Summary: As Jesus is taken into captivity we see both courage and cowardice on display in the lives of three characters.
Jesus, the God-man: Gospel of John
“Contrasts in Courage”
Introduction: Most of us have probably seen movies or documentaries about people of courage or read about such individuals. We enjoy these profiles in courage because they give us something to which we can aspire. We cheer for them and then imagine ourselves as being those heroes.
Unfortunately there are also stories of cowards and acts that we would not characterize as brave. We tend to shun those or point to them and say this is not something to emulate or follow.
Today we will meet three individuals that fall into either of these two categories. As we look at these men we will learn how we too can show courage in the face of difficulties. We will find that we can learn from the courageous and the coward as we study these “contrasts in courage”.
1. Boldly identify yourself with Jesus. (vv. 12-17)
Our character in this section is an unnamed disciple.
The troops and officers arrest Jesus and bind Him so He will not escape even though He gave Himself up willingly and in spite of the fact that He performed two miracles.
v. 13 – They led Him away to Annas fulfilling prophecy.
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, Isaiah 53:7b
The path they would take to Annas would have taken them through the sheep gate of the city. This is the entrance taken by those that would lead the Passover lambs in for slaughter.
Caiphas – chosen by Rome to serve one year.
Annas – His father-in-law chosen by Jews for life.
“Power behind the throne”.
v. 14 – John reminds us that Caiphas had already prophetically said in John 11:50 that Jesus should die for the sins of all. This also tells us that this would be an unjust trial because he has already said that Jesus must die.
v. 15 – Peter followed at a distance along with “another disciple”. He is unknown. Some think it may have been John, but John refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loves” and as a fisherman it is unlikely he would know the high priest. In Acts 4:13 the high priest doesn’t know him. It may have been Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, unlikely one of the eleven. Since the Bible is silent we will be too.
“known to the high priest” – Does not stop Him from following Jesus closely. Can the same be said of you?
“went with Jesus” – Still not deterred from following.
v. 16 – “But Peter” –Distant, but not close enough to receive support from the other disciple. He is also being disobedient. Jesus has already secured His protection by telling soldiers to let disciples go and they did.
Are you obedient to the words of Jesus?
The other disciple asks servant girl to let Peter in. She does.
v. 17 – She asks in a way expecting a no answer. 2 reasons not to fear her: 1) servant 2) girl. These were the bottom 2 rungs on the social ladder. Her question suggests she knows the other is Jesus’ disciple since she says “also”.
“No, I’m not.” He will discover that denial gets easier each time you do it. So don’t start!
He believed like the little boy who said about a lie, "A lie is an abomination to the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble!"
–Ray Stedman (1917-1992), former pastor, Peninsula Bible Church, Palo Alto, CA
Disobedience, denial, and drifting move you further away from God.
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Hebrews 2:1
It is easier to float away rather than stand. Instead…
2. Openly stand for the Truth. (vv. 18-24)
Our next character is Jesus.
Annas asks Jesus about His disciples and doctrine. He answers regarding doctrine but not disciples. He continues to protect them even though one of the 11 has followed Him!
Annas is judging the One that will one day judge him!
This is also highly illegal! Like our judicial system, a man was innocent until proven guilty and he was not allowed to be asked self-incriminating questions. Annas does anyway.
v. 20 – Jesus is bold in His response by pointing out what Annas was doing violated the law. He tells him that he should bring in witnesses rather than question Him.
“I taught in public places where the Jews meet. I had no secret teachings.”
BEWARE of people that try and tell you of secret doctrines or hidden codes in Scripture! Cults do this. You stay faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture.
Jesus taught the truth for all to hear not the super-spiritual or the elite religious leaders. He taught them out in the open in the synagogues, temple, Sermon on the Mount or seaside.