Week 4, Day 25

Mark 14:61-64

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?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.

Some people think that Jesus died a radical martyr’s death. He was speaking out against the religious and civil authorities and just went too far. He stood up for justice similar to heroes of today such as Dr. Martin Luther King. The truth is he did do these things, and they did get him in trouble with the leaders of the day. But it’s not why he died.

One could he even claim to be the messiah, someone set apart by God to free Israel from its oppressors and reign in the spirit of king David with great strength and integrity. Many, in fact, made this claim, including Jesus. But it is not why he died.

Jesus went further. He claimed to be the Son of the One whose name was too holy to utter – the “Blessed One”. And he doesn’t stop there. He proclaims that he is the one who will fulfill two old testament prophecies. Here is one:

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14

The high priest and other leaders of the Sanhedrin knew exactly what Jesus was claiming: that he was the one who would sit at the right of God and return in great power to rule and be worshipped by all nations. That will get you sentenced to death.

Jesus was not simply a powerful teacher or a radical activist. He is the Son of the Blessed One who one day will reign over all the earth with sovereign power.

Why do you think it is important to know the reason Jesus was sentenced to death? How do you think it might help others who believe he died for some of the other reasons mentioned?

Jesus I praise you for your courageous step of declaring the truth of who you are even though it cost you your life. Help me be courageous in sharing the truth of who you are with others.