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Monday, November 21, 2011

Readings for Wednesday November 16, John 18.12-27

Matthias Strom, 1630's
"Christ before Caiaphas"
John 18.12-27

12So the soldiers, their officer, and the Jewish police arrested Jesus and bound him.

13First they took him to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people. 15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16but Peter was standing outside at the gate. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the woman who guarded the gate, and brought Peter in. 17The woman said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18Now the slaves and the police had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing around it and warming themselves. Peter also was standing with them and warming himself. 19Then the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. 20Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22When he had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” 23Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” 24Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, “You are not also one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Thoughts: Two people on trial here...both Jesus and Peter.  Jesus is being held on account of what he said and Peter is being tried on account of what he didn't say!  Here is one of the most intense moments in the Gospel of John, it is night and apparently Jesus who is the "light" of the world is shining so dimly that a small charcoal fire dominates.   Eventually even the light from that fire will prove too much for Peter as he is driven into the darkness.   I've always found this a helpful segment of John's Gospel in that there is a hidden promise here, that no matter how dark, Christ is still there.  He is hidden, but there.

Questions:  Have you ever experienced a 'dark night of the soul' when it seemed that even God had abandoned you?  Is it possible to be abandoned by God?

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