43. Even as He was saying these words, Judas appeared, accompanied by a huge crowd armed with swords and clubs. It was an unnecessarily large crowd, considering that they had come to arrest just one man. They were commissioned by the religious leaders, chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders.
44. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with the crowd. He had said to them "The one that I kiss is the man you want...arrest Him and lead Him away under guard."
45. So, walking right up to Jesus, Judas said, "Rabbi!"...and with these words he kissed Him.
46. Immediately the plan went into action. The men seized Jesus and arrested Him right on the spot.
47. As some of them grabbed Him and began to shove Him around, roughing Him up a bit, one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48. "Seriously? This is the way it's going to be?" asked Jesus. "Am I leading a rebellion so dangerous that you think you have to come out with swords and clubs to capture Me?
49. I was with and among you every day...completely accessible...teaching in the temple courts. Why didn't you arrest me then? I'll tell you why...it's because none of this even makes sense unless you define it by what is written in the Scriptures, and the Scriptures must be fulfilled."
50. At these words everyone who was with Jesus, namely, His disciples, deserted him and fled.
51. A young man, wearing nothing but a sheet-like linen garment, was following Jesus, and somehow in all the chaos they seized him, as well.
52. But they inadvertently pulled the garment off of him, and he ran away, naked, leaving them holding the sheet.
53. Then they took Jesus straight to the High Priest, and all the chief priests, elders, and religious leaders came together for an impromptu trial.
54. Peter followed along after Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the High Priest, where he sat with the guards and warmed himself by the fire.
55. The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were scrambling to find some credible evidence against Jesus so that they could put Him to death, but there was just none to be found.
56. Many people stepped up to testify falsely against Him, but their statements could not be corroborated.
57. Others, trying to get in on the action, stood up and gave this false testimony against Him:
58. "We heard Him say, 'I will personally destroy this Temple made with human hands, but in three days I will build another one that is not made with hands.' "
59. But even their stories did not match up.
60. Seeing that entertaining these bogus testimonies was getting them nowhere, the High Priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, directly, "Aren't You going to answer? What do You have to say to the accusations that these people are bringing up against You?"
61. But Jesus remained silent...detached...giving no answer, and appearing as though He was only there, physically. Again the High Priest addressed Him, asking, "Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?"
62. At this Jesus seemed to come back from wherever He had been, mentally, and said, "I am...and you will see the Son of Man sitting in the place of authority...the seat of the Mighty One...coming on the clouds of the heavenly realm."
63. And at this statement, the High Priest tore his clothes in reaction and protest to what he perceived to be blasphemy. "I think it's obvious that we don't need to hear any more witnesses", he declared.
64. "You have heard the obscenity for yourself...what do you think should be done?"
They unanimously decided that He was worthy of death.
65. And then a kind of frenzy set in among them. Some began to spit on him, and they blindfolded him, and began to violently pummel Him with their fists. All the while they were saying "Prophesy!" . Then the guards took Him away, and started another round of beatings.
66. Meanwhile, while Peter was down below in the courtyard, one of the High Priest's serving maids walked outside to where he was sitting.
67. And when she saw him warming himself, she just stopped in her tracks and stared at him. Unable to take her eyes off Him, she said, "Hey...you were with Jesus of Nazareth, too."
68. But he completely denied it, saying, "Lady, I don't even know what you're talking about." And getting up from there, he went outside the courtyard and walked into the vestibule. Just as he entered, he heard a rooster crow.
69. The girl spotted him again, and began to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them...one of Jesus' close followers!"
70. But again he denied it, insisting that he didn't know Him, and had never even met Him. After a short while, the bystanders began to say to Peter, "Come on, man...admit it...you really are one of them...you are a Galilean...your dialect shows it!"
71. Then he sharply retorted, "May I be damned if I'm not telling the truth! And you're all a bunch of damn liars! I'm telling you I don't know the son of a...I mean the man...I swear I don't know the man you're talking about!"
72. And as these harsh words were still lingering in the air, a rooster crowed for a second time. When he heard it, Peter instantly remembered how Jesus said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will utterly deny Me...you will deny any connection to Me three times." And when the realization of what he had just said came crashing in on him, Peter broke down and cried loud and hard.