In many cases, the opinions people form are informed only by followers of Jesus and not Jesus himself. This is no accident. It’s his design. The relationship we have with God and our resulting relationship with the world is intended as evidence that Jesus is the Saviour.
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 slapped 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 bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Everyone who has heard about Jesus has an opinion about Jesus. Have you noticed that? People who have never touched a Bible have an opinion about Jesus. People who have encountered Jesus only through the institution of a church or school have an opinion about Jesus.
In many cases, the opinions people form are informed only by followers of Jesus and not Jesus himself. In this case, The High Priest, who was interrogating Jesus asked him what his teachings were. And here’s where it gets interesting.
If there was a charge against Jesus, they would be looking for the testimony of credible witnesses against him. If there were no credible witnesses, there was no case. And so Jesus suggested the High Priest ask his officials. Ask the people who listened to me in the Synagogue. If I said anything wrong let me know – let’s talk about that…
No dice. They weren’t working on fact; they were working on political pressure. They were working on self-preservation because the religious leaders of the time had a good thing going. Things were relatively calm with the Romans, who were allowing the Jewish leaders to maintain relative independence in their authority over their people. Don’t rock the boat…
Jesus was a boat rocker. He drew a crowd. He pushed buttons. He scared religious leaders…
I wish people would form opinions of Jesus based on listening to his teachings directly and getting to know him. Few will. That’s reality. In fact, it’s more than reality. The formation of public opinion regarding Jesus, based on the example and testimony of his followers is no accident. It’s his design.
In John 17:18-23, we are sent into the world to represent Jesus. The relationship we have with the Father and Son, and the presence of the Holy Spirit is supposed to be evidence to the world that Jesus was sent from the Father to save the world. In other words, the opinions people form are informed only by followers of Jesus – they know Jesus first through us.
We might not always love that responsibility, yet it’s our mission in the world. Jesus told the High Priest to ask his people. Ask them what I said. They heard me. And now when he is on trial in the opinions of the public today he says the same thing. Ask the people who listened to me and my teaching. Ask the students.
May our lives and lips reflect the love and truth of Jesus today.