Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mark 14:66-72 Peter's Denial's

Mark 14:66-72
66 Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. 69 And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” 71 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” 72 A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

It is now during the time when Jesus is being beaten and mocked by those in attendance at the high priests inquiry. That the scene moves back to the Apostle Peter out in courtyard; who unaware of what is taking place inside; is warming himself along with some servants by a fire. Now it is while there that one of servant girls of the high priest comes. And seeing Peter warming himself there, *she looks intently at him, and recognizing Peter she says to him before them all: “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. Vs. 67-68 One can almost see Peter’s awkwardness as he tries to deny knowing Jesus, while looking into the faces of the people, looking at him. And so having denied Jesus, (and likely feeling the guilt of it) Peter moves away from them (Matt. 26:70; Luke 22:57). Immediately then Peter goes out onto the porch (i.e. the gated area) and it is there that a rooster crows. It is then an awakening moment for the Apostle Peter who said he would never do just that (Mark 14:29-30). How Peter felt at that moment we can only speculate. Yet it is a dark and empty feeling when one has knowingly lied to others, to save one’s own skin. For one can slip away from others to escape facing their sin, but where does one go to hide from themselves? Notice as well that the servant girl refers to Jesus, as Jesus of Nazareth the Name used when they arrested Him. Not the Divine Appellation Jesus Christ as Peter so boldly asserted when he was given that revelation of Jesus’ Person by God (Matt. 16:13-20). Nonetheless it will be the Name Jesus of Nazareth that the early church while extol very high since that is the Name Jesus Christ will be crucified under and God will empower many of their Holy Spirit works and witness through (John 19:19; Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8; 26:9). Though that maybe a digression, still I thought I’d mention it.

The passage then immediately picks up with Peter out on the porch (i.e. the *** forecourt, the gated area). And likely still reeling from his first denial, Peter will again be recognized by another servant girl. Notice that it is servant girls; not the strong Temple guards to whom the Apostle Peter is now faltering before. And she seeing him and recognizing him, immediately she says to those who stood by “This is one of them.” Vs. 69 Now this servants girls indentifying Peter as being with Jesus is even more direct and indicting. And with her assertion Peter again immediately responds by denying Jesus (vs. 70). In Matthew’s parallel account it is even more emphatic saying Peter this time denies knowing Jesus with an oath (Matt. 26:72). Now the word Peter uses to deny Jesus with an oath is a word used to solemnly swear to something. In ancient times it originally meant “the staff that was grasped and raised in swearing.”**

And thus indicates the vehemence that Peter uses in denying Jesus to those there. Now this is also the same word that the Lord Jesus uses in commanding us not to swear oath’s at all (Matt. 5:33-37). And now we know why, since they add no validity to ones claim. Indeed when one is under duress as the Apostle Peter was here, there is nothing that an oath does but make one give ground to the enemy by swearing falsely. And so Peter, likely again fearing for himself, openly denies Jesus, this time though with an oath. Notice then the unfolding pattern that as the risk of exposure increases, so does the intensity and fervency of Peter’s denials. Now in thinking about these things, they are happening pre-Pentecost. Yet I don’t think that should be over stressed. For Holy Spirit rebirth though changing one's essential nature and bringing us into union with Jesus Christ does not guarantee our obedience or faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Therefore it will be through Peter’s failures here that the Lord Jesus foretold and having shown Peter his own frailty here, will through his failures restore him, and make him stronger through it. For though no one who believes in the Lord Jesus sets out to fail Him, our failures will become a part of His refining us, and making us fit for the Kingdom of heaven. So there are no surprises here. For Jesus had already told Peter and all the Apostles that these things would occur; though Peter was very sincere and adamant when he said that he would never deny Jesus (Mark 14:27-31). Yet ultimately the Lord Jesus Christ must make us all to see that we are all incapable of “standing on our own feet” by our own resiliency, resolve and or strength of person & character, so that our dependency on Him becomes sure, and we grow in both spirit and truth.

For the mighty in spirit are not said blessed, and heirs of the Kingdom of heaven, rather the poor are (Matt. 5:3). And that is where Jesus is leading Peter, and ultimately all His disciples too. For the Kingdom of heaven is not built on the successes of men and women’s lives, but on their failures. For it is there that God’s grace shines brightest; when men and women having done their best in their own efforts, yet fail, in humble repentance and confession turn or return to the Lord Jesus Christ. For as Jesus said to the disciples; before they all said they would never deny Him; after He is raised He would go before them. And so it is today. For our own resources and resolve will run out. That is how God has designed it, so that Jesus Christ will have the Preeminence in everything we do and are.

And so it is that Peter, though earlier this night vehemently declaring he would never deny Jesus, even if that meant death, has denied Jesus for the second time. This time with an oath; which affords Peter some liberty for a time from their scrutiny; since swearing by an oath in ancient times was considered weighty indeed. Nonetheless the Scripture says that some time having passed (Luke says that roughly an hour passed, Luke 22:59) that Peter will again find himself confronted about his involvement with Jesus, as those who stood by will say to Peter: “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Vs. 71

If the other two times Peter felt endangered when confronted about his involvement with Jesus. Now he is really feeling it! For the previous assertions that Peter was with Jesus were based on the testimony of a couple of servant girls (nothing against woman or servants) but in ancient times their testimony against a man’s was not as weighty as if a man would’ve made the same public assertion. (Though it should've been). Therefore Peter was able to rebuff them, first with a denial, then by a denial with an oath. Now though Peter is confronted by several people (Matt. 26:73) who all say to him: “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” Vs. 71

Now Peter cannot escape the clear fact that his Galilean accent indicates that he is also a disciple of Jesus. Since Jesus came out of the region of Galilee and all His Apostle’s were also from that region (the northern most region of Israelite territory). So here in southernmost territory of Israel in the land of Judea; Peter’s accent would be undeniable to the residents there. The Apostle Peter then almost as immediately as they call him to account, reverts back to his “rapid fire” denial business to try to save himself. This time though the anti being raised, Peter asserts this with all the fervency he can muster by calling down curses on himself and swearing to them all: “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” Vs. 71 Therefore Peter’s third denial will be his most emphatic and with it the Scripture than says a rooster crowed for the second time. Now with its crowing “…Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.” Vs. 72

Notice not until Peter reflects on what has occurred is he broken by his sin. Therefore the Apostle Peter’s brokenness, for denying Jesus Christ, is what encapsulates the message that I want you to take with you. For it is only when we come to recognize and acknowledge our own sins and failures, that we can see God extending His hand of grace to us. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Cor. 7:10

Have you then come to that place? Of seeing yourself and your sins in the light of God’s Word which so truthfully exposes our sins to us, so that we might seek the Lord Jesus Christ, so that He might extend God’s healing grace to us. As the Scripture says:
6 Seek the LORD while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the LORD,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7

For that is how one receives God’s mercy by receiving what Jesus Christ has already done in being crucified in our place to save us from whatever sins and blasphemies against God or others that we have committed or uttered. For it is only by the grace of God which we receive by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead that we are redeemed from our sins and reconciled back to God. Therefore if you believe in Jesus Christ and have not yet received His salvation for you simply pray something like this: Dear Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner, for in many different ways and at many different times I too have denied You in both words and deeds, just as the Apostle Peter has. Therefore I come to You acknowledging my sins to You, asking You to forgive me and ultimately change me by Your coming to live inside Me by the Holy Spirit. Therefore I now invite You into my heart and life to be my Lord and my Savior, my friend and King, for now and eternity, amen.

If you have prayed that prayer in faith then know this that it is just the beginning of a whole new life and purpose for your new life in Christ. Now what you have to do is get connected in a community of faith. In a Bible believing church where faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is upheld and taught as the sole means of salvation for every repentant sinner. For it will be there you can both learn about your new life In Christ and also build new relationships around Him and grow. For in doing so you will find God's purposes for your life, and your place within His family, by being an active member of Christ's Body, His church which encompasses every language and culture. It is an exciting time! It is new birth and thus new life! and thus it is the kairos, the right time to begin your life anew, no longer under the bondage of sin or enslavement to your past and failures, but you are now under the dominion of the Lord Jesus Christ as a citizen of the Kingdom of heaven. With unlimited possibilities a head of you, you need to take what has been given to you and go forth in faith, step by step, day by day, and Jesus who has already gone before you will guide your way as you seek to obey him and heed His Voice through His Word spoken to you in the Bible. Go forward then in the grace of God and the love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and become what God intends for you to be.

In Christ's Love

Scripture Quotations:
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

Word Studies
*emblepo STR 1689 an intensified form of blepo (Strong’s) I look, see. I.e. to gaze upon (Mark 14:67, looked)
**horkos, STR 3727 an oath; under omnuo GK 3923 pages 407-408 NIDNTT Quote also taken from same article. (Word found in Matt. 26:72)
***proaulion, STR 4259 (Mark 14:68, porch)

curses; vs. 71: anathematizo, STR 332; GK 354, In its strongest sense it is to place something under the “ban”, that is, it is devoted to destruction like the Old Covenant burnt offering that could not be redeemed. Execrate, lay a curse on; NIDNTT, page 44 under anathema

swear, vs. 71 omnuo STR 3660; GK 3922 & 3923; it was an act of swearing to the validity of one’s statement or oath.

NIDNTT: New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology; Abridged Edition; Verlyn D. Verbrugge, Editor; Zondervan Publishing.

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