It was West Java in the mountain town of Bandung. It was a hot afternoon. I was sitting with a good friend drinking coffee as hundreds of motorcycles and cars drove by on the busy street maybe 20 yards away. We had been reading through the book of Matthew. We would read it and then come together and talk about it. We asked hard questions and wrestled through the text.
The main question came down to the identity of Jesus. My friend had read ahead to this passage in Matthew 26:57, when Jesus appears before the High Council. Until this point my friend, like many Muslims believed that Jesus was just a “good man” or a “prophet”, but not the Son of God. It was this passage that finally convinced him that Jesus did in fact believe that He was the Son of God.
This passage is in many ways the boiling point before the death of Jesus. There was a large crowd gathered angry about things that Jesus had been saying and doing up until this point. The men of power were the angriest of all. As the crowd gathered it seemed to grow even faster. Simple bystanders were attracted by the commotion. It came down to a point in verse 62,
“Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, ‘Well aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?’ But Jesus remains silent. Then the high priest said to him, ‘I demand in the name of the living God- tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ Jesus replied, ‘You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of Heaven.”
This is the moment! Jesus is asked directly if He is the Son of God. Jesus knows the consequences He will face. He knows they are trying to have Him crucified. In this moment facing death he does not deny His Identity as the Son of God and He says they will all see.
For my Muslim friend at the coffee shop this realization was the turning point. This is what proved to my friend that Jesus was in fact the Son of God. He couldn’t be just a prophet because true prophets point people to God and if Jesus were not God, He would have been drawing people away from God towards Himself. The light bulb finally went on and my friend chose to accept Christ as Lord.
Jesus is and knew who He was. He is the Messiah. He came and willingly died on the cross so that every single one of us could have payment for our sin should we accept the free gift. Through the sacrifice Jesus made, our sins can be paid in full. This is the Gospel. This is the Good News!