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Devotion - April 7, 2020

Matthew 26:57-75

Jesus before the High Priest

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, ‘This fellow said, “I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.” ’ The high priest stood up and said, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?’ But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, ‘I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, 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 clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?’ They answered, ‘He deserves death.’ Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?’

Peter’s Denial of Jesus

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, ‘You also were with Jesus the Galilean.’ But he denied it before all of them, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’ 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 are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.’ Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, ‘I do not know the man!’ At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: ‘Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly.

Devotion by Julia Shiver

I’m not sure I am ready for Holy Week, the most sacred of days in the Christian calendar. We are living in strange times; times that people will talk about for decades to come. It is difficult to focus on the pain, sacrifice, and betrayal of Holy Week.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday are good. Those are high points! The triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the everlasting glory of the Resurrection on Sunday; those, I can do. But these dark days in between, when the disciples are scared are confused, Jesus is facing unbearable torment, the fledgling movement seems to be at an end, are almost more than I can bear right now.

We will come out victorious on the other side - of Holy Week and the plague that is upon us. It won’t be without pain, sacrifice, and eventually death. But we, as Easter people, look to the light of the Resurrection, that source of all grace, comfort, and mercy. We call on our God to shelter us during this storm. We look to the cross, which is where our hope lies.

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