Jesus has been arrested, hand-cuffed and hauled off to the High Priest’s compound. (Tied-up? I bit unnecessary considering He was apparently cooperative but maybe they were afraid of Him after the falling down on their part.)
Peter and another disciple followed them. They had just had quite a shocking experience seeing Jesus arrested. The other gospels say Peter followed at a distance and it is no wonder. I’m sure they didn’t expect anything to go down like this – the adrenalin was pumping. (I’ve been around people arrested. It is scary and you are aware that you have no control over the situation – the police are in power. But still you follow behind, trying to find out what will happen and if there is anything you can or will be able to do.)
The other disciple seems to have a plan. He is going right in, making provisions for Peter as he goes. He is not carrying Peter’s baggage of disappointing Jesus so he is not so vulnerable. I relate to this disciple because he is just doing what seems to need doing. Find out where they have taken Jesus, what are the charges, what strings can be pulled, round up a bonds man, get a lawyer.
Peter on the other hand is emotionally involved. After all he had just blown it cutting off the servant’s ear and been reprimand by Jesus. He loves Jesus but he is vulnerable as the events prove. First Peter was hesitant to go into the courtyard – hanging back a little might indicate he wasn’t sure how to proceed.
He was definitely trying to keep a low profile but was forced to move forward when the other disciple had him brought inside the courtyard. Peter did not a have strategy to guide him – he was floundering and confused. His bravado and self-confidence were in the toilet. Peter was accustomed just taking action but in this overwhelming place he was trying to fake it. (Been here, done that.)
A servant girl asks: “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”
The servants and officers ask: “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”
The relative of the man who lost his ear asks: “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it
Every questioner is a bit more knowing and a lot more threatening. The rooster crows. This is the night of Peter’s undoing.
(I hate stopping the story here. It seems much too long to leave Peter in this state of brokenness. I want Jesus’ forgiveness and restoration to come quickly and let Peter and me off the hook. The truth is the work of having our own self-confidence and strength removed can take a long while. If one “must” follow after Jesus, whether the surgery is small or large there is no way to avoid the need of this dissection. It is His mercy that wields the scalpel and His love that cauterizes the wound. And I know from experience, when the healing comes we can say, “Let the bones that you have broken rejoice…”)
He loves us too much to leave us trying to live His way in our own strength.
When you find realize you are operating in your own strength, stop and confer with Jesus.
About the World?
Even when the world seems to be in control, Jesus is behind it.