Morning Prayer, 14 Apr – John 18:19-24 ~ no witnesses

Morning Prayer

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening sentences — Puritan Prayers

O Lord, I marvel that thou shouldst become incarnate, be crucified, dead, and buried.

Grant me to stand with my dying Saviour, to be content to be rejected, to be willing to take up unpopular truths, and to hold fast despised teachings until death. Help me to be resolute and Christ-contained.

Morning reading

Christ before the High Priest Gerrit van Honthorst, c. 1617 Oil on canvas National Gallery, London

Christ before the High Priest
Gerrit van Honthorst, c. 1617
Oil on canvas
National Gallery, London

John 18:19-24 ESV

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”

When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”

Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Reflections:

disciples and teaching

This is not an actual trial – there are no witnesses, no jury and no sentence. This is more like “a police interrogation of a newly arrested criminal before any formal trial procedures are begun” (Brown; Robinson). Annas asks Jesus about his disciples, reflecting the Sanhedrin’s earlier concern over Jesus’ popularity. Annas also asks Jesus about his teaching. He seems to want Jesus to incriminate himself as a false prophet (Beasley-Murray) or at least as a false teacher (Robinson; Brown). But Jesus will not be trapped in this way.

Jesus tells Annas to check with those who have heard him, since he has taught quite openly. In this way he heightens Annas’ anxiety. The very fact that Jesus has spoken openly and that there are plenty of people who are familiar with his teaching is what concerns Annas. That Jesus does nothing to assure Annas that his teaching is kosher would also increase the high priest’s fears.

appeal to witnesses

Jesus’ appeal to the witness of those who had heard him is essentially a demand for a fair trial (Brown), since in Jewish law the witnesses are questioned, not the accused. Jesus has completed his witness by word. There remains only the climax of all his ministry as he witnesses to the Father through his death, resurrection and ascension. It is now up to those who have heard him to bear witness to him.

Such remains the case today. His abiding presence remains with believers, but those who abide in him are to bear witness to him before the world. “The author insists that the teaching of Jesus must be known through attention to His disciples, who by the guidance of the Spirit preserve and interpret His words. A true judgement of the world upon the Christ depends upon the fidelity of His disciples” (Hoskyns).

The IVP New Testament Commentary Series
__________

“Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross” – Fanny J. Crosby, 1820-1915

Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul, love and mercy found me; there the bright and morning star sheds its beams around me.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God, bring its scenes before me; help me walk from day to day with its shadow o’er me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting ever, till I reach the golden strand just beyond the river.

__________

Canticle:

Christ, as a light… illumine and guide me. Christ, as a shield… overshadow me. Christ under me; Christ over me; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful. Be in the heart of each to whom I speak; in the mouth of each who speaks unto me. This day be within and without me, lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.

Christ as a light; Christ as a shield; Christ beside me on my left and my right.

Blessing

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

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Peanut Gallery: A brief word of explanation – the general format for Morning Prayer is adapted from the Northumbrian Community‘s Daily Office, as found in Celtic Daily Prayer (see online resources here.) The Scripture readings are primarily from the Gospel of John, with the intent to complete the reading by Easter. Other Scriptures which illuminate the Gospel of John will be included along the way.

Reflections from various saints will be included as their memorial days occur during the calendar year.

On Sundays, I’ll return to the USCCB readings (see online resources here) and various liturgical resources in order to reflect the Church’s worship and concerns throughout the world.

Photo illustrations and music videos, available online, are included as they illustrate or illuminate the readings. I will try to give credit and link to sources as best I can.



Categories: Life in Christ

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