Matthew 26:57-58- “Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled. 58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.”
One of the most well preserved archaeological sites to visit in the Old City of Jerusalem is the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. The term “gallicantu” literally means Rooster’s Crow, signifying Peter’s three denials of being a friend and follower of Jesus. This church was built upon the remains of the ancient Palace of Caiaphas where Jesus was interrogated by the Sanhedrin and held in a dungeon overnight on the lower level as he awaited his trial before Pontius Pilate the following day. The original cobblestone steps that Jesus would have been brought upon are still there to this day guarded by a fence.
Psalm 88:6-9- “You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. 7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah 8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape; 9 my eye grows dim through sorrow.”
Response to Abandonment
The above passage from Psalm 88 is written in the dungeon of this ancient archaeological site and it is common for an entire tour group to fill the dungeon and hear the passage read as they reflect upon the beginnings of the sufferings of Christ. It causes us to reflect upon the fact that Jesus was abandoned during His moment of greatest need, something that many of us experience in life. The fact that Christ can sympathize with us in the most painful things we go through is something that God uses to comfort us supernaturally when we are facing challenges.
Hebrews 4:15- “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
What’s interesting about the way that Jesus responded to abandonment is that He responded righteously to one of the most brutal kinds of emotional pain that a person can experience. Next to full betrayal, which Jesus also experienced with Judas, abandonment is something that many people never recover from. Jesus did not become bitter, nor did He shake His fists at God the Father. Jesus endured abandonment in a way that no human ever could. His ability to comfort us through authentic sympathy enables us to face things like abandonment without being destroyed.
Psalm 34:18 (ESV): The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Cast into a Dungeon
When we reflect upon Jesus being cast into a dungeon as an innocent man who committed no sin it grieves our heart because of the love we have for Him. But when it comes to the sufferings of Christ we must keep in mind the idea of substitutionary atonement. This idea entails someone receiving a punishment or penalty in the place of another. In the case of Jesus, we find the Son of God who did not deserve to suffer betrayal, abandonment, reviling, and ultimately crucifixion enduring it all on our behalf! That is, all of the abandonment that we will ever face was placed upon Him during His suffering for us. As a result the blood of Christ has given us access to the Presence of God and no matter who abandons us in life, God is always with us, and that is more than enough!
Prayer for Today: Lord Jesus please help me to embrace the reality that no matter who rejects me, the fact that I am received by You is more than enough. I ask you to remove the spirit of abandonment from my life so that I can walk in the fullness of Your love for me. Thank you for not forsaking me! Fill me with Your love afresh today, in Jesus name, amen!