The Hate-Crime Heard Round the World
Breathless and panic-stricken from the recent Gethsemane fracas, he followed the crowd into the palace courtyard. He could scarcely glimpse his Master amongst the incensed flock of scribes and elders. "Just a little closer," he muttered, "I must see Him!" He was horrified at the intonations of hatred, death and lies emanating from the agitated throng.
"Who will testify that this man is guilty of blasphemy?" roared the voice of the high priest. "Will someone bear witness to this truth?"
After a hushed pause, two timid voices clamored through the din, "This man said he could destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days. We heard him say that with our own ears!"
"Aha," salivated the high priest, circling the accused victim, "will you respond to this accusation? Is it true that you said this?"
Silence hung like sodden drapes over the perturbed assembly.
"I demand that you tell us by the living God if you are the Christ, the Son of God!" bellowed the high priest, pithily erupting nose-to-nose with the defendant.
Edging cautiously towards the perimeter, the disciple tried to blend in with the crowd. He couldnít hear his Masterís reply, but seeing the animated reaction of the high priest, it hadnít been well received.
"He has spoken blasphemy; you all heard it! He said he was the SON OF MAN!" Renting his clothes with utter disgust the high priest asked for a verdict from the frenzied assembly.
"He is guilty of death!" they shouted in modulating rhythm. "KILL HIM! KILL HIM!" Swarming over the Master like angry bees, they spit in his face and vehemently beat him, while others clouted him with open hands. "Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who just hit you? Who spit in your face?"
Scurrying toward the palace outskirts, he knew it was time to dissociate himself from the bedlam at hand. He was quickly singled out by a bystander while trying to blend in with the agitated mass.
"Hey, Guard! This man was with Jesus of Galilee."
"I donít know what youíre talking about," the disciple stuttered, casually trying to evade the allegation.
An onlooker blurted out a similar charge, "You WERE one of them."
"NO! I never heard of him. Leave me alone!" he spouted, grabbing his robe closer around his face.
"Wait a minute!" another shouted, "This man really WAS with him; he even talks like a Galilean!"
"I donít know what youíre saying! Dammit, I DO NOT KNOW THAT MAN!"
Off in the distance the eerie sound of a cock crowing dropped him to his knees as he recalled the words of Jesus, "Before the cock crows, you will deny knowing me three times."
"No! Oh, No! No! My Lord! Forgive me!" Weeping bitterly, Peter dragged himself out into the darkness, never to be the same again.
(Paraphrased from Matthew 26:57-75 KJV)
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