Truth Trial 1
John 18:3 NIV
John 18:19-21 ESV
Matthew 5:17 ESV
While we do not know exactly how many Roman soldiers and officers of the Temple security force came to the Garden of Gethsemane that night, it is believed there were possibly a great many soldiers present.
We know from John 18:3, “So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees.”
A detachment of soldiers could have referred to a few hundred or a few thousand men. They came with torches, lanterns and weapons.
They came ready to do battle.
They also seemed to expect Jesus and His disciples would be hiding. It was as if they were expecting to search in caves or hidden places to find Jesus the Nazarene.
What they found was Jesus in plain sight in the garden. He was with eleven disciples. Judas (Jesus’ 12th disciple) led the soldiers, officers, Chief Priests, and Pharisees to Jesus.
Jesus did not put up a fight. Even though Peter grabbed his sword, Jesus told him to put it away.
Once Jesus was arrested, He was taken before the high priest Annas (John 18:24) to be questioned.
In John 18:19-21 we are told, “The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 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. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard what I said to them; they know what I said.”
Jesus spoke clearly and openly to the High Priest Annas about His teaching. Jesus told Him he taught in the Temple and in the Hebrew Synagogues. Jesus who was Jewish taught to other Jews. He had nothing to hide.
In light of that, it seems strange that the questions the High Priest asked Jesus revolved around His teaching.
Jesus taught in the open. Nothing was a secret. He taught about love and trust.
Jesus spoke of the Old Testament books of the Law and the Prophets. He accepted the Old Testament as authoritative. He did not dispute Hebrew scripture.
In Matthew 5:17 Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
In His teachings Jesus quoted from fourteen Old Testament books (https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/stewart_don/faq/bible-authoritative-word/question17-jesus-view-of-the-old-testament.cfm).
Given the teachings of Jesus, it seems strange that Annas questioned ALL of His teachings.
We would wonder, had Annas the High Priest listened to Jesus’ teachings?
Did the High Priest take second hand information about the teachings of Jesus?
Even so, when Jesus spoke the truth to Annas, we learn in John 18:22, “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?”
Jesus wasn’t rude. He wasn’t hedging.
He didn’t argue with the High Priest.
So, why did the soldier strike Jesus?
Why did the soldier think Jesus was being rude?
None of Jesus’ answers to the questions were alarming.
Finally, in John 18:23, “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?”
Once again, Jesus wasn’t defending Himself. He was telling the truth. In addition to that, Jesus point blank asked the soldier why he struck him?”
Seriously. If I told the truth and somebody hits me, I would also ask why he hit me!
So basically, in the Gospel of John, that was the first trial where the High Priest Annas questioned Jesus.
It seems pretty clear to me that Annas had no evidence.
He didn’t accuse Jesus of stealing anything. Jesus hadn’t caused a riot. He hadn’t cheated anyone out of a meal.
As a matter of fact, what Jesus did was to feed 5,000 people.
Another day, He fed 4,000 people.
He had healed too many people for the Jewish authorities to count.
Jesus had even raised someone from the dead.
All of the news was good, good, and good.
Annas had nothing on Jesus.
So, in John 18:24, “Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”
Annas passed Jesus on.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Wrongly Accused
What would you do it you were wrongly accused? Would you have been as kind as Jesus was?
Consider Jesus’ responses to the High Priest Annas.
In God, Deborah
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