John 18:19-24 Easter at Christmas: Injustice

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 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. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 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?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Easter at Christmas:  Injustice

There is a sense of injustice in the air in North America.  In New York a grand jury did not bring a policeman to trial and in St. Louis the failure of a grand jury to indict a policeman is now notorious.  There are those who see why the indictment never happened, but there are also those who do not.  It is supposed that a different law is in place for whites and blacks.  It is also thought that policemen can get away with anything and communities are losing their trust in the law.

In Jesus day there was law and order.  The Romans were the higher law, but the lower courts were still run by religious officials or local magistrates.  Jesus is pulled in front of the high priest, but the trial itself is illegal and its proceedings are manufactured to a certain outcome of guilt.  Jesus says very little in the face of this – he endures.  He must not push back because to do so would be to fail in his larger mission.

When we endure injustice and we seem powerless, Jesus has been here before.  Jesus has walked a difficult path and been oppressed.  He has endured domination by Rome as a Jewish citizen.  He has endured false accusation and injustice at the hands of his own people.  We can learn endurance from him.

However, we also know that this is not the whole story.  Jesus triumphs and truth wins out.  This is one of the reasons that ancient philosophers said there must be an afterlife.  For justice to be worked out we need an eternity and we need a saviour to take us there.

Prayer

Jesus, we never quite see the whole picture and we do not know how our own litle story will end.  However, we are thankful that love and justice win out in the end.  Help us to endure.

Questions

  1. Why does Peter’s denial bracket this text?
  2. How does Jesus show the injustice of his trial?
  3. Why does Jesus show the injustice when he will submit to its verdict?
  4. How have you suffered injustice?
  5. How has injustice in your life taught you and others something important?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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16 Responses to John 18:19-24 Easter at Christmas: Injustice

  1. How does Jesus show the injustice of his trial?
    “He was being tried for deceitfulness, trickery, and unlawful actions. Yet, He had committed no sin and all His teaching and healing had witnesses, he did nothing in secret, so all that He was being falsely accused with every charge.”

  2. Janice says:

    1. Peter’s denial brackets this text to emphasize the injustice Jesus faced.
    2. Jesus shows the injustice of the trial by saying they should ask the people who heard what He said to testify and asked why they struck Him.
    3. Jesus is not meek but stands firm as He follows the Father’s will.
    4. I’ve experienced some racial injustice but it’s minor compared to what others have faced.
    5. Injustice shows me the need for God and causes me to worship Him for conquering injustice.

  3. Lacy says:

    1. I suppose it reinforces the truth that Jesus faced betrayal from within and without.
    2. He calls Annas out, asking him to tell Jesus what he has done wrong, which of course Annas can’t, because Jesus hasn’t done anything wrong.
    3. He wants everyone who sees and hear of it to have no doubt: he was an innocent man being crucified. This is key to his message.
    4. I’m not sure it’s possible to live in our world without suffering injustice.
    5. It has taught me more about loving like Christ loves– loving at the expense of myself. I’m still not very good at it, but it’s something God has been teaching me.

  4. Amy McCashen says:

    1. Partly because it is the order in which the events took place, and partly because John might be trying to emphasis Jesus’ suffering from his follower’s disbelief.
    2. He shows the injustice by confronting them about how he has been speaking openly for years and they have done nothing until now. Also, they struck him unnecessarily.
    3. I think Jesus wants to make sure that everyone knows that he was innocent. If he was not innocent, then his dying would have been just and a punishment for his own sins and not ours.
    4. I have suffered minor, minor injustice. When I was little I was punished by my dad for something I did not do. When he finally found the evidence and realized I was telling the truth, he felt awful.
    5. It has taught me to not be so quick to judge.

  5. Jessica Lewis says:

    1. Peter’s denial shows that Jesus was betrayed even by those who called themselves his friends.
    2.If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?
    3. Jesus wants the world to know that he is innocent.
    4. I have been betrayed by close friends.
    5. It has taught me to have hope in the Lord and to not be the kind of person that watches injustice happen to others while doing nothing.

  6. Bethany says:

    3) Jesus shows that he is willing to follow God’s will even through injustice
    4) I have suffered very little injustice in my life, but I have suffered a little bit at the hands of some of my teachers in high school who were angry at my faith
    5) Injustice has shown me more and more reasons why we need a Savior. Also, it has shown me that life is not fair, and that is the way it is.

  7. Beth Coale says:

    1. Jesus was experiencing total rejection that he had done nothing to deserve
    2. it was a very emotional response, a quick defense to protect their pride, “is that how you talk to a high priest?” They had all the power on their side and they completely intended to execute Him; it didn’t even matter what answer Jesus gave.
    3. Because He represented an innocent lamb and fulfilled prophecy
    “…like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
    and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
    so he opened not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7b)
    5. To not be apathetic

  8. Rachel says:

    This passage is rough because Jesus knows that He will hold the victory. His plan will ultimately win. This is not the case for the thousands of people being oppressed today. While it is easy to want to say that justice will be fully served, it is hard to believe that this is true. I take comfort in knowing that Jesus has a greater sense of justice than I do. His plan will prevail!

  9. zacbodine says:

    Jesus has been open and honest before all. The injustice is lying and pretense prevail here. Jesus exposes that. It is like the blind man being interviewed by the high priest. He says the truth but is suggested to answer in lies so to humor the religious leaders. Jesus shines light and truth and the opposition wish to shut him up.

  10. Kathleen says:

    I have seen injustice when it comes to the lives of the foster children who come to live at my house. Their stories are heartbreaking and make you ask how anyone could do such a thing to a child. This then reminds me of why Jesus came into the world. To save me, a sinner, who is no different than the parents of these children. We all deserve death. Injustice is a reminder that we are all in need of a savior.

  11. sjcavitt says:

    1) Peter’s denial shows that even Jesus’ closest friends did not bring justice to Him.
    2) He explains that He has done nothing in secret and nothing against the law.
    3) So that people will see the injustice.
    4) I have had friends betray me.
    5) Injustice teaches people that although humans can fail one another, Jesus never will!

  12. Dylan says:

    1. Peter’s denial before and after Jesus’ trial is used by God to glorify himself, through his son. Jesus is indeed ‘the truth.’ He knows what the cost of his teaching and his words are in the eyes of the priestly jury. Yet, what they don’t know is he has every intention of giving them what they want. Peter on the other hand, who is one of the real guilty ones (along with all of humanity) lies and gets away. In the end, he is redeemed in his own crucifixion, though we know it was Christ’s death that truly made him clean in the eyes of God. As far as the structure of this text, I think the bracketing helps us to draw the contrast rather than if it was linear.
    5. Injustice has a way of making the truth plain. It sneaks up on you. No one is looking for injustice but when they see it they can be heart broken in an instant. Yet, if one lives long enough to see the full story, the redemption and accomplishment of justice, how joyful they are! These feelings of joy may result in tears even. They are much more powerful than that of injustice. However, no one should fight for justice for feelings of joy alone, and they typically don’t. They are compelled, hopefully by God to carry out his will. And that is a joy in itself. This is becoming oddly perplexing. Anyway, there is something about the end of the story, when one sees God’s justice reign. You feel totally insignificant, it doesn’t matter what you did. It’s just beautiful. You get to see part of who God is.

    • Dylan says:

      I am confusing some of my feelings about justice with sacrifice, though I suppose there is beauty in both. Yet sacrifice is unjust. However, maybe sacrifice is only beautiful in the context of a just world. One where the one who lays down his life for another is rewarded in the after life. I’m going to be over-thinking this over.

  13. karas says:

    It’s interesting to me that Jesus is treated unjustly and does not react in anger and violence, but at the same time, does not let the unjust action pass without comment. This provides a great example for us of how to react to injustice. Being meek and humble and Christlike does not mean allowing injustice to continue without being addressed, but at the same time it does mean not reacting spitefully or seeking revenge. Jesus just spoke the truth, calmly, because He was right. As a result, the other guy looks bad and Jesus shows His dignity. Jesus is so incredible.

  14. Sarah Deurbrouck says:

    How does Jesus show the injustice of his trial?
    He amazes me with how he speaks plainly, yet clearly showing the truth of the matter. He shows that he said nothing wrong, but they were treating him (our King!) poorly and unjustly.
    How have you suffered injustice?
    I am lucky, and can’t remember a time I suffered injustice. I am sure there were little things where one person got credit for something I did, or maybe a time I was marked down on an assignment for something that shouldn’t have been marked down.
    How has injustice in your life taught you and others something important?
    We all crave justice. God is the Just One. It amazes me, seeing this play out in our world, how we all crave justice, but yet are unjust toward each other.

  15. ashleypdye says:

    1. Peter’s denial is emphasized to show the rejection that Jesus faced/faces.
    2. He says that he has spoken nothing in secret.
    3. Jesus confronts sin and reveals its darkness.
    4. Yes…mostly through realizing the way things are meant to be and experiencing how they really are.
    5. Injustices have helped me to pray emphatically: “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”

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