21 Aug 2021
Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. I have spoken openly to the world, Jesus replied, I always have taught in the 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 struck 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 speak the truth, why did you strike me?
If this situation were on television, it would be one of those scenes that are shot at a 45-degree angle to emphasize their unreality. Here we see Jesus caught in a completely unfair situation: He answers truthfully and correctly, yet He is punished. Under the Jewish legal system, the proper procedure for investigating a crime is to interview witnesses and collect testimony; yet the priests began by interrogating Jesus. When Jesus quite properly and politely pointed this out, all He got was a slap across the face.
There comes a time in all our lives when we are accused and our accusers are not interested in facts, only in dispensing with us. Everything we say is counted against us, even our good points and our virtues are brought in evidence against us, and all the rules seem to be suspended. When we face situations like this, we tend to despair of our Christianity or ask ourselves why God is sleeping while we are in danger.
In hard times, remember Jesus also had hard times. It did not make Him any less a Christian, nor does it make you any less a Christian. Jesus did not die upon the cross so that your life would be devoid of hardship; He died upon the cross so that your hardship would have meaning.
Rev. Kenneth W. Collins