SUGGESTED SCRIPTURE READING- Mark 14:53-65
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “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.” Mark 14:55-62
The Gospel of Matthew tells us that the “high priest” in view here was Caiaphas, and he seems to be the person most responsible for the plot to do away with Jesus. Everything about this trial was bogus. For one thing, the Sanhedrin, (the ancient Jewish court system; the supreme religious body in the land of Israel) always met in the daytime as required by Jewish law. This meeting held before dawn was unscheduled. Furthermore, it took place on a Feast day. Normally they did not conduct meetings on such days, and they never passed sentence on an accused capital offender until the day after his trial…They chose to make an exception for Jesus. They wanted to turn Jesus over to Pilate for a hasty trial before public sentiment had a chance to build in His favor.
Even though this hearing took place at night, they managed to find two witnesses to testify against Jesus. They had been carefully planning their case for the prosecution. Yet even though they planted witnesses, and falsely accused Him, their testimonies could not agree…another requirement of Jewish law.
Jesus had remained silent through the questioning. He did not need to reply. Everyone knew that no offense had been proved against Him, and Caiaphas himself was painfully aware of this. So he asked again, “Are you the Messiah…?” There may have been other questions and other answers, as Matthew records a different response to one of these questions. But here Jesus gives an answer that leaves no doubt of His deity. “I Am”.
These are the same words used by God when Moses asks what he should tell the Israelites when they asked who sent him:
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14
John also records these words in his Gospel account of the soldiers coming for Jesus in the Garden. When they said they were seeking Jesus of Nazareth.
“When Jesus said, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.” John 18:6.
They were powerless before, and they were powerless now as He stood before them. All night long, the preliminary investigation had gone forward, and nothing had come of it. And if He had not answered, they would have had no case. This was the question which the Pharisees had so long attempted to force Jesus to answer; but until this hour, He had not…it had not been time…now it was. The accusations they had made in the past about healing on the Sabbath and casting out demons had long ago been answered. This one charge alone, That He claimed to be God, was all they had. AND THEY HAD GOD’S PERMISSION TO USE IT…JESUS PROMPTLY GAVE IT TO THEM!
Max Lucado said it well in the Title of a book he wrote a few years back; “HE CHOSE THE NAILS”. How can we do anything else but choose to serve Him?