“On Your Mark”
‘I Am’ (Chapter 14 Verses 53-65)
Things are going badly wrong for this religious tribunal, they have Jesus just where they want him, but their collaboration is not collaborating, and worse, Jesus himself is not saying anything at all (vv60-61a), let alone something that will bring condemnation upon himself. Caiaphas, the great high priest, like the cavalry, rides to the rescue, putting on his best performance as the outraged and indignant priest, he storms at Jesus with a show of passion. Imagine the intensity of this scene, as Jesus stands, composed, calmly looking directly into the eyes of this hypocrite, and says nothing. His answer speaks volumes, his silence screams at them. So Caiaphas tries a different line (v61b). That Jesus had done nothing wrong everyone knew, there were no complaints with regards anything he had done throughout his ministry. It was what, or rather who, he claimed to be, the Messiah, the Son of God. Caiaphas is losing his case rapidly, he has nothing to lose, the direct line, straight to the heart of the matter is the only course left open to him. “Are you the Christ” (John 1.34; John 1.49; John 5.18; John 10.30-33; John 8.16-19; John 8.53; 58)?
Jesus’ silence which condemned the false witnesses is broken by the demand for the truth. The truth that is, concerning his office, this he cannot refute, “I am” (v62). But more, they shall see for themselves that this is so. Not, that is, with his second coming, but from his death which they shall effect, in all the plethora of miracles surrounding his death (glorification), culminating with his resurrection, ascension and enthronement. Yes they will see the power and the glory of the Son of Man. Of course included in his statement is one of judgment, they will see him coming in judgment upon Jerusalem, but it is neither issued as a threat, nor as grace and forgiveness. It is a comprehensive statement as to who he is, in answer to the question asked him (v61b), impressing deeply upon them just who it is they are about to crucify (1Corinthians 2.8). But in spite of his supreme personhood, the man Christ Jesus submits to their governmental authority, even though they extremely abuse their God-given authoritative position (Romans 13.1-3). There is a lesson for us all. Anyone who seeks to promote anarchy, rebellion in society, and attempts to use Jesus as a paradigm, is on a loser, he was no rebel. He obeyed the civil authority, but under God, without any compromise to the ultimate authority, Heaven. He spoke the truth, he spoke it courageously and in love (1Corinthians 13.1-3).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)