Did you know that this is exactly where our Lord Jesus Christ was on the night He was betrayed . . . between two rocks? Let me explain; and I pray you will be greatly encouraged by this truth today.
When Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was taken first to Annas, the previous high priest, and then to his son-in-law Caiaphas, the current high priest. The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that the name Caiaphas literally means “rock.” While these illegal trials were going on, Peter, who was called Cephas (which also means “rock”) was out in the courtyard denying that he even knew His Lord. So, in a sense, on the night Jesus was betrayed, He put Himself between two rocks: Peter the rock, and Caiaphas the rock. One rock was in the courtroom accusing Him and the other was in the courtyard denying Him.
But there was a huge difference between these two “rocks” . . . a difference with eternal ramifications.
Peter replied, “I don’t know him!’ Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord has spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:60-62)
The Lord Jesus Christ gave Peter one look after he had denied Him three times, and Peter was immediately seized with guilt and remorse. He wept tears of repentance that were rooted in a godly sorrow. This rock was softened by the grace of God. Peter had denied Jesus three times, and his hard heart grew harder and with each denial . . . until that fateful moment when the rooster crowed and Jesus looked straight at him—not with condemnation, but with love and forgiveness. Jesus had already told Peter that he would deny Him, but He also told Peter that He had prayed for Peter that his faith would not fail. And so Peter was restored to a right relationship with his Redeemer. That restoration was confirmed in the remarkable exchange between Peter and our Lord that is recorded in the final chapter of John’s gospel.
Caiaphas, on the other hand, spent the night overseeing the wicked religious trials of Jesus, trials that were utterly inconsistent with Jewish law. Jesus undoubtedly looked at Caiaphas several times throughout that long night, but the high priest’s cold heart remained rock hard. Caiaphas had no room in his heart for Jesus; he wanted nothing to do with the true High Priest, who had been sent from above to take away the sins of the world. Why? Because Caiaphas refused to see himself as Peter saw himself . . . as a sinner in need of a Savior. Peter knew himself to be a sinner; Caiaphas imagined himself to be a sinless religious leader of God’s people.
By nature, our hearts are all rock hard and alienated from God. Our hearts beat for ourselves. But one look from our Lord Jesus Christ can change all that . . . if we see ourselves as sinners in need of a Savior. Caiaphas did not see himself as being like everyone else—a sinner. Peter could not imagine himself as anything but a sinner in need of the Savior who would forgive him for what he had done.
What a Savior we have in Jesus! One look from Him can change a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. May that be the confession of all our lives.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!