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Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 12- Annas Interrogates Jesus

John 18: 12-14, 19-24

So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.  First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.  Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.  Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught nothing in secret.  Why do you ask me?  Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."  When he has said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, "is that how you answer the high priest?"  Jesus answered, "If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong.  But it I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?"  Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Jesus was a threat to Annas and his powerful family.  Annas was the chief priest and several of his sons were chief priests after him.  The current chief priest was Annas' son-in-law.  So, you can see how this man holds power in the religious community.  Jesus threatened that power.  Jesus was undermining Annas' influence over the religious community and Jesus had to be stopped.  I think that it is interesting that Caiaphas prophesied that "Jesus was about to die for the nation" and "to gather the dispersed children of God" (11:51-52). 

Jesus' domineer during the questioning is courageous.  He did not dance around their "accusations".  He answered them with the truth- that he said what he said and he was stickin' to it.  And if they really weren't sure what he said, then they could ask those who heard him say it.  He didn't understand why they were asking him these questions because they already knew what he taught.  When he pointed that out, Annas was stopped in his tracks.  Out of frustration, he sent him to the official high priest, Caiaphas.  You see Annas didn't want to hear the truth.  His mind about Jesus was already made up.  Jesus, the threat to his power, had to go.

There is one other thing in this passage that really caught my attention- Jesus answered, "I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught nothing in secret.  Why do you ask me?  Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said."  If we were there, and forced to testify in the case of Jesus to the high priest, would we know what Jesus said?  Do we know our faith?  Could we tell the high priest the truth?  Would we have the courage to tell the truth or would we cave in the face of fear?  I think that we are faced with these situations daily.  When the world comes at us with all of its temptations, we are forced to testify.  We are forced to choose the truth, or not.  We are forced to cave into the fear or rise above the temptation.  Jesus was crucified because he taught the truth to a world who did not want to hear it- a world drunk on its own power.  If we are to let Jesus live through us, then we must be willing to be crucified for the truth. We must be willing to allow that part of ourselves that is drunk on the world to be crucified.  The part of us that must die is our bushel basket hiding our light.  We must get rid of that bushel basket before the truth can shine.

O Mary, Mother of God, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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