54 Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” 57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” 58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him,“Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.
66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to theircouncil, and they said, 67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, 68 and if I ask you, you will not answer. 69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” 70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” 71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
Jesus Betrayed and Condemned
It seems quite ominous that this is my reading at the moment. It communicates to us all that no matter how bad it may go for the Christian, it could always get worse. I posted yesterday and was probably a little more specific than I should have been about why I have been struggling recently. A good friend asked whether it was wise to post that level of specificity and in deference I took it down. I think that I can say that life has been a struggle for about three weeks now. You will see that my posts just dropped off instantly. A lot of that was some extra work that I needed to do, but some of it was that I just felt really low.
If we look at Jesus in this passage, we can see more fully what he endured and although he knew the suffering (in other words he was not in some way detached from it), he decided to endure it for the sake of redemption. Jesus had known that Peter would deny him, he had known that Judas would betray him. He had known that he would be falsely accused, but he even supplies the court with enough evidence to kill him. The irony is Jesus is telling the truth to those who accuse him, but because they can not accept the truth they will kill him for lying. Jesus’ strong resolution to walk through the emotional and physical abuse he endures is a lesson to us all.
How does Jesus do it? He has a strong vision of the purpose of his suffering. He has a strong relationship with the one who has called him to suffer. He sees suffering as something to embrace. He does not see it as punishment. He does not see it as discipline. He sees it as redemptive. When I suffer I often do not see the point. If I am accused falsely, I want my name cleared. If I am to be physically deprived I tend to complain. I am a child where Jesus shows his maturity.
God calls us to himself through times of trial and times of temptation. We learn our dependency and we learn our calling. I am embraced in difficult times by one who knows my heart and knows its shadows and its light. The darkness of the flesh is being ripped away and beneath it is the glory of the exchanged life that Jesus has given me by enduring isolation and false accusations.
God, you know how hard it has been for us at various times because it has been harder for you. Your grace has been lavished upon us after it was purchased at such a great price. Help us to bear all things, to endure all things. Help us to find wisdom and shalom because you have made it available to us.
- What does Peter’s story teach about both Jesus and Peter?
- If the trials of Jesus broke the laws of the time, why did the Sanhedrin break the law in a law-court?
- What does Peter’s denial and the outrageous trial of Jesus teach people about God?
- What is redemptive suffering?
- How have you endured pain and trial?