At the rebuke of Jesus, Peter dropped his sword, covered with Malchus’ blood, and ran. The other men followed suit, leaving Jesus alone with the Captain, the soldiers, Judas, and the stupefied Malchus, still holding an ear that no longer hurt. The unimpressed moon lit their way. The soldiers arrested Jesus, bound in chains, hand and foot, and led Him away toward the Temple, striking Him often with open palms and laughing at His pain.
The Court of Annas
They led Jesus first to the chambers of a priest named Annas. His son-in-law was Caiaphas who was high priest that year. At a safe distance, two of the eleven followed closely enough to observe events but at sufficient distance to avoid their own arrest: Peter and John. John entered the outer court of Annas but Peter hesitated at the doorway. A servant girl’s post was this doorway, assisting those who wished an audience with Annas. John was known to her so he spoke with her to allow Peter to enter. As Peter stepped through the entrance, she was sure she recognized him.
“You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?”
In a panic, Peter denied knowing Jesus. The remaining soldiers who had performed the arrest waited there in the outer court while a squad of their ranks took Jesus inside. Small fires tried to give light to this pre-dawn darkness and provide a little warmth. Counting on the cover of darkness, Peter stood by one of the fires warming his hands. As he did, he saw blood on his right hand and quickly wiped away this evidence of his futile resistance in the Garden. His mind spun in useless circles of terror and regret. The prophecy of Jesus was in the process of fulfillment.
Through the stone walls, Peter and John could hear the interrogation of Jesus by the Sanhedrin. Annas wanted to know about the disciples—this compounded the fear in their hearts—and what doctrine Jesus taught. Jesus refused to answer.
“I spoke openly to the world…Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me… “
At that answer, the Captain of the guard slapped Jesus across the mouth with an open palm.
“Do You answer the high priest like that?”
As Jesus reeled from the blow a trickle of blood ran from his mouth. Peter and John heard the sound of the assault and it was if the Captain had struck each of them instead of Jesus. Jesus replied,
“If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”
On to Caiaphas
Frustrated, Annas commanded the soldiers to take Jesus to Caiaphas. They manhandled Jesus back through the courtyard and collected the other soldiers. Together, they dragged Jesus passed the terrified Peter and John.
Peter tried to act as if none of this concerned him but one of the men sharing the fire with him accused him of being a follower of Jesus. He denied the charge. A relative of Malchus repeated the accusation with same result.
The eastern sky grew brighter as the inevitable morning approached. A nearby rooster, faithful to his God-given mission, announced in his manner the approaching day. At the crowing of the rooster the soldiers stopped for a moment, just long enough for Jesus to look in Peter’s direction. Their eyes met: pain and sorrow in the dawn of a New Covenant.
Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant 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.” Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself. The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.” And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also one of His disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not!” One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.
Lord Jesus, I must not look with pride on my brother Simon Peter. I am no stronger than he was. I am sure that my denials of You are much more than three. There have been moments when You counted on me and I wasn’t there. I am so glad that failures do not eliminate us from Your care. I dare not judge Peter for I could not bear what he went through. Keep me true, Lord Jesus! Keep me true. Amen
Keep Me True
Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
Keep me true, Lord Jesus, keep me true.
There’s a race that I must run.
There are victories to be won.
Every hour, by Thy power, keep me true.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved