This topic was met with a lot of curiosity when I repeated some scholarly research I had memorized. The information was slightly foggy because my memory isn’t perfect and the material comes from almost three years ago. This what William Lane Craig AKA the heresy hunter’s sith lord has to say about the topic from page 317 of his book Reasonable Faith…
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And 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.” And the high priest tore his mantle and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. (Mark 14:60–64 rsv)
Here in one fell swoop Jesus affirms that he is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the coming Son of Man. He compounds his crime by adding that he is to be seated at God’s right hand, a claim that is truly blasphemous in Jewish ears.52 The trial scene beautifully illustrates how in Jesus’ self-understanding all the diverse claims blend together, thereby taking on onnotations that outstrip any single term taken out of context.
So are these words of Jesus, which served as the basis for his condemnation by the Sanhedrin and for his delivery to the Roman authorities on charges of treason, authentic? In his meticulous commentary on Mark’s Gospel, Robert Gundry argues that the words of the high priest “Son of the Blessed (One)” are likely authentic because this use of a circumlocution for “God,” though common among Jews, was not characteristic of Christians; moreover, it appears only here in the Gospel of Mark, who elsewhere prefers the title “Son of God” (1:1; 3:11; 5:7; 15:39). As for Jesus’ reply to the high priest’s question, Gundry provides several lines of evidence in support of its authenticity: (1) the combination of sitting at God’s right hand and coming with the clouds of heaven appears nowhere in New Testament material except on Jesus’ lips; (2) the Son of Man is nowhere else associated with the notion of sitting at God’s right hand; (3) the saying exhibits the same blend of oblique self-reference and personally high claims that characterizes other Son of Man sayings (Mark 2:10, 28; 8:38; 13:26); (4) even though Psalm 110:1 concerning sitting at the right hand of God is alluded to frequently in the New Testament, the substitution of “the Power” for “God,” though typical for Jewish reverential usage, occurs nowhere else in the New Testament; and (5) Mark is unlikely to have created a prediction to the Sanhedrin which they did not, in fact, see fulfilled.
In addition, Gundry notes the subtlety of the Markan account of the trial, which would escape a later Christian fabricator. Rules for dealing with capital blasphemy cases in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7.5) concern cases in which a person is accused of having pronounced on some previous occasion the divine name “Yahweh” so as to dishonor God. During the trial the alleged blasphemy of the accused is not actually repeated, but some substitute for the divine name is used. Only at the trial’s close is the courtroom cleared, and in the presence of the judges, the lead witness is instructed, “Say expressly what you heard.” He then repeats the blasphemous words uttered by the accused, at which all the judges stand and rend their clothes. In Jesus’ trial, the blasphemy occurs unexpectedly on the spot, so that only the high priest is standing and tears his garments. If Jesus actually uttered the divine name by saying, “You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Yahweh,” a report of what transpired in Jesus’ trial would not include the pronunciation of the divine name itself but some substitute for it, like “the Power.” Gundry concludes, “The collocation of capital blasphemy and clothes-rending in m. Sanh. 7.5 as well as in Mark favors . . . that Mark’s account of Jesus’ trial rests on trustworthy information. . . . For though Christians might have fabricated an account so defamatory of the Sanhedrin, Christians are unlikely to have fabricated—or even have been able to fabricate—an account corresponding so subtly to a later idealization of Sanhedrin jurisprudence in cases of capital blasphemy.”53 How did Jesus dishonor God? Gundry answers, “We may best think that the high priest and the rest of the Sanhedrin judge Jesus to have verbally robbed God of incommensurateness and unity by escalating himself to a superhuman level, by portraying himself as destined to sit at God’s right hand and come with the clouds of heaven.”54
For Jesus, then, titles like “Messiah” and “Son of God,” which need carry no connotation of divinity, become infused with such a connotation in his selfunderstanding and usage, just as they do in I Enoch and 4 Ezra, by his conviction that he is the Danielic Son of Man who is to be seated at God’s right hand.
Craig, William Lane., and William Lane. Craig. Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994. Print.