Monday, December 10, 2018

Jesus' Claims of Divinity

"They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You are right in saying I am” (Luke 22:70).

Under Jewish law, the Sanhedrin could not hold a trial at night. Thus, Jesus was kept in abusive custody until the Sanhedrin met to try Him the next day. The chief priests and teachers of the law were also there.

Their first formal question to Jesus was whether or not He was the Messiah. Jesus replied that they would not believe Him if He told them. The reason for this somewhat evasive answer is that Jesus knew they had a defective idea of Messiah. Thus, Jesus could not give them a simple yes or no answer.

Jesus, however, went on to explain of what His Messiahship consisted. He told them that, from that time on, the Son of Man would be seated at the right hand of God. They knew Jesus had called Himself the Son of Man, and now they were hearing Him claim to be the coming King.

Their next question was very important. They asked if He was the Son of God. The Jews understood that all believers are children of God, and they spoke of themselves as sons of God in that sense. But by using the definite article, they were asking Jesus if He was claiming to be divine. This question was crucial to the trial.

Jesus said they were right to say so. The court immediately determined that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy, which according to the Law God gave to Moses, was a capital offense. The Sanhedrin had a problem, however, because as a captive people, the Jews could not implement the death penalty. They had to persuade the Roman authorities that Jesus was worthy of death.

Taking Jesus before Pilate, they attempted to translate their charge against Him into terms a Roman could understand. They accused Jesus of claiming to be a king and of opposing the payment of taxes to Caesar (which was a lie). By means of these charges, they hoped to stir the Roman government to execute Jesus.

Our culture still has a distorted view of Messiah. Non-believers see Christ as a wise teacher, a great man. To them it is scandalous to declare that Jesus is the only way to heaven. Find ways to combat the image of Christ as a Jewish Confucius and present Him as the only begotten of God.