Order in the Court! The Servant of the High Priest, Caiaphas
Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54ff; John 18:15ff
"'Order in the court! Order in the court!' You'd think Caiaphas could come up with something a little more original than 'Order in the court.' He may think that he's a crafty High Priest, but he's sure having his difficulty with that Jesus of Nazareth. Not even his highly paid witnesses seem to be able to do the trick!
What evidence did they really accumulate against Jesus after he was arrested?  Was it convicting or just circumstantial Let us look in on the courtyard and see what we might see and hear that evening immediately following Jesus arrest.  
"We're only his servants, but we're doing a far better job out here in this cold courtyard. Look over there--by the fire. There's a Galilean fisherman over  there warming  himself by the fire. I understand that his name is Peter. We know he's a follower of this Jesus; a disciple, in fact!
"Oh, he's a tough nut to crack. It was Ruth, one of our best agents who first spotted him. In her usual overbearing manner, she walked right up to him and demanded--not asked--demanded him to tell her the truth. 'You're one of His disciples, aren't you?' He denied it right off. In fact, he claimed he wasn't even aware of what all the commotion was about in the courtyard. He claimed he had just stopped by to warm his hands over the fire. 
I'll give him this, he played it cool and close to the chest. But if you were watching him, you could see him shake with more than the cold. When Ruth stormed away--she's not used to being treated so indifferently--he moved into the shadows and buried his face deep within his robe.
''A little later, Diana another of our agents acting as an accuser, thought she would try her little ploy. She's a saucy little wench, that Diana. She sauntered over and nestled up to Peter and inquired in her soft and seductive tone, 'Say big fisherman, aren't you one of Jesus' disciples?'
"Oh, that fisherman lost his composure for a moment and really exploded. 'How could I be a disciple of this man? Jesus? How could I be His disciple when I don't even know Him. I've never seen Him before.'
Ah, now that I've got him! Now I'm going to make that Peter confess. I don't have to guess about his discipleship. You see, I was there in the Garden. The Garden of Gethsemane. I was there when they went out to arrest this   Jesus of Nazareth. That's when I saw that big fisherman.  
I not only saw Peter standing next to Jesus, I watched dumbfounded when he took out his sword and cut off the  ear of my relative, Malchus. I saw that no-good fisherman cut off Malcus' ear!
"I wish Malchus were here.  No, he's not with the doctor or at the hospital. I believe that Malchus is having second thoughts about this man, Jesus. Malchus told me that he was going to his room to meditate a little about this whole episode!”
"You know, I looked at Malchus' ear. It doesn't look any different than I can remember. But I saw the whole thing--I saw his ear fall to the ground, and then this Jesus picked up his ear and healed it! He put it right back on Malchus' head. You know, I'm going to have to think on that some myself!”
"I don't understand; if this man Peter is a disciple of       Jesus--and if Jesus really is the Messiah, then why is Peter denying Him? If this Jesus is really the Savior, then wouldn't Peter be willing to die for Him? Wouldn't Peter be taken to Paradise with the Lord's people?”
"Why is he denying Jesus? Some follower! Poor Jesus. He must feel deserted. Not one of His disciples is with Him. I heard from the skuttlebutt that this Peter is supposedly the brave spokesman for the whole group of disciples. Gossip has it that Peter claimed he would  never desert Jesus--even if everyone else did! Some disciple!”
Why did they follow Jesus anyway? I don't think I'll waste my time investigating this Jesus. Who wants to be a disciple if all they can do is run away. Some people!
"Hey, Peter! You are one of Jesus' disciples!! Not only does your Galilean accent give you away; but I was there! I was there, you dirty fisherman, when you cut off my relatives's ear!
Oh, watch your language! There are women present, you know. You'd better control that salty fisherman's tongue of yours. You don't know the Man? You don't know--look, Peter, He's coming out on the porch now.
If you don't know him, then why is he looking at you so intently? What kind of a look is that anyway? Stern—now compassionate! He looks, yes He looks as if He's forgiving you.  
Peter, you're crying! Hey, where are you running to, Peter?
Moving to Altar Many lessons can be learned in a cold courtyard. As the bumper sticker asks, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?" 
Are you the Peter of the courtyard,  or the Peter of Pentecost?
Do you lead people to CHRIST THROUGH YOUR LIFE OR do you turn them away from the God of all creation?
Do you simply talk about forgiveness, or like Peter, do you accept it, and make it such a part of your life that you can extend forgiveness to those who hurt you?