Tuesday, November 3, 2015

John 18:13-27 comments: warming your hands over the fire

13 ¶  And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14  Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 15  And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. 16  But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17  Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not. 18  And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. 19  The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20  Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21  Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22  And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23  Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24  Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. 25  And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26  One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27  Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.

For verses 13 and 14 see chapter 11 again in the account of Lazarus’ resurrection from the dead. Here is Caiaphas.

John 11:45 ¶  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47  Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48  If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49  And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50  Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51  And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52  And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. 53  Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

Who was the disciple that was known by the high priest and went in with Jesus to the interrogation of Annas, Caiphas’ father-in-law?  We aren’t told so we can only presume any significance to the mention. He was able to get Peter admitted and that was the first time someone said that Peter must have been a disciple of Jesus. He denied that he was.

Verse 18 brings up an interesting idea as Peter warms his hands over the fire. Do we warm our hands over the world’s fire and does that not lead us to denying we know Christ? In the entertainments we choose, the employment we choose, the education we choose, the friends we choose, and in other things we do as we follow Christ we are tempted to deny that we know Him. How does a Christian go to a professional sporting event with drunks and profane people shouting obscenities and not feel as if he just wants to keep his head down, maintain a low profile and keep from even being noticed? How do you work with foul mouthed people who mock God and not be tempted to just not be noticed so as not to cause a stir?  I’m just asking a couple of questions. Sure, you can be a light and beacon for Christ wherever you are. But, I just want to alert you to the fact that if you throw your clean shirt into a filthy, sewage filled mudhole the mudhole does not become clean, the shirt gets dirty. Just keep that in mind when you look down your nose at Peter.  Wanting to keep a low profile, to keep your head down, not to be the cause of controversy that gets you thrown out of the ballpark stadium or fired from your job and runs away your friends can be a very dangerous thing for your walk with Christ. Just keep it in mind the next time you go to a professional football game or think about where you might want to try for a job. When are you warming your hands over the world’s fire?

Jesus answered their question with the fact that He had done the things He had done openly so why were they asking Him these questions. I am reminded of Paul being smitten, although with a slightly different response;

Acts 23:1 ¶  And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.2  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 3  Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 4  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?  5  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

Jesus however did not hurl any insults but simply asked that if He had done bad things testify of them but if He had done good things why did they hit Him? Many preachers like to say that Paul was the greatest Christian who ever lived just as it is said that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. However, the Bible paints a portrait of the followers of God, no matter how great or wise, warts and all. Do you think you are any better?
Peter denies he knows Christ twice again.                            

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