By Rev. Ronald Stelzer
Caiaphas Claims Christ is an Imposter
CAIAPHAS: Caiaphas here again. Hopefully, we can wrap up this impeachment trial of Jesus of Nazareth. The next article of impeachment is for bearing false witness, specifically, lying to Congress, or shall we say, to the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the Jews, concerning his identity. In short, he is an imposter Messiah, the pseudo-Son of God, illegitimately self-elected with no endorsement by any of the elites, in collusion with foreign Galileans.
John the Baptizer Declares Jesus’ Identity
First of all, his name alone disqualifies him. He is Jesus “of Nazareth.” We all know the prophet Micah said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, the City of David. I think his delusion started somehow when he went to hear the eccentric preacher, John the Baptizer, in the wilderness. John baptized Jesus in the muddy Jordan River, and reportedly identified him as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” As the story was told and retold, a legend grew that a dove landed on him and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Christ, Messiah, Son of God, even Lord
Jesus used that story to justify his rampage through the Temple when he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and sellers who had a concession with us. He called the Temple “his” house. When we asked him by what authority he did this – who gave him the right – he asked us where John the Baptizer got his authority. That is a typical tactic of his – dodging a legitimate question by asking another question.
And he likes to talk in riddles, I guess to confuse people. He once asked, “How is it that they say the Christ is the Son of David? David himself calls him Lord. How then can he be his son?”
Christ, Messiah, Son of God, Son of David, even Lord. He claims all these titles are his, and he uses them interchangeably.
You Will See the Son of Man Coming
But the title he uses most often for himself is the Son of Man. On the surface it does not sound like much. Who isn’t a son of man? But do not be fooled. The way he uses it, he is claiming divinity for himself. He uses the term as it is used by Daniel for the Messiah. The prophecy of Daniel says: “The sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. The sun and the moon will be darkened, and the stars will fall from the sky. The Son of Man will come on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One.” Jesus thinks this prophecy is all about him!
And the stories he tells – they always begin with the words, “The kingdom of God is like. . .” or “The kingdom of heaven is like. . .” Like he is the king talking about his kingdom!
And then this past Sunday he comes riding into Jerusalem like a conquering king, accepting the praises of the crowds, including misled children: “Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Right. “Gloria in excelsis Deo.” Please.
His Kingdom is Not of This World
This Jesus is a dangerous imposter. He has no academic degrees, no formal education; he has no earned or honorary title conferred by the Jewish elite; he is a blue-collar laborer from a hick town in Galilee. But of himself he says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” He asserts that “He who works for the honor of the One Who sent Him is a man of truth; there is nothing false in Him.” And again, he says, “My Kingdom is not of this world. I came to bear witness to the truth.”
At the Feast of the Dedication last winter in Jerusalem, we asked him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Again, he gave no straight answer. He said, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in My Father’s Name speak for Me.”
Are You the Christ, the Son of God?
His miracles prove nothing. The Devil himself has supernatural powers. And this Jesus casts out demons by the Prince of demons. His miracles just make him more deceptive and more dangerous.
So, at his trial I demanded a straight, plain answer: “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Finally, he spoke plainly. He answered under oath: “Yes, it is as you say. And in the future, you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Obviously, he is a liar; he is an imposter; he is a self-incriminator. Not only does he deserve to be impeached, but he is worthy of death! What need is there of further witnesses?
MARY, the MOTHER of JESUS: “May I speak?”
CAIAPHAS: Identify yourself.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus Takes the Stand
MARY: I am Mary, the mother of Jesus. I know in our Jewish courts of law a woman is not permitted to testify. The consensus is that a woman’s testimony cannot be trusted because a woman is easily deceived. But I beg you, please hear me out, even if what I have to say is quite incredible.
I was a teenage girl, a virgin, engaged to be married to my fiancé Joseph. One day an angel suddenly appeared to me. I was startled, but the angel told me to not be afraid, that I was highly favored by God, and that I would conceive and give birth to a son. I was to name him Jesus. He would be called the Son of God. He would be great, and His Kingdom would have no end.
For Nothing is Impossible with God
The angel – his name was Gabriel – also told me that my elderly, childless, great aunt Elizabeth was now six months pregnant, for nothing is impossible with God. From my home in Nazareth I went to see her in Jerusalem, and sure enough, she was pregnant. We shared our stories. I stayed with her until her son was born, and three months pregnant now myself, I returned to my home and my fiancé.
It was an awkward moment when he noticed I was pregnant. Thankfully that night an angel appeared to him also and told him that my unborn child had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, and that he should not be afraid to take me as his wife. So, we quickly and quietly eloped, and I moved in with him.
When my time to give birth came near, Joseph and I had to travel to Bethlehem for Caesar’s census, because Joseph was a descendant of David. So, Jesus was born of a virgin mother in Bethlehem, as was foretold of the Messiah by the prophets Isaiah and Micah.
Oh please, this is ridiculous! This is why women should never be permitted to testify in court!
MARY: Please. Let me finish.
CAIAPHAS: We do not have time for old wives’ tales, but this is entertaining. Go ahead.
Mary Explains Jesus’s Love for the Father
Even as a child, Jesus seemed to have a calm assurance about who he was and where he came from. When he was 12 years old, we went on our annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. After the Festival when we were traveling home with all the Galileans, we assumed Jesus was with all the other boys his age. But at sundown we could not find him. Frantically we returned to Jerusalem to search for him. Finally, we found him in the Temple, conversing with all the priests and scribes, who were astounded by his knowledge. Much relieved but very upset, I began scolding him, but he answered, “Didn’t you know I had to be in My Father’s house?”
Water into Wine
Jesus was my oldest son, so when my husband Joseph died, Jesus became the head of the house. He ran our family business, and I felt I could rely on him in any situation. When he was grown, our family was invited to a wedding in Cana. They ran out of wine, so I told Jesus. I figured I could rely on him to solve the problem. But I never anticipated his solution. He told the servants to fill six 20- or 30-gallon stone jars with water and take them to the head waiter, who took a sip and said,” This is the best wine. Why did you save it for last?”
From then on, our relationship changed. He gathered a group of twelve disciples and began his ministry of preaching, healing, and doing miracles like no other. Once I tried to get him to take a break and come home with us, but he told us through a messenger, “My mother and brothers are those who hear the word of God and keep it.”
He is the Long-Awaited Messiah
For the past three years he has been about his Father’s business. I admit it hurts when he calls me “Woman.” I am reminded of when we first brought him to the temple as an infant. An old man named Simeon took him from my arms and told me that a sword would pierce my soul. That is how I feel now. After all, I am still his mother, and I am afraid what might happen next if I say this, but I know it is true. It is just as He has told you: He is the Son of God, the Messiah, our Savior.
The Impeachment Continues
Read Article 8: Pontius Pilate
About the Author
Pastor: Rev. Ronald Stelzer is a 3rd generation minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and 2nd generation teacher and coach in Lutheran schools.
He was raised in a six-child family in Kansas and Indiana, graduated from St. Paul's Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Davidson College in North Carolina and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Fort Wayne.
He and wife Margaret of 35 years have six grown children and six grandchildren. He has served two years in sports ministry with Athletes in Action, a year in youth missions with Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, four years as chaplain/teacher/coach at his high school alma mater, and 35 years as pastor of Our Savior, where he helped found and lead Our Savior New American School 28 years ago.
8 & 10:30 AM: Worship Service
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Pastor: Rev. Ronald W. Stelzer
Assistant to the Pastor: Gary D’Aquino, LCMS Deacon
Director of Parish Music: Ray Knehnetski
Secretary: Robin Reade