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