This group of people who sought Jesus, arrested Him and led Him away to be stand trial before the Sanhedrin, the Supreme court of Israel (18:12-27). John mentions that they first took Him to stand before Annas who was the former high priest and father-in-law to Caiaphas, the current high priest (18:13). Within John’s narrative, he documents that “Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple” (18:15). This other disciple was none other than the writer of this particular gospel, John. John “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” (18:15b-16). Upon entering the courtyard, the girl at the door recognized Peter as one of Jesus’ disciples saying, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” Peter quickly denied her accusation. Peter then stood with some servants and officers who were warming themselves around the fire and as this was happening, Jesus was being questioned by the high priest about “His disciples and His doctrine” (18:19). In response to his questions Jesus said, “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” (18:20-21). Jesus was not leading some secret cult, but all of His teachings had been public and the answers the high priest was seeking were readily available to anyone. At the center of the religious leaders’ questioning was their disbelief that Jesus Christ was God. An officer who was nearby when Jesus answered the high priest hit Jesus with the palm of his hand, but Jesus quickly demanded his reason for striking Him saying, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?” (18:22-23) Jesus was only requesting a fair trial; however, the religious leaders had no desire to hear what Jesus had to say.
Considering that he had not made any progress with Jesus, Annas sent Him to the official high priest, Caiaphas, who would have to make a decision regarding any legal actions taken against Jesus (8:24). John returns to a parallel scene which he has been following for the duration of Jesus’ questioning. Peter had been following Jesus’ every move and “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!’” (18:25) This is Peter’s second denial (see 18:16-17). Then, “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” (18:27). Matthew mentions that Peter then remembered the words spoken to him by Jesus, “so he went out and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75).
John’s coverage of Peter’s denial is very significant because his readers can relate with Peter’s lack of faith and faltering courage. Although Peter loved Jesus, he feared where his association with Jesus would take him. Can you identify with this feeling?
Dear God, I am weak and often falter in my faith. Teach me what it means to not only love You with my lips, but also with my actions.