and righteous. Christ entered Jerusalem on a donkey, an obvious fulfilment of the prophecy of Zachariah, and He was acclaimed by the people as Son of David and King of Israel, which are Messianic titles. The Jewish leaders recognized that many of the people perceived Christ as the Messiah because of His amazing teaching and miraculous powers. It’s a natural conclusion to make because of the testimony about the Temple, so it leads to this question at the trial: “Tell us if you are the Christ.”

Christ Before Caiaphas, by Matthias Stom. Photo: Wikipedia Christ Before Caiaphas, by Matthias Stom. Photo: Wikipedia
    

“I adjure you” he asks. Now the ordinary word for causing someone to swear is the verb “orkizo.” This comes from the Greek word for “oath,” which is “orkos.” “Orkizo” is, “I cause you to swear.” But here the word is even stronger “exorkizo”. It is a hapax in the New Testament. A hapax is a word that occurs only once. That’s terminology used by Biblical scholars. In Greek we would say “apax”, but in English they pronounce the breath mark and say “hapax.” And this word, “exorkizo,” “I adjure you,” means, “I place you under oath” in a formal swearing ceremony, in a trial situation. This word is also found in the Old Testament in two places, but here it is unique in the New Testament. It was a common Rabbinic formula for placing someone under an oath. This precise form is also found in the Mishnah, which was the Jewish legal code. To place someone under an oath with the word “exorkizo,” “I adjure you,” means that the defendant was compelled to respond. Do you see how they didn’t have the witness lift up his hand and ask, “Do you swear to tell the truth”? They could be silent unless they were forced to answer by means of this formula. This is the opposite of the American Fifth Amendment, which is the right against self-incrimination. In America you’re allowed not to speak, because you have a right not to say something against your own interests. You have a right to be silent. Here, the defendant didn’t take an oath, but He is being compelled, by the use of this formula, to answer. And the reason why this was done was that the Jews believed that having invoked the name of God a defendant would be too afraid of the wrath of God to lie. So they believed that when someone responded to this formal oath, the truthfulness of the answer was guaranteed, and that is why they used this formula “exorkizo.” Of course, Christ responds to this question although He was silent before. Why does He do this? Because if the defendant did not respond, his silence was taken as an admission of the accusation against him. Jesus decides to speak since by remaining silent it would be considered an admission anyhow, and He would be condemned. He now openly acknowledges His identity and He further clarifies it. The question was, “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” He’s been placed under oath to answer the question at to whether He is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.

Now, for the most part, Christ had avoided the title “Messiah.” That’s a Jewish word meaning “anointed one.” The “anointed one” could be the king, he could be the high priest, but this came to mean the person who is expected to be the deliverer or the savior of the people. The term was “Messiah.” In Greek “anointed one” was the word “Christos,” so that’s where we get our word “Christ” from. He avoided this title because there were many different messianic expectations among the Jews at that time. Some Jews had given up on the idea of a Messiah. That’s the case with many Jews today. Many Jews do not expect any kind of a Messiah. Others expected a political savior. In the Qumran community (those are the people at the Dead Sea, the Essenes who produced the Dead Sea scrolls) they expected two Messiahs, one a prophet, and one a priest. Yet other people had perhaps a more spiritual understanding of who the Messiah would be. But Christ is not condemned for claiming to be the Messiah. There were many “Messianic pretenders” before Him and there were a number after Him. There are some around even today. This was not considered a crime. These people were never charged with blasphemy or condemned for having committed a crime. Christ was condemned for claiming to be the Son of God. It’s the second part of the question that leads to his condemnation.

The Son of God

Now listen to the way the high priest phrases the question. “Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” It is extremely ironic that the question of the high priest exactly echoes Peter’s confession of faith earlier in the Gospel for which Peter was praised and rewarded. When Christ asked, “Who do men say that I am,” then “Who do you say that I am?”, Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of God,” right? And this is now the question being posed. Peter was praised for recognizing who Christ is and being bold enough to say it.

Let’s talk about the title “Son of God.” This title arose early in the ministry of Christ. We see it in the mouth of the devil at the temptation of Christ in the wilderness in Matthew chapter 4. What does he say? “If you are the Son of God,” and other places He is acknowledged the Son of God by the demons. “Why are you bothering us now, Son of God? Have you come to bother us before the time?” It’s not infrequent that the demons use this title “Son of God.” The centurion says it in the Gospel of Matthew when Christ dies. “Truly He was the Son of God.” As we mentioned, St. Peter says it. So this is a very important title in the Gospel of Matthew. He brings out this title quite frequently. “Son of God” was a title found in the Old Testament, but there it was equivalent to calling someone a child of God, the way we do today—all believers are “children of God.” We see this, for example, in the Psalm that says, “You are all the sons of the Most High God.” But Christ was not called a son of God, the way we are called “children of God.” He was called the Son of God. And this title has never been applied to anyone else. It was also not applied to Christ by others, but it was His own self-designation. He referred to Himself as “the Son.” When He spoke about God being our Father, He would say, “Your Father in Heaven knows what you need,” but He never included Himself with our group. When he spoke to us about God He would say, “your Father,” but when He spoke about His relationship to God He said “my Father,” not “our Father.” “My Father is working and so am I,” etc. So, “Son of David” was a Messianic title, but “Son of God” was not. It was not something that the Jews used as a title or would have expected. It was not something that Christians or the Church would’ve thought later to apply to Christ. It would not have naturally flowed from the idea of Jesus as the Messiah.

So why did the early Christians call Jesus the Son of God? Because it’s not something that they invented later. Many people like to say, “Well, in order to make Christianity appealing to the masses they invented the idea that Jesus was divine.” Early Christians would never have done that because all of the first Christians were Jews. There was no conception that the Messiah would be divine. Now think back: remember the discussion about the psalm in which Christ challenges them, “The Lord said to my Lord”? Remember how He points out His divinity in a very subtle way when He asks the Jewish leaders about David’s son. “Whose son is the Messiah?” They said, “David’s son,” and He tries to lead them to the understanding that He has to be more than David’s son. The early Christians would never have invented that. They recognized that Jesus is the Son of God because He referred to Himself in that way. So the Gospel accounts reflect the true historical memory of the Church. He called Himself “the Son.” It’s not something that was invented later. All of the Gospels agree that Christ was condemned not because He claimed to be the Messiah, but because He claimed to be the Son of God. Even in the Gospel of John the Jewish leaders insist to Pilate that Jesus must be crucified. And what do they say? “We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He claimed to be the Son of God.” That’s John 19:7. So when Jesus is rejected by the Jewish leaders, finally and fully now at His trial, He is rejected precisely for who He is, not on the basis of a misunderstanding or failure to observe the Sabbath or failure to fully reveal the truth about Himself. He’s rejected on the basis of this title, which expresses the deepest mystery of His person and which was the most exalted confession of the Church. He’s not just Messiah, but the Son of God.

In verse 64 Christ answers: “Jesus said to him: ‘You have said so.’” Remember, the question was, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the living God?” Jesus said, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Let’s take the first part of that response, “You have said so.” This response to the high priest’s question strikes the modern reader as rather evasive. It has been interpreted by modern commentators in a variety of ways. Some say it’s an affirmative answer, some say it’s a negative answer, and others say it’s neutral or ambiguous. I don’t know how they arrive at all these opinions. It’s clearly an affirmative answer. And not only that, it seems to have been a characteristic expression of Jesus to say, “You have said so.” And Christ, being true and authentic, would have responded affirmatively to the truth. He knows He’s going to be condemned, might as well say the truth. How do we know that this is an affirmative response: “You said so”? Because even in English you can understand it in different ways depending upon the inflection. “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God”? You can say, “You said so.” Or you could say “You said it!” Right? In other words, you are acknowledging it.

How do we know that it is an affirmative answer? Earlier Jesus says the same thing when He announced that someone is going to betray Him. The best way to understand how an Evangelist uses a word or intends to use a word is by how he uses in his own writings, elsewhere in his own writings. Earlier in the Gospel of Matthew we have this same exact expression. When Christ announced to the disciples that someone was going to betray Him, they were saying “Is it me Lord”? They go around asking, “Is it me Lord?”, “Is it me Lord?” And when Judas asks the question “Is it me?” Christ answers, “You said so.” Obviously it’s a “yes” answer there. It’s not ambiguous. Then later He says the same thing to Pilate when Pilate says, “Are you the king of Jews?” Jesus gives not exactly the same words in Greek but it’s the same kind of reply: “You say so.” That’s also in the Gospel of Matthew. The same thing is in the Gospel of John—when He’s asked a question he replies, “You say that I am a king.” So obviously this was a very characteristic expression on the part of Christ. Another reason why we know that “You said so” is clearly an affirmative response, is by what Christ says following it. Now there is a lot of power and irony in the response. It’s a much stronger response than simply saying, “yes,” because by saying “You said it,” Christ is turning the statement back towards the high priest, and He affirms that the confession of Christ’s true identify has just come out of mouth of the high priest. And the judge, the high priest, has become a witness for the defense, a witness to the truth, the truth of who Christ is, even though that was never his intention.

So what does He add to this statement, “You said so,” that makes it clearly an affirmative answer, “Yes I am the Messiah, the Son of God”? He adds “But I say to you that from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” This is a key statement, and with it, the Lord seals His fate. And after hearing the statement the high priest tears his robes and the whole assembly pronounces Jesus guilty of blasphemy.

Duccio Di Buoninsegna. Christ Before Caiaphas. 1308-11 Duccio Di Buoninsegna. Christ Before Caiaphas. 1308-11
    

The Son of Man.

So what did He say that was so shocking? Because to us it doesn’t seem so terrible. Let’s start with “Son of Man.” “You will see the Son of Man,” this was not an uncommon substitution for “I”. Most of the time that was just a substitution for the word “I,” the way we might say “yours truly,” or “my person.” It was considered an indirect or less egocentric way to refer to oneself and Christ uses this a lot. It’s the most common title He uses to refer to Himself. It’s interesting that it was never really used by the early Church. Only Christ called Himself, “the Son of Man.” He often referred to Himself as the Son of Man rather than saying, “I”, because, you know, people get annoyed when you say “me”, “me”, “me”, “I”, “I”, I”. So it was an indirect way to refer to yourself as the “son of man.”

These “Son of Man” sayings can be grouped into three categories. First, those that express His view of Himself as the Suffering Servant. So whenever He talks about His coming crucifixion, He’ll say the “Son of Man will be arrested by the chief priests,” “the Son of Man will be crucified,” etc. The second way this term is used is in His role in the future judgment, and that’s an apocalyptic use of the term, “Son of Man.” “When He comes in His glory the Son of Man will separate the sheep from the goats.” This is an expression of judgement. Also this term, “Son of Man”, is used whenever He refers to His divine authority. For example, His authority to forgive sins: “That you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” etc. “The Son of Man” was also a way of calling someone a human being or simply a “person.” It’s just as we say, “I’m human,” “a daughter of a human being,” “I’m a son of a human”; in other words, you’re human. And the term “Son of Man” is found in the Prophets, for example in Ezekiel. “Prophesy to the dry bones, son of man, say to this to the people.” It’s a way of saying “little man,” “insignificant person,” “human being.” It emphasizes the insignificance of man in comparison to God. But “Son of Man” is also found in the book of Daniel where Daniel has the vision of the coming Messiah, who is called the Son of Man. And then we see this again the book of Revelation, that John saw “one like a Son of Man.”

Now what it does not mean is Jesus acting in or referring to His human nature. “Son of Man” never means that. It never means His human nature vs. His divine nature—so get that out of your mind. The Jewish leaders understand, because this was an ordinary expression and of course it takes on greater meaning when Christ uses the term the way the prophets did. But they understand when He says, “You will see the Son of Man,” that He’s talking about Himself. He’s telling them, “You will see the Son of Man,” in other words, “me,” “sitting at the right hand of the Power.” Now “the Power” was a euphemism for God. Matthew is a Jewish writer and he had a Jewish audience, obviously I mean Jewish Christian. He’s a Jewish Christian writer writing to a Jewish Christian audience and this is why he consistently almost never says, “the Kingdom of God.” Matthew always writes the “Kingdom of Heaven.” The Jews tried to avoid even using the word “God.” They tried to avoid referring to God directly, because Jews considered that very inappropriate. They certainly never spoke the divine name, the Tetragrammaton, (YHWH) Yahweh. Instead they used expressions that were indirect references to God, such as, “the Power,” “the Lord Almighty,” “Heaven.” So, rather than saying, “May God bless you,” they would say “may Heaven bless you,” or they might say “the Mighty One of Jacob.” The “Mighty One” is God. In Mark’s trial account, Christ says He will sit at the right hand of the “Blessed One.” That’s another euphemism for God; but notice how they don’t say the word “God.” However, all of these expressions mean the same thing.

Jesus claims that He will come and sit at the right hand of God, and He uses same language to describe the Second Coming, when the Son of Man will come to judge the world. So we might say, “So what?” We’re accustomed to hearing that Jesus is “sitting at the right hand of the Father.” We say this every time we say the Creed, right? He’s “sitting at the right hand.” But we have really lost an appreciation for how powerful that statement was. But it was not lost on the early Christians. That’s why it is in the Creed. Think of how important it must be for it to have been included in the Creed. To “sit at the right hand” is to share power equally, to have complete authority, to co-reign. So by saying, “I will sit at the right hand of the
Power,” or “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power,” Jesus is claiming to be equal to God. No one reigns with God unless he himself is God. So “sit at the right hand of God,” from Psalm 109/110, was a very powerful biblical image, and it meant complete authority and co-ruling with God. There is no question—He is claiming divinity. Now the Jewish leaders have the incriminating statement that they hoped He would provide. So, anyone who tells you Jesus never claimed to be divine certainly does not understand the Bible. He consistently claims divine prerogative, to forgive sins, to speak for God, to judge. He calls himself, “the Son.” He claims that He’s the only way to the Father, and here, of course, there is no question that He is claiming divinity. Otherwise the Jews would really have no real grounds for having him put to death.

Then there’s one more detail added. “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.” Now the reference to clouds here is not just for poetic embellishment. This is an allusion to Daniel 7:13, the apocalyptic vision of the coming of the Messiah. The Jews always associated clouds with divine revelations and theophanies, appearances of God. At the Transfiguration of Christ the voice of God comes from the cloud, right? When the Israelites are wandering through the wilderness for forty years, they are accompanied by God in the form of a cloud. The Psalmist says things such as, “you make the clouds your chariot and your ministers a flame of fire.” At His ascension, Christ disappears into the clouds, and the disciples are told He will return in the same manner. St. Paul echoes this same idea when He describes the coming of the Lord with clouds in 1 Thessalonians 4. So, clouds are a powerful symbol of the presence of divinity. This just bolsters what he previously said, that He will be sitting at the right hand of the Power. It is a statement of divinity.   

Then we come to verse 65. “And the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard His blasphemy’.” Chrysostom says that the high priest does not give the sentence from himself, but invites it from them, as in the case of confessed sins and manifest blasphemy. He anticipates the sentence by saying, “You have heard the blasphemy,” but necessitating and forcing them to deliver the sentence, themselves accusing, themselves judging, themselves passing sentence, themselves being everything. And of course the high priest tears his robes. There is one response to the statement, “it is blasphemy”; and, Chrysostom says the high priest rent his clothes to add force to the accusation. It is a very dramatic act, to aggravate the accusation of blasphemy by this act. Chrysostom asks, why does Christ respond to them at all? It’s a great question. He says, “in order to take away all their excuse, because until the very last day He taught that He was the Christ, that He sits at the right hand of the Father and that He will come again to judge the world.” But of course this elicits the response of the tearing of the high priest’s robe. This was a ritual expression of grief and anguish, that the Majesty of God has been egregiously violated. The high priest was not permitted to rend his garments even upon the death of his own parents. It was typical that if someone learned that his parent had died he would tear his garments as an expression of grief. The high priest was not allowed to do that. So the fact that he does so in response to Jesus’ statement underscores blasphemy in the most dramatic fashion. Furthermore, when the high priest would rend his garments they were never allowed to be mended. So what does he say? He says “He has committed blasphemy,” and blasphemy of course was one of the most serious crimes in the Old Testament, and it carried with it the death penalty. In earlier times, blasphemy only occurred if the offender pronounced the divine name of God, Yahweh, since this was strictly forbidden. But here Jesus did not pronounce the name of God and instead used a typical reverential substitute when He called God “the Power.” And since we often see the Pharisees accusing Christ of blasphemy when He pronounced that someone’s sins were forgiven, it seems that by the first century blasphemy could refer to a violation of the power or the majesty of God, not just saying the name of God. So when you violate the majesty or the power of God, in other words, when you’re claiming to interfere in the sphere of God, you’re placing yourself where you don’t belong, either directly or indirectly, thereby claiming divinity, then it was blasphemy—even though Christ did not pronounce the name of God.

He deserves death.”

So, the high priest asks in verse 66, “What is your judgement? And they answered ‘He deserves death’.” Of course, this is hardly surprising. Any observant Jew would consider it his duty to have Jesus put to death after hearing this very shocking statement. So the high priest’s question, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of God?” had exactly echoed Peter’s confession of faith when Jesus had asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?” and Peter replied “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” This happened earlier in the Gospel, Matthew 16:16. Now, at His trial, Jesus is rejected by the Jewish leaders for precisely who He is. He’s rejected on the basis of this title; Christ affirmed His identify before the Jewish leaders, He never shrank from saying the truth, and now He is condemned to death—not for any crime, but for who He is.

Next time we’ll talk about the Roman trial before Pilate. Now let’s close with our prayer: “Lord, now let Thy servants depart in peace according to Thy word, for our eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to enlighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel. Amen.”

Presbytera and Dr. Jeannie Constantinou’s podcasts can be found here.

Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Transcription by OrthoChristian.com

4/6/2017

See also
Christ is Risen! Part 7b. The First Fruits of the Resurrection Christ is Risen! Part 7b. The First Fruits of the Resurrection
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 7b. The First Fruits of the Resurrection Christ is Risen! Part 7b. The First Fruits of the Resurrection
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
We’re going to talk about what he meant by “first fruits”, and also what he meant by the statement “those who are baptized for the dead”—a very enigmatic statement.
Christ is Risen! Part 7a. Subtle Differences Between East and West Christ is Risen! Part 7a. Subtle Differences Between East and West
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 7a. Subtle Differences Between East and West Christ is Risen! Part 7a. Subtle Differences Between East and West
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Before continuing with her discussion of 1 Corinthians in her seventh and last podcast on Christ’s Resurrection, Dr. Jeannie Constantinou discusses some of the subtle differences between the Eastern and Western understandings of doctrine.
Christ is Risen! Part 6b. The Resurrection of the Body Christ is Risen! Part 6b. The Resurrection of the Body
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 6b. The Resurrection of the Body Christ is Risen! Part 6b. The Resurrection of the Body
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
So if Christ did not rise, then we also will not rise. And if we cannot rise, then Christ also did not rise. To deny our future resurrection is to deny Christ’s resurrection. And conversely, to deny Christ’s resurrection is to deny our resurrection and to deny eternal life itself.
Christ is Risen! Part 6a. Who was the fist witness? Christ is Risen! Part 6a. Who was the fist witness?
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 6a. Who was the fist witness? Christ is Risen! Part 6a. Who was the first witness?
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
In this lesson, Dr. Jeannie talks more about Tradition, and explains the discrepancies in the scriptural accounts about the early witnesses to Christ’s resurrection.
Christ is Risen! Part 5b. The Apostle Paul Christ is Risen! Part 5b. The Apostle Paul
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Let’s see what Paul said; he received this and passed on to them. The way he phrases it sounds very much like an early Creed. And I think we can say almost without qualification that this was an early Christian Creed.
Christ is Risen! Part 5a. Tradition Christ is Risen! Part 5a. Tradition
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 5a. Tradition Christ is Risen! Part 5a. Tradition
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
So, St. Paul's epistles are contemporaneous with his missionary activity, whereas the Gospels were not written at the time that Christ was preaching, or even right after the Resurrection, because there was no need to write a Gospel right after the Resurrection.
Christ is Risen! Part 4 Christ is Risen! Part 4
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen! Part 4 Christ is Risen! Part 4
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Today Dr. Jeannie talks about the nature of the resurrected body, the supposed “family tomb of Jesus” excavated in 1980, and the question, “Why did Jesus have to die?”
Christ is Risen, Part 2b. Rejoice, and Peace! Christ is Risen, Part 2b. Rejoice, and Peace!
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen, Part 2b. Rejoice, and Peace! Christ is Risen, Part 3. Rejoice, and Peace!
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
When the women find the empty tomb they are alarmed, and this is because grave robbery was a very big problem in antiquity.
Christ is Risen, Part 2. The Empty Tomb Christ is Risen, Part 2. The Empty Tomb
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Christ is Risen, Part 2. The Empty Tomb Christ is Risen, Part 2. The Empty Tomb
Dr. Jeannie Constantinou
Dr. Jeannie Constantinous discusses the various doubts that periodically come up about Christ’s burial, about witnessing to Christianity by the example of our lives, and about the consistency of the Gospel histories on the Resurrection.
Comments
Here you can leave your comment on the present article, not exceeding 700 characters. All comments will be read by the editors of OrthoChristian.Com.
Enter through FaceBook , or enter your information:
Your name:
Your e-mail:
Enter the digits, seen on picture:

Characters remaining: 700

×