Annas’ order to flog us sent a shiver down my spine. I knew the others were reeling, too. Annas ordered our flogging like it was a spanking for a child, but if you know anything about floggings, they are unspeakably painful. Many have died from floggings. It is a horrible punishment. The pain is unbearable, and the public humiliation renders you an outcast, as alienated as a leper in the eyes of the people.
As the guards were preparing to flog us, I was transported in my mind back to our last night with the Master. Judas had just left. Jesus then said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him.”
To ‘glorify’ in our language carries with it the sense to ‘accurately reveal.’ Jesus was saying his next twenty-four hours would accurately reveal the Father in him, and accurately reveal who he truly is – the Son of Man.
“My brothers,” he continued, “I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. So now a new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
At this point I asked Jesus, “Lord, where are you going?” (Is that the best I could come up with?)
Jesus replied to me, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
Now that didn’t make any sense to me, not at all, so I asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.”
Can you see why I couldn’t follow him back then? I loved Jesus, and I was devoted to him. In any ordinary situation I would have proudly fought alongside him. In any ordinary situation I would have been proud to protect him. I had been in fights before. I was not afraid of any man. I was bigger and stronger than most men.
But this wasn’t an ordinary situation. Cosmic forces were a work. As Paul so often teaches, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
“So be strong in the Lord,” Paul continues, “and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
I had no spiritual armor that night because I had no Spirit, yet. I was operating in Peter’s power, in the kingdom of Peter. Yes, I was bigger and stronger than most men, but without the power of the Holy Spirit, I was puny and weak against Satan.