Weekly Devotion – John 18:23

Published 7:04 pm Sunday, July 31, 2022

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By Mike Caton

John 18:23, “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

I wish we could hear how things were said in the Bible. We read the words, but what about the tone and the inflection? That can really change the meaning of what is being said. We can all ask a question in a very sarcastic tone, showing that we are not happy and not impressed with what has happened. It can make the person look bad or feel bad about themselves. And we can ask a question in such a tone that it indicates we know the answer and are almost challenging the person to say anything else. Jesus called the Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers and Herod a fox, those were not very flattering things to say.

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I wish we could hear how Jesus said these words. His questions are completely legitimate. If I said something wrong, tell me what it is. And if I spoke the truth, why did you hit me? Those questions deserve to be answered, but there is no answer coming. And I suspect Jesus knew that. Maybe because Jesus was not answering their questions, they slapped him. But it is not right to slap folks, especially when they are on trial and you are one of the officials. But this is not the first time Jesus has been mistreated and it will not be the last.

It is inspiring for us – or it should be – that Jesus did not retaliate and strike out, either physically or verbally at the official. Jesus knew it would do no good. And in fact, it would probably cause more harm than good. This brings to mind a recent lesson on self-control. There is a time to stand up for ourselves and there are times when we simply need to let things go and move on. We need to learn to evaluate the situation, to consider whether either of the choices you can make will make things better or worse. And then we need to be strong enough to make the right choice and carry it out. Yep, we all need a little more self-control.

Father, help me control myself again. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works full time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.