“If I said something wrong, testify as to what is wrong ...” (John 18:23)

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?" (John 18:23)

Why did Jesus ask for an explanation?

Here Jesus is responding to being slapped by the guard of the high priest, who didn't like Jesus' answer to the high priest's questions about Jesus' teachings.

Jesus was hesitant to explain his teachings to the high priest. Instead of explaining them, he simply said that he had spoken his teachings openly. He did not hide his teachings from the public, nor from the temple officials.

So Jesus didn't think it was fair for the institutional temple official to strike Jesus.

This illustrates that Jesus was not necessarily the docile victim in this makeshift trial by the high priest. Jesus was ready to defend his statement about his teachings being made public.

But he wasn't willing to put those teachings - his message from the Supreme Being - on trial.

The difference between Jesus' responses regarding his teachings and his willingness to defend his other statements is apparent. Why?

Where did Jesus' teachings come from?

Jesus did not defend his teachings because his teachings were coming from the Supreme Being. Jesus was thus being ultra-careful about the possibility of those teachings coming from God being twisted and contorted by those who only wished to retain their seats of power.

This relates directly to the notion 'pearls before swine' - which Jesus also taught:
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Matt. 7:6)
But it goes much deeper than this. The teachings of God's messenger are carefully directed not simply because Jesus is afraid of being torn "to pieces." Here we see that Jesus accepts persecution - and his not discussing his teachings before the high priest even made matters worse.

So there is something else going on.

We must remember that Jesus is passing on what has been given to him. He was sent by someone else to give a message from someone else. Who is that someone else? The Supreme Being. Consider these clear statements by Jesus:
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work." (John 4:34)
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
"For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me." (John 5:36)
"And the Father who sent me has Himself testified concerning me. You have never heard His voice nor seen His form" (John 5:37)
"For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him..." (John 6:44)
"Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father..." (John 6:57)
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me." (John 7:16)
"Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own, but He who sent me is true."(John 7:28-29)
"I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the One who sent me." (John 7:33)
"But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me." (John 8:16)
"I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me." (John 8:18)
"I have much to say in judgment of you. But He who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from Him I tell the world." (John 8:26)
"The One who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him." (John 8:29)
"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me." (John 8:42)
"As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work." (John 9:4)
[Jesus praying to God]"I knew that You always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent me." (John 11:42)
"When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the One who sent me." (John 12:44)
"For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it." (John 12:49)
"I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me." (John 13:20)
We can see from all of these statements that Jesus did not invent his own teachings. Nor did he teach or imply that he was God as some claim. If Jesus were God, he would not be "sent by" the Supreme Being and he would not be saying that he is teaching what God "commanded" him to teach.

Rather, Jesus is clearly identifying himself as being God's loving servant - being sent by God and speaking on behalf of God.

Why does Jesus consider these teachings so special?

It is because they are coming from the Person Jesus loves - the Supreme Being. And Jesus doesn't want those teachings from his Beloved God to be trampled upon by the temple high priest or his henchmen.

Let's say, for example, that an ambassador of the president of a country is sent to another country to give that country's leader a message. And let's say that at the border of the country, the ambassador is asked why he has come to the country. Will the ambassador give the message to the border agent?

Certainly not. The message is intended for the country's leader, not for the border patrol or anyone else. If the ambassador tells the border agent, the message has been delivered to the wrong party. Such an ambassador would likely be fired, for he has failed his duty to carry the message to the right person.

In the same way, Jesus' message was intended for certain people and not others. We can see this also illustrated by Jesus' speaking in parables:
“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that, 'they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’" (Mark 4:11-12)
Jesus is obviously explaining that only certain people are being given confidential instructions about the kingdom of God. The rest ("on the outside") had to try to figure out the parables. Why?

Why did Jesus often speak in parables?

As Jesus spoke to the public, he utilized parables to draw in only those who were serious about returning to their relationship with the Supreme Being. For those who were not serious, they would be left "on the outside," unable to understand the message.

Thus we know from this exchange and the exchange between Jesus and the high priest that Jesus is being selective about who hears the message from the Supreme Being.

But it isn't Jesus' selection. It is the Supreme Being's selection.

Remember Jesus' clear statements about his being sent by God and his clear statement: "For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it."

If we can accept that Jesus is acting on behalf of God and is teaching as God guides him - we have to accept that it is God who is steering His teachings through Jesus.

The reality is, most of us in the physical world do not want to be introduced to God. We want to enjoy life and pretend that we are the greatest - at something. We want to be the boss; or the rich business mogul; or the president; or the best father or mother; or the rock star; the big author or movie star.

All of these roles - rock star, movie star, business mogul, star parent, politician or otherwise successful, rich and famous person - are attempts to access God's position.

After all, who wants to get to know, love and serve their competitor?

The Supreme Being doesn't need His message broadcast to those seeking His position. He doesn't need to convince those who are envious of Him. Why? Because they aren't ready for it. They don't want to hear it anyway. It will interfere with our goals and objectives to enjoy life without God.

Yes, many may claim religiosity but are more interested in gaining the respect of others. This is the desire to be accepted, appreciated and respected by others. 

In other words, some of us are not really serious about coming to know and love God.

Does God hide from those who are not serious?

This is why scripture can be puzzling, and why honest teachers of the Truth are so rare. This is why Jesus himself was crucified - before his following got larger.

Only those who have tired of the false promises of the physical world - those who are no longer enamored by the fake glitter of stardom and the emptiness of sensual pleasure - who seriously seek the Supreme Being.

We must understand why God limits His message to those who have become serious. It is because He loves us. He cares for us. Just as parents don't talk to their kids about the "birds and the bees" until they are ready, the Supreme Being is waiting for us to become ready to hear about Him.

But the Supreme Being always opens up just enough of Himself for those who want to return to Him to be captured by.

The teachings of Jesus in the scriptures are a tiny slice of what he gave to his students. But there is still enough there to capture the hearts of those who are serious about returning to our loving relationship with the Supreme Being.

For those who are not so serious, there is enough other stuff to distract us. There are enough of Jesus' healings, cleansings, parables and mysterious activities to distract those who want to claim to be followers but are not serious about becoming a lover of the Supreme Being:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21)