Yesterday we saw that Peter Stayed. Today in John 18:19-24 we see the questions that the High Priest has for Jesus, and through that confrontation handled.
19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
We aren’t told the exact questions that the high priest had, only that they concerned his disciples and the message he brought. And remember, he was brought before Annas who was thought of as being the high priest. Technically Caiaphas was high priest as per the Romans.
Jesus’ response: “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”
He didn’t answer him! Can you imagine it? The highest power in the Jewish world and Jesus didn’t answer him. He merely mentioned that nothing he talked about was private. Ask anyone and they would surely tell him. The general public knew what he talked to them about.
The response of one of the officers standing there was to hit Jesus saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?“
I am going to hazard a guess that he was shocked that Jesus wouldn’t humbly and quietly answer the high priest. In fact, Jesus seemed rather bold in his response.
His response to the guard was: “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”
The response from Annas was to have him sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
I keep thinking about Jesus’ response to the strike and comment by the guard. Jesus wasn’t cowed.
But I read his response two ways.
- a challenge along the lines of “who do you think you are hitting me and correcting me, I didn’t do anything wrong!” or
- a gentle rebuke hidden with a question. “tell me if I did something wrong, and if I didn’t….then tell me why you punished me”.
Jesus could have said it either way, but I’m tending to think the latter would be fitting his style more in this situation.
And then I think about how I would have responded.
First off I wouldn’t have answer the high priest as Jesus did. 🙂 I’m too easily cowed, but if I was unjustly hit… my tendency would be to get angry about it. That anger would come out in tears or a loud voice.
I have to wonder if that would be a correct response. I really don’t see Jesus yelling here, I just don’t. As much as I see it as an option, I don’t see it as a viable one.
Handling Unjust Accusations
What I do see Jesus doing though, is handling an unjust accusation with dignity. Tell me what I did wrong … if indeed I did do something wrong. He’s bringing clarity to the situation isn’t he?
If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; Tell me what I did wrong.
but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?. But if I didn’t do something wrong, tell me then, why did you punish me?
Isn’t that a great approach when you find yourself in a confrontation? To get clarity. To ask the questions that you need, so that you understand what is going on. Makes sense to me eh?
What are your thoughts?