by Scott Vance on November 22, 2021

Mark 14:53–65 (ESV)
53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 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. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “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.’ ” 59 Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60 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?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 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.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 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.
Have you ever witnessed a car crash?  I’ve seen a couple of fender benders.  It’s riveting to watch as the cars draw near, and your mind begins to race with all kinds of questions.  Will they try to slow down?  Will they hit the brakes?  Will they swerve and somehow avoid the crash?  Unfortunately, by the time each driver realizes their situation, it is almost too late and there is little they can do to avoid a collision.
That’s the image that I have in our passage for this morning as Jesus and high priest (Caiaphas as identified in Matthew’s Gospel, along with the religious leaders (the Sanhedrin), are on a collision course. 
If we look back in Mark’s Gospel, we can see the collision coming. 
The religious leaders have been opposed to Jesus.  They have two very different views about the Temple, about the kingdom of God, about the Messiah’s role and work in the world, and now these views are colliding in this room as Jesus stands before Caiaphas and the ruling Council of the Jewish people.
The Sanhedrin was made up of the high priest and prominent Sadducees and Pharisees.  The trial Jesus endured was nothing more than a farce.  It’s clear that Jesus was innocent of the charges (verse 55) and the witness’ testimony against Jesus was false, but that mattered little to the Council.  Jesus had been a problem for them, and this was their opportunity to act.
Jesus was deliberately and intentionally following the will of the Heavenly Father and He was about to give His life as a ransom for all of us. Caiaphas asked Jesus the direct question, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”  Jesus gave him the direct answer, “I am, and you will see me seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  In that statement, Jesus was drawing from Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110.  Jesus is the true prophet, the Messiah, and He will be vindicated.  The Lord Himself will prove Jesus in the right.  However, this statement was what the Council was looking for in order to charge Jesus with blasphemy. 
Once again, in their blindness, they’ve missed seeing Jesus.  The Council will soon bring Jesus before Pilate and present Him as a rebel king who was opposed to Rome, and in the same breath, they will charge Jesus with being a false prophet leading the people of God astray.
It’s easy to read this passage and get upset because of the injustice that Jesus is enduring.  Clearly, the religious leaders are unable to see who Jesus truly is because Jesus upsets and contradicts their view of who the Messiah is and what the Messiah should be doing.  But then, as I reflect on what’s happening, I realize that there are times in my life when I feel unsettled by Jesus.  It’s those moments when, by God’s mercy, I’m aware that I’m out of step with Jesus because I’m wandering a bit in my faith—giving my attention and devotion to other things, or because I’m struggling with a situation or a person, or perhaps I haven’t really been pursuing my relationship with Jesus and things have grown a bit distanced. 
Those are moments when you and I might feel unsettled by Jesus.
When those moments happen, and they will, don’t be like the Council and rationalize your actions for shutting Jesus out.  Instead, open the doors.  Take the time to listen, to confess if needed, and then renew your relationship with Jesus.
Regardless of how far off track you may be, it’s not too late to make a course correction.
God bless you and know that you are constantly in my prayers!


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