Before the rooster crows ...

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

This is probably one of the most famous passages in the bible and perhaps in all of literature. Who cannot relate to weeping bitterly when we fail spiritually? Who does not occasionally hear the crow of the rooster when we sin? Such is the result when we put our trust in the flesh. I can relate to Peter's boasting. Many times we do not understand how difficult it is to overcome temptation and make statements that we wish we had never said. Such is the broken state that Peter finds himself as he denies the Lord.

Peter, like all of us, needed the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. It is so interesting to see the change in Peter and the disciples in the book of Acts after the Holy Spirit came on them. All of a sudden these disciples no longer cowered behind closed doors. Consider what Peter said before the same tribunal that tried Jesus when Peter thrice denied him:
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.
This man who cowered at the questioning of a servant girl now waxed bold in front of those who had condemned his master to death. This turn around is simply amazing and speaks to the influence of the Holy Spirit on Peter and we ourselves. This speaks to me of inability to live by the flesh and our need to be filled each day with the Spirit of God.

Fill me afresh Lord. My flesh is weak. I need your powerful presence in my life.

You will see the Son of Man

Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered. ... At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.’” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”

But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spit in his face and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?”

Court is in session and the religion of man is on trial. Ironically the religious elders believe that they are the ones in power and they are the ones with the authority to pass judgment. Such is the way that religion works.. such is the seduction of the religion of man.. such is the dark pride that takes captive the minds and intents of men called by God to care for the souls of mankind.. such is the setting of this trial that takes place in the middle of the night when most are sleeping.. such is the end of all who exalt religion over God.

Jesus would have no part in this trial - he remains silent before this evil tribunal until the top judge asks him a direct question concerning his identity. The answer Jesus gives is called blasphemy because he identifies himself as an equal to God himself. Yet he does not stop there. Jesus proceeds to speak of a day when he will sit as judge over those who sit in judgment that very day. Yet these hypocrites respond in a very nasty fashion. Such is the ways of religious hypocrites who exalt themselves instead of God.

Help me not to judge with fleshly motives Lord. Fill my heart with grace.

Have you come out as against a robber?

At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

Darkness has descended on the garden. God the Son is being mistreated and manhandled. Things are being done in darkness that would never survive the scrutiny of light. Jesus confronts this darkness as he speaks of the cowardice of those who would take him captive. He speaks of how they would not confront him when he taught in temple but now come under cover of night. The darkness of the heart of man is on display.

Jesus also speaks of prophetic scripture being fulfilled. In light of this I cannot help but think of these two verses from the prophet Isaiah:
Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter..
By oppression and judgment he was taken away..
John the Baptist watches from Heaven as his words begin to take form. In a moment the Lamb of God will begin his journey to slaughter - and no one, save Jesus, has a clue.. not one observer understands the magnitude of the moment. THE LAMB OF GOD IS GOING TO BE SLAUGHTERED!! He who came in peace is treated like a criminal and all of creation groans. Darkness has descended and the Lamb of God is the only light shining.

Now my heart is breaking Lord. How could all of this happen. I repent.

All who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him. And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

The revolution has begun and the followers of Jesus are prepared to fight with their Messiah as the soldiers once fought with King David, the ancestor and prototype of the man who stood before them. This was the hour of victory that they were all waiting for.. this was the time when the Son of God would vanquish his enemies and ascend to David's throne. For three years they had waited for this moment.

But Jesus puts a stop to the revolution. He speaks of legions of angels and of scripture being fulfilled. Jesus was ready for what was to come.. he had prepared himself in prayer.. he had already won the battle on his knees. Yet his disciples did not understand because they were carnally minded - when it was time to pray they slept instead. The battle ahead could not be won with swords - spiritual battles never are.

Lord, help me to pray when I am tempted to sleep. My spirit is willing.