“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance.” (Luke 22:54)
“Then they seized him and led him away…”
They seized the very one who had unleashed the universe with the sound of his voice. Sun beams and stardust, moonlight and nightfall – he set each one free to exist at the beginning of time. And now this “band of soldiers and officers from the chief priest” (John 18:3) had captured the Creator, the uncontainable one who had never been boxed in or measured or controlled.
They thought this the perfect time to confine him and cart him away though he had always been leading the show, fully in charge, directing the world on its axis. They handcuffed the One who had come to free them from bondage and lead them to the Father. “They seized him and led him away” and squeezed their eyes shut to avoid recognizing him as the Savior of the world.
“bringing him into the high priest’s house…”
Christ was called the “great high priest who had passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God” (Hebrews 4:14). He had come to intercede for us, to make the way for us to enter the Father’s house. Jesus never needed to enter the Most Holy Place in the temple because as the Most Holy One he was the atonement for the sins of the world. But the cohort of religious leaders refused his offer, thought him a poor substitute for what a Messiah should represent, and barred him from entering their hearts and forgiving their souls.
“and Peter was following at a distance.”
Ever since Christ said to Peter “Follow me” (Matthew 4:19) Peter had precisely done that. This disciple shadowed Jesus closely for three years, declared him to be the Messiah, and swore to die with him if need be. For all those years Peter had never been distanced from Christ. And yet, when Jesus needed him the most, when all Peter had to do was to continue to follow his Master and stick by him, he slunk back, afraid of what following Christ would cost.
“Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him…” (Luke 23:1-2).
And where are they now, this whole company with their tall pile of grievances? Whatever became of this nameless group with their sharp accusations and cruel words?
And this Jesus whom they despised, where is he? Is he not elevated above all, reigning supreme at the right hand of the Father? They wanted to defeat him and destroy everything he stood for. Instead, he conquered sin and death and overcame all the forces of evil.
For a short while “their voices prevailed” (Luke 23:23). The crowds and the religious leaders got exactly what they wanted. But for all eternity the voice that will dominate the heavens and the earth is the one that cried out from the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Elizabeth Ann Mitchell
Photo Credit:: Lucija Ros on Unsplash