About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
High Priest Questions Jesus (ch. 18:19-24)
people were warming themselves by the fire, the high priest was
questioning Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching. It
appears that even though Annas was not officially the high priest, John
calls him the high priest here. We know that John is speaking of Annas
because in verse 24 Annas sends Jesus over to Caiaphas, the official high
priest at the time.
verse 19 the high priest asked Jesus about His disciples and about what He
taught. I can understand why
the high priest would question Jesus about His teaching.
The Jewish leadership had been doing that all along.
Just why the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples is
probably speculation. Remember,
they viewed Jesus as a revolutionary or a zealot.
A revolutionary leader with followers could be dangerous.
verse 20 Jesus made it quite clear that what He taught was no secret.
He spoke openly in synagogues and at the temple.
The point here is that the high priest should have known what Jesus
taught and therefore his question was unfounded.
So in verse 21 Jesus told the high priest to ask this question to
those who heard Him teach. They
should know what He taught. This
shows us that Jesus was not afraid of the high priest.
He said whatever He wanted to say. Of course, this would have
irritated the high priest as you might expect.
It was for this reason that one of the officials who stood near
Jesus struck Him on the cheek.
verse 21 Jesus reverses things.
He was the one on trial here.
He was the one to whom the questions were being asked, but here He
asks the question.
Jesus had the inner strength, the confidence, to turn the tables
around and ask the questions.
It was as if He were putting the high priest on trial instead of
Him being on trial.
verse 23 we now see Jesus turning the other cheek as He once taught His
disciples. He questions the
official why he struck Him. He
said, "testify to what is wrong," meaning, "tell me in this
legal setting why you think what I said is wrong."
He then said, "If I spoke the truth, why did you strike
me?" Jesus uses the words
"testify" and "truth" here.
This is supposed to be a matter of legalities, but obviously
honorable legalities were thrown out the window at this point.
Once again, Jesus is not afraid to speak up for Himself.
We will learn later that that while before Pilate Jesus was pretty
much silent, but not here. Although
Jesus willingly went to the cross in obedience to His Father, you can see
here that He was no door mat that the Jewish leadership could just walk
was Jesus who was speaking the truth and the truth supercedes questioning
a leader. Jesus realized to
whom He was speaking. He
didn't need any official to tell Him that.
He also realized that the Law of Moses required respect for the
high priest, but truth must come before respect.
Too often both secular and church leaders demand respect without
wanting to be accountable to the truth.
If a leader is in the wrong, the wrong needs to be pointed out.
We are first loyal to the truth and then loyal to leadership.
This is what Jesus was getting at.
high priest had no answer for Jesus. He
appears to have had enough and so he sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas, the
official high priest, as we see in verse 24.
might have noticed that both Annas and Caiaphas are called high priest.
There can only be one high priest and we know from earlier that
Caiaphas was really the high priest. Annas
was a high priest, maybe just before Caiaphas became high priest.
It is like former presidents of the