“Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.”
Mingled into the fabric of the betrayal, arrest, conviction and crucifixion of Christ, is the story of Peter’s denial. What happened to him? He went from confidently stating he would never deny Christ, to hiding his faith, denying his Lord, and bitterly weeping. While we never start out to fall, the path we walk will always determine our final destination. Peter’s path inevitably led to Peter’s fall. Let’s take a few minutes to notice the steps leading to his failure, that we might avoid these same pitfalls.
First, notice the pride of Peter, “Even if all are made to stumble, yet I will not be.” Pride will always cause us to put our guard down and open us up to failure.
Second, notice that while he should have been praying, he was sleeping. How often we neglect to make spiritual investments because other things become more pressing.
Third, we read he attempted to do spiritual battle in the arm of the flesh. Having neglected to watch and pray, Peter was left to pull out a sword for battle. How ineffective the flesh is, to battle in the realm of the Spirit.
Fourth, we read, “Peter followed Him at a distance.” Instead of realizing his failure and running to Jesus, Peter’s fear caused him to keep his distance. Satan is so good at getting us to sin, then convincing us that we are guilty and must stay in our sin, rather than running to Christ.
Fifth, notice where Peter is hanging out. Eleven friends had been following Jesus together for over 3 years, yet in a time when his faith is being tested the most, Peter is hanging out in the enemy’s camp. How different the story would have been if these eleven men had returned to the garden for prayer and fellowship.
Finally, Mark gives us an interesting insight into the story that is particularly relevant. He tells us, before the third denial, there was the sound of a rooster crowing. In the 11th hour of temptation, Jesus is still giving warning signs to keep Peter from his fall and the subsequent misery. Instead of heeding the warning, Peter continues down the road until his sin is complete.
Let’s learn a lesson from Peter’s failure and draw near to Jesus today.
Questions for Mark 14
- Why were the religious leaders hesitant to arrest Jesus during the feast?
- What do you learn about worship from the actions of the woman at Simon’s house?
- Judas is a sad story. Perhaps what makes it even sadder is how often his story is repeated. People rejecting Jesus for some other gain. Examine your own life. Is there anything in the way of you following Jesus completely?
- Communion is a time to reflect upon the death of Jesus and the results for us. Set aside time today to partake of communion. Reflect upon the cross and spend some time communing with Jesus. Perhaps gather your immediate family to partake with you.
- Jesus warns Peter of his coming fall. As you read through the chapter look for anything that Peter did or failed to do that helped to cause his fall.
- What do you learn from Jesus’ prayer in the garden?
- Many think that the young man mentioned in verse 51 was actually Mark as a teenager.
- What promise does Jesus give to the Sanhedrin?