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Verses 12-27

152. At the high priest’s house (Matthew 26:57-75; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-65; John 18:12-27)

Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas apparently lived in the same house. Annas had been the previous high priest and, though replaced by Caiaphas, was still well respected and influential. Jesus’ captors took him to Annas first, while Peter and John, who had followed at a distance, waited in the courtyard. By now it was well past midnight and into the early hours of the morning (John 18:12-18; Luke 22:54).

When Annas asked Jesus questions about his teaching, Jesus replied that it was known to all. He had no need to testify on his own behalf (contrary to Jewish law) when many other witnesses could be called in. After being ill-treated for giving an honest and unanswerable reply, he was sent to Caiaphas (John 18:19-24).

Caiaphas had called the Sanhedrin together, determined to condemn Jesus without delay, even though it was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet at night to judge an offence that carried the death sentence. The Jewish leaders’ whole purpose was to get some statement from Jesus that they could use to charge him with blasphemy and so condemn him to death (Matthew 26:57-63; Mark 14:53-61). They were soon satisfied when Jesus said he was the Messiah, the Son of God and the Son of man, and he was on the way to receiving the glorious kingdom given him by God (Matthew 26:64; Mark 14:62; see earlier section, ‘Jesus and the Kingdom’). With an outburst of violent abuse the Jewish leaders condemned him as worthy of death (Matthew 26:65-68; Mark 14:63-65).

While Jesus was before Caiaphas and the other Jewish leaders inside the building, Peter sat in the courtyard, waiting anxiously. When a servant girl recognized him as a follower of Jesus, he denied any association with him (Matthew 26:69-70; Luke 22:55-57). A little later another person recognized him and told the people standing by, but again he disowned Jesus, this time with an oath (Matthew 26:71-72; Luke 22:58).

About an hour later some of the bystanders approached Peter again, convinced he was a follower of Jesus, but Peter’s denial was even stronger than before. The crowing of a cock indicated to all that daylight was approaching. It also reminded Peter of his folly in boasting that he could never fail. Just then Jesus happened to see Peter in the courtyard, and as their eyes met Peter was overcome with grief and went away weeping bitterly (Matthew 26:73-75; cf. v. 31-35; Luke 22:59-62; cf. v. 31-34).

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