Bitter tears

The people who had arrested Jesus took him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest. Here the teachers of the law and the elders had already gathered.

Peter followed Jesus and his guards at a distance. He went into the courtyard of Caiaphas’s house and sat down with the guards to see what would happen.

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they couldn’t find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.

Finally, two men stood up.

“This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days,’” they claimed.

Jesus didn’t reply, so the high priest stood up.

“Aren’t you going to answer?” he asked. “Didn’t you hear what charges these men have brought against you?”

But Jesus remained silent.

“I charge you under oath by the living God,” said the high priest, “tell us whether or not you’re the Messiah, the Son of God.”

“Those are your words,” said Jesus, “but I can tell you all this: in the future you’ll see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes in anger.

“Blasphemy!” he cried. “He’s spoken blasphemy! What we need do we have of further witnesses? You all heard what he said. What’s your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and punch him with their fists. Some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit you?”

Meanwhile, Peter was still outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came over to where he was sitting.

“You were one of those people with Jesus of Galilee,” she said, in front of everyone there. But Peter denied it.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and withdrew towards the entrance. However, another servant-girl saw him there.

“That man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” she said to the people who were standing around.

“I don’t even know who he is,” said Peter, emphasising it with a curse.

After a while, some of the bystanders came over to Peter.

“You’re definitely one of his followers,” they said, ” because your accent gives you away. Then Peter began to curse and swear.

“I don’t know the man!” he cried.

Immediately a cockerel crowed and Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you’ll have denied me three times.”

Then he went outside and wept bitterly.

Matthew

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