Hello, welcome to the Foundations podcast for Tuesday 14th May. This week we’re going through Mark’s account of Jesus’ last hours on earth. Yesterday we saw Jesus talking with Peter and praying in the garden of Gethsemane. In today’s passage Jesus is arrested and taken before the Sanhedrin. We also see a little more of the Peter story. As we head through this week we’ll be building up to the point where we see Jesus die on the cross. Fittingly we’ll read that verse on Friday. This week is a great chance for us to zoom in on parts of the Easter narrative and explore themes that we may not give much thought to over Easter itself. Holy Week and the Easter weekend is, after all, a relatively short amount of time to be unpacking all that happens in these chapters.
Today we’re going to follow the thread of Peter’s experience of this pivotal time. Peter is one of Jesus’ closest disciples. He’s seen Jesus up close and personal for the last 3 years. He’s lived alongside Jesus, travelled with Him, ate with Him. Peter He’s more than a follower now, He’s a friend. Yesterday we heard Jesus tell Peter that he would disown Jesus. Peter obviously refused to believe this but let’s look now at verses 66-68 and 71-72 to see how that panned out.
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
What a day to pick to spend a day in Peter’s sandals! This isn’t his finest. In fact this is a particularly sad day in Peter’s journey. I can definitely empathise with him though and I’m sure you can too. Whilst all our experiences in life are different, we all do things that we know are not God’s perfect way for us. Maybe it’s something we have a habit of doing now, or maybe it’s a time in our past that we can particularly recall. We all have those moments when we go our way rather than God’s way. I’m sure many of us will be able to recognise times when we’ve considered an action, decided to live God’s way and then ended up not following through with that. That’s what has happened with Peter here.
When we fall short of these standards that we try and live by sometimes we respond with feelings of failure, guilt or even shame. This only ends in a place of feeling unworthy, unusable by God. We start to limit what we think God can or will do in and through us. Yet there is nothing in Jesus’ response to Peter that should lead us down this path. Jesus’ response isn’t to condemn Peter. In fact if we read John’s Gospel we see the incredible story of Jesus reinstating Peter. After He is resurrected Jesus meets His disciples by the Sea of Galilee. It’s there that Jesus three times gives Peter the chance to say I love you Lord. Three times, once for each time he denied knowing Jesus. Peter is later tasked by Jesus to go and lead the early Church! Jesus is a God of grace. If we ever feel like Peter after he’d disowned Jesus then we must remember, Jesus always offers us a way back to Him through His wonderful Grace.
Thank you Lord for your grace at work in our lives. Thank you that when we walk away from you we can always be brought back into right relationship with you. Be with us today, Amen.
READING: Mark 14:43-72
Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
‘Am I leading a rebellion,’ said Jesus, ‘that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.’ Then everyone deserted him and fled.
A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together. Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.”’ Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’
‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’
They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, ‘Prophesy!’ And the guards took him and beat him.
While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.
‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,’ she said.
But he denied it. ‘I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,’ he said, and went out into the entrance.
When the servant-girl saw him there, she said again to those standing round them, ‘This fellow is one of them.’ Again he denied it.
After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.’
He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about.’
Immediately the cock crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the cock crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.