Summary: Just as the disciples felt they were winning the game, the second half came and they lost badly. Or so they thought.
Half-time speeches are meant to motivate. My son Shane forever complains that the Panthers should make “adjustments” at
half-time. So half-time is when things happen to win games.
Today we are looking at Jesus half-time speech. Jesus and his “Fantastic Twelve” have been on a rather successful road trip. Numerous miracles have been performed. Hundreds of people have been healed. Lazarus has been raised from the dead. They have entered into Jerusalem where the crowd goes wild. The people cut down branches from nearby palm trees and lay them along the road and they shout out “hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord.” Everybody is expecting that Jesus will soon proclaim Himself to be the King
Then Jesus goes into the Temple and displays His power and majesty when He clears out the money-changers that everybody knew were crooked businessmen and should have been dealt with years ago.
It would seem they were shutting out the enemy in a very lopsided victory.
Then comes the half-time talk. It’s the Passover meal, the third one that they have had together. They are celebrating the feast that honors God’s deliverance of his people from Egypt. Perhaps they are rejoicing over the many victories that they have witnessed for the last three years.
In the midst of high fives and back slapping Jesus says
Mark 14:18-20 “I tell you the truth; one of you eating with me here will betray me.” Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one?” He replied, “It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me.”
Mark 14:27-31, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, ‘God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.”
“No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!” And all the others vowed the same.
Not exactly the kind of half-time speech you want to hear. “In the second half guys you all are going to fall apart. You are going into a part of the game that you are not prepared to handle. You are about to face your opponent in ways that will overwhelm you and fill you with despair. And you will need to finish this game without me by your side.
SECOND HALF BEGINS
Jesus is arrested in the garden. How does his “team” react?
Mark 14:50-52 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked. (disgraced)
Mark 14:66-72 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept.