So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him. First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.
The unnamed disciple was known to the high priest and so they let him join Jesus for the questioning with Annas, the father of Caiphas. But that left Peter outside the gate and so the unnamed disciple talked to the woman guarding the gate and she let Peter into the courtyard. Not into the questioning room with Jesus, Annas and the unnamed disciple. But into the courtyard where the police who arrested Jesus were... and where this woman was. The one who let Peter in.
The dialogue reads like the woman asked Peter if he was a disciple as she was opening the gate for him, "you're not one of his disciples too, are you?" A negative question, said in disbelief. I wonder if Peter didn't look like one of Jesus' disciples. What was a disciple of Jesus supposed to look like? Was Peter unlike the unnamed disciple in some way that made the woman (also unnamed) ask this question.
I know we always focus on Peter's denial but I got hung up on the fire actually and that made me start thinking about the people around the fire. The guard (who is a woman and I'm really caught off guard by that fact), the police and now Peter. Blue collar folks out in the courtyard around a charcoal fire while the high priest's father does some preliminary hearing of Jesus and an unnamed disciple who belonged inside rather than outside.
She asks, "You aren't you one of him, are you?" He says, "No." Slipping into her assumptions about him. But then the others around the fire ask too, all in the negative. All not believing he would be a follower of this person Jesus. He again uses their assumptions to deny who he has become. And a final question comes from the slave of the high priest, a relative of the one who Pete had cut his ear off... what are the odds? He says, "didn't I see you?" Again in the negative but more pointed, like he believes Peter is lying. Does Peter remember seeing this man in the garden? Does he wonder about the implications of lying here in the courtyard among this crowd? He denies again. I'm not who you think I am.
Meanwhile on this inside, Jesus is being asked who he is. Annas asks about his teaching and Jesus suggests he should've done more homework. His teachings are widely known and have been done in public. Annas should ask others what Jesus has taught. His response was considered disrespectful and a police told him so by striking him.
Mind your manners. Who do you think you are talking like that to the high priest?
Jesus says, If I am wrong. Testify to the wrong. He takes nothing back that he's said. He wants them to testify to what they hear. He wants a conversation. He wants to know what it is about him that they are arresting. He wants their prosecutorial argument. He puts the responsibility on the hearers. Testify, he tells them. And they say nothing.
On the inside, they are being asked to speak their truth. On the outside, Peter is being asked to speak his truth. And Jesus is giving no answers. He's already spoken - in public, in the open. Now it is up to the hearers to do the speaking. What have they seen and heard? What have we seen and heard?
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