+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The Twelve Meditation Of The Acts Annas House, And His Sending To Caiphas
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Christ before Annas and Peter Denying Jesus
And they brought Jesus first to Annas, for he was father in law to Caiphas, who was the high Priest of that year: And Caiphas was he, which gave counsaile to the Jews: Because it is necessary that one man dye for the people Jo.11.49.
Consider first that Christ was brought to Annas, either because he should be carried to his father in law Caiphas, an old man, which should succeed the next year in the high priesthood, and dwelling in the way to the high Priests house, or else for the traitor, to whom (as Saint Cyrill saith) Annas was appointed by the Priests to pay the reward of his treason, for the taking of our Lord.
Behold thou the affections of every man; the cruel joy of this most wicked Annas, triumphing that at the last his enemy was taken, the flattering congratulations of the Soldiers, the covetousness of Judas having now received his money, the modesty of Christ and his cheerful mind to suffer for thee.
Consider secondly that mention is here made of the council which Caiphas game, for the putting of Christ to death; that it may be showed that he persecuted his death who first gave the counsel of his death.
Secondly that thou waist learn that all things which our Lord suffered in his passion, did not happen unto him so much by human counsaile, as by the will of God. For those words of the death our Lord, although Caiphas uttered them out of a wicked mind, yet he spake them by the instinct of the holy Ghost, who useth to apply the words of the wicked for the profit of the just, & that he might teach thee, that God the Father enjoyed, & God the Son took upon him this cruel passion, only for the love of mankind, that thou again might be carried into the love of God with all thy heart & mind.
Thirdly that thou maist know, that God never forgetteth sins past, though perhaps they are out of thy mind. For all things are kept in memory, and an account shall be demanded at the hour of death.
And Annas sent him bound to Caiphas the high Priest, where the Scribes and Seniors were assembled
Consider first, that Christ suffered many wrongs in the house of Annas,for this word (he sent him) signify that he did not lightly suffer him to go away, but that he made some stay: But search out with thy self what those things were: For blessed Cyril saith, that the blow was given him in the house of Caiphas, and many affirm that this word (he sent) should be taken in the Hebrew for this word (he had sent)
Consider secondly what this word signify (bound:) to wit, that either he was newly bound,or else that his former bounds were not lossed, that he might be acccounted & condemned as guilty & worthy of bonds by the judgment of this grave man: But as the wicked Priest did take no compassion upon him that was bound, so neither doest thou take any piety upon thy poor afflicted Neighbor, nor yet upon thy own soul, which is grievously tied with the bonds of sins.
Consider thirdly this wearisome journey,in which thy Lord was cruelly drawn with cords, and whipped on with strips, whether so ever it pleased the wicked people to carry him.He walked indeed the hard ways,that he might make the way to Heaven easy and plain for thee,and that thou mighest go in the way of the Commandments of God without trouble.
Consider fourthly, and enter with thy Lord into the council of the wicked. Behold here many Calves and fat Bulls compassing the most innocent Lamb: (the Scribes) the Doctors of the Law:(the Elders) the Magistrates of the people: (the Pharisess) the religious people of the Jews, being Gluttons insolent,and cruel. Consent not thou to their company, nor their deeds; but take the poor out of the hand of the mighty; that God also may have mercy upon thee in the day of thy trouble.
And Simon Peter followed Jesus a far off, and another disciple: and that disciple was known to the high Priest, & entered with Jesus into the high Priests court: but Peter stood at the gate without: Therefore the other disciple who was known to the high Priest went forth, & spake to the porter, & brought in Peter even into the Court of the high Priest, & being come in, the fire burning in the midst of the Court, and they sitting round about it, Peter was in the midst of them, & sat with the ministers at the fire, that he might see the end, and warm himself.
Consider first whether these flying Apostles went, being amazed with so great fury of the Soldiers, & now wavering and doubtful in their belief of the divinity of Christ. For who would believe, that God should ever suffer such things especially if, according to the received opinion of the Jews, he though that virtue should be rewarded with temporal goods. Behold Peter following far off, and loving more then the rest, took some courage unto him. so as he doubted not to thrust himself into the company of the Ministers, but yet fearfully and inconstantly, hoping that he should not be know.
Consider secondly the other Disciple, either Saint John as the common opinion is, the inseparable companion of Peter, or else some secret Christian, a rich Citizen, who by reason of some acquaintance with the high Priest, did enter into the house, whilst Peter, as a poor and unknown man stayed without doors. For poor men are not admitted to come into the houses of great men, and if at any time they are permitted, it is accounted a great favor to be placed amongst their slave. Be not thou delighted with such a Court, neither thrust they self into the company of wicked men: If necessity enforce thee, depart as soon as thou canst, least thy innocence be defiled with the familiarity of wicked men.
Consider thirdly, that Peter came not in directly, but through the favor of a friend; and of a woman. Seek thou therefore no honor by favor or by the love of women, nor yet by any vicious or fraudulent means, least, according to the example of Peter, thou mayest expect a most certain & assured downfall. Also if thou chance to get honor lawfully, and art entered into the Bishops Palace the direct way, do not join thyself with the wicked, nor follow their examples, but enter into thine own heart, and set our Lord always before thine eyes, who hath called thee to that estate. Desire these things of Christ, and pray unto him, and not to forsake thee for ever.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616