After the Passover meal, Jesus asked Peter and James and John to join Him in the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus went to pray. He asked them to wait for Him, to pray, at this late hour. They were weary. It was very late. Imagine how the roller-coaster of the last several days must have caught up with Peter. He was probably still trying to process the stunning exchange with Judas. The friend he had trusted, who had been side-by-side with them for three years, who had given up everything, would now sell Jesus out. He didn’t want to believe it. So Peter drifted off to sleep, only to be awakened by the sight of an ashen, weary Jesus, tears and blood rolling down His face. His words pierced Peter’s soul, Could you not have prayed and watched?
And then it happened so suddenly. Soldiers marching into the dark garden. Torches and swords. And . . . Judas, their friend, embracing Jesus in a final, sick display. The kiss of betrayal. Peter was so enraged, adrenaline flowing. His world spinning. His life coming unglued. This was so unfair. So unjust. So wrong. So he clumsily stole a sword and struck the high priest’s servant. Jesus didn’t accept Peter’s defense of Him but instead healed the ear of His enemy.
The disciples, we are told in Matthew 25 and Mark 14, scattered. But Peter and John lingered, using John’s connections to get into the courtyard where the secret and illegal trial of Jesus took place in Ananias’s house. Should Peter have gone? What else could he do? He had to find a way to be near Jesus, to protect Him, to fight for Him, to demonstrate his loyalty.