Focus on Jesus Series
Inside Connections and the Jewish Trial of Jesus
Notes on Luke 22:54-65, John 18:12-27, Matthew 26:57-75, Mark 14:54-72
by Ed Vasicek
Have you ever noticed this verse about John sneaking Peter into the courtyard (where Peter denied Christ three times)? John 18:15-16, “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, but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the girl on duty there and brought Peter in.”
Why did John have this influence with the high priest? Although there are several possibilities, one seems most likely: John was related to the high priest. Although the evidence is questionable, Dr. Ron Moseley points to these verses from Acts:
Acts 4:5-7 “The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest's family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them:’ By what power or what name did you do this?’”
Additionally, Moseley adds the stronger evidence from Easter Sunday’s events. John 20:5-6, “He [John] bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there....”
We can understand WHY John would have hesitated entering the tomb if he was of priestly lineage: contact with a dead body would defile him. Whether or not John, who was the youngest of the Apostles and possibly as young as 19, was related to the high priest, he does use his clout to sneak Peter into the courtyard.
A few other points worth noting regarding the meeting of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin. In this illegal, corrupt trial of Jesus, the high priest seems to be leading the council instead of its official ruler, the highly revered and very ethical Gamaliel. It is also likely that council member Nicodemus was not invited to this sham of a meeting because he had demonstrated leanings toward Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea had been a silent disciple of Jesus, so the others did invite him. He demonstrated his faith by opposing their rulings. In Luke 23:50-51, we read, “....Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action....”
Trials at night were illegal. A criminal could not be executed for at least three days after sentencing. But this is scheme, not justice; just leaders were not knowingly invited to this sordid event.
Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA