John 18:12-14, 19-23
He Had Spoken Openly
Having arrested Jesus, John’s gospel records that the officers first took Jesus to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas. Annas was the head of one of the most powerful priestly families to hold the high priesthood in that time. Several of his sons served in that capacity as well as his son-in-law. We see that the calling of high priest had fallen on hard times when compared to the writings of Moses: Holiness was no longer central, but raw political power. As Caiaphas said on another occasion, “Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish” (John 11:50). So Jesus is compelled to run the gauntlet of Annas’ kangaroo court even before he must run the gauntlet of the same style at Caiaphas’ venue.
So Annas questions Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. (By the way, the fact that Annas questioned Jesus concerning his disciples makes it understandable that the disciples would be so scared after Jesus’ crucifixion.) But Jesus’ response is less than satisfactory to his hearers and earns him a slap across the face for disrespect. His answer was simple and true: He had spoken openly in broad daylight in the temple and in the synagogues where all the Jews gather. Moreover, Jesus could even say that he has spoken on the hills and in the valleys, to Samaritans and pagans alike, in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and lands predominately Gentile – all of which in marked contrast to the interrogation he was now enduring under arrest and under the cover of darkness which no one knew about other than the priests.
But we leave the injustice of what Jesus was enduring to speak instead of him. He had spoken openly for all the world to hear. He was the true light that enlightens everyone (John 1:9). And he came from the Father to give them the words of the Father, something Jesus said over and again throughout John’s gospel. Granted, he did say some things to his disciples that they would later proclaim to the world and the Church, but as far as the good news of the Kingdom of God is concerned, Jesus spilled all the beans. And he spilled them knowing full well that most would reject and would not receive him (John 1:11). But he still had to spill them, regardless of the cost – and so do we. The gospel is not supposed to be hid under a basket but is worthy to be proclaimed the world over (Mark 4:21). Some will listen, some will not, and some will be downright angry about it, and that’s because the goods of the gospel can only be had by repentance and faith. People want freebies. And the gospel costs us our lives, but it’s worth it! Spill the beans.