So they arrested Him and led Him to the high priest’s home. And Peter followed at a distance. The guards lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat around it, and Peter joined them there. A servant girl noticed him in the firelight and began staring at him. Finally she said, “This man was one of Jesus’ followers! “But Peter denied it. “Woman,” he said, “I don’t even know him!” After a while someone else looked at him and said, “You must be one of them!” “No, man, I’m not!” Peter retorted. About an hour later someone else insisted,”This must be one of them, because he is a Galilean, too.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter.Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know Me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly.Luke 22:54-62
- Common Material shared between the gospel accounts
- Uniquely Matthew
- Uniquely Mark
- Uniquely Luke
- Uniquely John
I have reminded you a number of times already that it is clear Luke has done his research prior to writing his gospel. He has carefully consulted the sources and written an ordered account. Again let me remind you the ordered account is not chronological, it is thematic. It is clear Luke knows the standard story. The other synoptic writers include the prelude to the story of Peter’s denial by including the account of the trial at Caiaphas’ house. Yet Luke deliberately leaves that part of the story out. It is clearly an editorial decision on Luke’s part. However as I pointed out in the previous Gem there was one verse which was taken and reordered by the harmonies to place the verse ahead of the account of Peter’s denial. But it rightly belongs as a introduction to the journey to Caiaphas’ house in the other two synoptic gospels. Each gospel includes the element “Peter followed at a distance”. Matthew and Mark use the verse to begin the story of the trial. Luke however chooses just that one verse and then omits the rest of the trial story in favour of Peter’s denial. It is like he has chosen the “Peter followed at a distance” segment for a reason. Why?
Most feel the inference is that Peter is following at a distance because he doesn’t wish to draw attention to himself. Like tailing someone but staying sufficiently far enough away so as not to be seen to be following. Likely as not he is keeping out of the light, i.e. outside the circle cast by flaming torches they were carrying. He didn’t want to be seen and therefore be seized himself. Yet he still wanted to be close enough to Jesus that he knew where they were taking Him. Yet there could well be another thought here and possibly the reason Luke chose to include this one verse here at this point. Could it also be possible that Peter is distancing himself from Jesus given what he is feeling? He ends up denying Him three times. Jesus has already warned him and the disciples that the time of trial is coming and that Peter will deny him. Peter adamantly protests and claims that will never happen. In the context of all of that, we are told that Peter followed at a distance. There are times when if things are not right within our heart that we follow at a distance. Oh yes we are there with the Lord but not whole heartedly. There is something in our heart which causes us to create distance. Like they say, if you don’t feel close to God guess who moved. I agree that the natural way to interpret that is as I have stated above. But I can’t help thinking that Luke is using that statement in another way. He chooses that element alone from the trial story and prefaces the denial sequence with it. It has to have an added significance. Ponder that one.
As I told you in the last Gem I am following Luke’s order not the order of the harmonies. They seized Jesus and led Him away. [sullambano] is a technical word for apprehending, arresting. [ago] is the word for to take away, take into custody. Who is doing the arresting? It is not stated but I am sure it is the captains of the two or more squads of the soldiers of the Temple guard. But notice where they take Him. This is fascinating! Why would they take Jesus to Caiaphas’ house? What a strange thing to do. You would expect that Caiaphas would distance himself from the action. But he is always right there. He expressly orders the guards to arrest Jesus, encourages them to arm to teeth with swords and clubs. But then he goes along too. He is there to watch it all. We know that because his servant is there in the midst of the action and gets his ear cut off. Where the servant is, so too is the high priest. When Jesus is arrested He is not taken taken immediately to the Roman garrison HQ in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin know they don’t have the authority to put Jesus to death and they need the authority of the Romans to hand down the death penalty. Yet in the first instance they take Him to CAIAPHAS’ HOME.
Not only that but it seems this action is being kept in the family. John is the only one who records that the first step was to take Jesus to Annas. (John 18:13) But clearly according to the other writers Jesus is at Caiaphas’ house. Annas is Caiaphas’ father in law. He has been the high priest before Caiaphas. In fact five of his sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas had held the high-priesthood in almost unbroken succession. This guy was keeping it in the family. And it seems this family has a personal interest in this case of Jesus of Nazareth. They won’t let it go. It is likely that Annas was living at Caiaphas’ house. If not living there, he was certainly present at the house when they arrested Jesus. Was it Annas himself or Caiaphas his son-in-law who desperately wanted Jesus taken home to his house to conduct a pseudo trial there. A trial without authority but one that would “rub it into” Jesus as to who was in charge now. It is all very interesting.
Some questions for you to ponder before we move on:
- What is the nature of the layout of the house which enables all of the action described by the gospel writers to take place?
- How can you harmonize the “discrepancies” in the denial story as told by the gospel writers?
- Take a close look at the account. What exactly happened in the course of Peter’s three denials?
- And what were the roosters doing?
Later on in analyzing this phase of Jesus arrest, trial and crucifixion we will examine all this trial activity. It’s complicated.
Well that’s enough to leave you with. Happy sleuthing. I will send out CSU Deeper Bible Badges to all who solve the case.
A friend is one who sticks closer than a brother, or a Peter.Anon
The more pride we have, the more other people’s pride irritates us.C S Lewis
You know you’re on the right track when you’re uninterested in looking back!Rick Godwin
Spiritual maturity isn’t measured by how high you jump in praise but how straight you walk in obedience.Anon
Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful!Anon
Stop running to those who ignore you and start running to those who adore you.Anon