answering the high priest
"Is that the way to answer the high priest?" —John 18:22
In a scene dripping with irony, a temple guard spoke the above words to Jesus and slapped His face, because Jesus had given a truthful response to the Jewish high priest Annas (Jn 18:20-22). However, Jesus Himself is the great High Priest (Heb 2:17; 4:15; 7:26; 8:1; 9:11). Both the guard and Annas are guilty by their words and actions of mistreating Jesus, the true High Priest. So are we. By our sins, we have abused and crucified Jesus, the High Priest (Catechism, 598). "Is that the way to answer the High Priest?" (Jn 18:22)
Jesus the High Priest stood battered and bleeding before the public. After Jesus explained Himself in response to Pilate's questions, Pilate told the soldiers to scourge the High Priest (Jn 19:1). The soldiers mocked and slapped Him (Jn 19:3). "The chief priests and temple guards...shouted, 'Crucify Him! Crucify Him!' " (Jn 19:6) The Jews shouted, "Away with Him! Crucify Him!" (Jn 19:15) "Is that the way to answer the High Priest?" (Jn 18:22)
Yet Jesus doesn't treat Annas, the guard, or any of us as our actions and words deserve. Instead of punishing them or us, Jesus the High Priest offered His life for us and died in our place.
This is the way to answer the High Priest. Praise Him. Thank Him. Acknowledge His majesty and your sinfulness (Lk 18:13). Ask Him for forgiveness and mercy. Beg Him for the Holy Spirit to help you carry your daily cross as He did (Lk 9:23).
Prayer: Jesus, may I not treat Your gracious gift as pointless (Gal 2:21). I repent of my sins, accept You as Lord, God, and Savior, and place my life on Your altar as a living sacrifice to God (Rm 12:1).
Promise: "[Jesus] became the Source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him." —Heb 5:9
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 9, 2009
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