19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in [g]synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22 When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24 So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
As our Sunday school teacher read these words I could feel my chest tighten and my eyes start to burn. It is not the first time I have read these words nor heard them read but yesterday they struck a chord with me. They have rumbled around in my mind all day. When I see what the King of glory endured, I love Him so much.
I bet Annas was so smug standing there when the officer struck the Lord. Probably feeling really good about his stature and loving that the officers were demanding respect for him on his behalf, until Jesus spoke of course.
As, I read the words, “one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” my thoughts started to drift, how ironic these men are standing before the King of the universe, the very One who was allowing them to breathe. At that moment Christ could have called the whole thing off. He could have crushed them with a word, He could have asserted His authority and power and truly showed them WHO they were striking and standing before. Is that the way you answer the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the very one who in the blink of an eye could hurl them into eternal damnation?! But He didn’t, He was merciful, and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;1 Peter 2:23, Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” Our perfect example before sinful men for the sake of those He would call unto adoption for His glory sake.
I couldn’t help but think what in the world are these guys thinking! But then the Spirit gently nudged me, how many times do I stand before the King and question Him, “don’t you know who I am?! I don’t deserve to be treated this way! You owe me so much more than what I have!” Now I may not ever say that directly to His face but I say it with my actions and in round about ways. I show it when I respond in anger to my sweet children when they sin, when I lack submission to my husband, when I am critical of someone who has wrong theology, when I usurp the glory of God, when I give into a sinful desire or I complain about my circumstances. It is all the same, it’s entitlement and ugly pride that thinks I deserve praise and stature, just as Annas and the officer wanted. The difference between me and them, I have full dis closer to who Christ is. I know He is who He says He is and He has done what He says He has done, they were blind.
What is so amazing to me is that the Lord responds with perfect love towards my pride, such mercy, such grace. He could have left me in my sinful pride but He didn’t. He doesn’t have to show me over and over again my lowliness and His majesty but He does. He doesn’t have to keep striving with me to conform me to His image but He does. He loves me. He is quick to forgive and restore me.
My heart breaks when I see how the perfect Lamb of God was treated. That He received blows, beatings, scourges, humiliation and the wrath of His Father for all those who would believe, for me. He got what I deserve, He was perfect and didn’t deserve anything He got. I am so thankful that He didn’t assert His authority and stop everything, for if He did, we’d have no hope. Father, let me never forget what a sinner I am and what a great Savior Your beautiful Son is!