Thou Hast Said It

And Judas that betrayed him, answering, said: Is it I, Rabbi? He saith to him: Thou hast said it (Matthew 26:25)

Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matthew 26:64).

Then said they all: Art thou then the Son of God? Who said: You say that I am  (Luke 22:70).

Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice. (John 18:37).

Many years ago I spoke briefly about Our Lord to a Moslem running a luncheonette, or some such shop. He was surprised that a Christian would challenge his religion openly. In those days, back in the late 70s, one very rarely met a Moslem. Of course I do not remember the exact conversation but it was very hurried and to the point. I asked him what he thought about Jesus Christ? “He was a prophet of Allah,” he replied. I raised the ante, “Yes, but more than a prophet. Prophets do not tell lies. And Jesus said that He was the Son of God.” “No He didn’t,” the man objected with great animation in his voice. He said, “When the high priest asked Him if He was the Son of God, Jesus did not say ‘I am’, but ‘thou hast said it.” I was surprised he knew the verse. I answered saying that this reply by Christ was not a denial but an affirmation that He was indeed the Son of God. Then I told him that in Mark’s account of the same trial he writes that Jesus emphatically said “I am” to the high priest’s question concerning His divinity. Both answers mean the same thing, I told him. “Thou hast said it” is the vernacular rendering of a Hebrew emphatic “Indeed it so as you say.” The Moslem, I do not exaggerate, was livid. I had to leave.

I posted above four verses from the Gospels where this phrase or one very similar is used by Our Lord in answer to a question.

Regarding the Savior’s reply to Judas in Matthew, 26:25, Cornelius a Lapide writes:

This is the modest Hebrew method of answering, by which they confirm what is asked. As though Christ said, “It is not that I say it, and call thee traitor. It is thou thyself who in reality dost call thyself so because thou art, in truth, a traitor.” Whence S. Chrysostom extols the meekness of Christ, who, in just anger, did not say, “Thou wicked and sacrilegious wretch! thou ungrateful traitor! but gently, Thou hast said. “Thus has He fixed for us the bounds and rules of forbearance and forgetfulness of injuries.”

And, in verse 64, Saint Matthew uses the Hebraism relating Jesus’ answer to the high priest Caiaphas. Clearly, therefore, what was an affirmation to Judas’ sacrilegious and disingenuous question, was also an affirmation to the hateful question of the high priest. Caiaphas, in fact, got the answer he was hoping for. For, his intent was to charge Our Lord with blasphemy. And blasphemy it was, were it not the truth.

A Lapide:

Jesus saith unto him, thou hast said. Meaning thereby, I am. Christ candidly and clearly replied that He was Christ, both to show reverence to the Divine Name by which He was adjured, and to bestow due honour and obedience to the authority of the High Priest who adjured Him. Says S. Chrysostom, “to take away from them every excuse,” that they might not be able to excuse themselves with men, nor before God in the day of judgment, by saying, We asked Jesus judicially in the Council, but He was either silent or answered ambiguously, wherefore we were not obliged to accept and believe in Him as Christ!

The high priest Caiaphas then rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard His blasphemy. (vs 65).

Likewise, “You say that I am,” as recorded in Saint Luke’s Gospel, means the same as “Thou hast said it.” Even in colloquial English we say “You said it” when we want to affirm emphatically the truth in something related to us by another person.

Finally, Pilate, just as Caiaphas, understood Jesus perfectly when he asked Him if He were the King of the Jews: “Thou sayest that I am a King,” was the Savior’s answer to the pagan governor.  Indeed when the Jews, fearful that Pilate was going to release their Victim, shouted out that Jesus be crucified, Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your King?” And, passing sentence upon themselves as to who is the lord they preferred to Christ, they answered “We have no king but Caesar.”

Pontius Pilate knew better. He hated their feigned obeisance to Caesar. Quod scripsi, scripsi, he replied when the priests came to him protesting the sign he had nailed above the thorny-crowned head of Jesus of Nazareth. In three languages no less! Pilate, the coward, gave testimony to the whole world with that notice written in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”