John 18:20-23 (NIV) reads:

“I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”

When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.

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

One would be curious to know as to why Jesus confronted the official, who is not recorded to have regretted his deed. Is there any official interpretation of the said passage from the side of Catholic Church?

  • Up to what I heared from catholics preachers, this """contradiction"""(becoase of Him saying to offer your other cheek) is used to correctly explain the christian charity compared to the pacifism. Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 13:17
  • BTW, are you catholic? Why do you use a non-catholic bible translation? Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 13:18
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    Jesus isn't confronting him with the fact that the high priest struck him, he is confronting the high priest with the fact that the high priest knew what Jesus said was true but was rejecting it knowingly. One can turn the other cheek, but still tell the person they are wrong for hitting you. They are not mutually contradictory.
    – Joshua
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 15:04
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    I think it was the official who slapped Jesus who confronted him, not the other way around. Jesus merely responded to a slap in the face, which seems reasonable. Note that it is not the high priest who slapped Jesus, but someone else. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 6:00

3 Answers 3


The question asked by the official is rhetorical, because he wasn't really expecting Jesus to answer. It was a statement: "That's no way to speak to the High Priest!". You often hear parents ask questions like, "Is that any way to treat your sister?" or teachers, "Is that any way to behave?" It is a technique used by those in authority to give the impression they're not giving orders or exercising dominion over those in their charge.

The question having been asked, however, invited a response from Jesus. He took the opportunity to give his interrogators something to think about in regard to the legitimacy of their proceedings.

If the OP's intent was to challenge Jesus' behaviour as an example of not practicing what he preached, then I am prepared to expand this answer.


Jesus wasn't confronting the official, but simply took the opportunity provided by the official's question to move his interrogators to more carefully consider their actions. You know, to give their consciences a chance to ask, "Does this man really deserve to be treated this way?"

There really is no avenue of escape from guilt for those who participated in Jesus' trial. He gave them every opportunity to change their minds.


Jesus confronted the official because he was and always will be testifying on the side of the truth. Jesus already knew what is going to happen - He will die for all our sins - and maybe wanted to show the pharisee that he was a liar and that he was judging him unfairly. There where no reasons for any penalty.

Whatever Jesus would do or say He was going to die.

We don't know what happened to that official but hopefully he repented and found who really Jesus was.


He is simply pointing out that the slap was unjust.

If he had answered untruthfully-that his teachings were secret and shared only with his disciples and he refused to tell them-then the slap would be justified.

But he answered truthfully-He routinely taught in public and they already knew exactly what his teachings are. If there was going to be another discussion of his teachings then their only motivation was to try and trap him. That had not gone well in the past and there wasn't anything to gain by showing them up yet again.

John 8:1-11
Matthew 22:23-46
John 3:1-15

I expect there are quite a few others.

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