reflections on Mark 14:61b-65

These sentences stood out to me for a few reasons.

Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ [Messiah], 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.” 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. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

Some points that the text makes:

Jesus claimed to be the long-awaited messiah, God’s chosen one.

Jesus claimed to be fulfil the role of the ‘one like a son of man’ referred to in Daniel 7:13-14 [here].

He was making big claims – big enough to be considered blasphemous by the Jewish high priest of the time.

Anther thing I take from it:

Two phrases suggest to me that Mark wants the reader to make their own decision about this man Jesus – who was he; who is he to you?
– “You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” A clear question, with relevance for everyone who’s read up to this point in Mark.
– “the guards received him with blows.” How will I receive Jesus. How will you? Does he deserve to be beaten down by us, or raised up?

Some questions raised:

What did the high priest have in mind when asking Jesus whether he was the “Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Following on from this, was it Jesus’s claim to be the messiah that was considered blasphemous, or something else, or is it a case of ‘both and’??
Why did the high priest, chief priests, elders and scribes, consider Jesus worthy of the death penalty?
Why did some demand that Jesus “Prophesy!” as they struck him and spat on him? Did they think him unable to do so – were they ignorant of his works in Galilee? 


Jesus before Caiaphas – Matthias Stom (c. 1630)


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