Truly Righteous

Scripture: John 18:23, ‘Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”

 

Observations: After Jesus prays he goes to the Garden of Gethsemane where Judas leads a band of soldiers who arrest Jesus and take him before Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high-priest (v13). According to history Annas had been high-priest but was deposed by the Romans who appointed someone else, but Annas was still the power behind the position. Annas questioned Jesus about his teaching (v19), but Jesus replied that he had never taught in secret so ask those who were there (v20-21). In response to his lack of respect towards the high-priest one of the guards struck Jesus (v22). Jesus responds, ‘If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?’ Two things are worth noting about Jesus’ response. Firstly, no one answers Jesus’ question. What Jesus had said was right. But more importantly Jesus had highlighted that what he had done was done in public whereas what they were doing had been done in secret, in the dead of night. Jesus had rubbed a raw nerve. Secondly, this becomes Jesus’ defense right through his trial. They cannot ‘bear witness’ to anything wrong in Jesus life or ministry, and despite the fact that he was perfectly righteous they not only strike him they crucify him. The righteous one died for the unrighteous (1 Pet 3:18), the innocent for the guilty.

 

Application: Jesus teaches us that those who do right often come into conflict with the world. As Christians we may face persecution for standing up for what is right in God’s eyes. But unlike Jesus we aren’t innocent, people can bear witness to what is wrong in our lives, which is why we need Jesus to be our atoning sacrifice. We need Jesus to be our perfect substitute, his righteousness covering our unrighteousness. While the world, and Satan might be able to accuse us of wrong, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). In Christ we have been made right with God, and so he calls us to do what is right. Will you make the right decisions today?

 

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, the truth is that I am unrighteous, that I do not do what it right in Your eyes. I need Your Son and his death on the cross for my sins to make me right with You. Lord, I thank You for Your grace that declares me righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. Lord, help me to do what is right that people might see Your presence and power in my life. Lord, help me do what is right even if that means conflict with the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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