GOSPEL OF MARK – ROBBY GALLATY – Program 52
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Pastor Robby Gallaty; ©2011|
|How the religious leaders mistreat our Lord for a crime He didn’t commit. And instead of calling down twelve legions of angels or fire straight from heaven to disintegrate the enemies, Jesus takes the abuse as an example of His submission to the will of the Father.|
Sinning in the Presence of the Savior – Part 1
The title of the message this morning is Sinning in the Presence of the Savior. This morning we’re going to see how the religious leaders mistreat our Lord for a crime He didn’t commit. And instead of calling down twelve legions of angels or fire straight from heaven to disintegrate the enemies, Jesus takes the abuse as an example of His submission to the will of the Father. This morning I want to show you how Jesus responds to the attacks of the religious leaders to prove His true identity. The question we have to ask ourselves is this: are we following the real Jesus? Are we following a Jesus of our own imagination? We’re going to see really who Jesus is this morning.
Mark 14:53. Now, I promised you we’d talk about verse 51, so let me back up for just a moment. Mark 14:51. “And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.” Now, many people really don’t know what to do with this passage other than to speculate that this could have been Mark, the writer of the Gospel, and that the reason Mark is following Jesus is perhaps the Passover took place at Mark’s mother’s house. When Jesus finished the Passover, he heard Jesus leaving, he wrapped around a towel or a sheet around himself. It could have been his outer garment. He wrapped it around himself and in haste he ran out. And then all of sudden Jesus gets attacked. They grab the garment and he runs away.
We don’t know why he doesn’t include his name. Maybe out of humility, maybe because he doesn’t want anybody to know out of embarrassment. Regardless, it’s just a side note. It’s amazing that this week I got e-mails about this. Are you going to touch on this passage? It’s interesting. It really doesn’t have much to do about with what we’re about to get into and that is a serious subject this morning of how our Lord was attacked by the corrupt religious leaders.
Look at verse 53: “And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire.” Now the scene changes. “Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.”’ Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?’ But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Christ, 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.”
We look at the text and right out of the gate we see that the Sanhedrin had gathered together for the trial. These were the Supreme Court in the first century. It consisted of 71 different members, the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of the people sat together. They can make judicial decisions leading up to condemnation for death. They couldn’t condemn someone to death, but they could try them up to that point.
We notice that there are three major section in this section and this is part one of a two-part series. This section we see Jesus being attacked from the outside. Next week we’ll be seeing Jesus denied from the inside. These are outsiders. They’re not part of the twelve. They’re not part of the movement of Christ. They’re actually out to attack Jesus. In the first section we see has to do with an accusation. Write that down—an accusation against Jesus. And they accuse Him of based on two fronts. The first front is this: Jesus’ actions. They condemn Him based on His actions. The corrupt religious leaders have been trying to find a reason to put Jesus to death and they’ve been doing this for some time now.
But look at verse 57. They say, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.” This is a mistrial. They had already had in their minds before they brought Jesus into the courtyard that they wanted to condemn Him and I’ll prove it to you.
Go back to Mark 11:18. I’ll just take you on a journey just in the past few chapters. “And the chief priests and the scribes … were seeking a way to destroy him, [that means to kill Him], for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.” Mark 12:12. Once again, “And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people.” Mark 14:1. “It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and [What?] kill him.” They were looking for any reason to convict Jesus, even if the charges were manufactured.
Now, there are four reasons on this night that this trial was a mistrial. There are four reasons that this trial was illegal. The first one is this. You can write them down. A trial concerning death should never take place during the night. This trial took place between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday, which would have been considered a mistrial because a trial for capital punishment should have never taken place during the night. So it was a mistrial. Secondly, the arrest of Jesus took place on a bribe, which was actually itself was on the blood money of Judas, which was a crime. So that was a second reason. The third reason that this trial is illegal is Jesus was asked by the high priest to incriminate Himself. And then the fourth reason, Jewish law in some cases did not allow the sentence to come down until at least 24 hours after the trial. What this did is it gave the people an opportunity to digest it and come back with a response. Well, the chief priests knew that and what they did is not only did they arrest Jesus, they persecuted Him, they beat Him, they put Him on a cross. In just twelve hours, Jesus Christ will be dead. They failed to give Him a fair hearing.
The people started the interrogation process, if you look at the text, by twisting Jesus’ words. What they said is, Jesus, you said you were going to destroy this temple! Well, Jesus never said that. In fact, Jesus never said He’d destroy the temple. He talked about the Jews destroying the temple themselves. Jesus never talked about rebuilding anything. The only thing Jesus ever said was that on the third day He would rise again. You may destroy Him but He will rise again. In fact, Jesus never talks about rebuilding the temple because once Jesus dies on the cross, the sacrificial system becomes, at that point, useless, null and void. In the Old Testament, God created a temple for His people. In the New Testament, God created a people for His temple. I don’t know if you know this but your body, as Paul said, is a temple of the what? Holy Spirit.
After the shenanigans go on, the chief priests have seen enough. The high priest stands up and he says Have you no answer to make for this accusation? What is it that these men testify against you? But Jesus remained silent giving no answer. Why would Jesus not correct this misunderstanding about Himself? Why would Jesus not say this is a distortion of the truth? The reason is Jesus at that moment—don’t miss this—is fulfilling prophecy. You remember Isaiah 53: 7? It says, He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He opened not His mouth. Like a lamb that is lead to the slaughter and like a sheep that is before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. As the embodiment of truth, Jesus Christ is being attacked with lies by Satan, who is the father of lies himself.
So we see first of all they’re attacking Him based on His actions. Jesus, you said you would do this. But then we see, secondly, they attacked Him based on His identity. Who really are you Jesus? Tell us who you are. At that moment the high priest, Caiaphas, stands up and has asks Jesus a pointed question, “Are you the Christ, 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.” If we go to Matthew 26, look at verse 63. The high priest actually puts Jesus under oath to answer. He remained silent up to this point. The high priest lays on Him the weightiest charge, the weightiest oath by God. Notice what He says. “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Jesus, at this point, responds. Now up to this point, I want you to know, Jesus affirmed that He was God, even though He didn’t come out and explicitly say I am the Son of God. Speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, do you remember Jesus said to the woman that He was the Messiah? In Mark 12:10 Jesus refers to Himself as the stone the builders rejected, which would ultimately become the what? The cornerstone or the capstone. When Jesus came into Jerusalem riding on that untamed colt, He did not stop the people for giving Him this messianic title, Hosanna! Save us Son of David! Jesus was referred to as God. But He never said it to the religious leaders, and so now they’re trying to get Jesus to respond.
I want you to notice what the chief priest does. He said, Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Now, whether he’s saying this out of reverence or he’s just putting on an act we don’t know. But He substitutes the word blessed for the word God. I want to tell you this morning, Brainerd, this is the age-old question. The question is, did Jesus ever affirm that He was the Son of God? In fact, this question has caused many cults to spring up through the years. Many false religions have divided over the question who is Jesus? If Jesus is God, there are eternal implications for our life. If He’s not, then there’s a different direction we should go.
I want to show you that Jesus actually is the Son of God and that the Son of God is not just a title to describe who He is. It’s actually a connection to His divinity. In addition to that, I want you to know Jesus never said He was the Son of God. Jesus always referred to Himself as the Son of Man or even the Son. This is the problem that has arisen for false religion like Mormonism or the Jehovah’s Witness or even Islam. C.S. Lewis describes it this way: Jesus Christ can only be one of three. He can either be a lunatic, out of His mind; a liar who went around spreading lies; or He’s the Lord of Lords. He can only be one of the three. He can’t be one and another at the same time. So what I would like to do this morning is take each of those to determine who is Jesus. Is Jesus God?
The first one—Jesus is a lunatic. Some liberal scholars think that Jesus was out of His mind because He went around saying He was God. He was disillusioned. He was bipolar. He was misguided in His understanding of Himself. He went around ranting and raving that He was the Messiah. Then when people started to follow Him, He realized that the movement had gotten out of control, and when He went to the cross, He couldn’t find a way out of it.
My friends, that could not be further from the truth. Not only was Jesus in His right mind, Jesus was the Son of God. Not only did Jesus affirm it, other people affirmed it for Him. We see early on in the Bible in the Gospels, Gabriel came to Mary before Jesus’ birth and said the Holy One to be born to you will be called the what? The Son of God. At His baptism, God Himself spoke as the heavens parted and the Spirit came down upon Jesus Christ. He said this is My what? Son, which is the Son of God. During the temptation, the devil said to Him, Jesus, if you truly are the Son of what? God, turn these stones into bread. Every time He cast out a demon in the book of Mark, they say Son of God, why have you come to torment us?
Robby, I can understand demons and angels and God affirming this, but did humans ever affirm? Did people ever affirm that Jesus was the Son of God? When Jesus brought His disciples to Caesarea Philippi, He said, who do people say that I am? What did they say? Elijah, one of the prophets, John the Baptist. Jesus said, but who do you say that I am? Peter stood up in front of all and he said, you are the Christ, the Son of what? The living God. At the crucifixion, the centurions said, truly this Man is the Son of God.
Jesus said in John 6:38, For I have come down from heaven not to do My will but to do the will of the One who sent Me. John 8:58, before Abraham was, I AM. John 10:29, My Father who has given them to me is greater than all of them and no one will snatch them out of my Father’s hand for I and the Father are what? One. John 14:9, He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
Make no mistake about it. Jesus is the Son of God and that’s the chief reason He was crucified. You have to understand; when Jesus is in the courtroom standing before the corrupt religious leaders, that’s all He has to do is deny His true identity if He really wasn’t God. Who do you think you are? Well, guys, I’m sorry. I was disillusioned. I took this thing further than I thought it could go. I repent of my sin for claiming to be God. I was just kidding. It got out of control, and they would have let Him off the hook. But don’t miss this. Jesus doesn’t deny it. He affirms it. He says, I am He and guess what? One day you’re going to see me sitting at the right hand of the Father and I will come back on the clouds of heaven.
First of all, Jesus is not a lunatic. So it leaves us only two choices. He’s either a liar or He’s the Lord of Lords. Is Jesus a liar? Did He go around telling lies? I mean, Jesus said a lot of things. He prophesied and predicted a lot of things. Many people called Him a prophet. But in order to be a prophet, you have to tell the what? You have to tell the truth. My friends, Jesus was not a liar. Everything He said, including His own life and His future, He pinpointed with laser point accuracy. Everything He said came to pass.
He foretold Judas’ betrayal. You remember that? Mark 14:18, Truly, truly I say to you one of you is going to betray me, the one who is eating with me. We know from last week Judas goes out from that meeting, sells Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver. It comes to pass. Three times in the book of Mark Jesus predicts His death, burial and resurrection. If you didn’t get it the first time, let me say it again. You didn’t get it the second time, let me say it again. The Bible affirms this, specifically 1 Corinthians 15. It says not only did Jesus rise from the dead but He appeared to over 500 people over 40 days.
In Luke 19:41, Jesus predicted the end of Jerusalem. He said this place will be barricaded from the outside. He also said that people will close in from every side. He went on to say in Luke 21:5-24 that the buildings of the temple will all be destroyed. Not one stone will be on another. He also said you’ll be taken by the sword. You’ll all be taken captive. And finally, the Gentiles trample you under foot. Jesus predicted His truthfulness and displayed His veracity by predicted to the “T” in 40 years the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
See, Jesus is referred to as a great prophet by many. Even when He went to Nazareth, they said here comes the great prophet. But don’t miss this. In order to be a prophet, in order to be respected as a prophet, He has to tell the truth. See if you don’t tell the truth as a prophet, you become a false prophet and according to the Old Testament, if you tell lies as a prophet, you are stoned to death. If Jesus Christ told lies, He should have been stoned to death. But He wasn’t a liar. He was a prophet who was right on every single occasion.
Not only did Jesus predict His life and His death and the way He would rise, Jesus also predicted how you and I can have a relationship with God through Him when He said this, I am the way, the truth, and the life—get this—no one comes to the Father except by Me. Either Jesus tells the truth or He tells lies. Either Jesus tells it right or He tells things false. Don’t miss it. You can’t have it both ways. That’s the challenge. You can’t say Jesus is a good prophet if you’re in Islam. You can’t say Jesus is a good prophet if you’re a Muslim. You can’t say Jesus is a good prophet if you’re a Jehovah’s Witness or a Mormon if you don’t trust everything He says. You can’t your cake and eat it too on this issue.
So the question is, is He a prophet or is He not? He’s not a lunatic. He’s not a liar. He’s not just a good man. He’s not just a good teacher. He’s not just a good prophet. He’s the King of Kings and He’s the Lord of Lords. And the question is, do you know Him at that? I think the better question is, are you following what He says? You can’t say Jesus is a good man or a good prophet if you’re not going to take everything He says to heart.
So we see this accusation. It’s against His identity and His actions. But then we move into Jesus’ response, which is the second aspect and that’s the affirmation. Verse 62. Look at it: “Jesus said, ‘I am.’” You see it again. That’s the same phrase He said. It’s just one word in the Hebrew. It’s the verb to be, “and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
See, when Jesus says I am, it’s more than a description of who He is. It’s a deep, doctrinal connection with God. Jesus used this phrase over and over throughout the New Testament and it’s a connection to Moses meeting with God in the Old Testament. Remember what Moses said? God, who should I say sent me? Tell them I AM WHO I AM sent you. It just reveals Jesus’ character of God.
I want to show you how Jesus, through the New Testament takes that word I AM and then reveals the character of God. Are you ready for this? Jesus said I am the Messiah. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Light of the World. I am the gate for the shepherd. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the Resurrection and the Life. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am the Vine. I am the Alpha and I am the Omega. I am the Beginning. I am the End. I am the First. I am the Last.
Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, said was not that the time when any sensible person would have denied this accusation? If Jesus wasn’t God, He wouldn’t have affirmed this. At any time, He could have said I’m out. If He had not really claimed to be the Son of God, would He not now have spoken up? Would He not now once for all have delivered our minds from the mistake under which we are laboring if indeed it be a mistake that He is the Son of God? But no! He seals it with His blood. He bears open testimony before the herd of accusers, I AM. I am the Son of God and I am the sent one of the Most High. What does Jesus say? He says you’re going to see Me coming on the clouds as I sit at the right hand of the Father. This is a connection to judgment. Do you know in the Bible whenever you see coming on the clouds or the clouds it’s always a connection with the judgment of God against His enemies.
Go to Revelation 1. Let me show it to you. Verse 7: “Behold, he is coming with [The what?] the clouds. You see it? And every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, even those who have disowned Him, even those who have persecuted Him. And all the tribes of earth will wail on account of Him.” Go to Revelation 14:14. “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.”
Jesus looks past the trial. He looks past the cross. He looks past the resurrection. He looks into the ascension. And He says I’m going to sit at the right hand of God. And, yes, you guys can come against me and persecute Me and torture Me, but one day, Caiaphas, you’re going to stand before me like the herd of the rest of these guys and I will judge you. This is not just a prophecy from Jesus. This is a warning. You guys may torture Me, but one day you’re going to give an account. What a challenge it is for us. Do you know Jesus? You’ll either come to Him as Savior now when you die. If not, you’ll meet Him as judge. Do you know Jesus? I hope you do.
We see the affirmation from Christ. And then, finally, we move into the assault. Our Lord is about to be beaten right before our very eyes. Look at verse 63: “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 [Notice that—all of them] condemned him as deserving death.”
My friends, you just witnessed an Oscar-winning performance by the chief priest, acting as if he’s bother by this, all the while wanting to persecute and condemn Jesus for weeks and months if not years. There are many instances in the Bible of people ripping their garments and it’s an act of sorrow. Did you know in the Talmud there’s actually a prescribed method for the exact method to rip your garments? There’s a certain way you did that and I’m sure the chief priest would have followed that. Look at what he says, “What further witnesses do we need?”
See, in the Old Testament you needed how many witnesses? Two or three to condemn someone. What he’s basically saying is this: we don’t need any more witnesses because we’re all witnesses! He just said He’s the Son of God. He’s blasphemed the Lord! That word blaspheme in this sense means that he is ascribing Jesus to be one with the Father. That’s what he’s saying. So for people that say Jesus never said He was God, my friends, bring them to this passage, because He clearly says I am God and the crowd recognizes that. And they have one of two choices. One, Jesus really is the Messiah and we submit to Him as God; or two, Jesus is a heretic and He should have been punished by death, Leviticus 24:16. Verse 64, what do they do? They all condemned Him as deserving death. They all declared Him guilty.
Now, this guilty verdict was supposed to go on at least for a day, possibly two days, but they didn’t give Him the allotted time because they knew if they waited, Jesus’ disciples, Jesus’ family, Jesus’ friends could have come up and defended Him. And so they had to move swiftly. Verse 65, “[They] 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.”
At the beginning of chapter 14, Jesus’ body is anointed with oil as an act of worship. At the end of this short chapter, His body is beaten as an act of humiliation—in just one chapter. What they did is they came up to Jesus and they began to spit on His face. One guy spits on this side, another guy spitting on this side. Then all of a sudden they slapped Him in the face. And then if that wasn’t enough, they decided to hold His eyes and said, Jesus tell us who hit You. Jesus, tell us who hit you now. Prophesy! Prophesy, Lord, if you’re really God, tell us who hit You. They blindfolded Him or held their hands over His eyes. Jesus is disrespected and degraded. The crowd is sneering and jeering at Him. They’re spitting on His face. They’re covering His eyes. They’re slapping Him in the face. They’re punching Him in the back. They’re kicking Him in the side. If that wasn’t enough, the guards engage in the assault.
It’s one thing for the president to be disrespected. It’s one thing for a king to be disrespected. It’s another thing for the queen to be disrespected. It’s a whole different ballgame when the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords is insulted. Friends, they’re not just slapping the face of a man. These guys are slapping the face of God. Can you feel the weight of that? They are spitting in the face of God. My friends, the only logical conclusion from the response of Jesus is that He is God Himself carrying out the plans of the Father. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross like a lamb that was lead to the slaughter and He is moments away from offering up His body for yours and my sin.
Friends, I think a line from this text is drawn in the sand and the line is this: whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the crowd, of the high priest, of the elders and the Pharisees and the scribes? Or are you on the side of the Lord? Will you spit upon Jesus today? No, that’s not me, pastor. But we do it every time we sin. Will you slap Jesus in the face? No, not me, Pastor. Yet we do it every time we refuse to believe in His Word. Will you spit upon and strike the Lord? No, not me Pastor. But we do it every time we refuse His free offer for salvation. So who is Jesus to you? Is He a liar? Is He a lunatic? Is He a bad man? Is He just a good person? Is He just a good prophet? Is He just a good teacher? Or is He the Lord of Lords? And if He is the Lord of Lords—and you can amen that—the question is, will you start treating Him that way? Will you start treating Him that way?