Mark 14:53-72 Trial


Mark 14:53-72

53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.

The whole force of religious teachers came together again to discredit and unjustly put Jesus to death. It was going to be swift for they knew Pilate would be available Friday morning so they needed to pin down Friday as the date of judgment. In all this, Peter was at a distance observing Jesus.

55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. 56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.

It was hard to pin down somebody who was blameless. Even the people who were chosen to testify did not get their stories straight. But it doesn’t really matter since they were dead set on killing Jesus.

60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”

Jesus did not answer because there was no need. The testimonies were not strong and it would not stand a righteous judge.

62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. 64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death. 65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.

And when Jesus answered that He was Messiah, things turn from bad to worse. He was spit, struck and tortured for telling the truth.

66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said. 68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” 70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” 72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice  you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Again, this text is a mirror of our capacity to sin and neglect God. Again Peter was tested and he once denied Christ three times. His emotion specifically his fears made him deny Christ when the going gets tough and rough.

In Luke’s account, we see that Jesus looked at Peter when he denied him three times.

Luke 22:61 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”

Sinclair Ferguson says, “That look was to be his salvation, for he saw in those eyes not condemnation but compassion. That was the turning point in his life. Now in the most painful and memorable of ways, Peter saw himself as who he really was, repented, and was remade into a great apostle.”(p342)


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