In the wee hours of Thursday morning of Passion Week Jesus was subjected to an inquisition first by Annas and then by Caiaphas and his cronies from the Sanhedrin in order to come up with charges they could use to prosecute Jesus to the Romans. They were chasing the darkness to have Him put to death before His followers had an opportunity to rally to His defense. At the break of day they would present their case to a formal meeting of the Sanhedrin to ratify their illegal proceedings as if they had acted lawfully, and then deliver Him up to Pilate for execution before the start of their own celebration of the Passover that afternoon. Because of the weakness of their many false charges against Jesus, it is ironic that the main charge they would make against Him—that He was the Christ—was true, so that in the day of judgment they would have no defense for having put to death the Son of God since such was the very charge they used to condemn Him, though they themselves didn’t believe it. But since they didn’t believe it, they were just as guilty for having prosecuted Him with charges they supposed to be false in order to have Him put to death. Such is an example of the way God is able to judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus and capture the wicked in their own devices.
Although the religious leaders sat in judgment of Him, in Mat 26:64 Jesus replied somewhat cryptically when adjured to tell them if He was the Christ, in order to put the confession back on them, that their own words would judge them. But in spite of His indirect answer and their unbelief and unwillingness to accept Him as their Messiah, how does Jesus’ use of the word nevertheless and His words that follow indicate the actual truth of the charge they were making against Him, though they couldn’t see it, and would use it to have Him put to death? Cf. Luk 22:67-68. What does Jesus mean by hereafter in Mat 26:64? See the NAS text note and note that it is the same construction ἀπ᾽ ἄρτι that means from now on, that apart from one other occurrence (Rev 14:13) is found only here and in Mat 23:39 and 26:29, as well as Joh 13:19 and 14:7 that were also spoken on this last night of His life. What do each of these occurrences communicate about a change that was now occurring with their rejection of the truth that would lead to His death and resurrection, and fulfill God’s eternal plan for both the redemption of His people and the judgment of the wicked? What is the significance of His statement that from now on they would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power? See Psa 110:1 and Dan 7:13-14, and notice that Power was a circumlocution used by the first century Jews to avoid saying the divine name Yahweh, translated as the LORD (all caps) in Psa 110:1. This is similar to Matthew’s use of the kingdom of heaven for what the other gospels that weren’t written to Jews have as the kingdom of God. See also Mat 22:42-45 and consider that while Jesus avoided the title of Messiah or Christ throughout His ministry to the Jews because of their misconception of His true nature (but see His open confession to the Samaritan woman in Joh 4:25-26), the title He did assume for Himself was the Son of Man because of its Messianic implications from Dan 7:13-14 (see also Psa 80:17), but without the popular misconceptions; see notes on Mat 8:20. Hence this statement was a clear Messianic confession, and they would have understood it as such. But at the same time it also communicated the true sense that He was Christ, while leaving it to their own deceived misunderstanding to twist the truth into the lie that they would use against Him.
When Jesus said that from now on they would see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven, did He necessarily mean that they would literally see that, as even we perhaps envision it? Cf. Joh 1:18, 1Ti 6:16, 1Jo 4:12,20. Or rather, is it more likely that He meant that starting at that time they would see it in the effects it would have upon their world that they could not help but see, though they were blind to the truth that He was the Messiah? As the first half of Psa 110:1 that Jesus quoted speaks of His victory over death as the true Messiah and exaltation as King to the right hand of God, what does the second half of Psa 110:1 that He didn’t quote, but the religious leaders would have been familiar with, communicate about the defeat and judgment of His enemies, which they had made themselves? And although those words speak with certainty of His enemies being made a footstool for His feet, what do they also communicate about that being a process, and not necessarily an immediate thing as we often imagine it? How have we seen that exemplified throughout history? What does this also teach us about the necessity of patient endurance and perseverance on the part of the saints as they too await the fullness of God’s kingdom when their own enemies, who are Christ’s enemies, are subdued in the same way? See Rev 13:10, 14:12; cf. Luk 21:19, 2Th 1:4, Heb 6:12, 10:36, 12:1.
Besides the allusion to the Messianic reference in Dan 7:13, what is the significance of Jesus’ words to the religious leaders that they would see Him coming on the clouds of heaven? Cf. Mat 24:30, Act 1:9-11, Rev 1:7. Again, did He mean that they would literally see that as we often imagine it? Think: what is it that the clouds of heaven bring to earth? See Deut 32:1-2, Job 36:27-37:13, Psa 72:6-7, Isa 44:3, 55:10-11, Jer 10:13, Joh 1:1, 12:48, and our notes on Mat 22:44.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?