Life Of Christ:
Jesus Before Annas
Jesus Before Caiphas
Jesus Before Pilate
Jesus Before Herod
Jesus Is Condemned To Death
Way Of The Cross
Crucifixion Of Jesus
Seven Last Words Of Jesus
Miraculous Events At Our Lord's Death
Side Of Jesus Pierced With A Lance
Read More Articles About: Life Of Christ
Jesus Before Annas
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
NOW the impious mob led Our Lord away. Who can describe, or even imagine, the diabolical joy and low insolence of the soldiers and servants of the chief priests, as they dragged Jesus out of the garden and across the valley of Josaphat, over the brook Cedron, to Jerusalem, and into the high-priest's palace? The distance from the Garden of Gethsemani, at the foot of Mount Olivet, where Our Saviour was apprehended, to the house of Annas, was fully a mile and a half. Over this distance, by a rough and stony road, Jesus was hurried along, leaving the ground stained with His bleeding feet. The servants carrying torches went ahead; behind them followed Jesus, tightly manacled, derided by the servants of the priests and Pharisees, and beaten and jostled by the soldiers; the meek and silent Saviour of man, bowed down with sadness and pain, is led like an innocent lamb amid a pack of bloodthirsty wolves. He was so tightly bound and so rudely jostled that He fell seven different times. Especially at the bridge over the brook Cedron He suffered a cruel fall; for His hands being tied behind Him, His sacred brow came violently against the ground, where He lay, bleeding and helpless, till His enemies, amid shouts of laughter mingled with curses, lifted Him to His feet. Then they drove Him with clubs and swords up the steep mountain path of Sion, and into the city. Alas, there was no compassion-ate soul abroad that night to meet the suffering Saviour with a look of sympathy !
It must have been close on midnight when Jesus with His captors reached Jerusalem. Yet so eager were the priests to be rid of Him that they did not wait until morning, but had Him ushered into their presence at once, that the preliminary trial might take place, and the way be prepared for His condemnation and death on the following day. The soldiers therefore led Him straight to the house of Annas, the father-in-law of Caiphas, the high-priest. This Annas presided over a tribunal of seventy-two ancients, before whom all cases of false doctrine were tried. More than twenty years before he had been high-priest, but had been deposed by the Roman Procurator, and was now an aged man, whose heart had not grown tender with his years, but rather harder and more unfeeling with avarice and pride. It has been suggested that the furious hatred displayed both by him and by all the priests and elders against Our Lord arose from the fact that Jesus had so publicly, and with such zeal, driven the buyers and sellers from the Temple courts, and thus cut them off from a great source of pecuniary gain. We may, therefore, picture to ourselves the glare of fiendish triumph-which shot from his eye as Jesus stood before him, bound like a common felon. He began at once to question Him about His doctrine, but the time for answering these inquiries had passed, even had they been asked for information, and not merely to entrap Him. Jesus, therefore, mildly referred him for information upon these points to those who had listened to Him.
"Jesus answered him: I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple, whither all the Jews resort; and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest thou Me? Ask them who have heard what I have spoken unto them: behold they know what things I have said. And when He had said these things, one of the servants standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying: Answerest thou the high-priest so? Jesus answered him: If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil: but if well, why strikest thou Me?" (John xviii. 20-23.)
At the present day men dare to cite Jesus before their tribunals, in something of the same spirit as that which animated the infamous high-priest so many centuries ago, and for reasons almost similar. The doctrine of Jesus is a curb upon human nature. It restrains the fiery impulses of its fierce passions, and nature, feeling the check, kicks against it and strives to be rid of it. His teaching keeps within due bounds the reason of man, as well as his untamed nature. Consequently, all those who do not wish to be curbed by the law of the Lord hate Him for imposing it upon them, and do what lies in their power to destroy Him. Hence it is that we find men calling in question the very existence of Jesus, looking upon the whole gospel narrative as a tissue of fables, and upon the divine law as a code invented by priests to subject the credulous to their sway. They summon Jesus before the tribunal of reason. He appears there, always prejudged, with hands tied, and, if possible, His mouth gagged. They question His doctrine in a sneering, captious, half-critical, half-bantering sort of way, as if they hardly deemed it rational. If an answer is given, they fly into a fury and allow the speaker to be struck on the mouth, contrary to the dictates of law and justice. Be-ware of this. It is the outcome of a spirit of irreverence, which is born of rebellion against the law of God. No one calls into question the existence of God, and of the right of moral law to man's obedience, except such as have first revolted against the moral law, and persevered so long in their revolt that it is their interest to deny the existence of a guardian of the law, who will sharply avenge every infringement of it. Let them, then, first heal the wounds of their hearts, and they will soon see that reason will find nothing illogical in the scheme of divine government which has been revealed to us. Let them conscientiously observe all the precepts of God's law, and they will never desire to call Jesus Christ to the tribunal of their reason to show cause why He should dare to claim, and still more to exact, from them dutiful allegiance.
Another lesson may be learned from an incident of this unjust trial, from the blow which Jesús received upon the mouth. It is with the mouth that men very often most grievously offend almighty God; for with it they give utterance to all the wickedness that is generated in their corrupt hearts. Look, therefore, to yourself, and see what you make of it. How do you speak of your superiors? You cite them before your tribunal, and pass in review their conduct, their persons, their abilities. Then you venture to judge them, to criticise them, and to condemn whatever seems displeasing to you. Your neighbors are next criticised. Perhaps, out of spite, you have invented and spread groundless accusations against them detrimental to their good name and character. How often is your mouth sullied by lies? Of some sins of the tongue, God grant you may never be guilty! But though your offences in point of speech be not grievous, yet remember that it was to atone for them that Jesus received so patiently that brutal blow upon His sacred mouth. There-fore often pray to Him, through the pain and confusion He then endured, to teach you to set a gate of prudence before your lips, so that no unseemly word, or sharp or bitter saying, which might wound your neighbor and soil your conscience, may ever escape your mouth. And when you feel tempted to say anything that would leave ever so slight a stain upon your soul, think of the blow given to your Lord, and keep silence for His sake.
O beloved and grievously insulted Lord and Master! in deep humility and loving reverence I throw myself be-fore Thee on my knees. I honor and praise Thee with all the powers of my mind and soul, endeavoring by my poor homage to render Thee some reparation for the awful in-dignity inflicted upon Thee by a wicked menial. O lacerated, blood-stained countenance of my Saviour! I adore thee and salute thee with heart-felt love. Pardon me: for, alas T am a sinner who has often insulted thee !