Summary: When things get difficult, how do you react? Keeping a cool head is relatively easy whenever things are going smoothly. But what happens when the unexpected occurs?
How would you react?
Mark 14:10-11, 27-31, 43-47, 66-72
10. Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them.
11. They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.
27. And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, because it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.’
28. “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
29. But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.”
30. And Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.”
31. But Peter kept saying insistently, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all were saying the same thing also.
43. Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
44. Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard.”
45. After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, “Rabbi!” and kissed Him.
46. They laid hands on Him and seized Him.
47. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.
66. As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came,
67. and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.”
68. But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch.
69. The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!”
70. But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.”
71. But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”
72. Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.
(vv. 66-72 NASB95)
When things get difficult, how do you react? Keeping a cool head is relatively easy whenever things are going smoothly. But what happens when the unexpected occurs? When things do not go as you had planned, how do you respond? When the pressure is on, and you feel pressed in on every side, do you sometimes do or say things you later regret?
All of us have experienced a failure to respond in a consistently Christian manner. All of us have, no doubt, said and done things we wish we could have a re-do. Pressure has a way of getting to us. It has always been our nemesis.
In Mark 14, we see illustrated the various responses to Christ by those around Him when the pressure was one. The time of His death was near; and it is at this point that the opposition against Him was in full bloom. It is during these times that loyalty is tested and depth of character and commitment is revealed.
It is interesting to study the actions of all those involved in Christ’s death. There is Mark, the writer of this gospel, who was perhaps the young man who followed Jesus at a distance, and when recognized and seized by his cloak, left his cloak and fled naked. There is Judas, who betrayed Christ; Peter, who denied Him; Caisphas, the plotting religious leader. We see Pilate, the man caught between loyalties; Barabbas, a criminal set free as Jesus took his place. Simon, the Cyrenian, who was compelled to carry Jesus’ Cross; the soldiers, who were only doing their duty; and the centurion, who, in the midst of doing his duty, saw the Son of God. At the foot of Jesus’ Cross, all of the Marys were there; and, of course, John, who loved Jesus. Joseph of Arimathea comes into view, who boldly went into Pilate to claim the body, and gave his tomb for Jesus’ burial. And last but not least, Jesus is at center stage, who gave His life for us on that horrible Cross.
All of these reacted under pressure. They reacted in different ways. How we react under pressure is very important. What would you have done had you been there as the opposition grew toward Jesus? How would you have reacted when the soldiers came by night to take Jesus? Would you have boldly stood forward to confess Christ? Or would you have denied Him? And if you did deny Him, what then? Is there forgiveness for those who fail?