John 18.19-21 cont.
19 Then the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching.
20 Jesus replied to him: “I have spoken plainly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews come together, and I spoke nothing in secret.
21 Why do you question Me? Ask those who have heard what I spoke to them, since they know what things I said.
There are times when we feel that someone may not believe what we are saying. At such times we might say:
“If you don’t believe me, ask such and such a person”.
We say that knowing that the person we have referred the doubters to will verify what we have been saying. We know that they will give an independent and truthful account of what we’ve said.
In a sense this is what Jesus was saying to the high priest, Annas.
Jesus directed him to question the people who had hung on to His every word. They would give a full account of what He had been teaching. They would be the ones to be first hand, true witnesses of what He had been saying plainly and openly.
Jesus knew that He could not be convicted of any crime without the voices of two witnesses. At the same time it is probable that Annas, also knew that he was unlikely to get two witnesses to be able to truthfully say that Jesus had broken the Law.
Therefore, he was concentrating on trying to get Jesus to slip up in some way that would mean Him breaking the Law.
There was no way possible for Jesus to do that, because, earlier on in His ministry, He had said:
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose” – Matthew 5.17 (NLT).
Throughout His entire ministry Jesus was the complete fulfilment of the whole Law and the prophets.
There were occasions when Jesus pointed out that the traditions of the elders were contrary to the Law of God, such as their ban on healing on the Sabbath Day.
As far as the religious authorities were concerned healing could only take place if life was in danger.
In Mark 3 there was in the synagogue a man with a withered hand; not a life threatening situation. Therefore, to heal him would be breaking the tradition of the elders. This is what Jesus said:
“Is it lawful (permissible) to accomplish good on the Sabbaths or to do harm; to rescue life or to kill it.” But they were dumbfounded – Mark 3.4.
We are called to be His witnesses, and also to bring God’s blessing to people, even if it means breaking the traditions, customs and conventions of men.