AND they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. (Waiting for his blood, his enemies were spending the night in watching, until news should come that he was taken.)
58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.
59–61 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (This was a perversion of his meaning, and a wresting of his words. He had spoken of his own body and said, “Destroy this temple.” It is no strange thing if the wicked misrepresent what we say, for they did the same by our Master and Lord.)
62, 63 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? but Jesus held his peace. (Like a sheep before her shearers, he opened not his mouth.) And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
65, 66 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. (How could God’s own Son blaspheme? His works had proved him to be God, and yet they called him a blasphemer.)
67, 68 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? (Having rejected his Deity, they now mock at his prophetic claims. Those who deny Jesus to be God, do not long accept his teaching. See the shame our Lord endured! Our sins brought it upon him.)
69, 70 Now Peter sat without in the palace and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. (Brave Peter trembles before a maid-servant.)
71, 72 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. (He uttered an oath, that they might no longer suspect him, for followers of Jesus abhor swearing. Poor Peter, what a fall was thine!)
73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. (His Galilean brogue revealed him. If a believer sins he will not be able to do it as others do, and is sure to be detected.)
74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. (Providence controls what men call accidents. Surely the cock could crow when it willed, and yet the will of the Lord was done.)
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. (There was grace in his heart, and therefore the crow of a cock affected him, and the look of his Lord broke his heart. May the Lord by some means bring us also to repentance if at any time we are so base as to deny him.)
If near the pit I rashly stray,
Before I fall, as fall I may,
The keen conviction dart!
Recall me by that pitying look,
That kind, upbraiding glance which broke
Unfaithful Peter’s heart.
In me thine utmost mercy show,
And make me like thyself below,
Unblamable in grace;
Preserv’d, prepar’d, and fitted here,
In full perfection to appear
Before thy glorious face.
C. H. Spurgeon, The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1964), 606–607.