Mar 30 // Day 36
Peter, we know, has been with Jesus throughout His ministry, and has journeyed to this point with Him. His loyalty carries him along to Caiaphas, the high priest’s house. (see Luke 3v2) He finds courage enough to stay with Jesus and follow from a distance. Think of the emotions he might have been experiencing…fear, anger, confusion, frustration, worry. What was going to happen to his beloved Master? What would happen to Peter himself? Perhaps he was trying to concoct a plan to try and get the Master out of there. But there is nothing he can do right now except wait. And as the long night wears on, tiredness creeps in, his courage oozes away and fear begins to take control.
We are reminded of Peter’s promise to Jesus in chapter 22v33, that he is willing to die with Him; and Jesus’ prophetic words about his denial. (22v34) What a difficult moment this must have been for Peter (we are told that ‘he went outside and wept bitterly’) – hopefully he remembered Jesus’ encouragement in 22v31-32, that He still had plans to use him for great things. Thankfully we know the outcome of this too, and that it would impact our lives in a similar way. Praise God that even if we turn our backs on Him, even when we find ourselves in the pit of shame and despair, He is always ready to embrace us again, and to use us for His purposes if we will let Him.
Now we encounter a scene in the guardroom where Jesus is blindfolded, beaten and mocked. It is a cruel scene, full of pain and injustice. We are told that the soldiers of the Temple Guard (maintained law and order under the authority of the high priest) mock Jesus for His prophetic gifting, something that He was clearly known for among the people. They are aware of the rumours, and perhaps some have experienced His words and ministry first hand. Regardless of their knowledge and opinion of Jesus, this is a dark and brutal moment in the journey towards the cross.
After a torturous night, Jesus is led before the Sanhedrin in the early morning. It is worth noting that Jesus’ trial broke with usual procedures. Custom dictated that after the Temple guards arrested Jesus, He should have been kept in the Temple prison until the Sanhedrin were ready to hear His case. Instead Jesus was taken directly to the high priest, Caiaphas’ residence. This is unusual because it was the night before Passover, when leaders would ordinarily be celebrating with their families rather than presiding over a court case. The council members had powers in civil and religious matters, but under Roman rule could not carry out the death sentence. Their overriding aim here is to get rid of Jesus, whatever the cost.
However cryptic Jesus’ words are, they manage to twist them to bring a charge against Him. Although blasphemy would have been enough to merit the death sentence under Jewish law, they figure out a way to charge Jesus with treason under Roman law.
Thanks for joining us today! Remember you can use the tools we’ve provided in the Reading Plan to help you engage with each passage of scripture.