Mark 14: 27 – 31 Jesus predicts Peter’s denial
‘You will all fall away,’ Jesus told them, ‘for it is written:
‘ “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.”
But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’
Peter declared, ‘Even if all fall away, I will not.’
‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘today – yes, tonight – before the cock crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.’
But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.
* * *
Look at the detail in this this passage. Jesus made two prophecies.
To all the disciples he said, ‘But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.’
And to Peter, he said ‘today – yes, tonight – before the cock crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.’
The gospels subsequently tell us that both these prophesies were true, and that tells us something about Jesus. By making these prophesies, Jesus shows that he now fully understands the will of God the Father in the events that are to follow. He knows now that there is no backing out; he has to go through terrible suffering and death. We need to keep that in mind for studying the next passage.
This passage also tells us about Peter and the other disciples. They said they were prepared to die with Jesus, but compare this with their doubt as to whether they would betray him at the Last Supper, in Mark 14: 19. “They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, ‘Surely you don’t mean me?’”
It’s clear that they were completely confused. Nothing about Jesus’ mission made sense to them anymore. Why were they there, risking death in Jerusalem? How was Jesus going to establish his Messianic kingdom? Where were the armies he would need? Or, if he was going to prove to everybody by great signs and wonders that he was the Messiah, why was there such resistance from the chief priests and teachers of the law?
All the disciples had left was faith in a man, the man Jesus; a man with few followers and no armies; a man who talked openly of his own imminent death at the hands of the Romans.
It must have seemed hopeless.
There are times in our own lives when it seems hopeless. We may see the strength of institutionalised greed and exploitation. We may see pointless wars. We may wrestle with grief or depression.
All we have left is faith in a man, faith in Jesus.
It was enough for the disciples. It is enough for us.
Thank you for the faith of the disciples. Please help us to have faith in Jesus like they did.
In Jesus’ name, Amen