A response to

But he must be God, he was crucified for blasphemy

Al-Kadhi states that

Please consult our responses to sections and on the matter.

Life is not one-dimensional. In most of our actions there is a mixture of motivations, some obvious and others buried in the subconscious. Identifying one of them does not imply there are no others. This is the essence of al-Kadhi's logical fallacy in his argument.

Al-Kadhi is correct that there were some religious leaders who were envious of Jesus and his rising authority among and popularity with the people. They felt threatened in their own position and reacted to protect their power. This can be shown from various passages like the ones presented by al-Kadhi above. However, as irregular as Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin was, it would be hard to sustain that all of them were corrupt and powerhungry. This was the highest religious court of Israel and even those who had mainly political motives had to present a real case to condemn Jesus to death in this council of seventy distinguished men. In the end, however, the motivation of the religious leaders doesn't really matter. They might have opposed and condemned him for formally correct or incorrect reasons. The issue is what Jesus himself claimed. I think al-Kadhi will agree with us on that. As it happens, both of these issues are addressed in one passage. Could they formally establish the charges of blasphemy? Was Jesus indeed claiming to be divine? Let us consider the event of his trial before the Sanhedrin as reported in Matthew 27:57-66.

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.
But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.
But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward
and declared, "This fellow said, `I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.'"
Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?"
But Jesus remained silent. 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."
"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: 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."
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?" "He is worthy of death," they answered.

It is clear that the accusing party had to establish before the court a case that was at least formally correct and gave a foundation on which to convict Jesus. They attempted to do so by means of false witnesses. However, they were not prepared well enough and these witnesses contradicted each other. The high priest sees the case slip away under his hands and in a last measure he challenges Jesus to declare himself under oath regarding his own identity.

From the formulation of the question it is clear that the high priest asked Jesus if he claimed to be the Messiah (=Christ). The expression "the Son of God" was in his eyes just another synonym for the Messiah. It is one of the common titles for the Messiah (see e.g. 1 Chronicles 17:10-15). The title "son of God" does not in itself imply the deity of the person as can be seen from many passages. (In some passages where Jesus speaks of himself as the Son (of God) the Jews react with the charge of blasphemy not because of this title, but because of the claims and authority that Jesus associates with himself at those occasions.) The high priest did not ask him the question, "Are you God?" He inquires regarding the claim whether he is the Messiah.

Jesus answers with a statement which results in a unanimous condemnation of him as a blasphemer. Why this is so might not be easily understood by many. Muslims often even think that he rejected the title "Son of God" and stresses "Son of Man", i.e. emphasizing that he is only a man. This is a bad misunderstanding of this title and we need to investigate what this answer meant based on the Jewish scriptures. Since this is the only statement he makes before the court, and does so under oath, we need to understand the true meaning of Jesus answer. Jesus identifies himself with the person spoken of in Daniel 7:

13 "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

We note that this son of man coming with the clouds is given sovereign power and that he is worshiped (rightfully). This alone makes clear his divine status. See this exposition for a fuller discussion of this text. But there are more scriptures to take into account to understand the full impact of Jesus' claim.

I will quote from Tremper Longman III & Daniel Reid, "God is a Warrior", pages 67-69

Everyone should be able to see now why the high priest reacts with the judgment that Jesus claimed deity for himself and as such condemned him for blasphemy. Whether with ulterior political motives to get rid of Jesus or not, the claim of Jesus himself is clear. He uses quotations from the Holy Scriptures to identify himself and not let anyone have the excuse that he never stated clearly who he is.

Al-Kadhi is wont to demand: "Where does Jesus ever say 'I am God'?" Here he does, very clearly and succinctly, before the highest religious court of the Jews. Let nobody be fooled about Jesus' claims.

May the reader ponder this carefully and not evade the implications.

More on this issue can be found in this article about The Ascension of Jesus.

One foundational passage for the Messianic title "Son of God" is

1 Chronicles 17:10-15

... "`I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you:
When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.
He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.
I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor.
I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.'"
Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.

The Rebuttal to "What Did Jesus Really Say?"
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