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The Courtyard
Matthew 26:69-75


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You are standing in the courtyard of the high priest’s house. You can still hear the laughter of the band of soldiers who arrested Jesus in the garden, but you can no longer see them. You glance through the gates leading into the inner courtyard, hoping for a glimpse of Jesus. He is not there. You sit in the shadows of a small fire with a few others, hoping not to be noticed. Your heart is pounding and your palms are sweating. You are afraid that someone will recognize you as one of Jesus’ friends. You try to hide your face.


Your throat aches as you remember the dinner you shared together earlier – his baffling words about his body being bread, his blood being wine. You remember the sick jolt you felt when you realized that Judas had slipped away. You remember hearing Jesus’ moan and cry as he prayed in the garden. You tried to stay awake, but your eyes were so heavy. You remember the disgust you felt when you recognized Judas emerging from the shadows, flanked by soldiers wielding swords. Then the confused and angry shouting. Your gut churns as you remember the soldier’s ear – if only you hadn’t missed! But no, your face burns as you remember how Jesus’ eyes flashed at you as he turned and healed the man.


You clench your hands into fists as you remember how the soldiers pushed and shoved Jesus.  Anger begins to rise within you. You look up. There are others close by. You strain to hear the hushed conversation but can only catch mumbles and coughs.


            “You. You there.” A girl's voice. You look up. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she says, pointing at you. Everyone turns to look at you. The conversation stops. Silence. Eyes on you.


You swallow quickly. Before you know what you are saying you blurt out,

“I don't know what you're talking about.”

You jump to your feet and push your way through the crowd, keeping your head down, trying to hide in the shadows by the gate.


You look back hoping no one is following you. The courtyard is full of people. It feels like everyone is looking at you. You pull a shawl over your head to hide your face as you push your way through the crowd. Suddenly, you feel someone grab your cloak. “This one was with Jesus of Nazareth, too,” a voice sneers. You freeze, then spin around to find several people staring at you. You look into the face of the one who spoke. He gives you a rough shake, his grip tightening.


             “I don't know the man!” you stammer. Did you shout it or was it a whisper?


The man releases your cloak with a grunt as you pull yourself away. The group moves on, slowly. But then one of them stops and turns back toward you. “Hey,” he yells, “You must be with Jesus. Your accent gives you away – you’re from Galilee.” Your heart starts pounding even faster now. You back away and press yourself into the crowd, nearly tripping as you spin and crash into others standing nearby. Your anger erupts. “Leave me alone!” You call curses down upon yourself. You are about to say more, your mind is filling with raging words, accusing words, fighting words. But before they come spilling out…a rooster crows. You become stone still. You look up. There, across the courtyard, Jesus. He is looking at you.


As your eyes meet his, what do you see? What do you feel? Remain in the scene for a few minutes, paying close attention to what comes to you.

Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash

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