Jesus ignored the false witnesses. He broke his silence when the High Priest asked him directly if he was the Messiah. His answer used images of the Messiah from three Old Testament passages. Jesus was truth incarnate, and he would not deny that.
- In Exodus 3:14, God told Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me.’” In John 8:58 Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I AM!” and his hearers tried to stone him. How big was the claim when Jesus answered the high priest’s question with “I AM”? Why do you think Jesus did not ignore this question, as he did the others?
- Verse 65 is sad: “Some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!’” These were religious leaders, not Roman soldiers. Have you ever wanted to hurt someone in the name of a cause you believe is holy? How can we stand up for good without giving in to evil actions (see Romans 12:17-21)?
Today as I reflected on the bible reading and the GPS for the day a somewhat tangental memory come to my mind.
Jesus’ answer to the question “are you the Messiah” is in the Greek translitterated as ego eimi and translated as the first person present tense, I am. He had used this phrase tons of times, but always followed by something else; bread of life, good shepheard, the ressurection and the life, etc. In the reading today it just sort of dangles out there all by itself…and out there by itself it invoked charges of blasphemy.
Back in my days at Luther Seminary, and after my first semester of Greek, when people would ask how I was doning I would at various times reply “ego eimi” or “i am” and then I would say “in small letters.” I generally do not have a messiah complex, but I was being particularly church nerdy.
When I said these words I as was saying essentially that “I exhist.” When I used this phrase I was recongizing that there were and are many days that have good and bad in them and by the grace of God I exhist in them and I learn, love. and grow through all those things. I think Popeye had it right when he said, “I yam what I yam and tha’s all what I yam.”
What “I yam” and you are too in the waters of baptism is a child of God. In this light being an “i am” is not limiting or fatalistic, but it opens the doors for all kinds of unique possibilities as we are for others in Christ’s name.