John 18 v12-14, 19-24
“Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.” 19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “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. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 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. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Annas, the High Priest, had been demoted by the Romans in AD14 but he remained the people’s choice and why Jesus was taken to him first. Annas was the one who secretly controlled things even without the official title. He engineered the Romans to appoint his sons and Caiaphas, his son-on-law to be the next High Priests. But of course these were just puppets on a string held by Annas. They spoke and people took notice but behind their leadership was Annas. He pulled the strings.
THE HIGH PRIEST standing before this narcissistic, manipulative and controlling high priest is a picture which has the starkest of contrasts.
Annas questions Jesus about his disciples, he wants to know how many he has, who are they, where are they? Basically he wants to know how big a problem they have. Will this be over when this so-called messiah is killed? He then asks about the teaching of Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t speak about his disciples. He doesn’t blow the cover of Peter and the other disciple in the courtyard. He knows where the rest of his disciples would have run to, the homes they would be cowering behind, but he doesn’t speak of them. He speaks of his teaching only.
I have never spoken behind the scenes in secret. (Unlike you Annas who continually speaks as a high priest though you are not).
Everyone has heard me (Unlike you Annas who portrays a silent persona to the Romans).
I’m the one speaking (Unlike you Annas who is telling the other high priests what to say).
John in his gospel paints a tense scene and in the centre of it all a reminder that this was God’s plan as he takes us back to chapter 11 when Caiaphas prophesied that it would be better if Jesus died for the people. It would be better.
Whatever we may be going through today. You may have experienced controlling and manipulative people or circumstances are such. But you are in the plan of God. He knows. What can you do?
Do what Jesus has done.
I will not speak in hidden places. I will not align with the manipulators. I will not try and control others, it matters not who is with me or against me, I will be who God has created and purposed me to be. I will be heard openly. I know who I am. I will find my own voice. I will not be silent. I will stand in the place of truth.
Can you prayerfully declare the above today?
You can stand up and face the fear. You can speak what you want to speak and not what is being demanded of you. You don’t have to comply to fit in. You can do all this because you know you are in the centre of God’s plan for your life.
Two High priests, but there were also two disciples and that’s for tomorrow ….