John 18:12-13, 20-24: False Pretenses
Read: John 18:12-13, 20-24
Caiaphas was no stranger to Jesus. Being the high priest, he had received a vision concerning Jesus that Jesus would die for the nation (John 11:49-50). The Pharisees feared Jesus’ growing popularity, so much so that they felt that their respective positions were in jeopardy from the Romans. Caiaphas told them not to worry concerning about this because inevitably Jesus would die for the nation. Caiaphas was right in saying that Jesus would die for the nation, but understood this in the wrong way. They apparently thought it was to preserve the nation – that is to avert the Romans from dismantling it as they did in 70 AD. Jesus was to die for the sins of the nation. Not only Israel though, because Jesus died for the entire world.
Caiaphas asked Jesus about his followers and teachings, and Jesus tells Caiaphas that he should ask the Jews concerning his teachings because he held nothing back. In a Jewish court system, in order for a man to be accused of something, there had to be two or more witnesses to establish the truth (Deuteronomy 17:6). When Jesus asks Caiaphas to bring in witnesses concerning him, He seems to want two things: he asking Caiaphas to uphold the law as the high priest should do and second he is asking Caiaphas to bring a case against him concerning his teachings. But rather than do this, the guard strikes Jesus and rebukes him for speaking to Caiaphas in a manner the guard deemed unworthy. Jesus says if he had spoken wrongly, speak of the wrong. Otherwise, he questions the guard’s remarks. Here on two occasions, Jesus asks for a case against him. But rather than produce a case against, which they send him off to Pilate.
Caiaphas was perhaps afraid of what people might say concerning Jesus. Often times when Jesus spoke, he would cause a divide. If Caiaphas was to bring in witnesses, then it is likely that they too would have been divided against Jesus and Caiaphas would not have a case against Jesus enough to accuse him of any worthy of death, much less anything wrong. The opposition to Jesus apparently was not interested in ascertaining whether or not Jesus was guilty, rather that were more interested in getting him out of the way in a power play and abuse of authority.
What they did not realize was that Jesus was no real threat to them, but rather the one that they needed the most for salvation and forgiveness. People are no different today either, hiding behind false pretenses. Those who have something to lose from accepting Jesus almost always look for a way to put Jesus in a negative light by telling lies about Jesus. They do this so they can appear to be rejecting Jesus on good grounds, but in secret do not want to accept Jesus. In every case though, God knows the intentions of the heart and judges not by what one says outward, but by what one has in his heart (1 Samuel 16:7, 1 Chronicles 28:9, Hebrews 4:13). God is the ultimate judge of such persons and such people will be without excuse. But the Christian cannot hide sin from God either. God knows the thought of those who believe him, so it is certainly better to confess the sin to God and be done with it than harbor it and pretend God cannot see it. God is faithful to forgive and cleanse one of unrighteousness. Jesus died for sinners so that grace would be made available, and everyone can have it if he or she turns to Jesus!
Lord, I don’t want to be pretentious! I confess my sins to you, openly!