John part 78

Trial and Denial.

John 18:12-27.

John 18:12-27 ESV – 12So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.  15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.  19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

INTRODUCTION

Last time we saw Judas come with possibly about 600 soldiers to betray and arrest Jesus.  We saw Peter’s reaction by cutting off a man’s ear with a sword.  But we see Jesus Himself never resist, but willingly submit to the arrest.  Why?  Because it is part of the Father’s Sovereign plan.

Now before we go into the text, it is important to note that as believers in Jesus, we will suffer trials; and sometimes there might be temptation to deny our faith in the midst of the trial.  Our strength in our trials is not in our ability to stand strong, but in Christ’s ability to hold us during the trial.  But even if we do deny Him, repentance and forgiveness is offered us in Jesus name.

Let’s begin unpacking the text in different scenes.

Scene one:  Enter Annas, Father-in-Law to Caiaphas.

John 18:12-14 ESV – 12So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

Verse 12: Notice the overkill here.  Jesus willfully submitted to go with them, but they bound Him.  For the Eleven, this had to be something difficult to see.  The One who had authority over nature, demons, and disease is being bound as a criminal.  All He had to do was to speak a word and the arresting party would have been consumed, but He humbles Himself to their arrest.  You see, He does not fight the will of God.  Notice Matthew’s version.

Matthew 26:47-50 ESV – 47 While he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; seize him.” 49And he came up to Jesus at once and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him. 50Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.” Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

It is never an easy thing to submit to God’s will.  Sometimes we have to humble ourselves to do it.  But God has a purpose for every trial we face.

Verses 13-14: Jesus is led to Annas first.  Now in the Old Testament, the High Priesthood was for life.  But during the governing of Judea by the Romans, the Romans had turned the High Priesthood into a political office that a Levitical family could purchase.

Here is some historical information according to Josephus:  Annas was High Priest from AD 6-14.  He was appointed by Quirinius Governor of Syria.  His relatives (5 sons, 1 grandson, and 1 son-in-law) succeeded him.  So he must have been a very prominent and wealthy man for his family to hold the position that long.  Caiaphas his son-in-law was High Priest from AD 18-36; so during Christ’s life.  But Annas was the real power behind the scenes, pulling the strings.  This is why Jesus is taken to him first.

Caiaphas was mentioned earlier in John as the one who unknowingly prophesied concerning Jesus.

John 11:49-50 ESV – 49But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all. 50Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”

One interesting thing about this trial is according to the Mishnah, a collection of Jewish oral laws and traditions written down some two hundred years after Jesus, this trial was illegal.

Evidences the trial was illegal:

  • The Sanhedrin was not suppose to met at night.
  • The death penalty could not be declared on the day of the trial.
  • There was false evidence and witnesses (Matthew 26:59-60).
  • Jesus was hit during the trial, which was illegal.
  • It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet for a capital case on the eve of a Sabbath or a feast day.

Scene two:  Peter’s denial of Jesus.

John 18:15-17 ESV – 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Verse 15-16: Peter and another disciple follow the arresting party to Annas’s house.  Now there is debate on whom this other disciple is.  Some think it is John, because of the way that John discreetly describes Himself throughout his Gospel.  There is a hint of who it might be in the text, “since that disciple was known to the High Priest.” It might have been John, but I’m of the opinion that it was possibly someone like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimethea.  Whomever it is, he goes and enters the courtyard and gets permission for Peter to enter as well.

Verse 17: Here we see a slave girl question Peter, “you also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” In all likely-hood, this is a teenage slave-girl, warming herself by the fire, not a prominent woman who questions Peter.  Then we see Peter’s denial; it is short and to the point: “I am not!”

Scene three:  A return to the questioning of Annas.

John 18:19-24 ESV – 19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Verse 19: Annas is digging for information, “about his disciples and his teaching.” Another reason perhaps they brought Jesus to Annas first is the fact he owned the commercial rights to the temple area, the place that Jesus cleansed twice, thereby disrupting the profits.  There was an interest into just who Jesus was and His followers.

Verses 20-21: Jesus speaks nothing about His followers, but about His teaching.  Jesus asked that they bring witnesses to His teaching.  He taught out in the open, not in secret.

Verse 22: Jesus is unjustly slapped and rebuked.  This slap was unjust because it was first of all illegal, plus the fact that Jesus did or said nothing that merited the slap.

Verse 23: Jesus rebukes the one who struck Him.

Verse 24: Annas’s interrogation is over and he sends Jesus to his son-in-law Caiaphas.  Now John does not record Caiaphas’s questioning of Jesus, but Mark does.

Mark 14:53-65 ESV – 53 And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. 56 For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'” 59Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. 60And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 61But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. 65 And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

An important principle can be learned here:  Sometimes, just like Jesus, we can be falsely accused.  When it happens it can be very hurtful.  But our defender is God Almighty, and we have to realize that the false accusations which are meant to injure us emotionally are part of God’s Sovereign plan.  So trust Him during those times and ask the Lord to glorify Himself even through the false accusations.

Scene four:  A continuation of Peter’s denial.

John 18:25-27 ESV – 25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

In all likely hood Annas and Caiaphas probably had houses in the same courtyard so Peter is still in this courtyard during Caiaphas’s questioning of Jesus.

Peter’s denies Jesus two more times: the second time to a group of people that ask Peter about his relationship with Jesus and the third time to the relative of the man Peter had cut the ear off of.

Then after Peter denied the third time, the rooster crows.

Luke gives additional insight that I would to look at for a few moments.

Luke 22:60-62 ESV – 60But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62And he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke additional insight:

  • Jesus looked at Peter (verse 61). The trial probably had just ended and Jesus is taken outside to the courtyard and looks at Peter eye to eye.
  • Looking at Jesus, Peter then remembered His words (verse 61).
  • Peter left brokenhearted over what he did (verse 62).

CONCLUSION

As we conclude, this unjust trial and unjust denial of Peter was part of God’s Sovereign plan to bring about 2 things: (1) our redemption; (2) Peter’s restoration.

It is never easy to be tormented by trials.  But look for strength in the one who suffered trials for you.  Cry out to Him.

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