Read John 18
Jesus was arrested and bound and taken to the father-in-law of the High Priest. Annas had been High Priest and then was succeeded by Caiaphas during the year of the Lord’s birth, but Annas seemed to still be referred to and considered the High Priest in many ways. It’s as if there are two high priests.
We don’t really know why he went to Annas first but it appears that what took place was in the courtyard of Annas’s home. Peter had to wait outside the courtyard gate until another disciple came to get him.
Then the kangaroo court is called to order. The charges are read. Bail is determined. Counsel is assigned to the defendant. Wait! I said, this was a kangaroo court. It looked nothing like our modern justice system.
The high priest Annas questioned Jesus about his teaching and disciples.
Jesus replied that he had done everything openly. Why not call some witnesses to what he said and taught and who followed him?
Someone struck him for saying this to the high priest. Jesus again responded by asking what offense he had given that would warrant being hit. He held his ground. If I have done something wrong, let someone testify.
Jesus was then sent to Caiaphas, the serving High Priest. We don’t get an account of this encounter but do know that Jesus was to be taken to Pilate.
No counsel (in defense of the religious leaders, this is a modern concept).
No official setting. This was in the courtyard of the high priest. Of course, it was the middle of the night.
No public witnesses. Only the conspirators and their collaborators and servants were present.
No propriety whatsoever. It was indeed a kangaroo court.
So, let me note once again, not done during normal or appropriate working hours. This was zero dark thirty. How do we know what time it was? We get a good indicator at Peter’s last denial of Jesus.
It was a kangaroo court. Put such events in the same category as a cabal, a coup d’état, vigilante justice, and other forms of lawful authority being ignored or overthrown or supplanted in some way, at least in the moment.
It was a kangaroo count.
Before Jesus was sent to Pilate, we also see Peter’s three denials. One was outside the courtyard; Peter couldn’t go in. The other disciple—probably John—was allowed in because he was known to the high priest. That disciple came back to get peter. The girl at the gate asked Peter, “You’re not one of his disciples, are you?”
There’s denial #1.
I don’t like to bring too much from the political world into my messages. Elsewhere, I will cuss and discuss politics to your heart’s content, but not so much here.
Here is my exception. I was watching a video of an AOC town meeting. A woman in the crowd had the microphone, presumably to ask a question, but she kept going on and on about how we had to eat our babies to survive. They were using up too much oxygen and we have to eat them.
This went on for several minutes and AOC was helpless to stop her. I can make fun of AOC as well as the next guy, but my thought was there were at least 30 other people there, maybe more. Nobody there said a word. Not one word of rebuke or counsel or just someone with enough awareness to say, “enough.”
Why would I bring this up? We focus on Peter’s first denial. Jesus said it would happen and it did, but what about the other disciple? Did he say nothing?
“C’mon Peter, that’s our Lord in there.”
“This is no time to wimp out now.”
“What gives. Don’t you remember all of your boasts about never deserting Jesus?”
We see none of this, but we also know that this other disciple did not have to state his allegiance to Jesus. He was known to the high priest and got in on those credentials. So, while Peter gets the wrap here, the other disciple deserves no accolades.
This is followed by the next two denials. Peter was warming himself at the fire, obviously not part of the main action, but one of the straphangers asked him if he was a disciple. Peter denied following Jesus.
Again, a relative of the man whom Peter had attacked with a sword, asked: “Were you not with him in the olive grove? I’m sure that I saw you.”
Again, Peter denied this and the rooster started his wakeup calls.
Imagine the chills that went through Peter. This was exactly as Jesus said it would be and Peter was denying the very person who told him what would happen. I’m not sure if that’s irony or paradox, but I’m glad I was not in Peter’s shoes.
So, we have a kangaroo court that ultimately gets Jesus before Pilate and the words of Jesus about Peter fulfilled in short order.
Much will fall into place with Jesus before Pilate.