As the book of John records Yeshua being brought before the priests by the Roman cohort, there are a couple points that catch my attention in today’s scripture passage. Read with me and let’s reconnect on the other side.
Jesus before the Priests
12So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people.
15Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. 17Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself.
19The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21“Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” 24So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
Simon Peter and another disciple were bold enough to follow with Yeshua to where he was being questioned. When they did, Peter found himself confronted by some who recognized him as a follower of Yeshua. He flinched under stress and made a mistake in denying Christ. Let us not be too quick to condemn Peter, but rather recognize how easily we may find ourselves even under less dramatic circumstances remaining quiet when we should stand up for Christ or even denying our allegiance to him or not defending the full truth of scripture to a hostile audience.
We also see, in contrast, that Yeshua remained calm. He spoke truth and made no excuses when confronted. He spoke boldly and directly. What he said, made sense and actually comes across as a bit of a rebuke toward the priests for arresting him in such a secret manner when he preached publicly throughout his ministry. They did not like being rightly rebuked and reacted poorly, as those in authority sometimes do when they feel challenged.
I have never before thought to contrast specifically the example of Christ compared to Peter in this scripture. They contrast one another in striking fashion. Even when directly threatened and knowing he faced painful death, Yeshua reacts boldly and calmly and in truth. Peter, though bold in coming this far, experiences fear and flinches, denying Christ… as many of us may be apt to do from time to time in conflict. Once again, Christ shows us the proper standard by how he lived. Of course, we also see that even those who stand boldly for him will make mistakes and need both his forgiveness and grace… both of which Peter receives later.
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