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CHRIST BEFORE CAIAPHAS
 IT was past midnight, but the moon lighted
the way. They that had laid hold on Jesus
led him over the Kidron bridge, beneath which
the little river ran like a stream of silver. Before
them, at the summit of the hill, rose the
walls of the city and the open gate. At first,
as they entered, the people seemed to be asleep.
The streets were empty and all the windows
dark; only a sentry was pacing back and forth
along the castle wall. But presently there was
a sound of running feet. The palace of the
high priest was all alight, and out of the entrance
servants were running down this street
and that, knocking on the doors of great
houses; and men looked out and said, "What
is the matter?" and the servants answered,
"He is taken; you know who. There is to be
a meeting of the Sanhedrin immediately, that
he may be put on trial."
 The Jewish people had two rulers. One was
Pilate, the Roman governor, who was the head
of the state; the other was Caiaphas, the high
priest, who was the head of the church. The
high priest could do nothing without the consent
of the standing committee, the Sanhedrin.
The members of this committee were, therefore,
summoned out of their sleep. While our Lord
was being led along in the midst of the police
and the crowd, they were hastily putting on
their clothes, and making their way to the
place of meeting. Jesus was brought in, and
the trial began.
The high priest asked Jesus of his disciples
and of his doctrine. He answered, "I spake
openly to the world: I ever taught in the
synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews
always resort, and in secret have I said nothing.
Why askest thou me? ask them which heard
me what I have said unto them: behold, they
know what I said." And as he finished speaking,
an attendant, one of the lower officers of
the court, struck him in the face with the
palm of his hand. The servant, seeing no
 doubt how all was going, and thinking to gain
favor with his master, struck the King, saying,
"Answerest thou the high priest so?"
Our Lord turned and said quietly, "If I have
spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if
well, why smitest thou me?" But the high
priest did not rebuke the brutal servant.
Instead of that, the priests and elders, and all
the council, sought false witness against Jesus,
to put him to death. They were determined
to kill him, but they wished to kill him legally.
They knew that many of the people believed
him to be a prophet. They feared that they
would be called to account for what they did.
So they were careful to observe the form of
law. There must be witnesses, two at least, to
testify against a criminal. If they could find
no true ones, false witnesses would do as well.
So the servants hurried again into the night
to bring in witnesses. Now one day, as he
taught in the temple, Jesus had said something
which nobody quite understood. Whether
the words themselves were so mysterious, or
whether there was so much confusion that
 they were not heard distinctly, we do not know.
Anyhow, they were reported to the authorities,
in one way and another, and they were now
brought up against him. Two false witnesses
came and said: "This fellow said, 'I am able
to destroy the temple of God, and to build it
in three days.' " But they did not agree.
They could not remember exactly what he said.
Even the apostles did not understand it, though
long after, thinking it over, they concluded
that he must have spoken of the temple of his
body. But nobody knows. He had said something,
however, about the destruction of the
temple: that was plain. He had spoken, they
believed, against that holy place in whose service
the Sadducees were engaged. And so
speaking, he had spoken against the Sadducees.
There they sat, then, in the council,
ready to vote against him.
But the false witnesses had not agreed together.
Another evidence must be found
against him in order to convict him legally. So
the high priest, clad in his robes of office, stood
up solemnly in the midst, and asked Jesus,
 saying, "Answerest thou nothing? what is it
which these witness against thee?" But he
held his peace, and answered nothing. And the
high priest said unto him, "I adjure thee, by
the living God, that thou tell us whether thou
be the Christ, the Son of God." Thus the moment
came which our Lord had long awaited.
"Do not tell," he said to Peter, on the day of
the great recognition. "Do not tell," he said
to the three, as they came down from the mountain
of the transfiguration. He himself would
declare the great truth in his own time. Thus
he stood looking into the faces of the leaders
of the people. "Yes," he said, "I am. I am the
Christ, the Son of God. By and by you shall
see me sitting on the right hand of power and
coming in the clouds of heaven."
Then the high priest rent his clothes; he
grasped his flowing gown of linen and tore
it from top to bottom, as was then the way of
men in great excitement. "He hath spoken
blasphemy," he cried. "He claims to be the
Christ, the Messiah promised of the prophets,
the King of Glory, the Sun of God. What
fur-  ther need have we of witnesses? Behold, now
ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye?"
Our Lord's mysterious words about the temple
had determined the Sadducees to vote against
him: this declaration decided the Pharisees.
It was as they had suspected, then; this Nazareth
carpenter, who had despised their customs,
claimed to be the Christ. But, indeed,
they were all against him. The trial was no
trial. Even as they came out of their houses
their minds were made up. "What think ye?"
They answered and said, "He is guilty of
Thus it all ended. He who had come from
heaven, in whom God dwelt and he in God, of
whom the Father of all had said, "This is
my beloved Son," the King of Glory, was
condemned to death. He told them who he
was: I am your King,—and they cried out
against him. The high priest rejected him. So
did the lesser priests, and the preachers of
the synagogue, and the whole church. The
church of God resolved to kill the Son of
 The church, however, had no power to put
any man to death. That belonged to the state.
Caiaphas had condemned Jesus, but in order
that the false Christ, as he thought, should be
killed, he must be given over into the hands of
Pilate. It was as yet too early in the morning to
see Pilate. The moon had gone down, but the
sun had not yet risen. They must wait. Jesus
was, therefore, given into the charge of the
servants of the palace till the day should dawn.
The scribes and elders returned to their homes.
Jesus, with his hands tied, stood amidst the
servants. And the servants, seeing in him one
whom their masters had condemned to death,
mocked him. They struck him first on one cheek,
then on the other, and spat in his face. They
put a cloth over his eyes to blindfold him, and
each, in turn, dancing about him beat him, crying
with each blow, "Thou prophet, prophesy
now, who is he that smote thee?"
In the mean time two of the fleeing disciples,
seeing that nobody was following them, had
turned back. Keeping in the shadow of the
walls and houses, they approached the palace
 of the high priest, and at last, plucking up
courage, entered. The first to go in was
John; and finding that no attention was given
to him, he went out and brought in Peter.
The palace was built about an open court, into
which the rooms opened. Across this court
were clattering little breathless groups of
men,—belated members of the council, servants
going on hasty errands. In a hall whose lights
shone out into the court Christ was standing
before Caiaphas. It was cold in the early spring
morning, and the servants had built a charcoal
fire on the stone pavement, and stood
about it warming themselves. And Peter
joined them, holding out his cold hand to the
blaze. But Peter, as we have already seen, was
a talkative person, and now in his great excitement
he could not keep silent. It was plain
by the look of him that he was a stranger
from the country. His clothes hinted that and
his voice proved it; for the fishermen of Galilee
had a way of speaking which people in
Jerusalem thought to be queer. They did not
pronounce their words as the city people did.
 No sooner, then, had Peter opened his mouth
than the man to whom he spoke knew that he
came from Galilee.
The first to address Peter was a maid-servant,
who attended the door. She said, at once, as
he came in, "Art not thou also one of this
man's disciples?" And Peter, already tired
from lack of sleep, nervous and afraid, and now
taken by surprise, said, "I am not." John and
he had come to see the end,—the end of all
their hopes. There were no longer any disciples.
That beautiful brotherhood had been
broken up. The Master was on trial for his
life, and they who had followed him would see
him no more. So Peter spoke out of the bitterness
of his heart. He had been his disciple,
but he was such no longer.
Peter came in, then, and stood by the fire,
getting what news he could about the proceedings
in the palace, but looking so miserable
that another maid-servant gazed curiously at
him and said, "And thou also wast with Jesus
of Nazareth." But he denied a second time,
saying, "I know not what you say;" that is,
 "I don't know what you are talking about."
And he went out into the porch, into the passage
which led from the court into the street.
As he stood by the gate a first faint streak
of light began to appear in the east, and a
rooster in some neighboring barnyard sounded
the signal of approaching day: the cock
What had the Lord said about the crowing
of the cock? Peter started back, but as he
did so the woman at the gate called to the men
at the fire. "See this fellow," she cried; "is
he not one of them?" "Yes," they answered,
looking sharply at him, "he is a Galilean; his
speech shows that." And one of then, a kinsman
of the man whose ear Peter cut off, started
up and said, "Yes, yes, I saw him in the garden
with him." And Peter began to call even
Heaven to witness that he was no disciple of
the Prophet. "I do not even know this man
of whom ye speak." And again the cock
And at that moment Jesus was led forth,
and, hearing Peter say these words, the Lord
 turned and looked upon him. And Peter
remembered the word of the Lord, how he had
said unto him, "Before the cock crow twice
thou shalt deny me thrice." And he went out
and wept bitterly.