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Daily Reading: 20th December 2015

John 18.22-23 cont.

22 Having said this one of the temple servants, who was standing by, slapped Jesus across the face, saying: “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” 

23 Jesus answered him: “If I have spoken badly, give testimony about the badness; but if I have spoken good, why do you strike me?”

It would be all too easy for us to condemn the temple servant. The truth is that if we were in his situation we might have done the same thing.

Perhaps there are times when we display loyalty to someone, which is displaced. This may be because at that moment we do not know the full circumstances, or we may not realize that the course of action we embark on is being disloyal to Jesus. This calls for us to be wise in the Holy Spirit, always seeking His guidance as to how we are to act and speak. Often a more mature brother or sister in Jesus may give us some wise counsel.

Following Jesus always means denying our self and taking up our cross to follow Him. He also said:

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” – Matthew 6.24 (NLT).

We cannot deny the world has a pull and attraction for us, but at the same time we know that He who is within us is greater than He who is in the world (1 John 4.4).

Who are we loyal to?

The response of Jesus was to challenge the temple servant as to whether or not He had spoken badly about Annas. Jesus challenged the man to provide the evidence of what bad or evil He had done. Jesus was entitled to do this, because the Jewish Law stated that two witnesses were required to condemn a man. Therefore, Jesus tells the man to provide such witnesses.

Jesus may have been referring to Exodus 22.28:

“You must not dishonour God or curse any of your rulers” – (NLT).

If so, then Jesus was basically saying that striking Him across the face was a breach of the Law, unless there was evidence of Him speaking disrespectfully against the high priest, Annas.

To follow the example of Jesus means that we also need to be careful not to dishonour God, or curse our rulers, however much we may disagree with them.

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