Okay, I couldn’t come up with any title that fit well with what I’m going to convey. All I can say is that when Jesus went to trial before Annas the high priest, I feel like Annas sometimes. This has everything to do with the trial Jesus had and what I’m learning about myself. John 18:19-24.
This is the scene. Jesus has been arrested. He is taken to the Jewish high priest, Annas. He’s being questioned about his teachings and disciples. I think Annas is looking for some way to trip up Jesus in His words because they have not ever been able to find anything wrong with Him. Jealousy has become a bitter friend to this guy. His Messiah was supposed to be pleased with all his efforts to live rightly. But Jesus, the true Messiah, rebuked him in public and exposed his heart. Anyone who’s been exposed might have a similar reaction. But I believe deep down Annas knew exactly who Jesus was and didn’t like it. When Jesus exposes something that needs changing in our lives, do we like it?
Jesus doesn’t want anything to do with this ridiculous questioning but appeals to the way things should be done in the first place: testimonies of those affected by His teaching and miracles. He makes no secret, never has, and isn’t about to be tried falsely for having some secret agenda. He’s taught publicly. Everyone knows what He said.
The police in the court didn’t like the way the judge was addressed and struck Jesus in face! I think we see in Jesus’ response how He is still in control of the situation. Once again, exposing what the truth of this sketchy trial is all about. “If I spoke wrong, tell the court what it was. If I spoke what was right, why did you hit me?”
Annas is faced with an important decision. Jesus exposed him again. What to do with Jesus? Annas sends Him away to Caiaphas, the man the Romans appointed as high priest. (The Romans conquered Israel and one way for them to maintain control was to take over their religion. They allowed the Jews to keep their religion, but took authority as to who would be high priest. That’s why there were two. The Law of the Old Testament gave the command that there should be one high priest. So the Jews recognized Annas as the high priest even though the Romans appointed Caiaphas. Weird, I know.)
Sometimes, I feel like I’m Annas. I look for anything in God’s Word that will let me do what I want to bring myself a gratification. But when it comes time for the confrontation of Jesus, I arrest Him and put Him on trial before myself, as if I have any authority at all. Jesus has exposed my sin, the dark places in my heart, the real reason He’s on trial today. I don’t like it. I don’t want to see those places. I would rather forget instead of deal with them. Maybe these efforts of mine is enough. Why does He have to be in control? But when He declares in the midst of my sketchy court, “I’ve spoken openly. You know what I said,” I’m faced with a decision to make: what am I going to do with Jesus? Unfortunately, I respond and slap Him in the face. “How dare you talk that way to me! I’m in control of my life and can make my own decisions!” Jesus looks at me and says, “Have I spoken wrongly that you slap me in the face? Or did I tell you the truth?” I send Him away for a moment.
For a moment? Really? Is this the way I’m going to live this life, send Him away for a little bit and run back to Him once I’ve finished? So much energy wasted in myself! If I believe God to be true to His Word, why is Jesus on trial in my heart? Why do I spend time with the sin that distracts my pursuit of God? Either I’m all in with Him or not at all. Jesus asks for the whole thing.
Expose those dark places in my heart, Lord. Please, take over. You’re not trial with me anymore. No more testing, no more looking for some hidden agenda when You’ve told me plainly. I know what You’ve asked for. I know what You’ve said! You’re here to mess up this life I’ve called my own to bring in something much greater. Please, forgive me for striking You in the face over and over again. I repent! I want to… Please give me strength to repent, to quit it. I believe the message You’ve spoken. Now, Lord, I trust in Your strength through my weakness to overcome. You’re in control.