Lenten Devotional – Palm Sunday – Before the High Priest
Key Bible Verse: “When He had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’” – John 18:22
Bonus Reading: John 18:13-14, 19-24
After His arrest, the guards bring Jesus to Annas. This former Jewish high priest had been deposed by the Roman governor in AD 15. His five sons had each taken a turn succeeding him and now his son-in-law Caiaphas is high priest.
Annas questions Jesus about His disciples and His teaching, but Jesus’ silence protects them. So Annas turns to Jesus’ teachings. The high priest hopes he can trip up the Son of God and find a basis for a charge against Him.
Jesus will have nothing to do with this. He has always been honest with the Jewish authorities, never saying anything in private He didn’t say in public. He tells the high priest, “Ask those who have heard Me.” That leads an officer of the high priest to strike Him with his hand.
At this point you might expect Jesus to meekly take the abuse, but He doesn’t. He turns to the officer and confronts him, “Why did you strike Me?” Again, we see Jesus completely in control. He stops the proceedings to call the officer to explain why he struck Him.
Annas showed he was willing to ignore the truth and twist it against Jesus. Is integrity and truth important to you like it was to Jesus? Or are we willing to distort the truth if it goes to our advantage?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You humbled Yourself to be struck by an officer when You had only told the truth. Forgive us for setting aside Your truth when we don’t think it is convenient. Give us faith, courage and trust to do what is right in Your eyes. Amen.