19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. 21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”
Jesus’ interaction with the former high priest Annas continues here.
The high priest then asked Jesus
The Roman Empire allowed the Jews to hold trials according to their own laws. This interrogation, however, was not legal according to Jewish law.
about His disciples and His doctrine.
Annas questioned Jesus to find whether His teaching contradicted Jewish law. His concern was primarily doctrinal. He hoped that Jesus would incriminate Himself.
Jesus answered him,
The essence of Jesus’ response to Annas was that He led no secret cult.
“I spoke openly to the world.
Jesus said that He did not teach in private but in public (Jn 7:4, 26).
I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet,
Synagogues and the temple were public places, especially for the Jews.
and in secret I have said nothing.
Jesus’ teachings in the upper room were explanations of what He taught publicly. His message was the same in both places.
21 Why do you ask Me?
Annas attempted to draw Jesus into an incriminating statement.
Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them.
Jesus told Annas to ask those who heard Him speak about what He taught.
Indeed they know what I said.”
There were plenty of witnesses about what Jesus taught.
Christians should expect manipulation of evidence against their faith.
Jesus challenged the high priest with a direct rebuke of the procedure he used. Where were the witnesses required for a trial, even a preliminary trial? He challenged Annas to have a proper trial. Annas ostensibly arrested Jesus for a political reason, but his true reason was theological.
Christians should expect manipulation against their faith from unbelievers.