Stations of the Cross – 3,4,5

So I need to consolidate my Stations of the Cross to end on Good Friday. I find that it makes more sense than ending on Easter.

When day came the council of elders of the people met, both chief priests and scribes, and they brought him before their Sanhedrin. They said, “If you are the Messiah, tell us,” but he replied to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” (Luke 22: 66-71)

“You say that I am”. Jesus didn’t have to say He was the Messiah. The people were accusing Him of being the Messiah. It’s quite different. He wasn’t beating them over the head and saying He was the Messiah. People were claiming Him to be. It’s not like He was denying it either. It’s quite mind boggling. Everyone is saying He’s something. He’s not admitting it or denying it.

It’s a bit like celebrities who need to admit to certain things. For example, are Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez in a relationship? They didn’t say they were and people kept on pressing them to say if they are in or not. Or if Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss are still friends. People need them to say it from their mouths and if they do, people might not believe them, may believe them, may dislike what they hear or just love what they hear. It’s a funny thing.

It doesn’t matter what they say. It matters what you believe. Or does it? And so with Jesus too, I feel. It didn’t matter what He said because they already had developed a thought in their head. That He was the Messiah. They found it blasphemous obviously because it’s quite unbelievable. If it’s true, it still sounded unbelievable. It cannot be. Why would you crucify the Messiah if you believed it?

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. One of the maids came over to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it in front of everyone, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about!” As he went out to the gate, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus the Nazorean.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man!” A little later the bystanders came over and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; even your speech gives you away.” At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had spoken: “Before the cock crows you will deny me three times.” He went out and began to weep bitterly. (Matthew 26: 69-75)

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be Peter when he found out he had denied knowing Jesus 3 times just as Jesus had prophesied. Interestingly, it was a maid, a girl and bystanders. People from the sidelines who were accusing Peter. It wasn’t important people. It was commoners. Some times it’s the common folk who are the worst. Poor Peter. His speech gave him away. He swore too. And cursed. And made an oath. All in the name of denying Jesus. You would think he’d be sent to hell for that forever. That’s what some churches teach. Don’t swear or else. Did these incidences haunt Peter for the rest of his life? I try and imagine what it would be like to deny the truth 3 times. Would I stick by my guns for the rest of my life? I’m not sure I’d be like Peter. Let me think. If I loved someone and that someone said I would deny them and I said no I wouldn’t to their face and later I did deny them, I would definitely be haunted by guilt at my actions. I would also feel great remorse and sorrow at my own actions. I would also beat myself over it. I would swear to myself never again. Maybe that was what happened to Peter. He wept bitterly. A grown man weeping bitterly is a sorrowful sight. “I do not know the man”. That’s actually quite a horrible thing to say. Imagine if I knew someone really well and then I was made to say I didn’t know them. I think throughout the process of denying knowing Jesus, Peter must have been having tumultuous thoughts. Going through doubt, unbelief, belief, guilt,… he must have had disturbing thoughts. I mean I would be very distressed if someone I knew dearly, was suddenly hauled up by authorities and then I didn’t want to be seen with him in case I got hauled up and then I’d deny knowing them. Yeah. I would be a complete mess. Peter must have been one too. How did he overcome it? He became resolved to do better.

The chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” He said to him in reply, “You say so.” The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, “Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of.” Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed…. Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas and handed Jesus over to be crucified. (Mark 15: 1-5, 15)

I wonder why this version does not mention the fullness of verse 15. Jesus

So to pacify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. – Mark 15:15 NLT

He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. That’s awful. Ouch.

Pilate asks Jesus “are you king of the Jews?” and Jesus replies with “You say so”. I should do that next time. Someone accuses me and instead of responding back with some response, I should just say, “You say so.” It’s enough. It’s like the best response ever. No need to defend ‘cos the other person said so and that’s that. And after all the accusations Jesus didn’t answer and this amazed Pilate. Pilate was amazed! What does that even mean? Why was he marveled by Jesus’ actions? I love that. Again, I need to learn this. People will say things, true or untrue. It doesn’t matter. I don’t need to defend myself because I know it. Can you imagine Jesus did not defend Himself? To Pilate, this must be rare. I can imagine a lot of people might speak up for themselves, defend their position or deny everything but Jesus did not. He let people accuse Him. He let people flog Him. And Pilate pacified the crowd by releasing Barabbas and flogging Jesus. What kind of crowd was this that would consider such punishment just? A mad, possessed crowd if you ask me. Crazy.