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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

5/5/10 The Enemies of Christ Testify- in the Gospel of Mark

Jesus said to the paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven."  Now some of the teachers of the law were sitting there thinking, "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming!  Who can forgive sins but God alone.  Jesus knew their thoughts and said, "Why are you thinking these things?  Which is easier to say to this paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven" or "Get up and walk?" (Mk. 2:6,7)

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.'  The high priest tore his clothes, 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' He asked. 'You have heard the blasphemy, what do you think?" (Mark 14:62-64)

"Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.  "You have said so," Jesus replied. (Mk. 15:2).

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself!  Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe. (Mk. 15:32)

(Ecce Homo Cigoli 1607; Ciseri 1871);

Yesterday's blog was about the Spirit world's testimony.  Today we read some passages mainly toward the end of the first gospel in which (ironically) the enemies of Jesus testify to his uniqueness and messiahship.  Jesus did things that only God can do- like forgive sins- which the Jews saw as blasphemous.  But more specifically, the chief priest of the land testified that he should be killed for "blasphemy."  The blasphemy was that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah in answer to his forthright question ("I am").  But Jesus claimed more than just a special leadership role for his people.  He claimed power (sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One- the highest position in the universe next to God the Father); and He claimed to be "the Son of the Blessed One" (son in terms of essence- not progeny- which is blasphemy in the Jewish world); third, Jesus did not shirk from making a bold statement.  He added, "And you shall see [the Son of Man] coming on the clouds of heaven."  Jesus, in this third statement, was claiming power over even the chief priest and the Messiah's ability to judge the world.  He was basically saying, "You should be careful to judge your judge."  In essence, Jesus was killed by the priests for claiming to be God, and killed by the king by claiming to be King. 
There are those who say Jesus didn't know he was the messiah until after his resurrection (Jesus Seminar folk).  But these passages (one at the beginning of his ministry, and the others at the end) remind us that Jesus saw himself as able to forgive sins, as the Messiah, the King, the Son of God (Mighty One= God), and the Judge of the world before the resurrection.  The resurrection only confirmed what He taught.  If Jesus is the Messiah, the King, the Son of God (=God in the flesh), and the judge of the world, He is worthy of more than our respect as a teacher.  He is worthy of our worship and praise.

Prayer:  You are worthy of all that I am.  You are the messiah- annointed as prophet, priest and king= and worthy of my homage and allegiance.  You are the Son of God and worthy of my worship.  You are my judge, and I seek to please and humble myself before you today.

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