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After celebrating the Passover with His disciples on Wednesday evening of Passion Week Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane later that night and taken to the palatial estate of the high priest (Luk 22:54).  There He was taken first to Annas (Joh 18:13), a puppet master whom the Romans had installed as high priest twenty years earlier.  For although his son-in-law Caiaphas was now technically the high priest, he still wielded enormous power and influence.  And because Jesus’ teaching and cleansing the temple threatened the source of his great wealth, he was likely the principle power behind Jesus’ arrest.  What, in particular, did Annas question Jesus about?  See Joh 18:19.  Considering the threat Jesus was to his greed, why would he be interested in His disciples and His teaching?  What does Jesus’ reply indicate about Annas’ concern for what might have been happening in secret to undermine the established order from which he so richly profited?  See Joh 18:20-21.  What does this teach us about the way that those who walk in darkness are themselves afraid of the darkness?  How does the openness that characterizes the light and truth with which Jesus taught contrast with the secrecy that Annas and the other religious leaders were seeking to silence Him under cover of darkness?  Cf. Mat 26:4-5, Luk 22:52-53.  Although afraid of the darkness, what does the desire of Annas and the other religious leaders to silence the openness and truth with which Jesus taught remind us about how much more those who walk in darkness fear the light?  Why is that?  See Joh 3:19-20.

What does John say happened as a result of Jesus’ response to Annas?  See Joh 18:22.  What does the way that Jesus was slapped around, made sport of, and beaten while in custody indicate about the coarseness that Annas and Caiaphas tolerated among their servants?  Cf. Mat 26:67-68, Luk 22:63-65.  Why is that a reflection of their own nature?  Cf. Mat 8:9.  Was it lawful for a prisoner to be struck in such manner?  Cf. Joh 7:51, Act 23:2-3.  Does the coarseness with which the religious leaders treated Jesus communicate a real probing for truth, or that they had already judged Him guilty?  What does this coarseness indicate about the injustice that marked their rule so that rather than reserving punishment until one has been justly convicted in a fair trial prisoners might suffer various indignities at the whim of their captors?  What does this remind us about the importance to true justice of granting due process even to criminals whose guilt is assumed and treating them with the basic respect that is due every person as one created in the image of God?  How would this go a long way towards addressing the various grievances expressed by many minority groups around the world?

What does John say happened to Jesus after His appearance before Annas?  See Joh 18:24.  What does this indicate about this appearance before Annas being a separate incident from that before Caiaphas that Matthew describes?  Including this appearance before Annas, how many “trials” does Scripture record that Jesus faced in the short time after His arrest and before His crucifixion?  See Mat 26:57-67, 27:1-2, Luk 22:63-71, 23:1-7, 8-12, 13-25.  In light of the injustice of so many hasty trials in their rush to get rid of Jesus, what can be said of rulers who sidestep justice altogether and simply “disappear” their own citizens who speak out against their rule?

After the trial at night before Caiaphas and the degrading treatment Jesus suffered from those holding Him (Mat 26:59-68), why was there another trial in the morning (Luk 22:63-71)?  Note: it was a violation of Jewish law to hold a trial for a capital case at night (Robertson’s Word Pictures), so the trial after the day had dawned is understood as more of a ratification of what had already been determined, as if by following their own legal constructs they could therefore validate their false notions of justice.  Another illegality noted by Robertson was passing judgment the same day as the trial, which perhaps also motivated the second trial after the break of day, again, as if such a stretch to satisfy their legalistic punctiliousness somehow validated that they were acting justly.  Should we suppose that this was the only time in history that safeguards that were put in place to prevent such travesties were deliberately circumvented in order to accomplish what men thought was a necessary exception?  Although looking back or as an outsider we have no problem recognizing such injustices for what they are, what is it that causes us to justify such actions when we ourselves are in the midst of them?  What does this remind us about the deceitfulness of sin?  What does it also teach us is necessary in order for true justice to prevail, and why the nature of true salvation is not just forgiveness of sins, but deliverance from the power of sin?  Shall we suppose then that God’s kingdom of righteousness, truth and justice for which we pray can come to earth as it is in heaven apart from that deliverance from sin, or that we ourselves shall be counted worthy of that kingdom apart from the pursuit of holiness?  See Heb 12:14.  So then, is the nature of true salvation just in what we profess to believe, or is it much more in our daily following of Jesus in the way of the cross to die to sin?  See 1Pe 4:1-2.

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