Are you one of Christ’s cocky followers? Though ‘the betrayer’ was gone from their company, the balance of ‘The Twelve’ had a serious core problem. Mark 14:27-31 permits the scrutiny of their hearts and ours!
“You will all fall away,” Jesus told them,…
Start with these five words. The entire group is receiving a warning. Their commitment was not as it should be and their Master, Jesus, who is called the Christ was warning them. Was not this his constant practice–to anticipate future needs and urge present preparation?
“for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
Did you carefully read these words? “It is written…” Jesus had repeatedly driven home the Scriptural backing of many statements with this introduction. He had resisted the devil using these words. He knew the Scriptures. He was saturated in them, as Ezra was (Ezra 7:6 “He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given.”)
Jesus was quoting Zechariah 13:7 where the LORD Almighty predicts His own striking of the Shepherd of the flock. The Shepherd would be struck – not just by the Roman soldiers, not just by his enemies but by the LORD. Think about this–The LORD God, the Almighty, would strike His perfect Son. Why? He is being punished because of my sin. The LORD is laying on Him the transgression of us all (Isaiah 53).
He will suffer and die. His followers will desert him, yet He will rise again. Hear this amazing promise – “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Rising from the dead? Yes. He has power to lay his life down and power to take it again.
O if only the paragraph stopped there! But one ‘cocky’ Christ follower will open his big mouth and demonstrate the deceptive nature of the human heart. “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked….” Jeremiah had noted in his prophecy (Jeremiah 17:9) And though Peter will speak first, the band of eleven will all echo his pretense of commitment.
Peter declared, “Even if ALL fall away, I will not.”
Peter, listen to your logic. ALL means ALL. It’s not that complex a concept unless you have yielded to the temptation to assert your undying love publicly. Don’t we do the same thing? Should we not revise some of our hymns and songs of devotion to reflect the real condition of our heart? Can we honestly sing, “ALL to Jesus I surrender…” or “At the cross, at the cross, I surrender my …..” when we’ve determined there’s no way we would surrender ‘that’ to the Lord’s prompting.
To receive God’s mercy you must accept God’s verdict. You may attempt to plead ‘innocent,’ or ‘guilty with an explanation’ as our traffic tickets in Canada suggest, but let’s own up to our willful rebellion.
How does this interaction between Peter and Christ conclude?
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “today–yes, tonight–before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”
Shall the conversation continue? Peter refuses to back down, just like we do when confronted with our sin. As Proverbs indicates, we’re not wise enough to accept rebuke. We can’t be as ‘bad’ as Christ indicates, can we?
“But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I WILL NEVER DISOWN YOU.” And lest we dump on Peter the Spirit of God guided Mark to add 7 more words – “And ALL THE OTHERS said the same.”
Confession of sin means a full agreement with God. No more excuses. No more defensiveness. No more cockiness. GUILTY sinners are offered mercy. Well might we sing triumphantly –
“Man of Sorrows , what a name; For the Son of God who came, RUINED SINNERS to reclaim, HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOUR!”
“GUILTY, VILE and HELPLESS WE, FAULTLESS LAMB OF GOD was HE; FULL ATONEMENT–CAN IT BE??????? HALLELUJAH! WHAT A SAVIOUR!”
Worship the Lamb of God! HE is SAVIOUR.