If the church properly understood the reply of Jesus to Caiaphas, it would change the world.
Today’s reading from the Operation Save America Bible reading plan contains these verses.
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
- Mark 14:60-62
Caiaphas asked two straightforward questions. First, “Are you the Christ/Messiah?” and Second, “Are you the son of the Blessed God?” Jesus’ answer is often misunderstood. And the misunderstanding has serious ramifications to how we live our lives.
Jesus’ response joins two messianic prophecies into one statement. Both prophecies were very well known by the people in that day. Both prophecies have reference to the messiah ruling over all nations and subjugating his enemies.
The first allusion is to Psalm 110:1. “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Caiaphas would interpret this as a threat aimed at him. Jesus is basically saying, “Today you sit on a throne of power in judgement over me acting as my enemy. But the day will come when I will judge you, and you will be under my feet.”
There is no verse more quoted or alluded to in the New Testament than Psalm 110:1. Interestingly, it is referred to by Stephen when standing before the same High Priest, the same court , with the same type of false allegations being made. Stephen receives the same angry response and is martyred as a result. Jesus enemies hate the implications of Psalm 110:1.
The Second phrase “coming in the clouds of heaven” is a reference to another well known messianic prophecy, this time by the prophet Daniel:
"I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
- Daniel 7:13-14
Some modern readers may be surprised that when Daniel refers to “Jesus coming in the clouds” it it is not a reference to his coming down from heaven at the second coming. It is a reference to the Son of Man coming up to the Father to receive his kingdom. This actually took place immediately following his ascension into heaven. Notice that when the disciples see Jesus ascend into heaven they see him go up in the clouds.
Acts 1:9. “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
So Daniel's vision pick's up where Acts 1:9 leaves off. The apostle's view is from earth. Jesus is going up in the clouds. Daniels vision is from heaven and Jesus is coming up to the Father to take his seat at the right hand having received dominion.
The verses following in Acts chapter one tell us that Christ will return in the same manner as he left. But that is not when Christ was to get his kingdom. Christ went up to the Ancient of Days and received his Kingdom in 30 AD.
This is why his final words before ascending in the clouds of heaven up to the Ancient of Days are words of Commission. Jesus final words were a command to the church to go to the ends of the earth with the good news of the Kingdom of God. He has received an everlasting dominion. All authority has been given to him in heaven and in earth. There was a time when he winked at our ignorance but now he commands all nations to repent and observe all things he has commanded us.
Jesus is King of Kings and the judge of all the earth right now. The nations resist to their own peril.
Hebrews 10:12 says, “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.”