Tried & Denied – John 18:12-27 ESV, Colin Munroe, Lead Pastor

Tried & Denied

Psychologists say that tragic emotional experiences that are revisited each year, like the death of a loved one, can create an emotional marker that causes the emotional content of that season to unconsciously resurface each year around it’s anniversary. I am definitely no psychologist, but I can tell you (Sheba can confirm) that over the last 33 years, since I trusted Jesus the Christ as Lord I find myself, in increasing measure melancholy, broken hearted, and deeply saddened at this time of year. Overwhelmed yet again by the sacrificial love of God, meaning that all 3 members of the trinity in a spirit of Ones suffered the pain and tragedy, fortunately knowing the outcome completely, of the rejection, mockery, denial, betrayal, excruciating pain and suffering of crucifixion and death. Our Lord, King and God willingly orchestrated His own sacrifice FOR OUR SAKE (Is. 53), demonstrating the Father’s love, knowing that there was no other way back to Love Himself! By the grace of God this season and scenario always climaxes with the ultimate statement of Victory, death is defeated, the grave is conquered by Life Himself and our Savior, Lord and King rises with eternal power, demonstrating the full extent of His love and glory!

So our journey begins again as we rediscover in a deeper and more complete way the extent that our Amazing God is willing to go in order to save, rescue, redeem, and ransom our lives by the means of His grace and sacrificial love!

John 18:12-27 (ESV)
So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. 15 Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself. 19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 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. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 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?” 23 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?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. 25 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.” 26 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?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Matthew 26:1-5 (ESV)
When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. 5 But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Matthew 26:30-35 (ESV)
And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 31 Then Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ 32 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 33 Peter answered him, “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” 34 Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” 35 Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.

John 18:12-14 (ESV)
So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him. 13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient (convenient and practical although possibly improper or immoral) that one man should die for the people.

John 18:15-16 (ESV)
Simon Peter followed Jesus (at a distance), and so did another disciple (John). Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

John 18:17 (ESV)
The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

John 18:18 (ESV)

Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

John 18:19-24 (ESV)

19 The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 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. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.” 22 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?” (Ironic – He struck God) 23 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?” 24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Mary – Matthew 26:59-61 (ESV)
Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, 60 but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward 61 and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’”

Chris – Mark 14:58 (ESV)
“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”

Colin – John 2:16-22 (ESV)
And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Mary – Matthew 26:62-68 (ESV)
And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” 67 Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

John 18:25-27 (ESV)

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.” 26 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?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Chris – Luke 22:58-62 (ESV)
And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” 59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

Mary – Matthew 26:71-75 (ESV)
And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus deliberately gave Himself to His enemies. They bound Him and led Him to the house of Annas, which was not too far away. Annas had served as high priest until he was deposed by the Romans; now his son-in-law Caiaphas was the high priest. God had ordained that one man should serve as high priest for a lifetime, so it is easy to see that the Jewish religious establishment was in sad condition. It is generally believed that the high priest’s family was in charge of the temple “business,” and the fact that Jesus twice cleansed the temple must have aroused their anger against Him.

The “trial” before Annas was more like an informal hearing. It was illegal and it was brutal. Imagine a guard being allowed to strike a prisoner! 

Annas, of course, was looking for some kind of evidence on which to base an accusation that would lead to a verdict of capital punishment. What doctrine was Jesus teaching? Jesus told him to ask the people who listened to Him, because He had said nothing in secret. In fact, Annas himself could have come and listened!

What about our Lord’s disciples? Didn’t one of them use his sword in the Garden? Jesus was careful to say nothing about His disciples. Think of it: while Peter was in the courtyard denying his Lord, Jesus was on trial protecting Peter!

Jewish law demanded that witnesses be called before a prisoner was questioned. Annas defied this law, and eventually the council hired false witnesses. Jesus knew His rights, but He did not insist on them. He is an example to us when we suffer wrongfully.

1 Peter 2:19-25 (ESV)
For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 (Peter saw this first hand) He committed no sin, neither was deceit (misrepresenting the truth) found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (memory verse) 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 4:12-19 (ESV)
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 

19  Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

Jesus had predicted that Peter would deny Him three times, but that he would be restored to fellowship and service.

Luke 22:32 (ESV)
but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Peter followed the crowd when he should have been fleeing. If he had gone his way, he would never have denied the Lord. While we certainly admire his love and courage, we cannot agree with his actions; for he walked right into temptation. This is what Jesus warned him about in the Garden.

Matthew 26:41 (ESV)
Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We do not know who the other disciple was who went with Peter into the courtyard of the home of the high priest. It was probably John, though it is difficult to understand how a fisherman could be acquainted with the high priest and his household.

As you watch Peter, you see him gradually moving into the place of temptation and sin; and his actions parallel the description in: 

Psalm 1:1 (ESV)
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers.

First, Peter walked “in the counsel of the ungodly” when he followed Jesus and went into the high priest’s courtyard. Peter should have followed the counsel of Jesus and gotten out of there in a hurry! Then, Peter stood with the enemy by the fire; and before long, he sat with the enemy. It was now too late and within a short time, he would deny his Lord three times.

First, a servant girl asked, “Are not you also one of this Man’s disciples?” The Greek text indicates that she expected a negative answer, and that is what she got! Peter denied Christ by denying that he belonged to the band of disciples.

Peter remained by the fire, so it is no wonder that he was approached again. (That same night, Jesus had been perspiring as He had prayed in the Garden!) Another servant girl asked the same question, again expecting a negative reply. The pronoun they in vs. 25 suggest that others in the circle around the fire took up the question and one by one hurled it at Peter.

The third question came from one of Malchus’ relatives! The Greek indicates that he expected an affirmative answer: “I saw you in the Garden with Jesus, didn’t I? Yes, I did!” After all, this man had gotten a good look at Peter because he was probably standing with Malchus when Jesus was arrested. Some of the bystanders took up the discussion so that Peter may have been surrounded by challengers.

At that point, Peter’s resistance broke down completely. He began to “swear”. This does not mean that Peter let loose a bunch of bad words, but rather that he put himself under a curse in order to emphasize his statement. He was on trial, so he put himself under an oath to convince his accusers that he was telling the truth.

It was at that point that the cock began to crow just as Jesus had predicted. There were four “watches”: evening (6-9 p.m.), midnight (9-12), cockcrowing (12 midnight to 3 a.m.), and morning (3-6 a.m. The crowing of the rooster reminded Peter of the Lord’s words, and he went out and wept bitterly.

The crowing of the rooster was assurance to Peter that Jesus was totally in control of the situation, even though He was bound and being harassed by the authorities. By controlling one bird, Jesus affirmed His sovereignty. Peter had seen Jesus exercise authority over the fish and the sea; but now he recognized His authority over the birds.

But the cockcrowing was also an invitation to repentance. 

Luke tells us that Jesus turned and looked at Peter, and this look of love broke Peter’s heart. 

Peter had been a witness of Christ’s sufferings, and by his own denials he added to those sufferings.

Keep in mind that the crowing of the rooster was the announcement of the dawning of a new day! “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). 

It is worthwhile to contrast Peter and Judas. Peter wept over his sins and repented, while Judas admitted his sins but never really repented. Judas experienced remorse, not repentance. When Judas went out from the Upper Room, “it was night”; but when Peter went out to weep bitterly, there was the dawning of a new day. It is the contrast between godly sorrow that leads to true repentance, and the sorrow of the world (regret and remorse) that leads to death.

Favorite discoveries – 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (ESV)
As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. 10  For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

We will discover later that Jesus restored Peter and enabled him to serve with great power and blessing.

In the Garden that night, you would find both guilt and grace. Peter was guilty of resisting God’s will. Judas was guilty of the vilest kind of treachery. The mob was guilty of rejecting the Son of God and treating Him as though He were the lowest kind of criminal.

But Jesus was gracious! Like King David, He crossed the Kidron, fully conscious that Judas was betraying Him. He went into the Garden of Gethsemane and surrendered to the Father’s will. He healed Malchus’ ear. He protected His disciples. He yielded Himself into the hands of sinners that He might suffer and die for us.

“Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all!” – Radical Surrender!

What is in your hand today—the sword, or the cup?

Prayer