On trial

The mob hurried Jesus away to the home of the high priest, where the other leading priests, the elders and the teachers of the law had already gathered. And Peter followed Jesus at a distance, going right into the courtyard of the house. There he sat down beside the guards and warmed himself by the fire.

Meanwhile, inside the house, the chief priests and the whole council were doing their best to come up with enough evidence to have Jesus put to death, but they couldn’t find any. Many false witnesses came forward to speak against him, but they only contradicted on another.

Finally, some men stood up and gave the following false testimony: “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made by human hands, and in three days I will build another one, not made by human hands.’” But even their statements didn’t agree.

Then the high priest stood up in front of everyone and addressed Jesus.

“Aren’t you going to answer these charges?” he asked. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

But Jesus remained silent and gave no reply.

“Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” demanded the high priest.

“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.”

The high priest tore his clothes in his fury. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You’ve all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”

Then the whole council condemned Jesus as deserving death, and some of them began to spit on him. Others blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us now!” they jeered.

And the guards also beat him as they took him away.

Peter, meanwhile, was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who was working for the high priest passed by and saw Peter warming himself at the fire. Looking at him closely, she said, “You’re one of those people with Jesus of Nazareth, aren’t you?”

Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entrance. And a rooster crowed.

Seeing him standing there, the servant girl began saying to everyone around her, “That man’s one of them!” But Peter again denied it.

A little later, some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them, because you’re a Galilean.”

Peter began to call down curses on himself and swore, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed for a second time.

Then Peter remembered the words of Jesus: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.


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