For most of us, it is natural to be curious about what will happen next. For Peter, his curiosity became an obsession. Love for Jesus led to this obsession. He could and would not run from the situation. John, the “beloved” disciple, knows someone who will get them close to where Jesus is being questioned by the Jewish Council. With this “ticket” inside, Peter tries to blend in with the guards and their families. But the plan backfires. Peter is known for being with Jesus. His accent, demeanor and nervous actions are giving him away. The cut-off ear of one of the guards, healed immediately by Jesus in the garden upon His initial arrest, might still sting a bit. Tensions are high on both sides of this situation. Accusations are flying outside in the courtyard as well as inside the home of Caiaphas.
But for Peter, the accusations are true. He is a beloved follower of Jesus. Peter has disobeyed his Master by following Him there. Peter’s “curiosity could kill the cat” of obsession to be in control. Peter is lying about who he is and throwing some curse words in with anger for good measure. The more he protests of not knowing Jesus, the guiltier he becomes. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”, a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare fits Peter’s situation well!
Now, let’s talk about Jesus. Jesus is also being questioned, mocked and slapped around for admitting who He really is. “You have said it.” Jesus is agreeing with the Council! This might be a first time of agreement! (Okay, smiling here.) Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah God’s Chosen people have been waiting for—but they do not recognize Him even when Jesus looks them in the eye and tells them who He is by agreeing with their accusation!
The Messiah stands in their midst. Jesus affirms He is the One. But they do not believe. With a lost relationship with God, worshiping The Law instead of God, living for themselves for centuries, they cannot recognize the One who has come. But Jesus knew and loved them anyway. In His earthly ministry, Jesus tried to convince them in the streets of Jerusalem. Jesus showed His power, told them where His power came from, but they did not recognize Him as the Messiah. They were so far removed from God that they no longer recognized or believe in God and what He was doing right in front of them.
Unknowing and unyielding leads to fear of losing control and power so in their minds the only solution is to get rid of who stands in their way of getting back to “normal”. Wow.
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 26:57-75, NLT
Jesus before the Council
57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.
59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”
67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”
Peter Denies Jesus
69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”
70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.
73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”
74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.
75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.
PAUSE TO PRAY AND EVALUTATE
Where are we in our relationship with God?
Are we so far from talking and walking with God in our intimate relationship with Him that we no longer see Him at work in our lives and in the lives of others around us?
How long has it been since we talked life over with Jesus?
Is God only for church but then life goes on without consulting Him?
Do we really believe what we say we believe about God really real?
Father, God, Lord and Savior,
We can be so easily distracted and pulled away from You by the prince of evil who rules this earthly world. Evil is sly and cunning and is becoming more vile and destructive with each generation. What was unacceptable is now acceptable. Yikes. Lord, help us. Save us. Keep all of us who believe alert to what is not of You and avoid it at all costs. Grow us from the inside out and outside in. Keep us abiding in You so you will abide in us. Keep our walk pure each day as we work, worship you with our lives, rest, teach our kids, and love like you love us. We need you every hour of every day. Thank you, Lord.
And when I am accused of being yours, may I be found guilty as charged.
In Jesus Name, Amen