February 26, 2017

Blasphemers – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?’ They all condemned him as deserving death.” (Mark 14:63-64 NET)

Many in the pew are unaware of the unbelief in many of today’s pulpits. The British newspaper, The Telegraph, reported Wednesday (2/22/2017) the results of a revealing poll conducted just last month.

“A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey. The poll of nearly 2,000 of the Church’s 10,000 clergy also found that only half believe that faith in Christ is the only route to salvation.”

If these religious leaders had been able to consult with the Jewish Sanhedrin, perhaps they could have resolved the conflict and avoided the crucifixion. “No, no…He never claimed to be divine. That’s just a self-serving spin concocted by fanatics.” That is the line theologians are pushing today. The fact that it contradicts the scriptural account only bothers those deluded by the foolish idea that scripture is the Word of God. (I plead guilty and I am “bothered.”)

Unlike many of today’s theologians, the Jewish Sanhedrin and its high priest had no doubt about what He claimed. They heard from His own lips.

“The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, ‘Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?’ But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am;…’” (Mark 14:6-62)

These students of the scriptures would not miss the implications of Jesus answer to the question, are you the Son of God? …“I am.” This answer would resonate with the familiar identification of eternal divinity given to Moses.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM;’ and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

Just like many of today’s theologians, the Jewish Sanhedrin and its high priest did not believe Jesus’ bold claim. A mere man appropriating such an audacious, irreverent claim for himself, was obviously, genuinely guilty of blasphemy. Blasphemy was a capital crime.

“Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 16:24)

Therefore, council voted to condemn Him to death, because they accepted Scripture as God’s word (especially when convenient). Ironically, many of today’s theologians do not feel compelled to follow Scripture (except when convenient). Like the Sanhedrin, they say Jesus wasn’t God’s Son, justifying the charge of blasphemy, but, unlike the Sanhedrin, they choose to ignore the authority of Scripture, the implications of blasphemy and what God said to do to blasphemers.

Joseph and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin, but may have already left, probably because of revulsion at what the council was doing (note Luke 23:51; John 7:50-51). The rest of that august body all agreed.

But…the charge of blasphemy was true, only if Jesus was not the Son of God. He would demonstrate unmistakably just three days later that His claim was true. The Sanhedrin knew He had prophesied He would rise from the dead (the reason they made sure the tomb was sealed and guarded). Not only did they see that prophesy fulfilled, they knew the implications of what fulfilled it. He “…was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead,…” (Romans 1:4). “But surely, that many learned, devout, men of God could not ignore such obvious evidence.” You think? They did and still do.

His eloquent empty tomb testifies that He is God’s Son, therefore innocent of the Sanhedrin’s condemnation, though guilty as charged if He is not.

 

 

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