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©Clay Eldridge

Chapter 18:19-27 (ESV)

Posted on September 18, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 18:19-27 (ESV) - The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants 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?” Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Question to consider: Why did Jesus answer Annas the way He did?

The other gospel accounts give more details regarding the unjust trial of Jesus, but here John summarizes the biggest problem with it. Jesus was forced to be His own advocate, and when Jesus questioned the process, He was immediately struck for it. Although Annas wasn’t the current high priest, he was obviously the one regarded by the guards as the one in charge.

We know that for the most part, Jesus remained quiet while Annas asked questions and brought false witnesses against Him who twisted His words to try and make Him look like an insurrectionist. Jesus had said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." They twisted His words to insinuate that He was plotting to destroy Herod's temple. We were told by John that Jesus referred to the temple of His body, but even if they applied Jesus' words to the earthly temple, the only action Jesus claimed was to raise it up. Of course, when Jesus destroyed the temple in AD 70 via the Romans, its destruction was permanent.

Ultimately, Annas asked Jesus directly if He was the Christ, and Jesus affirmed that all of them would see Him coming on the clouds of heaven and taking His place at the right hand of God. If you went through my study of Acts, I pointed out the exact moment that Annas and Caiaphas realized the fulfillment of this statement. At this point, however, Annas settled for the verdict that Jesus had committed blasphemy by proclaiming to be the Christ.

Annas sent Him on to Caiaphas to figure out a way they could have Him crucified instead of stoned. In the meantime, Peter witnessed Jesus being struck and sentenced while he warmed himself by the fire. His first denial may have been a little lie to make sure he could get into the courtyard, but the other two were something else entirely. Peter went from a willingness to die protecting Jesus, to denying that he even knew Him. John gave the added detail that the third accusation came from a relative of the guard  Peter struck in the garden, and Peter admitted in John Mark’s gospel that after the third accusation, his denial was spoken with God’s curse upon him if he was lying.

Once the rooster crowed, Luke mentioned that the Lord looked directly at Peter, and Peter wept bitterly. One of the things I like about Peter is that I can identify with him. It is one thing to feel invincible in the Lord and willing to battle for Him, but this feeling is short-lived when faced with the idea of being tortured and crucified along with Christ. The life of the Christian is a long road of denying ourselves, taking up a cross and following Christ into death.

There are those who try to present the Christian life as one of wealth and ease, but it’s more like an endurance test. In the midst of suffering, we find joy and peace in Christ and see the Holy Spirit at work in the world, but there is never a moment in which we aren’t looking forward to the day when Christ returns to put an end to sin and death.


Dear Lord, thank You for not only calling us, but providing the means for us to remain in You. Help us to remember that You are the vine, and that the primary place where You nourish us is in Your word and in a church that rightly proclaims it. Amen.