So the Jewish police, with the soldiers and their lieutenant, arrested Jesus and tied him. First they took him to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. Caiaphas was the one who told the other Jewish leaders, “Better that one should die for all.”
Simon Peter followed along behind, as did another of the disciples who was acquainted with the high priest. So that other disciple was permitted into the courtyard along with Jesus, while Peter stood outside the gate. Then the other disciple spoke to the girl watching at the gate, and she let Peter in. The girl asked Peter, “Aren’t you one of Jesus’ disciples?”
“No,” he said, “I am not!”
The police and the household servants were standing around a fire they had made, for it was cold. And Peter stood there with them, warming himself.
Inside, the high priest began asking Jesus about his followers and what he had been teaching them.
Jesus replied, “What I teach is widely known, for I have preached regularly in the synagogue and Temple; I have been heard by all the Jewish leaders and teach nothing in private that I have not said in public. Why are you asking me this question? Ask those who heard me. You have some of them here. They know what I said.”
One of the soldiers standing there struck Jesus with his fist. “Is that the way to answer the high priest?” he demanded.
“If I lied, prove it,” Jesus replied. “Should you hit a man for telling the truth?”
Then Annas sent Jesus, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.
Both Annas and Caiaphas had been high priests. Annas was Israel’s high priest from a.d. 6 to 15, when he was deposed by Roman rulers. Caiaphas, Annas’s son-in-law, was appointed high priest from a.d. 18 to 36 or 37. According to Jewish law, the office of high priest was held for life. Many Jews therefore still considered Annas the high priest and continue to call him by that title. But although Annas retained much authority among the Jews, Caiaphas made the final decisions.
We can easily get angry at the Council for their injustice in condemning Jesus, but we must remember that Peter and the rest of the disciples also contributed to Jesus’ pain by deserting and denying him (Matthew 26:56, 75). Only hours earlier, these disciples had vowed never to leave Jesus (Matthew 26:35). While most of us are not like the religious leaders, we are all like the disciples, for all of us have been guilty of denying that Christ is Lord in vital areas of our lives or of keeping secret our identity as believers in times of pressure.
Don’t excuse yourself by pointing at others whose sins seem worse than yours. Instead, admit your guilt and come to Jesus for forgiveness and healing.