Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
John now shifts the scene from Peter’s first denial, to what is transpiring inside. To give a historical perspective, let’s look at what The New NIV Application Commentary says about this encounter between Jesus and Annas (the High Priest’s father-in-law and a previous High Priest).
“In a formal Jewish trial, the judge never asked direct questions of the accused but rather called forth witnesses whose words determined the outcome. If two or more agreed with the charges, the verdict was sealed. But Annas may not see himself engaged in such a trial. If it were a genuine trial, Caiaphas (the High Priest) would be presiding, but he is not present. This is like a ‘police interrogation’ of someone recently arrested. Yet if Jesus does utter something incriminating, Annas himself will become a witness against him. The words recorded here no doubt represent the barest summary of Jesus’ meeting with Annas, who probes two things: Jesus’ teachings and his disciples. To what extent is he a genuine threat? Does he have a strong following? Is he promoting some sort of conspiracy? Jesus’ sharp answer—pointing out that Annas should be talking to witnesses—unmasks the priest’s attempt to make Jesus’ incriminate himself. Twice Jesus demands that Annas produce witnesses and evidence; in other words, Jesus is demanding a triaL. Nothing he has said can be construed as incriminating. Annas is at an impasse. His probing has been unsuccessful. Therefore Jesus is sent on to the reigning high priest, Caiaphas.”
He was able to set aside his own emotions for the greater cause of doing God’s will by being sacrificed for our sins.
Earlier in the evening, when Jesus was praying, He had been so anxious about what was going to happen, He was sweating drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Yet, here Jesus is in the beginning of his inquisition responding with such dignity, confidence and calm. He was able to set aside his own emotions for the greater cause of doing God’s will by being sacrificed for our sins. Imagine being slapped across the face by someone in front of a group of people when you had done no wrong and were totally innocent of an accusation. Jesus stays calm and authentic because He has us in mind – the hope of the world to be reconciled with God the Father and have eternal life.
Reflect on what happened in your life yesterday. How did your thoughts, feelings or words either hinder or expand the Kingdom of God? Pray about what God has in store for you in your day ahead. Be aware of your thoughts, feelings and emotions. 2 Corinthians 10:5, is a great reminder of what to do with our thought life, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Example: When you have a negative, fearful or toxic thought, instead of letting it drive your behavior, what would happen if you pray about it and take it to God? How would it change your day?