In just five short verses spiritual abuse is on full and undeniable display. What a gift it was that there were witnesses to see and record this scene. Again and again, Jesus asserts his power by allowing the oppressive behavior of the spiritual authorities to be seen for what it is. Earlier Jesus said that we would know his followers by the fruit of their heart and actions.
John 18:19-24 NLT
Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them. 20 Jesus replied, “Everyone knows what I teach. I have preached regularly in the synagogues and the Temple, where the people gather. I have not spoken in secret. 21 Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. They know what I said.”
22 Then one of the Temple guards standing nearby slapped Jesus across the face. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?”
24 Then Annas bound Jesus and sent him to Caiaphas, the high priest.
John 18:19-24 TMG
Annas interrogated Jesus regarding his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered, “I’ve spoken openly in public. I’ve taught regularly in meeting places and the Temple, where the Jews all come together. Everything has been out in the open. I’ve said nothing in secret. So why are you treating me like a conspirator? Question those who have been listening to me. They know well what I have said. My teachings have all been aboveboard.”
22 When he said this, one of the policemen standing there slapped Jesus across the face, saying, “How dare you speak to the Chief Priest like that!”
23 Jesus replied, “If I’ve said something wrong, prove it. But if I’ve spoken the plain truth, why this slapping around?”
24 Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to the Chief Priest Caiaphas.
For Reflection and Prayer:
What caught your attention as you listened to the text? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.
Was there a particular feeling you experienced as you listened to the story? Bring that feeling into your prayer. How do you need Jesus to meet you in that feeling?
How does this story intersect with your own experience of getting to the truth? Or being questioned in the process? Bring Christ into that experience with you in prayer.
Be still and savor any consoling words or pictures in your prayer.