Yesterday I preached from Mark 14:51-65 in our series through the Gospel of Mark.  The title of my sermon was, “Don’t Be Fooled by False Religion.”  As Jesus was being led to the midnight trial, it was apparent – they didn’t know Him.  As Jesus stood before them, it became even more apparent – they despised and hated Jesus.  They had no idea that He was their only hope as the God-man.

Just as history proves to be true, false religion in the hearts of these Jews had taken them to places they would never have imagined.  In the 1500s, the Roman Catholic Church burned nearly 300 Puritans at the stake for rejecting specific doctrines and working to organize the printing of the Bible in the common man’s language.  What fueled the burning of these protestants?  It was the appetite of false religion.  The same depraved and bloodthirsty appetite fueled Hitler and Osama bin Laden.

They Falsely Accused Jesus

The Jews organized specific witnesses to testify against Jesus in His public trial.  Keep in mind, this was an organized effort behind the scenes to condemn Jesus because such trials were not held in the middle of the night nor were they held on a feast day (or the day prior to a feast day).  This was a Kangaroo court orchestrated by the religious leaders of Israel.  Even with their organized plan, they still could not find witnesses to agree.  No fault could be found against Jesus.

They Publicly Questioned Jesus

After observing their failures, the high priest (Caiaphas), stood to his feet and questioned Jesus.  He asked, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you” (Mark 14:60)?  Jesus refused to answer His critics and He refused to answer the high priest.  In conjunction with Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus remained silent.

Isaiah 53:7 – He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.

As his desperation increased, Caiaphas specifically questioned Jesus by asking, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed” (Mark 14:61)?  Suddenly, Jesus spoke with precision.  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” (Mark 14:62).  Several key things must be noted:

  1.  Jesus had never publicly announced the fact that He was the Christ – the Messiah – with such precision until this point.  Before, the statements were reserved for the inner circle of His disciples.  Now, He openly declares Himself to be God in human flesh before His accusers.
  2. Jesus’ statement identified Him as the I AM of Exodus when YHWH spoke to Moses from the burning bush.
  3. Jesus’ words were saturated with theological truth.
  • Christ = Anointed One of God.
  • Son of the Blessed (God) = One with the Father – the Second Person of the Godhead Trinity.
  • Son of Man = The One who receives glory through suffering. This title identifies Him with Daniel’s prophecy.
  • Seated at the Right Hand = Place of power and sovereignty – privilege and honor.  Place of judgment.
  • Coming in the Clouds of Heaven = The One who will return to judge the world.

They Unanimously Condemned Jesus

Immediately the high priest tore his garments in protest and called for a conviction against Jesus.  The charge was blasphemy.  The punishment was worthy of death!

Leviticus 24:16 – Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.

The vote was unanimous.  Jesus was sentenced to die as a blasphemer!  These depraved sinners had ears, but could not hear.  They had eyes, but could not see.  They were charging Jesus was the high crime of blasphemy, but little did they know they were guilty of blasphemy in their accusations against Jesus.  They were sentencing very God of very God to die.

Immediately, the crowd turned on Jesus.  They spit upon His face.  They struck Him.  They blindfolded Him, struck His face, and then asked Him to prophecy.  As Jesus was taking steps toward the cross, He was now putting His lips to the cup of God’s wrath.  He would soon drink the cup to the last drop.  All of this the Jews did as they were fueled by false religion.

Only one religion from human history offers true hope.  It’s the religion that takes the name of Christ – Christianity.

Consider the words of Phillip Bliss, from his famous hymn titled Man of Sorrows:

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!