• Beth Hildebrand

You Are Not Alone. You Are Loved.

“Then one of the soldiers standing there hit Jesus with his hand. He said, “Is that how You talk to the head religious leaders?” Jesus said, “If I said anything wrong, tell Me what was wrong. If I said what was right, why did you hit Me?Then Annas sent Jesus to Caiaphas, the head religious leader. Jesus was still tied up. The Apostle John

Simon Peter was standing there and getting warm. They said to him, “Are you not one of His followers also?” He lied and said he did not know Jesus and answered, “I am not!” A servant who was owned by the head religious leader was there. He was of the family of the man whose ear Peter cut off. The man said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” Again, Peter lied and said he did not know Jesus. At once a rooster crowed.”

So, here is Jesus’ first encounter with the former high priest, Annas, after being captured with the assistance of Judas’ betrayal. Even though his son-in-law, Caiaphas, who was actually in office as high priest, Annas still had much authority even though he didn’t have the final say in decision-making.

The religious leaders were trying to build up evidence to be able to charge Jesus for something. I think it’s interesting how Annas’ first question to Jesus was about his disciples and their teachings, and Jesus’ answer didn’t include the disciples at all. (read verse 19-20). Maybe it’s because he loved them greatly and was protecting them in every way possible.

Jesus’ answer was like many in his life where his answer ended with a question. “Why question me?” he replied to Annas’ question. Then, came Jesus’ first physical blow with a severe slap on his face by an unnamed official.

Jesus asked both the official and Annas to justify this physical abuse. Jesus exposed the shameful truth, that they didn’t follow their own standards and practice of justice with Jesus of Nazareth.

Annas anger probably began to boil and didn’t want anything else to do with Jesus, so he ordered Jesus to be bound, tied up his arms to his body, as if Jesus was a dangerous criminal.

Then John zeroes back to Peter who had probably watched all this this take place from a distance as he was trying to warm himself by the fire.

Peter witnessing Jesus being slapped in the face probably shocked him and it probably also sunk deep within himself that this was serious and was really happening. He was beginning to understand that this whole incident was going to be more violent and messy than he had thought. The shock of this caused Peter’s stress and fear to rise.

Suddenly someone asked him the second time, “Are you one of Jesus’ disciples?” “No,” Peter said and then a third time it happened again and the rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed.

How timely this is because I’m in the middle of reading the book, “The Good and Beautiful Life” by James Smith and I just finished reading his chapter titled, Learning to Live Without Lying.

Jim Smith wrote: “The two main things that drive us to lie are: 1) fear of what will happen if we tell the truth, and 2) desire for personal gain if we lie.” Or another way he defined the root of lying, “These are two of the main reasons why we lie: we think we need to 1) in order to get what we want, or 2) to avoid something we don’t want.

I think Peter feared what would happen if he told the truth and to avoid something he didn’t want to happen to himself such as being arrested, hurt or even killed.

So, fear is one of the main reasons of lies and Peter lied three times because he was in deep fear of the unknown. And I know that these days many may be struggling with fear and anxiety of the virus that’s made its way around the entire world. When friends ask how are you doing? Do you say, “Yes! All is OK” but inside you’re really fearful of someone you love catching this illness, or yourself, or you’re easily angered because you don’t adjust to change easily? These feelings are real and nothing to hide. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone you trust to be honest with how you’re feeling.

You are not alone. You are loved. Believe that.

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