3

So the high priest said to him: “I put you under oath by the living God to tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him: “You yourself said it. But I say to you: From now on you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest ripped his outer garments, saying: “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? See! Now you have heard the blasphemy. Matthew 26:63-65

Again the high priest began to question him and said to him: “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?” Then Jesus said: “I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” At this the high priest ripped his garments and said: “What further need do we have of witnesses? You heard the blasphemy.Mark 14:61-64

John Calvin and St.Thomas Aquinas both met on a very similar conclusion, that Caiaphas was angry because Jesus claimed divinity. How do Jehovah witnesses explain the anger of the high priest? And what was the "blasphemy" that he was angry about?

3

Here are the reasons given in a 2006 Watchtower article:

”The Sanhedrin saw Jesus as a threat to the authority of the religious establishment and to public order, for which Pilate held them responsible. Any popular movement that the Romans might interpret as seditious could provoke their intervention in Jewish affairs​—something that the Sanhedrin wanted to avoid at all costs.

Although unable to deny that Jesus performed powerful works, Caiaphas did not exercise faith but sought to maintain his prestige and authority. How could he acknowledge the raising of Lazarus? As a Sadducee, Caiaphas did not believe in the resurrection!​—Acts 23:8.

One murder, however, was not enough to attain Caiaphas’ evil ends. “The chief priests now took counsel to kill Lazarus also, because on account of him many of the Jews were . . . putting faith in Jesus.”​—John 12:10, 11.

The high priest knew the opinions of his fellow conspirators regarding any self-proclaimed Messiah. So he demanded to know whether Jesus claimed that title. Jesus responded that his accusers would see him “sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” In a show of piety, “the high priest ripped his outer garments, saying: ‘He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses?’” The Sanhedrin agreed that Jesus deserved to die.​—Matthew 26:64-66.

As high priest, Caiaphas could have helped fellow Jews to accept the Messiah, but lust for power caused him to condemn Jesus."

I could find no reference in the article that Caiaphas was furious with Jesus because Jesus claimed divinity, that Jesus was equal to his Father in heaven. They say the blasphemy was claiming to be the Messiah.

This is entirely in keeping with the theology of Jehovah's Witnesses - they say Jehovah created Jesus as a spirit creature who is known in heaven as Michael the archangel. They say they believe Jesus was divine, but deny Jesus was the pre-mortal Word of God who was with God in the beginning and who is God.

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/w20060115/The-High-Priest-Who-Condemned-Jesus/#?insight[search_id]=83d6a072-7ffc-477e-94d3-194b4e6fc386&insight[search_result_index]=1

  • 1
    Your last statement is half incorrect. JWs do not "deny that Jesus was the pre-mortal Word of God". They do believe that he was the Word of God and that he was "divine". What they deny is the interpretation that the Word of God was the creator God. According to JWs Jesus is a created being, created by God, and not a part of some Trinity. – coderworks Feb 24 '18 at 12:01
  • The New World Translation says (in John 1:1) "the Word was a god" and hotly dispute that the Word was God. Yes, they believe Jehovah created the pre-mortal Jesus (the Word) but in heaven he is known as Michael the archangel. I said "they deny Jesus was the pre-mortal Word of God who was with God in the beginning AND WHO IS GOD." I see you do not disagree with that. – Lesley Feb 24 '18 at 12:49
  • A being cannot be both 'divine' and 'created'. It is either one or the other, by very definition and by very logic. – Nigel J May 29 '18 at 1:02
2

Jehovah’s Witnesses recognize that Caiaphas and the entire Sanhedrin had decided Jesus’ fate well before the illegal trial began. This kangaroo court convened in the wee hours was simply looking to find a charge that would stick and that would convince a majority of Jews that Jesus was liable to death. A discussion of how the events unfolded is found here

Caiaphas knows that the Jews are sensitive about anyone claiming to be the Son of God. Earlier, when Jesus had called God his Father, the Jews wanted to kill him because they claimed that he was “making himself equal to God.” (John 5:17, 18; 10:31-39) Aware of such sentiments, Caiaphas now craftily demands of Jesus: “I put you under oath by the living God to tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God!” (Matthew 26:63) Of course, Jesus has acknowledged being the Son of God. (John 3:18; 5:25; 11:4) If he does not do so now, that could be construed as denying that he is God’s Son and the Christ. So Jesus says: “I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”​—Mark 14:62.

At this, Caiaphas with great drama rips his garments and exclaims: “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? See! Now you have heard the blasphemy. What is your opinion?” The Sanhedrin hand down the unjust judgment: “He deserves to die.”​—Matthew 26:65, 66.

Then they begin to mock Jesus and hit him with their fists. Others slap his face and spit into it. After they cover his whole face and slap him, they say sarcastically: “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” (Luke 22:64) Here is the Son of God being treated abusively at an illegal nighttime trial!

Caiaphas was being a drama queen with his great angry outburst.

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not dispute that Jesus is divine. (See this question). Indeed we accept as correct translations of John 1:1 that say “the Word was divine”. The accusation Caiaphas made was that Jesus had claimed to be the son of God. That was enough to convince the mob that he had blasphemed. Caiaphas’ outburst was never about Jesus having claimed to be the almighty God Jehovah. It was however about his claim to be the son of God and that does make it accurate to say that Jesus was divine.

  • "Illegal" in Jewish or Roman law? – aska123 Feb 23 '18 at 19:15
  • @aska123 the Sanhedrin =Jewish court. – Kris Feb 23 '18 at 20:57
  • @aska123 nighttime convening of Sanhedrin against Jewish law – Kris Feb 23 '18 at 21:03
  • this is one thing I have not understood, I mean what was the big deal with Jesus saying he was "God's son"? Luke refers to Adam as God's son in Luke 3:38. It was not like Jesus was telling then "I am God incarnate" or something like that. Was it just Caiaphas wanting to find fault in something? – Dee Feb 24 '18 at 4:34
1

Well, there is not much room for interpretation. The answer is given in the Bible itself.

In John 19:7, it reads:

The Jews answered him: "We have a law, and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself God’s son."

What was the law the priests were referring? Leviticus 24:16 states:

So the abuser of Jehovah’s name should be put to death without fail.

Apparently the priests found it blasphemy that Jesus called himself Gods son. There is nothing specific to Jehovah's Witnesses in this regards.

However, they have a different opinion on the learning of the trinity. On that regard, note that the priests didn't accuse Jesus of saying he was God. He was accused of saying he was Gods son.

  • 2
    However, an argument could be made that, as with Christians, Jews of the first century understood 'Son of God' in the sense Jesus was using it as a claim to be God (Son because of the nature of the Father: 8:42; 16:28)—10:33 " We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God. ...... Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am the Son of God' ?" – Sola Gratia Feb 23 '18 at 16:39
  • @SolaGratia JWs would disagree with that translation of John 10:33 based on how Jesus responded by quoting from Psalm 82 in which it's established that non-God individuals (Israelite judges) can be called "gods". Jesus didn't respond by explaining the Trinity, but instead Jesus responded to the accusation of blasphemy by showing that being a "god" doesn't necessarily mean being the Almighty God. – 4castle Feb 23 '18 at 23:14
  • 1
    @4castleCan't get into theology too much in the coments, but Jn 5:18 does not allow that interpretation. – Sola Gratia Feb 24 '18 at 0:01
  • @SolaGratia Compare John 5:18 with John 14:28. Who knew the Truth? Those Jews, or Jesus? John 5:18 starts out with the false statement that Jesus was breaking the Sabbath. Naturally, then, the second statement about Jesus being equal to God is also false. – 4castle Feb 24 '18 at 2:38
  • 1
    @Dee Can't discuss this in the comments, unfortunately. – Sola Gratia Feb 24 '18 at 12:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.