The King Denied and Convicted | Maundy Thursday

He cried. He prayed. He asked to be relieved from this most heinous of deaths. There in the Garden after praying to God, for his disciples and those who would follow in his wake, he prayed for himself. He needed strength to do this, but he knew he must.

And as he knew they would the guards arrived with Judas at their head. At least he had the nerve to come with them, not just point them on their way and run for cover. As the guards paused a few paces away Judas stepped forward and betrayed him with a kiss. The sweet perfume on his skin a token of his newly found wealth. Only dead bodies usually needed that much anointing.

Peter had to be restrained, he always had to. He was so keen to save his king, to spare him from the agony he thought might await him. His sword swung, the ear fell. Jesus, always the one with the contrary response chastised Peter and healed the chief priest’s servant.

As they went to the house of the chief priest Peter slipped back. He had started to doubt the one he loved. It was never his intention to reject him. He meant every word of it when he said he would do what ever it took, follow him anywhere – hadn’t he just risked his life by springing to Jesus’ defence?

But then the questions started to come. Here, outside the home of the authorities who had made it their quest to get Jesus out of their hair, here he was being asked if he knew this man. What harm could it do, Peter thought, this servant is a nobody, she doesn’t matter, I only make life harder by making a show of following Jesus.

So he denied Jesus. And as inside Jesus was questioned by the chief priests and religious authorities, Peter denied him again. Jesus stood before the inquisitors, declared that he had lived and acted in the daylight, he had not hid from anyone, he called for witnesses to speak against him, he asked what charges they laid at his feet. Just before the cock crowed three times Peter once again said he did not know the man inside about to be delivered to the Roman governor.

Pilate was hoping his posting would soon be over. Get out of this dust bowl without any black marks against his name. Most of all make sure these crazy locals don’t go starting a revolution. He saw no reason to put this man to death, there was no evidence of any treason, why couldn’t the Jews sort out their own religious affairs. But the threats of the priests to write to Rome, that would not do, that could cause serious trouble, get him posted to Hadrian’s wall.

This man was clearly not a king, he had no army, no majesty. He did not even have that chiselled jaw necessary to make the crowds swoon when he stood to speak. But he rejected Pilate’s authority, and that of Caesar, this could not go on. He gave the priests one last chance to save their king. And as luck would have it they declared their unswerving allegiance to Rome. The king was sent to be crucified.

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