Day 92: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 92: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

In our devotions we left Jesus in front of Annas, a corrupt man who had no legal or religious authority.  He was the person behind the scenes who managed the extortion racket at the Temple in Jerusalem. Hundreds of Jewish worshippers came from around the world, at Passover. Annas’ program of conning travelers to buy his animals for sacrifice, was a money maker.  Jesus became a problem, because he not only talked about the hideous practice, he also shut it down, twice: John 2:13 -16; Matt. 21:12ff.

At an earlier Passover: Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. (John 2:13, 14). Jesus, the out-of-towner, from northern Israel, came to the cultural and religious center of the nation – the Temple in Jerusalem.  Jesus was no country bumkin.

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. (2:15). The Temple courtyard was an area of fourteen acres, where they set up shop. There were scores of armed guards, who were watching for thieves.  There would no disruption of business.

And making a whip of cords (2:15).  This is not lethal, but it will get people’s attention. Jesus took his time and made a serious weapon.  Jesus wasn’t just preaching against the profane practices in the Temple, he thrashed hundreds of people, who valued money over Jehovah.  Jesus was as serious as a heart attack and cleaned out fourteen acres of hypocrisy.

If anyone thinks they can flagrantly sin in front of Jesus – think twice.  You have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out. (Num. 32:23).  He can be very merciful, yet if ignored he’ll be very persuasive.

All this is the background for understanding Annas’ inserting himself into the arrest of Jesus. First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. (Jn. 18:13).  Annas was the ‘muscle’ behind the scenes – and he did not think much of this carpenter/rabbi who wreaked havoc on his business.

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. (18:19).  The arrest of Jesus, and his being bound was shameful and illegal.  It was meant to humiliate him and make him feel vulnerable. The intimidation didn’t work.

Two questions were put to Jesus.  First about his disciples.  He never answered this, because he, legally, secured their freedom: “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” (18:8).  Annas was behind the information curve here.  He wanted the disciples, but Jesus already trumped him, by winning their release at Gethsemane.

Annas’ second question was about ‘his teaching.’  Annas was faking, trying to get Jesus to indict himself, and have him state some guilt. Annas was acting contrary to Roman and Jewish law.  Courts must have a crime before an arraignment. There were no crimes, thus no charges.  Annas wanted charges, so he asked the defendant Jesus, to give him a crime.  This is an arraignment trying to find a crime, rather than the reverse.

In addition, Annas had no legal standing.  He was not an officer of the court.  He’s a wealthy private citizen, with lots of influence.  Caiaphas should be the judge.

Jesus though answers Annas, and gives him an ear full, and he does it with calm dignity, like a king. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.  (18:20).  Jesus explained the circumstances how he taught.  Jewish and Roman law forbid self-incrimination.  Jesus will not comply, to Annas’ request.  Then comes the ‘why’.

Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” (18:21).  Here’s comes a beat down of Annas: Why do you ask me? Jesus questioned Annas why he wants him to disobey the law.  This is a morality question. Annas needed witnesses, where were they? Jesus cannot incriminate himself.  In this little question: Why do you ask me? Jesus indicts Annas for breaking the law! Jesus was not asking a rhetorical question, but a pointed legal question.  Jesus was more than a rabbi/carpenter.  He is a worthy, smart, moral adversary, who’s unintimidated by the power class of Israel.

But that is not all.  Jesus asked for his legal rights.  Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”  In other words, bring in the witnesses.  Let them testify. Then legally he will cross-examine them.  Whoa!  How would you like to be a witness, with Jesus asking probing questions?  That would be a losing strategy for Annas.

Notice that Jesus is not fearful of his teachings.  “I have spoken openly to the world.” His message was not only to the Jews, but to all mankind, a universal message.  Jesus taught in the places of public worship, it was not exclusive, “…where all Jews come together, open and universal messaging.  That is not a crime.

Why do you ask me? (18:21) Jesus saying ‘me’ is in the emphatic in the Greek.  It is an element of insistence from Jesus.  Jesus was complying with the law, and he put the onus on Annas.  Jesus was skewering Annas with the inference that he’s trying to make Jesus self-incriminate.  Jesus will not disobey the law, and Annas was attempting something that was not only illegal, but immoral.  Jesus was hitting hard.  Annas was back on his heels.

Jesus insistence for a public and legal trial was the issue. One of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, (18:22).  Annas was silent. Cruelty to a defendant was illegal. The irony of the illegal in a trial is telling. With a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek. (Micah 5:1).  Hundreds of years before, the prophet noted this shocking event.

He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. (Prov. 17:15).  Annas and the guard broke the Law. Jesus will respond to the guard, since Annas was silent. To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. (17:26).

The first blow in Christ’s passion was from a Jew, one who should be a law-abiding Jew. Annas didn’t criticize the guard. Jesus the Lawmaker will certainly challenge him.  Will Jesus strike back?  What will the Judge of mankind do to a lawbreaker?  Stay tuned…

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the majesty of your Son, and his vast goodness. I’m amazed at his purity and power in the face of evil.  Jesus transcends people of power and influence, no matter their status.  He never compromised your holiness, rather he promotes it. He enhances your holiness in the natural realm.  Though he’s of the supernatural realm, he fits into our world, not letting it shape him. Instead he changes this world for your glory.  Let our natural life experience spiritual realities, letting your character and plan change us.  Help this become a steadfast truth in our lives.

Then Lord, as we spiritually mature, let that continue to change all aspects of our lives.  Let spiritual realities seep into areas of our lives, that we have tried to hide, even from you.  Let our confidence in you be so sure, that we let you into the dark recesses of our hearts. Places that have not been touch by redemptive truth.  Let us understand that as we release the inner turmoil of our life, it does not make us vulnerable, rather we experience a peace and joy that is satisfying.  You are a safe harbor.  You will not harm us, you will strengthen us, you will encourage us, you will make us like new, so we will want to remain in your loving care.  We pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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