Mark 14:53-65 – Fake Trial

Read Mark 14:53-72

Jesus is on trial, but what a laughable trial.  No preparation, only jealous rage. So much perjury. But, I suppose you can’t lie under oath if you don’t swear an oath in the first place. Where did all these witnesses come from? And, when truth was spoken by Jesus, it was deemed blasphemy. Jesus was in no way insulting God, his Father!

How does it make you feel to knowing how our Lord spent his final hours on earth? He warned us, as the prophets had, it wouldn’t be pretty. Despite the heads up, it’s still hard to imagine.

Meanwhile, the text says, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard of the very house where Jesus was being assaulted. It sounds like he just sort of cozy-ed up to the guards to keep warm by the fire. Did he think he’d go unnoticed? What was he thinking? That could be the topic for a whole devotion in itself.

Then it happened. Jesus’ prophetic words came true. Peter must have had an evil spirit overtake his words on his final, very strong, denial of being associated with Jesus. Almost like a dream where you see yourself saying or doing something, but you’re only watching from a distance. But it wasn’t a dream. Jesus was right. Peter denied him and the despair at the thought left him sobbing.

Have you ever had a moment like Peter just did? Have you said or done something for which you would give anything to take back? Maybe you’ve wished for a do-over? We’ve all done those things. And, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. It happens, yet we don’t like it.

God doesn’t either, and that’s exactly why he sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus is the bridge that brings us back to the father when we are separated by our sin. It’s better to focus on what God is doing for us, loving and forgiving us, then to dwell on the bad stuff. Ask for forgiveness, and be done. Forgive others, and be done. Simple but not easy.

Do you feel separated from God right now, or are you on fire and burning bright? Maybe somewhere in between? Doesn’t matter. God’s got your back. Relish this true with a grateful heart.

Let’s pray. Lord I don’t like when I feel apart from you but I know that you are always there to reel me back in. Forgive my heart when it is selfish and self-serving. I don’t want to be caught up in the world’s trap. Restore my servant heart. May it beat along with yours. Guide my steps this day, and I thank you for your protection. I am safe in your arms, and safe as I fall at your feet. What peace you give. May I spread your peace in this world for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 14:27-31 – Not Me, Lord!

Read Mark 14:27-31

Sometimes our readings are short, and today’s is a good example. We should really dig in to this message. Maybe read it through several times. You might find that a new message comes to you each time you read it, or perhaps the same message surfaces each time, as if to bop you over the head!

Denial. It’s all around us. Here Jesus warns the disciples of what is to come. What does Peter do? Deny it could ever happen. The others agreed. Denial is stating something is untrue or a refusing to accept something offered (as in insurance). In recovery ministry, I remember hearing a quote, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

Funny that what Peter actually does, after being warned, is “deny” he even knows Jesus, THREE times!

Have you ever been confronted about your faith or belief in Jesus? How did that go? Did you boldly proclaim your faith, or did you try to downplay the importance of the relationship you have with God? I have done both, quite honestly. What holds us back?

A lot of times, it’s our feelings of inadequacy. We’re not Bible experts, so we feel unprepared and want to avoid looking bad. After all, we want to reflect God and not embarrass him.  We’re in denial because we believe we are not good enough to defend our faith.

Here’s the shocking truth – we are totally prepared. We have a story of how Jesus has touched us. Our stories won’t look the same as the next guy (or gal) but that’s okay. It’s our story. People are looking for genuine truth. If they ask you about your faith, they want to hear your honest answer, not something you make up to sound good. We don’t need to look like Bible scholars for people to pay attention. We need to be us. We will struggle, and we will  falter. But at the end of the day, we have victory if we have believed and trusted that Jesus has walked with us. Jesus will guide us if we let him.

What does Peter’s example show us? That we are human and not God. God knew Peter’s heart better than Peter did. What does that say for us?

If you’re like me, whether I would like the message or not (Peter obviously didn’t), it would be nice for Jesus to tell me what is going to happen. When decisions need to be made, wouldn’t it be nice if we’d receive a note from above telling us to choose this path? Maybe we don’t receive a physical note, but we do have God’s word to direct us, and prayer to keep lines of communication open.

Instead of being quick to respond, as Peter was here, we need to truly listen to what Jesus is telling us. The intended message may be totally different from what we hear or think we hear. Jesus was telling his disciples that after he was raised from the dead he would go on ahead to Galilee to meet them there. That was a HUGE message, right? Yet the disciples focused on the scatter part. The bigger picture was the promise to be with them again.

Are we missing the message God has for us? Are we focusing on the wrong thing, the short term fix as opposed to the long term goal? We certainly don’t want to be separated from God. Ever. Are we behaving in a manner that reflect this desire?

Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, I come to you today with a new appreciation for Peter and the other disciples. They were so focused on the here and now that they failed to see the bigger picture. I don’t want to be like that. I want to have the end game in mind and be sure that my words and actions truly reflect that. My life in eternity with you is too precious to mess up. Thank you for the clarity you have given me that I am good enough, that I am worthy to be yours. Thank you for the gifts that you have given me to share with the world. I won’t focus on the failures of yesterday because that will cripple me from soaring today to the heights you have destined for me. Thank you for your great love for me. I love you, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.