Monday, August 31, 2009

I am

They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and gave false testimony 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.” ’ But even on this point their testimony did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am; and

“you will see the Son of Man

seated at the right hand of the Power”,

and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” ’

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?’ All of them condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him over and beat him.

- Mark 14:53-65

Jesus faces his first "trial" in this assembly before the chief priests, elders and scribes. They question many witnesses - but the witnesses are so poor, and so many of them give false testimony, that their testimony contradicts one another. I find this to be symbolic of the logic of evil. When we recall that Christ himself is "Logos" we come to understand the centrality of both truth and reason to this kingdom. That which is against it contradicts itself, it is built of parasitical power, not having real power of itself. There will always be a big lie at its center - but by its fruits we shall know it. I feel that this type of contradiction is a sign or symptom, if you will, of evil; there is no truth in it. Of itself, it cannot stand.

The high priest finally asks Jesus directly, 'Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?' In Mark's gospel, Jesus answers directly, 'I am.' Jesus goes on to cite references to the manifestation of the Messiah (from Psalms 110:1 and Daniel 7:13), to refer to his Second Coming. ' “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power”, and “coming with the clouds of heaven.” ’ Jesus is being judged, and yet Jesus refers to the day when He will Judge. This is a direct answer, there is no disputing.

The high priest tears his mantle, which is symbolic of a charge of blasphemy. Under Jewish law, this would require a sentence of death (Lev. 24:16). However, under Roman domination, the priests cannot enforce such law: there will be no mention of blasphemy before Pilate.

We end this passage with the abuse of the prisoner, the agreement to the sentence without dispute and without witnesses. Jesus testifies of himself, John the Baptist has testified of him, and the works he has done testify of him, including those done through his disciples. Is it possible he is the Messiah? This is never discussed. But he is spat upon, blindfolded - he is hit and told to prophesy as to who hit him. Then the Roman guards take him and beat him also. Sometimes it's possible that though we tell the truth, we have no witness to stand up for us, and no one who believes what may be self-evident, nor who opens the door wide enough to the possibility that we just might be telling the truth, hard as it is to hear.

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