Peter’s Denials and Jesus trial before the High Priest and Pilate

The Gospel of John–John 18:19-40

The High Priest Questions Jesus; Peter Denies Jesus Again;

Jesus Before Pilate; My Kingdom is not of this World

Find a quiet place, alone and apart from distractions. Be comfortably alert, still, and at peace. Say the Lord’s Prayer. Sing or cant the Jesus Prayer. Pray for family, friends, neighbors, and yourself. Slowly and carefully read the passage of Scripture.

1.           Two of the passages, the first and the third, speak of Peter. Though boasting that he would never deny knowning Jesus, he nevertheless does so three times. Despite Peter’s status in the early years of the church, the Gospel writers include these, and we are so glad they did or else we would be so very depressed and discouraged since we too betray Jesus though we do not want to.

2.           First Annas, the former high priest, questions Jesus about His followers and teaching. Jesus replies that He has spoken openly in synagogues and in the Temple, so there are no secrets.

3.           Jesus’ statements were considered disrespectful and an officer hit Jesus with his hand. Meanwhile, out in the courtyard of the high priest’s residence, Peter is yet warming himself.

4.           Two people around the fire ask Peter if he was not one of Jesus’ disciples, and both times Peter denies it, making in now three denials. At once a cock crowed. Was this an actual animal or the town crier calling out the final quarter of the night?

5.           Jesus is now brought by the Jewish leaders before the Roman governor Pilate, but do not enter his headquarters (likely in the Fortress Antonio) in order to avoid become unclean. Pilate had travelled from Caesarea for the Passover. He had been appointed by Emperor Tiberius in 26 CE and was dismissed from office in 36 CE, due to pressure from the Judean authorities.

6.           Pilate is reluctant to have Jesus under his jurisdiction but the Jewish leaders press him to so act.

7.           Pilate asks Jesus if He is “King of the Jews,” which is  probably the charge, and a political one, brought by the Jewish leaders. Jesus’ reply has echoed down through history: “My kingdom is not of this world” and that everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice. Pilate’s famous reply is: “What is truth?”

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