The Unlikely Witness of Jesus' Diety

The Unlikely Witnesses of Jesus Deity

Matthew 26:57-68

“He had blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy?”

 

            The prosecutor, the judge, and the jury were already rigged against the defendant.  In their minds, he was already guilty and worthy of death.  What they could not agree upon was the accusation.  While they had already decided the sentence, they needed some semblance of law and order.  They needed a viable accusation.  As a result, they brought in many false witnesses who made accusations against Jesus.  The text does not tell what the charges were.  We know that the high priests, to get a conviction from Pilate, made the false accusation of insurrection.  Whatever these accusations were, they could not stand up to the scrutiny of public opinion. 

            In their search for a reason to justify Jesus' conviction, two individuals came forward and accused him of stating that he would destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days. This would be a direct attack upon the Jewish temple, but even this was false, for Jesus never made such a claim.  Finally, the chief priests asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”  

            Throughout his ministry, Jesus had clearly stated that he was the Christ, the Son of God, but the religious leaders refused to accept his message.  However, in demanding Jesus answer the question, Jesus recognizes that the time is right to affirm his claim again.  In the answer, “You have said it,” Jesus agrees with the claim.  In his statement, Jesus leaves no doubt that he was the Son of God and the Messiah.  This was the final straw for the religious leaders. They recognize that Jesus was claiming to be the son of God, which in their minds amounted to blaspheming God.  Blaspheme was a direct violation and repudiation of God’s power and majesty.  

            So why was it so crucial that they convict him of this crime?  It is significant for it validates Jesus' claim that he was God come in the flesh.  The irony is that in their response, they affirmed that Jesus was leaving no doubt that he was claiming to God.  It gives us the basis of C.S. Lewis's famous argument of “Lord, Liar, or Lunatic.”  When Jesus affirms that he is God, we are left with three options:  First, he was a lunatic.  In other words, he was deluded in his mind that he was God when, in reality, he was not.  In such a case, he would be institutionally insane and hardly worthy of being a teacher of moral and spiritual truth.  Second, he is a liar.  He claimed to be God but knew he was not.  In this case, he is the ultimate fool, for he willingly died for what he knew was a lie.  The last and only possible conclusion was that he was God himself.  In their conviction, the religious leaders gave us the most significant testimony that this was his claim.  The very people who were dead-set against him provided testimony that he was leaving no doubt that he claimed to be God. The only legitimate accusation they could bring against Jesus, one that was worthy of death in their minds, was the accusation that he claimed to be God.  The reason it was legitimate was because it was true!

            Today, we are left with the same conclusion.  Jesus clarified that he was not a prophet or a religious fanatic.  He clearly affirmed throughout his ministry that he is God himself, coming in the flesh.  We are confronted with the choice of either accepting or rejecting that message.  If he is who he claimed to be—The living Son of God—then the only appropriate response is to obey his teaching without compromise.  

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