Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mark 14:26–31

Mark 14:26–31 (ESV): Jesus Foretells Peter’s Denial


A shorter passage today: Jesus and the disciples go out to the Mount of Olives, and Jesus predicts that they are all going to “fall away,” quoting Zechariah 13:7 (ESV). He then gives them some good news: after Jesus is raised up, he will go before them into Galilee — inferring that, even though they’re going to abandon him, they will come back.

Peter, however, is stuck on the first point: he tells Jesus that even if all of the others fall away, he will never do so. Jesus tries to correct him: before the rooster gets a chance to crow twice, Peter is going to deny Jesus three times. Peter doesn’t believe him, though; even if it means he has to die, Peter says that he’ll never deny Jesus.


This is a pretty famous passage, and Peter rightfully gets judged for his hubris. (The other disciples get off lightly, for some reason; verse 31 (ESV) says that all of the disciples said the same as Peter — they would never deny Jesus! — but for some reason we tend to judge Peter while forgetting about the others.)

And I say Peter is rightfully judged, but that doesn’t mean that we — any of us — should feel superior to him. I think most (if not all) of us have moments where we’re doing so well that we think we could never do wrong by God, and these moments are pretty invariably followed by moments where we do exactly that. It’s human nature. Peter is just unfortunate enough to have had such a moment captured in the Bible, for all of us to read about for thousands of years afterward. (And, again, so do the rest of the disciples!) The point of passages like this is never for us to feel superior to Peter, it’s to put a mirror up against human nature, and to say to us, be careful! The same will happen to you, if you’re not on your guard!

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