The Trial - The Honesty of Jesus - John 18:19-24   
March 23, 2022, 9:00 AM

19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.  20 "I have spoken openly to the world," Jesus replied. "I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said."  22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. "Is this the way you answer the high priest?" he demanded.  23 "If I said something wrong," Jesus replied, "testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?"  24 Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.”  

Is honesty the best policy? Some people think by being honest things always turn out for the best, but when Jesus shows that even in the face of hypocrisy, He told the truth, or said nothing at all. Instead of being set free He was killed. The final outcome was still in the hands of God.                  

If Jesus had something to say about someone, it was truth. He didn’t care who heard it. He spoke openly and publicly. The religious officials were questioning Him on doctrine and His disciples, but they didn’t have to ask Him the questions. He could point to many around the room who were there when He spoke openly in the temple, in the synagogues, at the lake, on the mountain, in the boat on a lake, and in the valleys.    

It is better to speak truth than lie and much easier to remember what you said. With truth you don’t have to tell more lies to cover up the previous lies. Mark Twain said, “Always do what is right this will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”     

Jesus’ answers to Annas and Caiaphas pointed out their hypocrisy. Where were the witnesses? That’s the law, they knew it. “Why do you strike me?” That’s against the law, they knew it. The prophecies o the Old Testament predicted it in  Micah 5:8 “They shall strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.”                 

We live in a culture that is so used to dishonesty that we have accountants to confirm that our financial records are correct. We have hidden cameras in and around our homes to protect ourselves from thieves. Even police officers carry camera recorders because some of them break the rules or others falsely accuse them of things that are not true. Don’t you wish for the time when locks are not needed and people can walk all hours of the day and night in safety?     

In reality we will continue to run into crime and false motives covered with hypocrisy. You will find it in religion; you will find it in church; you will find it in people around you; you will find it in the justice system and even within yourself, but you will never find it in Jesus Christ.                 

What you find in Jesus is one who was willing to be a victim of injustice and condemned in order to set us free from all our unrighteousness. He came to show us a more excellent way. I Peter 3:18 says, “Jesus suffered for sin the just for the unjust that He might bring us unto God.”                

How does Jesus deal with hypocrisy? With honesty. Jesus knows the pretense of each heart and life, and confronts us with truth. Someday truth will be revealed to all. Until then, it is enough to know our Lord knows. Honesty is our act of worship to Him.              

Application:   As long as we look to others, we will be disappointed. When you find yourself among others acting hypocritical, ask “What would Jesus do?”  Respond with honesty.    

Prayer:   O Lord, how I pray for authenticity in my life.  Complete honesty with myself and others.  No hidden agenda or impure motives, just to do everything to honor You.  May Your Spirit so work this in me so that when others see me, they see You.  

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