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Mark’s first-century biography – page 45

And Peter (a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, c. AD 30, the high priest’s residence Jerusalem) being below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. Seeing Peter warming himself and having looked closely at him, she stated, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” 
The previous page of Mark’s biography records that Jesus is, in a way, ‘above’ – with the high priests, the elders, the well-educated and the ruling elite. In that ‘high’ place “false testimony” is sought and found - so that all may reach the pre-agreed verdict of ‘deserving death’.

On this page, Peter is “below in the courtyard” “warming himself”. One might think he would be safe there – and warm – among those with no axe to grind against Peter. But, there, a servant girl speaks the truth to Peter. 

But he denied, stating, “I neither know nor understand what you are stating” and he came out, into the outer courtyard. And a rooster sounded. 

Despite being a kind of churchgoer Peter prefers to avoid saying that he belongs to Jesus, knows him and is known by him. Peter’s self-interest denies it all and moves quickly towards the exit, but still an insider.

And the servant girl, seeing him, began, again, to state to those standing-by that, “This is one of them.” But, again, he denied. 

In this “outer courtyard”, the stakes are lifted. The servant girl is now providing true testimony to others, not merely to Peter. “He denied”. “Again.”

But after a little, those standing-by again stated to Peter, “Truly you are one of them and, because you are a Galilean, your accent fits well.” But he began to call down curses and to swear that, “I have not known this man you are stating.” And immediately a rooster sounded out a second time. 

More true testimony, this time from several “standing-by”. It seems that these are uncommitted people who have no wish to make up their minds about Jesus. They merely piece together the facts in front of them. Not only has the servant girl testified but also Peter is from Galilee and speaks as though he’s from the same place as Jesus. He must be “one of them.”

Cursing and swearing, this churchgoer attests, “I have not known Jesus”. Was that, at that particular time for Peter, true testimony? Despite being a lie?

And Peter remembered clearly how Jesus had said the word to him that, “Before the rooster sounds twice, you will deny me three times.” And, rushing outside, he wept. 

For Peter, this must have been a terrible recollection. This man, Jesus, about whom Peter had stated that he would die with him rather than leave him, knew in advance that he would be a complete and utter failure who would not only run away but would, with curses, swear that he had never known Jesus.

Not only had he totally removed from himself the kingdom of Jesus but also, he now had no place with the “high” – or the “below”. “He rushed outside.”

And immediately the high priests, earlier having made a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and having bound Jesus, carried him away and gave him over to Pilate. And Pilate questioned him, “You are the King of the Jews?” But, having responded to him, he states, “You are stating it.” 

The “high” are at one about this matter of Jesus. Maybe they still are today. Pilate questions him about the accusation against him. He responds politely to Pilate but, does not attempt to save himself.

And the high priests accused him of many things. 

The “high”, becoming nervous, over-react to sustain their untenable demands.

But Pilate again questioned him, stating, “You are not responding? See how much they are accusing you.” But Jesus responded nothing further, causing Pilate to be amazed.

The absence of response – even to multiple accusations - causes Pilate “to be amazed”. What kind of person is this who is able to refuse to defend himself when wrongly accused and facing death by terrible suffering?

Sinner Syvret

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