Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part V: The Atonement Of The Messenger Of Salvation
B. Christ's Credibility Seen In His Trial Before The High Priest
(John 18:12-23)
  1. Introduction
    1. If Jesus is Messiah and Incarnate God, when He was put on trial before the knowledgeable and reputable religious officials of Israel, we should have expected the event to expose either righteousness in Him and sin in the officials, or sin in Jesus at the close scrutinity of these experts of the Law!
    2. The Apostle John relates the events of Christ's trial before the Jewish High Priest, the appointed spiritual head of the nation in accord with the Mosaic Law, cf. Numbers 17:1-10. The events there reveal how Jesus fared in contrast to the High Priest's actions and judgments to reveal if Jesus was righteous or not:
  2. Christ's Credibility Seen In His Trial Before The High Priest, John 18:12-23.
    1. The temple captain and officers took Jesus captive to be examined in a preliminary hearing before the Biblically-sanctioned high priest, the elderly Annas, John 18:12-13:
      1. John noted Jesus was led away to Anna, the father in law to Caiphas, the high priest that year, 18:12-13
      2. Looking at the history behind this notation, we understand why both individuals are mentioned here:
        1. The Romans did not like all the power to reside in one person as the high priest, so they deposed the rightful high priest and often chose others to be in the role instead, Bib. Know. Com., N.T., p. 335.
        2. Well, Annas was the real high priest, but he was deposed in A. D., Ibid. Five of his sons were consecutively appointed into his office until Annas' son-in-law, Caiaphas was selected, Ibid.
        3. Apparently, the Jews recognized Annas as the rightful high priest, so preliminary hearings were sent to him before formal trials were heard by the most recently appointed high priest figurehead, Ibid.
      3. Thus, Jesus appeared before the Biblically-sanctioned high priest, Annas in John 18:12-23.
    2. In the examination before this Biblically-sanctioned high priest, Annas, Jesus was seen to be totally innocent and his accusers totally in error as follows (John 18:14-23):
      1. First, John reveals was a sinful pretrial disposition in Annas and Caiaphas to get Jesus executed so as to keep peace with the Romans and avoid the destruction of Israel, John 18:14; 11:50. Thus, there was no impartiality on the part of Jesus' judges in violation of the law at Deuteronomy 16:18-20!
      2. Second, Peter's initial and admittedly sinful denial of being with Jesus is recorded at this trial, but it also revealed Peter was afraid of repercussions for even identifying himself with Jesus, John 18:15-18. This FEAR on Peter's part was due in part to his feared injustice that was about to occur against Jesus, implying evil leadership in the high priest contrary to the instruction of Psalm 82:5.
      3. Third, when Jesus was questioned before the High Priest, His rights were sinfully violated, 18:20-24:
        1. Jesus was asked about His doctrine and disciples to which He responded that his judges had full knowledge: Jesus declared that what He taught openly was exactly what He taught in private, 18:20.
        2. When He urged His judges to get witnesses who had heard Him speak publicly, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus across the mouth with the palm of His hand, John 18:21-22. He felt Jesus had answered the high priest disrespectfully, and so administered punishment, cf. Acts 23:2.
        3. However, Jesus asked what cause was there for this action, to which there was no reply, Jn. 18:23f.
        4. Since trying to impress a party into self-accusation and striking an unconvicted party were illegal, the way Jesus was treated upon questioning was sin where Jesus was INNOCENT, Ibid., p. 336.
Lesson: When exposed to trial by the nation's spiritual head, the high priest Annas, (1) Jesus was seen to be innocent where (2) the high priestly rulers were SINFUL on multiple counts: (a) they were guilty of premeditated errant judgment in violation of Deut. 16:18-20; (b) they created an atmosphere that undermined upright behavior in the populace as seen in Peter's fearful, sinful denial of Jesus in their midst (opposite Ps. 82:5); (c) they illegally attempted to get Jesus to incriminate Himself while also administering unjust punishment against an unconvicted Jesus, John 18:20-24.

Application: It was not JESUS, but the high priestly rulers who clearly demonstrated sin. Thus, Jesus gave evidence He was RIGHTEOUS, and thus Messiah and the Incarnate God as He claimed to be!