While Jesus is in the “court” of Annas, one of the men present doesn’t like the words or tone that Jesus is using and physically rebukes Him by slapping Him in the face.
This horrifies us to think of a man, any man, raising his hand to slap God in the face. But is this really so different than the slap in the face of Peter’s denial of Jesus? In John 13 Peter argued with Christ that he would die rather than deny Jesus, but in these same verses where Jesus is being physically slapped by a member of Anna’s court, Peter is in the act of denying Jesus.
Isn’t it something each of us do when we argue with God? When we decide we know more about how things should be and begin thinking of prayer as giving direction to God to “get on board’ with our plans and back us up? Isn’t it what we do when we use God’s name in vain? When we try to bargain with God in prayer? When we say one thing and do another? When we profess to be in the light, but secretly turn to the darkness as soon as no one is looking?
I think part of the reason this scene in the courtyard is so striking to us is because we too often see that our place in the narrative is not Annas, not Jesus, not the soldiers by the fire or the girl by the gate, but the 2 people we relate to the most are Peter and the slapping courtier.
But, these two men also provide a contrast in what they do after the slap. Peter repents and turns back and becomes a cornerstone in the church, whereas the man in Annas court would have been one calling for Jesus’ crucifixion and not an individual we ever hear of becoming a part of the church.
Just because we have sinned, even as grievous of a sin as slapping Jesus in the face with actions or words, we have the opportunity to follow the example of Peter, repent and become restored and strengthened and to strengthen others through the process.
Arrogant, illegal, pompous, evil
He was truthful through and through. He did not shy from the truth and pointed out that He taught openly daily.