On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood
Jesus' Own Testimony
July 20, 2014
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?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
“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.”
The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. (Mark 14:60-65, NIV)
As you read through the first three Gospels, you find a gradual unveiling of Jesus’ identity. Bible scholars call this the Messianic secret.
Jesus took great care in calibrating the revelation of himself. You see this in the details that unfold in Mark’s Gospel.
The first to recognize the Lord’s true identity was the demon-possessed man in the Capernaum synagogue. Jesus did not want the testimony of this evil spirit and commanded him to be silent (Mark 1:24,25). The same evening He commanded other demons not to speak “because they knew who he was” (1:34).
Shortly afterward, Jesus healed a leper and ordered him not to tell anyone. The man disobeyed and, as a result, Jesus stayed in “lonely places” (1:44,45). Even there, out in the countryside, crowds found Him, and again He gave demons “strict orders not to tell who he was” (3:12).
How do we explain Jesus’ seeming reluctance to self-identify throughout the first couple years of His ministry? The answer is He wanted the disciples to understand He was not the Messiah of their expectations. He was not going to be political, overthrow Roman occupation, or toss out the corrupt religious leaders in Jerusalem.
The kingdom of God was going to be split into two eras. In the present age, the Kingdom is internal. It is “within you” (Luke 17:21), and is “of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17). In the age to come, the Kingdom is external — visible to all. Jesus shall reign until all enemies are under His feet (1 Corinthians 15:25).
The disciples spiritually are like the Bethsaida blind man whose eyes at first saw only opaquely. At the second touch of Jesus, he saw clearly (Mark 8:22-26). Immediately following the healing of that man, the eyes of the disciples were opened to identify Jesus for who He presented himself to be — thus, Peter declares: “You are the Christ.” Jesus immediately commands His disciples not to tell anyone else (8:29,30). Why? The secret must be kept lest the crowds attempt to make Him their political king.
In His trial before the Sanhedrin, the high priests pressed Jesus, “Who are You?” At first, Jesus demurs. That’s His right, to avoid self-incrimination. But, Jesus knows His silence will only raise the attention level of the religious court. Thus He waits for the dramatic moment because He knows the high priest will ask again.
Jesus’ answer reveals the second part of the kingdom of God, its external dimension. He will reign visibly! He will be seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. He will come on the clouds of glory!
A prayer of response
DR. GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.
On Your Mark