Summary: Men are weak and they fail. There is one basic reason for failure conveyed by Scripture: Men are not perfect. By nature, that is, by thought, acts and being, men come short.
CHRIST’S PREDICTION AND PETER’S SELF- DETERMINATION
Mark 14:27-31, 53-54, 66-72
Worldwide Church of God
Bulawan Prieto Diaz
April 8, 2006
Men are weak and they fail. There is one basic reason for failure conveyed by Scripture: Men are not perfect. By nature, that is, by thought, acts and being, men come short. Their acts come short, never absolute nor all-embracing. Their acts are imperfect, incomplete, and never all that they can be, not in an absolute sense.
In 1 Peter 5:5-6 we read: “Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothes yourself, all of you, with humility towards one another, for “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Those verses, which represent some of the most tender words in the Bible, were penned by one who once knew little of humility. Peter, the tough, broad shouldered Galilean, had courageously, though presumptuously, pledged a fighting allegiance to Christ. But before that bold resolve had opportunity to shine, it quickly melted. Spiritually collapsed, Peter had to come to grips with his own weakness.
A Painful Prediction and Christ Tenderness (14:27-28)
And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away for it is written, “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered. But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Vv.27-28)
Jesus predicted total defection by His disciples. “You will all fall away.” Jesus knew what was coming. The words “fall away” (skandalizo) mean to stumble or to “fall away from Him. He knew that His arrest and subsequent suffering will rattle the disciples’ resolve.
Jesus said that the disciples would tragically forsake Him. The threat of the world and their weakness of their flesh (sinful nature) would be too
Much to overcome. They would fail.
However, this does not mean that the disciples will lose their faith in Jesus; but that their courage will fail and they will forsake Him. Jesus.
Noticed in verse 8, Jesus encouraged retuning to Him after failure. Jesus had been blunt: they would fall. But now He was just a clear. He would go before them into Galilee. What a tenderness care! What a glorious statement! Their failure, even in so crucial hour, would not cause Him to reject them. Despite their failure, they could return to Him, and there would be a glorious REUNION.
Peter’s strong determination (vv. 29-30)
Now notice again here in verses 29-30 a contest of predictions and counterpredictions between Peter and Jesus.
But Peter said, “Even though they fall away, I will not And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you. This very night, before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times.” (Vv.29-30)
Peter strongly declared his determination and loyalty. Peter was sincere and full of fervor for the Lord. He thoroughly convinced he would not fall and fail his Lord. It seems Peter is so full of confidence in his own strength. Peter did not know the weakness of the flesh (sinful nature), not in great detail. Peter looked at the weaknesses and failure of others, not at his own: “even if all fall away, I will not” He continually boasted confidence in self, in his own strength.
So Jesus spelled out in detail that Peter would not only fall one time, but he would fall three times- and all three times would be in the same night.
The message about human weaknesses provoked Peter. Jesus had to get the point across. But note Peter’s refusal to accept the truth. In flaming self-confidence, he declared that he would not deny Jesus, even if he had to die for Him.
The precision of Jesus prediction fueled Peter’s self-determination and pride to cause him affirm his loyalty:
…”Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You...” (v.31)
Peter’s over-confidence is caused by not knowing himself, his own personal weakness, the weakness of his human flesh. Peter’s self-image was strong. He saw himself above serious sin and failure. The fact that human flesh is so depraved that God would have to crucify the flesh (sinful nature) was just too much to grasp.
Now in verse 50, Mark simply states:
“Any they all left Him and fled”
Jesus predictions hit the mark. The disciples’ ranks thinned quickly. Finally, no one stand by Him.
All of them were stricken with terror when confronted and attacked.
And where’s Peter? He followed the mob from a safe distance. The trail ended up in the courtyard of Caiaphas’ palace.
Read verse 53-54
Peter was not standing alongside Jesus as he had boldly sworn he would do. He is in a safe distance. He makes sure no one would recognize him to be the follower of Christ. He sat in the company of Christ’s adversaries.