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Matthew 26:57-27:1; Mark 14:53-72;    Listen Podcast
Luke 22:54-71; John 18:13-27


In this passage, we see the following in Jesus' ministry:



To lend perspective to this night, the following table is provided to show six appearances before judging officials during the night preceding the crucifixion of Jesus. These passages cover the first three of the six. Click here to see the notes on the continuation of this string of illegal trials.

Trials #1 and #2 - Jesus on trial before Annas and Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-75; Mark 14:53-72; Luke 22:54-65; John 18:13-27)

Matthew 26
Mark 14
Luke 22
John 18

Jesus appears before Caiaphas

57 ¶ And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
59 ¶ Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death,
60 but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61 and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”
62 ¶ And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”
63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”
64 ¶ Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 ¶ Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!
66 What do you think?” ¶ They answered and said, “He is deserving of death.”

Jesus mocked and smitten

67 ¶ Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands,
68 saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?”

Peter's denial of Jesus

69 ¶ Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.”
70 ¶ But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.”
71 ¶ And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 ¶ But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!”
73 ¶ And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.”
74 ¶ Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” ¶ Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus appears before Caiaphas

53 ¶ And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes.
54 But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire.
55 ¶ Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.
56 For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.
57 ¶ Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying,
58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ”
59 But not even then did their testimony agree.
60 ¶ And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?”
61 But He kept silent and answered nothing. ¶ Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 ¶ Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
63 ¶ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses?
64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” ¶ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Jesus mocked and smitten

65 ¶ Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands.

Peter's denial of Jesus

66 ¶ Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came.
67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68 ¶ But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.
69 ¶ And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.”
70 But he denied it again. ¶ And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.”
71 ¶ Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!”
72 ¶ A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

Jesus appears before Caiaphas

54 ¶ Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.

Peter's denial of Jesus

55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57 ¶ But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58 ¶ And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” ¶ But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59 ¶ Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 ¶ But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” ¶ Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus mocked and smitten

63 ¶ Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him.
64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?”
65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

Jesus appears before Caiaphas after Annas

13 And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year.
14 Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

Peter's denial of Jesus

15 ¶ And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest.
16 But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in.
17 Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” ¶ He said, “I am not.”
18 ¶ Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.
19 ¶ The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.

Back to Jesus' appearance before Caiaphas

20 ¶ Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.
21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”
22 ¶ And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”
23 ¶ Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”
24 ¶ Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Back to Peter's denial of Jesus

25 ¶ Now Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. Therefore they said to him, “You are not also 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 him whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?”
27 Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

We see only in John's account an appearance by Jesus before Annas, the former High Priest and father-in-law of the current High Priest, Caiaphas. As an elder statesman, perhaps his purpose was to help his son-in-law build a preliminary case against Jesus in advance of the more public and meaningful appearance before the High Priest himself. The accounts of Luke and John focus on a different aspect of this appearance (false trial) than Matthew and Mark. John and Luke skip telling us about the false witnesses and go straight for the conversation between Caiaphas and Jesus regarding the identity of Jesus.

John makes an interesting insertion into the record in John 18:14 when he makes reference to a statement made by Caiaphas after Jesus resurrected Lazarus. Feeling threatened by the miracle of that resurrection, John makes reference to what Caiaphas stated to the other Jewish leaders in John 11:49-52, " And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, 'You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.' Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad." John is recalling that occasion here.

Since Jesus was on trial for statements he had made regarding his identity, Luke and John demonstrate to us that Jesus forces Caiaphas to supply those witnesses who heard him make such statements. The witnesses (in the accounts by Matthew and Mark) are feeble at best. Both appearances (before Annas and Caiaphas) take place in the wee hours of the morning, and thus are illegal trials according to contemporary law. Finally, however, Caiaphas asks Jesus directly if he is the Messiah. Mark records the very clear reply by Jesus to Caiaphas in verse 14:62, "Jesus said, 'I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" Jesus answers in the affirmative that he is, indeed, the "Christ," the Son of God. The Greek word for "Christ" is "christos," and it is the word for "Messiah." This is the admission they had sought as grounds for his arrest and execution. Since the Old Testament implications of a Messiah include ruling the world, they feel they have all the evidence they need to get a prosecution before a Roman court and a subsequent execution.

An interesting point arises from the reaction of Caiaphas the High Priest after Jesus declares his Messiahship. Caiaphas tears his priestly clothing (Matthew 26:65). There are many instances of remorse, frustration, sorrow, etc. in the Old and New Testaments when people did such with their clothing. However, notice the command of Leviticus 21:10 (see notes) regarding the High Priest, "He who is the high priest among his brethren, on whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to wear the garments, shall not uncover his head nor tear his clothes." As a matter of fact, of the 40+ instances in scripture where garments were torn in such a fashion, this is the only instance of a High Priest doing so with the official priestly garment. What does that mean? I can only read between the lines on this one. The command is clear in Leviticus 21:10, but the penalty for violation is not specified. It is a fact, however, that the Aaronic priesthood officially came to an end that day as Jesus reinstated the older priesthood, the Melchizedek priesthood, with his death on the cross. (For more information on the Melchizedek priesthood, click here to see the notes on Hebrews 7.) Coincidence? I don't think so. Incidentally, this takes place early on Nisan 14, the Passover day when Jesus was crucified. Later that day, after Jesus breaths his last breath, a great earthquake takes place that splits that great dividing curtain which separated the Holy Place in the temple from the Most Holy Place (aka Holy of Holies). Matthew records this in Matthew 27:51-56 (see notes). That would seem to mark the moment when the high priesthood of Jesus formally begins and that of Caiaphas formally ends.

Keep in mind, Jesus has not been convicted of any crime at this point. However, that did not stop the extreme physical abuse by the hostile crowd standing around watching the proceedings. The appearances before Annas and Caiaphas take place very early in the morning. One would assume that they are building their case against Jesus to be presented before the entire Sanhedrin as soon as that council can be assembled. By daybreak, the entire Sanhedrin has been assembled, and the case against Jesus has been in the process of being prepared through these preliminary hearings before Annas and Caiaphas which began around 2:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, Peter is hanging with the temple crowd and denying Jesus. John spends more time talking about Peter's denial than he does the actual appearance before the High Priest by Jesus. Could it be that John was that unspecified disciple of John 18:15 who gained entrance to this first trial venue with Peter? As a matter of fact, it was this unspecified disciple (probably John) who helped Peter actually gain entrance into the area of the palace where the trial itself was being held, but Peter is standing over with the palace servants during the trial. We see in Luke's account (verse 61) that Jesus actually looked over at Peter after his third verbal denial.

You will notice that none of the disciples stood with Jesus at trial; it wasn't just Peter who forsook him. Particular note is taken in all four Gospel accounts of this denial by Peter, probably in view of his adamant assertion earlier that he, above all other disciples, absolutely, positively would not deny Jesus. What marks Peter's denial as particularly noteworthy is the manner in which he finally did so after being repeatedly confronted (Matthew 26:72-74; Mark 14:71). Notice that Mark says that Peter finally "began to curse and swear, 'I do not know this Man of whom you speak!'" The Greek verb there for "curse" is "anathematizo." It means "to invoke divine harm." The verb for "swear" is "omnuo" and means "to take an oath." Literally, Peter swore with an oath a divine curse upon himself if he was not telling the truth about not knowing Jesus. A vow strengthened with a that's a strong denial!

Is that a rooster I hear? Recall the words of Jesus to Peter at the last supper in Luke 22:34, "I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me." Just as Jesus had prophesied, Peter had denied Jesus three times.

Let's add a little additional perspective to this denial. First of all, John was probably that other disciple in John 18:15 who assisted in getting Peter into the area where the trial was being held, so there were two of the disciples there. Jesus had previously asked back in the garden that his disciples be released (John 18:8, see notes). The others apparently did not attend the trial, but these two disciples did. The distinction here is that Peter was the one who was asked about his relationship with Jesus and issued the denials. Allow me to emphasize once again, none of his disciples actually stood with Jesus at his trial.

Trial #3 - Jesus appears before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71)

Matthew 27
Luke 22
1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death. 66 ¶ As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying,
67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” ¶ But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe.
68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go.
69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
70 ¶ Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” ¶ So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.”
71 ¶ And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

Matthew alludes to it in 27:1, but Luke goes into some detail regarding an appearance before the Sanhedrin on the heels of his trial before Caiaphas in Luke 22:66-71. It is now daylight - probably around 6:00 a.m. Upon being asked directly regarding his identity as the Messiah, Jesus replies in verse 69, "Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God." They're looking for a more direct answer than that, but that will do...CONDEMNED!