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John 18:12-14, NIV 12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it would be good if one man died for the people.
February 8, 2012A detachment of soldiers, their commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. When someone is arrested, they lose their right to determine what they will do and when they will do it. Someone in authority over them makes these decisions for them, including what you eat, when you will sleep and how often you may use bathroom facilities. For someone who has never been arrested, it is difficult to imagine what this must be like.
Jesus was bound. Hands? He would have needed his feet to walk. Binding someone takes away even more of a person's right to determine what they will do. It limits a person from defending him or herself from blows or even bugs. I wonder if they tied his mouth shut?
Annas was the elder; Caiaphas the younger one and the current chief priest at the time. Caiaphas had already made his position clear that he thought Jesus could bring harm to their nation, as a rabble rouser, and that it would be better for one man to die than for the Romans to target and punish the whole nation. It was pretty clear that Caiaphas would not stand up for Jesus, nor defend him.
John 18:15-18, NIV15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest's courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 "You are not one of his disciples, are you?" the girl at the door asked Peter.
He replied, "I am not." 18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
February 9, 2012Within the larger story of the arrest and trial of Jesus, we have a smaller story, a little antidote. It involves Peter, that bold and outspoken disciple of Jesus who always had an opinion about everything and did not hesitate to share it.
The other disciple who accompanied Peter is not named, and it doesn't sound to me like he was one of the Twelve. More likely it was a secret disciple of Jesus, known and accepted in the high priest's house and not suspected of divided loyalties. A sympathizer of Jesus who never stated these feelings openly. We know the names of two such people--Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. But it could have been anyone with access to the high priest who felt Jesus was not being treated fairly.
This unnamed person opened the door for Peter to enter the courtyard of Caiaphas. But as soon as Peter entered, he was spotted and recognized by a servant girl. Poor Peter! What started out as an innocent lie to an alert young door tender escalated into a major event told by all four gospel writers. The shameful story of his denial will be read and commented upon forever.
Why was Peter so ready to defend Jesus with a sword just a few moments ago in the midst of a regiment of armed soldiers, yet here in the courtyard when confronted by a harmless female, he denied any association with Jesus? And why do we talk more of the latter than the former? Maybe it makes us feel better about ourselves when someone as strong and popular as Peter fails in the same ways that we fail.
If he lied, he got to stay in the courtyard; if he told the truth he would be thrown out or maybe worse. He wanted to stay so he could observe what was happening to Jesus, so he agreed with the questioner. "You are right, I am not one of them."