“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.’” Mark 14:61-62
The light shines brighter when it’s in the dark. I’ve found this to be true and am thankful for the times God has put me in a dark room and asked me to find my way out. It has helped to grow and mold my faith according to his truth. Where else can I go but to Jesus, the light of the world?
This particular “dark room” once again had to do with my Jehovah’s Witnesses friends who came knocking. This was several years ago, and I honestly didn’t know too much about what they believed, but felt confident that I had enough knowledge of Scripture to hold my ground in a friendly back-and-forth over our differing doctrine. When they began agreeing with me on so much, their eventual claim that Jesus was not in fact God, but just God’s son (they conveniently left out the part about Him being Michael, the archangel), threw me. Of course he was God! It was all through Scripture… wasn’t it?
At that moment the question for me became not whether or not Jesus was God, but rather, why I believed that He was. These very sincere people pointed out that Jesus never once claimed to be God in all of Scripture. Naively, I thought I had the perfect verse to contradict their claim:
“I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I AM.’”
Boom! Drop the mic.
But of course, what I thought was such a great response did not impress them much. Unbeknownst to me, they had been well prepared to combat just such a verse. As we parted ways, the conversation rattled me more than I wanted to admit, and set me on a mission to discover Jesus as God, and the way he revealed himself as such in Scripture.
The Bible does not record Jesus ever saying the actual words, “I am God.” However, he used the messianic titles and referred to himself as “I Am” plenty of times throughout Scripture. A claim that was not lost on His followers or His enemies. The Jewish mindset knew what he was claiming. In our verse here from Mark, Jesus affirms that he is—in fact—the Christ. He also attributes God’s glory to Himself when He quotes in part from Daniel 7.
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power…”
Caiaphus, the high priest, tore his robes at this, and called what Jesus said, blasphemy! Blasphemy not only involved reviling the name of God but also included any infringement on His majesty or authority. Jesus’ claim to being Messiah—having majesty and authority belonging only to God—was seen as absolute blasphemy.*
In other words, unless Jesus was God, he was guilty of blasphemy by ascribing God’s majesty and authority to himself. In the Jewish culture, his guilt required the death penalty. The meanings and implications of what he said were abundantly clear to all who heard him, as they should be to us.
This leaves us, then, with two options. We can see Jesus as a liar who was seeking to glorify himself by claiming God’s majesty and authority as his own or we can see Jesus as God made flesh—worthy to claim the majesty and authority that are rightfully his.
As the light of the world, Jesus has revealed this truth to us in no uncertain terms.
“For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Colossians 2:9
by Siara Borning
*Zondervan NIV Study Bible