Mark 14:27-31;66-72

(A Bible Study Led by Dr. Larry Reynolds)

March 21, 2013

 

We are rapidly nearing the end of our journey through the Gospel of Mark.  The last three chapters of Mark deal with events that occurred three specific days.

·         Mark 14:12ff focuses on the events that took place on Thursday of Passion Week, specifically the Passover observance in the Upper Room, the Gethsemane experience, the arrest of Jesus, and his trial before the Jewish authorities

·         Mark 15 focuses on the events that took place on Friday of Passion Week, specifically the trial of Jesus before Pilate, the abuse of Jesus by the Roman soldiers, the crucifixion and death of Jesus, and the burial of Jesus

·         Mark 16 focuses on the events that took place on the following Sunday, specifically the resurrection of Jesus

 

Since these events are so familiar to all of us, we are going to deal with them in rather large chunks.  In this session we will finish chapter 14.  Next week we will focus on chapter 15.  And the week following Easter we will look at chapter 16.

 

The Thursday of Passion Week was not a good day for Simon Peter!  You have to look at all four gospel accounts to get complete picture of what happened:

·         John 13  tells us about Peter initially refusing to allow Jesus to wash his feet and Jesus having to rebuke him because of that

·         When Jesus announced in the Upper Room that one of His disciples would betray Him, Peter boldly proclaimed that no matter what, he would stand by Jesus.  See Mark 14:29-31.s

·         Matthew, Mark, & Luke tell of the three closest disciples to Jesus—Peter, James, and John—falling asleep in the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus asked them to watch and pray with Him.  Mark’s Gospel adds an interesting detail to this event.  Mark 14:37 tells us the second of the Lord’s three rebukes of the disciples was directed specifically toward Peter.

·         When the mob came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, all four gospels tell us that one of the disciples drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest.  John 18:10 identifies that disciple as Peter.  And again Jesus rebuked Peter.

·         After the arrest of Jesus He was taken through the Kidron Valley and up Mt. Zion to the home of Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest.  Mark 14:50 indicates that initially all of the disciples fled when Jesus was arrested.  Mark adds an interesting comment in verses 51-52 that may be autobiographical in nature.  But after initially fleeing, Peter regained his courage and followed the entourage to the courtyard of the High Priest’s home.  That’s when the events of Mark 14:66-72 took place.  This event is very familiar to us because it is recorded in all four gospels.

 

T.S. – What a colossal failure in Peter’s life...the very thing he said he would never do, he did...but this is not the final word in Scripture about Peter...his life did not end in failure...with God’s help Peter went on to rise above his failure and to become the obvious leader of the church in Jerusalem...he discovered that God was much bigger than his failure...from Peter’s example want to share with you some things we should remember when we fail, as we all surely will from time to time...

 

I.       Peter reminds us that no-one is immune from failure

1.      There have been some very famous people who started out as failures...did you know that…

·         Babe Ruth, the legendary baseball player struck out 1,330 times...

·         Elvis Presley, was banished from the Grand Ole Opry after one performance and was told, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son!”

·         Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a television reporter and told, “You’re not fit for television.”

·         Michael Jordan did not make his junior high basketball team?

·         Vincent Van Gough sold only one painting during his lifetime?

·         Albert Einstein was told he would never be a good student?

2.      All that should remind us that when failure comes our way, we should not be discouraged by it...anyone can fail...

 

  1. I think that’s one lesson the other disciples learned from Peter...of all the disciples, he was the last they would expect to fail to stand for the Lord... Peter was a tough person...he wasn’t afraid to mix it up with people...no doubt he had been in more than one fight is his life...the very night this event occurred he had drawn his sword to protect Jesus from arrest and cut off the ear of a man...
  2. When Peter had made his bold prediction that he would never deny Jesus, even if it meant death, I am sure the other disciples believed him...and when he failed to live up to his commitment, it was a graphic reminder to them all that anyone can fail...

 

1.      And while we should never be satisfied with failure or accept failure or condone failure in our lives, we should not be surprised when it comes our way...because come our way, it will...

2.      The only way we can avoid failure is to not try anything at which we can fail...and even that, in itself, is failure—failure to try...as former president Teddy Roosevelt put it: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they lie in the gray twilight that know not victory nor defeat.” [Quoted by John Hamby in “Failure is not Fatal IF...” sermoncentral.com] 

3.      While Peter is singled out in Scripture for his failure to stand for Jesus (and that seems to me a little unfair since the record shows all the disciples forsook Jesus that night), at least he went as far as the courtyard of the high priest, which is further than any of the other disciples went...but he reminds us that no-one is immune from failure...

 

II.  When we fail, God does not abandon us; instead He calls us back to Him and makes it possible for us to rise above our failures

  1. One person wrote, “God’s love and forgiveness [are] not dependent on [our] success.” [Ibid] ...in other words, God doesn’t accept us because we succeed and the converse of that is that God does not reject us because we fail...He doesn’t stop loving us...He doesn’t stop reaching out to us...He doesn’t abandon us...
  2. Luke’s Gospel provides us a detail about this event not found in the other gospels...Luke 22:61 says that “...the Lord turned and looked at Peter...” immediately after Peter’s third denial of Him...and that look may have been the defining moment, the pivotal point in Peter’s life...Luke gives us no clue about what Jesus conveyed in that look, except that the verb he uses is a verb which means to look intently...

·         Was it a look of anger?  I don’t think so, because Mark 16:7 indicates that after the resurrection Jesus went out of His way to let Peter know he had not rejected him.

·         Was it a look of disappointment?  Probably not, because Jesus had known in advance that Peter was going to fail...

·         I think it was a look of compassion.  In that intense look Jesus was saying to Peter, “I still love you, in spite of your failure.”...and I believe it was that compassion of Jesus toward him and his shame in failing Jesus that caused Peter to go out and weep bitterly...

  1. And what I want you to see is the Peter’s life did not end with this failure...because of the Lord’s compassion for him, he was able to rise above the failure...this event became a springboard for Peter to rise to new heights in his life...not many days after this colossal failure, Peter was the chief speaker on the day of Pentecost when thousands of people turned to faith in Jesus...

 

  1. Failure doesn’t have to be fatal...failure doesn’t have to be the end of a productive life...failure can become a stepping stone to better things...a very famous person once said, “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” [Joe Griffith, Speaker’s Library of Business Stories, Anecdotes, and Humor, p.116] ...let me tell you about the life of the man who made that statement and see if you can guess who his identity...at age:

·         7 his family was forced out of their home and he had to go to work to help support them...

·         9 his mother died...

·         22 he lost his job as a store clerk and tried to enter law school but was turned down...

·         23 he went into debt to become a partner in a small store...

·         26 his business partner died, leaving a huge debt which took years to repay...

·         28, after courting a girl for four years, he asked her to marry him and she refused...

·         37 on is third try was elected to the US Congress but two years later failed to be re-elected...

·         41 his four year old son died...

·         45 he ran for the US Senate and lost...

·         47 he failed as a vice-presidential candidate...

·         51 he was elected President of the United States...

That person, of course, was Abraham Lincoln...he knew something about failure...and one thing he discovered in his life and one thing that Peter’s life demonstrates, is that failure does not have to be fatal...

  1. While none of us is immune from failure, may we never forget that God is bigger than any of our failures...and because He is, it possible for us to rise above our failures...
Comments