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Luke's account of Jesus' back-and-forth with the Sanhedrin is different from the other synoptic Gospels in at least one interesting way. Matthew and Mark bundle the titles 'the Christ' and 'the Son of God' in one question. Luke, however, splits those terms over two questions.

Matthew 26:63-67 is

"But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “I charge You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said it yourself,” Jesus answered. “But I say to all of 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 At this, the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He deserves to die,” they answered. 67 Then they spit in His face and struck Him. Others slapped Him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who hit You?”"

Mark 14:61-65 is

"But Jesus remained silent and made no reply.

Again the high priest questioned Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 “I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Powerl and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 At this, the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “Why do we need any more witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy. What is your verdict?” And they all condemned Him as deserving of death. 65 Then some of them began to spit on Him. They blindfolded Him, struck Him with their fists, and said to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in His face."

But Luke 22:66-71 is a bit different in how things unfold.

"At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and scribes, met together. They led Jesus into their Sanhedrin and said, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe. 68 And if I ask you a question, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all asked, “Are You then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.” 71 “Why do we need any more testimony?” they declared. “We have heard it for ourselves from His own lips.”"

where 'You have said it yourself' (Matthew) or 'You say that I am' (Luke) is a Hebraic expression meaning an affirmative, as you can see from Mark's equivalent to Matthew's 'You have said it yourself', which is simply 'I am'.

So, what is clear from Luke's account is that the blasphemy charge does not hinge upon claiming to be at the right hand of God with clouds, as the blasphemy charge in Luke does not come after that. Rather, it comes after saying He is the Son of God. It seems Jesus affirming He is the Son of God is sufficient for a blasphemy charge by the Sanhedrin.

But is Jesus affirming to be the Christ sufficient for a blasphemy charge? Both Matthew and Mark pair 'the Christ' and 'the Son of God (or, the Blessed One)', where the Sanhedrin seem to think it's natural to combine them in one question, and Jesus says 'yes', which leads to a blasphemy charge by the Sanhedrin. So it's ambiguous. Is it because He says He's 'the Christ, the Son of God' (two terms used to pick out one person), or is it because He assents to being 'the Son of God' in particular, but being the Christ wouldn't be sufficient for a blasphemy charge?

So, much depends on the nature of the second question in Luke's Gospel.

"Are you then the Son of God?"

On the one hand, it could just be a reiteration of the first question (after his avoiding an answer but then talking about the Son of Man at the right hand of the power of God) but using another roughly equivalent and co-referential term.

On the other hand, it could be read as a new and different question.

What grammatical or contextual clues do we have to tell us whether the Sanhedrin's second question ("Are you then the Son of God?") in Luke is a substantively different question from the first ("If you are the Christ, tell us.")?

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    Both titles mean the same thing or names of the same person. Luke just puts them separately in that passage. It doesn't show that in Luke, they tolerated the Chirst claim, but not Son of God.
    – Michael16
    Jun 5, 2022 at 11:13
  • @One God the Father I'm going to throw a "monkey" wrench in the works by asking a question that I don't think anyone has brought up. Did any of the Jews take into consideration or believe that the Messiah would be a divine person, and I don't mean "a god." Something to think about and I will answer the question very soon.
    – Mr. Bond
    Jun 5, 2022 at 20:52

2 Answers 2

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If valid genealogical records had established Jesus the Nazarene as a biological descendant of King David, then Jesus could have claimed (without blaspheming) the title : ”Mashiach Ben David” מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד (Messiah Son [of] David), or Ben(בְּנ):“Son” of יְהֹוָה, based on [Psalm 2:7] as stated in [Sukkah 52.a:6] :

The Sages taught: To Messiah ben David, who is destined to be revealed swiftly in our time, the Holy One, Blessed be He, says: Ask of Me anything and I will give you whatever you wish, as it is stated: “I will tell of the decree; the Lord said unto me: You are My son, this day have I begotten you, ask of Me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession” (Psalms 2:7–8).

Regarding the titles of the “Mashiach” from [Sukkah 52.a:6], Daf Shevui states :

This midrash presents a dialogue between God and the Messiah, son of David, the Messiah that will usher in the end of days after the slaying of the Messiah son of Joseph. God tells this descendant of David that he can ask anything of him. But the Messiah wisely asks only for his life, which he is granted by God. - There may be some Christian overtones/polemics to this midrash, for according to this passage the real Messiah will not be slain.

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  • This is interesting. In Matthew 26:39 Jesus asked "and having gone forward a little, he fell on his face, praying, and saying, 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou.' Jun 5, 2022 at 23:02
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This is partly answered by two considerations:

  • See appendix below. There were many aspects of Jesus that Jews well-versed in Scripture would understand
  • When the same Jews inquired of John the Baptist, these ideas were quite distinct. They specifically, asked (and John answered) about whether John was Messiah. (He answered "No", John 1:19, 20)
  • In John 5:16-18 shows, they regarded the idea of Jesus having the Father as His personal father as blashemous.

That is, when the Jews asked Jesus if John was Messiah (= Christ) they did not regard this as something blasphemous and a claim to divinity. However, as their reaction in John 5 shows, the claim of THE Son of God, was another matter.

Indeed, the "antichrist" is defined as the following:

  • 1 John 2:22, 23 - denying the Father and Son [Son of God or Son of Man is not defined here but I am included to the former because of the mention of the Father].
  • 1 John 4:3 - denying that Jesus is from God
  • 1 John 4:2, 2 John 7 - denying that Jesus came in the flesh

Now, in Jesus interview Matt 26, Mark 14 and Luke 22 shows, the claim to be the Son of God was explosive in the minds of the Jews. Jesus left them in no doubt and effectively gave them the conviction for which they desperately sought - the charge of blasphemy.

There is an important subtlety in Luke's account. Notice what Jesus said and their reaction:

  • Jesus (Luke 22:69): "from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God" - a clear reference to Ps 110:1 and Dan 7:13
  • Jews: (Luke 22:70) "“Are You then the Son of God?”

Here, as Jesus had cunningly replied, the Titles "Son of Man" (from Dan 7:13) is linked with "Son of God" sitting at the right hand of power. This was a clear claim to divinity which the Jews recognized immediately and the trial stopped with the desired result.

APPENDIX - Jesus' Titles

The NT gives dozens of titles to Jesus, such as "I Am", "Lord of Lords", "First and Last", "The Great Shepherd", "Creator", Sustainer", etc. However, Jesus' main "claim to fame" rests on the following titles:

  • Son of God by which he claimed equality with the Father, John 5:16-18. many other of Jesus titles can be grouped under this heading such as "Everlasting Father" (Isa 9:6); Lord of Lords (Rev 17:14, 19:16); Lord of All (Acts 10:36, Rom 10:12, Col 1:15); "First and Last" (Rev 1:17, 18, 2:8, 22:13); Shepherd (John 10:11-16; Heb 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25, 5:4; Rev 7:17, cf Ps 23:1), "I Am" (Matt 14:27, Mark 6:50, Mark 13:6, Luke 21:8, Mark 14:62, Luke 22:70, John 4:26, 6:20, 8:24, 28, 58, 13:9, 18:5-8, cf, Ex 3:13-15; Deut 32:39, Isa 41:4, 43:10, 13, 25, 45:19, 46:4, 48:12, 51:12, 52:6) etc
  • Christ/Messiah under which Jesus is also Savior, Matt 1:21; Acts 4:12; 2 Tim 1:10; Tit 1:4, 2:13, 3:6; 2 Pet 1:1, 11. Under this heading, Jesus was also "the Lamb of God", John 1:29, 1 Cor 5:7, 1 Peter 1:19.
  • Prophet see Deut 18:15, 18-20, and Acts 3:21-23.
  • Priest by which Jesus is High Priest of the new covenant and our intercessor in heaven Heb 4:14-16, 5:10, 7:23-28, because He was “pure, blameless, set apart” exactly as the Levites were. See also Heb 9:15, 12:24.
  • King by which Jesus is monarch of all His disciples. Matt 1:1, 20, 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 15, 21:9, 15, Mark 10:35, Luke 1:32, 33, 18:38, 39, John 1:49, Acts 13:32-37, Heb 1:8. Thus, Jesus was the fulfillment of the Davidic covenant.
  • Son of Man - by which Jesus claimed mortality and identified with Humans as "our brother" Heb 2:11-13, Ps 22:22, Isa 8:17, 18, Matt 12:48, 49, John 20:17, Rom 8:29. See also Heb 4:14-16 and Rev 14:14 - compared with Dan 7:13.

All other titles of Jesus will fit under one of these main categories.

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