Jesus answered him,
If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why strike me?
Read Chapter 18
Cyprian of Carthage
The Lord said nothing reproachfully against the high priest, nor detracted anything from the priest's honour; but rather asserting His own innocence, and showing it, He says, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me? ".
With that humility which taught us also to he humble, He still called him a priest whom He knew to be sacrilegious; also under the very sting of His passion, when He had received a blow, and it was said to Him, "Answerest thou the high priest so? "He said nothing reproachfully against the person of the high priest, but rather maintained His own innocence saying, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me? ".
And moreover the Lord, in the Gospel, when it was said to Him, "Answerest thou the high priest so? "guarding the priestly dignity, and teaching that it ought to be maintained, would say nothing against the high priest, but only clearing His own innocence, answered, saying, "If I have s...
He proves the officer guilty of a gross wrong, even if He That was on His trial had been a man of obscure position. For he smote Him causelessly, contrary to his express duty; not urged thereto by legal commands, but rather incited to brutal ferocity of behaviour by his own inbred madness. Call in question, if it please thee, and refute My words, as not spoken aright; but if thou canst not do this, why smitest thou Me, with Whose speech thou canst find no fault?
This is, indeed, the ordinary and most usual interpretation of the passage; but I think the meaning of the passage is different from this. For it may be, that He convicts the officer as guilty of the greater sin; not because he smote Him merely, but because, after having been previously amazed at His teaching, and not having now found Him in any wise guilty, he yet endured to treat Him with contumely. For if, He says, thou hadst not once been struck by My words; if I had not then seemed to you to teach most noble doctrines, ...
That is, If you can lay hold on My words, declare it; but if you can not, why do you strike Me? Do you see that the judgment-hall is full of tumult, and trouble, and passion, and confusion? The high priest asked deceitfully and treacherously, Christ answered in a straightforward manner, and as was meet. What then was next to be done? Either to refute, or to accept what He said. This however is not done, but a servant buffets Him. So far was this from being a court of justice, and the proceedings those of a conspiracy, and a deed of tyranny. Then not having even so made any farther discovery, they send Him bound to Caiaphas.