John 18:12-27: It’s cold outside!

“12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year. 14 Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant-girl on duty there and brought Peter in.17 ‘You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?’ she asked Peter.He replied, ‘I am not.’18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood round a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.20 ‘I have spoken openly to the world,’ Jesus replied. ‘I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.’22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials near by slapped him in the face. ‘Is this the way you answer the high priest?’ he demanded.23 ‘If I said something wrong,’ Jesus replied, ‘testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?’ 24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, ‘You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?’ 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a cock began to crow.” NIV

In this touching story, with its many details, a human picture is painted of people huddled around a fire for warmth on a cold night (18). Of course, it was cold in more ways than one. Jesus was treated frostily by callous people who were just determined to nail Him.

I was thinking that this world has a ‘fire’ and it offers ‘warmth’ amid the chill of our lives. It not only offers it; it does give off a certain ‘heat’. I am certainly not denying that the world can supply a form of pleasure. But it is hollow. It is empty. It doesn’t satisfy and it doesn’t last. It may warm you for a moment, and then you will realise you are cold again.

It is no place for a disciple of Christ – to be by the world’s fire. And you may be more likely to deny your Lord there.

Thought: are you ready to be questioned about your relationship to Jesus this week? Peter later wrote: ”Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15). Was he remembering his experience in the courtyard, I wonder?

Prayer: Lord help me to be ‘ever ready’ to say that I’m one of your band of followers.