April 7 – The House of Caiaphas (Thursday Night)

by Roger & Jill Jackson

Read: Jesus Before the Sanhedrin and Peter’s Denial (Matthew 26:57-70)

Key Verse: Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl approached him and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too.” But he denied it in front of everyone: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” (Matthew 26:69-70)

When Jill visited the Holy Land, the denial and later restoration of Peter held special meaning for her. Peter sometimes spoke impulsively, but he was part of Jesus’ inner circle, loving and learning from Jesus and often speaking for the disciples. However, the House of Caiaphas was the site of deep shame for Peter.

In the courtyard, Peter would have been within earshot of false witnesses testifying, but he wanted to be close to Jesus. In Gethsemane, he had picked up a sword; but in the courtyard, he cowered at the question of a servant girl. He was so human in this—ready to die, but not for a lost cause. Here we see Jesus entering His time of trial and Peter his time of bitterness. What did it mean that Jesus was silent before the high priest, teachers, and elders? How could Peter now align himself with Jesus who was being declared guilty, slapped, and jeered at? Three times he denied knowing Jesus.

Graciously, this is not the end of the story for Jesus, or Peter, or us. John 21 details Peter’s restoration. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Three denials and three times to say he loved Jesus and was willing to feed Jesus’ sheep—to care for His church. Peter, who failed at the house of Caiaphas, became Peter the Rock. What accounts for Peter’s transformation to becoming a bold witness for Christ? At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit led him to speak boldly to thousands—both Jews and Gentiles.

This is what is meaningful to Jill from those sites: When Jesus goes to restore one of us, His restoration is complete and full. We may not understand; Peter was hurt by Jesus asking so many times (John 21:17), but there was no need for the three denials to stay in Peter’s heart as something that could hinder him from becoming a strong witness. Jesus’ restoration of each of us to himself is also the same—full and complete.