“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Mark 14:53-72 (KJV)
It was very early in the morning and the “High priest, all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes” were all assembled together and for the distinct purpose of putting Jesus on trial. It was not the time of week they preferred, but it was the time ordained by God. It was illegal to hold a trial this early, but there was nothing legal about the arrest of Jesus either. He was arrested out of pure envy, because of sin in the hearts of wicked men.
We are told by the writer that “Peter followed Him afar off…”. Peter followed all the way to the home “Palace” of the high priest. It was there that he sat with the “Servants” and warmed himself at their fire.
These religious leaders sought for testimony against Jesus, and did not find any (v. 55). There were many who bore “False witness” against Him, but it was not in agreement. They kept searching until they found two who would agree as to the destroying and rebuilding of the temple. These “Leaders” were desparate. This testimony was on Jesus’s statement where He had said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His own body], and in three days I will raise it again.” (John 2:19). There was no accusation against Jesus which would stand in a real court of law where a judge was fair and just. But, then, all men are liars when compared to the justice of God.
Jesus is asked if He is the Messiah/Christ, and He answers, “I Am…” He goes on telling of seeing His coming glory (v. 62). That really upset the high priest to the point of hypocritically ripping his garment. This was an outward show of grief, despair, even at times repentance – which he certainly needed right now, but even more later. The sound is more and more the echo of Psalm 2,
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
At the trial before the religious leaders they began to spit on Him and strike him with their hands. It is a grievous thing to read and think that the God of the universe placed Himself in the hands of sinners; He Himself being sinless, to give His life as the payment for sin, and giving to those who believe in Him His righteousness. My what a Savior.
Peter, the disciple, John MacArthur calls “The disciple with the foot-shaped mouth”. He has previously said that he would never be offended because of Jesus (vv. 27-30), now denies Him. In these seven verses (66-72) we have three accounts where he does just that.
At one point he even goes into a “Fit” of cursing; denying that he knows Jesus. He went out not believing the word of Jesus about “All being offended in Him”, and finds himself doing exactly what Jesus said. We need not fear that the Word of God and His Son Jesus will be performed.
Peter’s weeping was not the weeping of one who silently sheds tears, but one who “Wailed” loudly where it could have been heard by people around him. When that rooster crowed the second time Peter saw the eyes of Jesus looking at him (Luke 22:61), and it grieved his heart.
Have I denied Jesus? Have I betrayed Him? Do I need to ask? Yes! To all three questions. I must ask for His forgiveness, and He forgives, cleanses and sets me free.
-Tim A. Blankenship