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  • # 215 Religious Trap

    It is past midnight as the mob and priests lead Jesus from the garden, past olive groves and into the city to Annas' house, who is head of the priests. Because of age he is recognized as high priest, though Caiaphas holds the office. People hear him as if he speaks for God.

    He doesn't trust the inexperienced Caiaphas with this presiding. He knows it will be difficult to find anything against Jesus that the Romans will regard as criminal, yet he must get a death sentence. But the Jews have no power to execute unless the Roman governor agrees.

    Everything is rushed. By their law, it's illegal to convene a hearing at night, with a partial body of the Sanhedrin. (Certain members haven't been called.) But if they don't act quickly, they will have to wait a week because of Passover. By then the populace will be aroused because of his mercy to them, and very likely a rescue would be attempted.

    Annas hopes to get Jesus to declare his kingdom, which Annas will represent as a secret society, charging him with sedition and blasphemy.

    But Jesus sees through him, and contrasting their methods, says, "I've done nothing in secret. Daily I taught in the temple and synagogues, ask those who heard me."

    Annas doesn't know what to say.

    A temple officer, angry that the priest has been silenced, strikes Jesus in the face.

    We would react, but Jesus, self-possessed, responds firmly and calmly, "If I spoke evil, show it to me; if not, why do you strike me?"

    Matthew 26:57, Mark 14:53, Luke 22:54, John 18:12-14, 19-22

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