John 18:19-24, NIV
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 struck 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, still bound, to Caiaphas
the high priest.

February 10, 2012
Jesus wasn't careful to tell the high priest what he wanted to hear.
Instead he told the truth as he perceived it. He answered the questions
in his own way, not the way Annas wanted them answered. Notice
Jesus was questioned about his disciples. They were not out of
danger just because they had not been taken into custody with him.

Jesus shifted the focus away from the disciples and onto the crowds
who had followed him around. Annas can't arrest all who gathered as
Jesus taught them. Was Jesus implying that if his words were
dangerous, his teaching could not be stopped by eliminating him and
his few disciples? Too many others had also been influenced. The
"feathers" were out of the bag and would not be put back in.

Annas was not about to make this matter a war on all Jews. He knew
who the culprit was and so he sent Jesus to Caiaphas. But before he
could do that, one of the officials tried to teach Jesus a lesson on
respect. A smack across the face should do it. Isn't it amazing how
many times we try to correct someone else, only to use tactics which
are worse than what the person did whom we are trying to correct!

Jesus: If I said something wrong, tell me what it is; if I told the truth,
why did you slap me? Truth has nothing to do with many of our
reactions. If we don't like what someone says or believes, attack them--
verbally or physically. Things haven't changed over the centuries.

I often wondered how many of our lies occur because if we told the
truth we would suffer for it. I always tried to live by this rule with my
children--if/when you tell me the truth, you will not be punished.
Truth is more important than punishment, and probably more
instructive. If truth is what we want from our children, then we must
let the truth be told without fear of retribution.

                                           John 18:25-27, NIV
25 As Simon Peter stood warming himself, he was asked, "You
are not one of his disciples, are you?" He denied it, saying,
"I am not."

26 One of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man
whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, "Didn't I see you
with him in the olive grove?" 27 Again Peter denied it, and at
that moment a rooster began to crow.

February 11, 2012
Back to the sideline now where Peter is trying to be as inconspicuous
as possible. He had already told the attendant at the door that he had
no connection to Jesus. But that answer didn't stop the inquisition.
The issue surfaced again and again.

Peter had just observed in the olive garden what happened to Jesus
when he told the truth. He was arrested. And what good is being
arrested going to do for anything. So Peter did what most people would
do in a similar situation. He lied to save his neck, or rather to save his
place of safety from which he could watch what was happening to his
beloved Master.

In the olive garden, Peter had behaved impulsively with a sword. In the
courtyard, he shrank under the weight of threatening stares. He had
time to think. Time to be afraid of what might happen, time to serve
the instinct of self-preservation.

The truth about lies is that when you tell one, you have to tell another to
cover for the first one you told. Pretty soon you are on a wagon going
downhill and heading for a crash.

Had the disciples banded together and stayed by Jesus' side, would
it have made any difference? To Jesus? To his accusers? To the
ending of this story? Probably not. Jesus appears to be standing alone,
yet the Father is with him.

The rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the words Jesus had
spoken earlier in the evening. Three denials, and then the crowing of
the rooster. All the bluster, all the boasts and desires of Peter to be
faithful to Jesus to the end, erupted like a volcano and crashed over
his being. Bold and outspoken Peter melted out of sight.

Peter will be forever known as the disciple who denied his Lord.
Which is unfortunate because his story is not over yet. He will rise
again--forgiven and filled with God's spirit.


                                            John 18:28, NIV
28 Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the
Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid
ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace;
they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.

February 11, 2012
There are so many ironies to this story. Here is the religious leadership
in the holy city of Jerusalem, putting Jesus on trial, and then being
concerned about not being pure enough to participate in the annual
Passover observance. They thought they were doing God's work by
eliminating Jesus from the earth, yet had scruples about the palace
of the Roman governor. They were "clean" in killing their enemy, and
made "unclean" by entering the home of a Gentile.

Their hatred for Jesus was viral. They told lies about him, had been
planning his death for years, and paid people to give false testimony
concerning Jesus. They could kill Jesus with one hand and eat the
Passover lamb with the other hand. But they couldn't go inside
Pilate's headquarters because that was against their religion!

But lest anyone feel superior, take a look around and then inside. Each
of us needs to look into our own heart. Has anything changed over
the centuries!

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