Mark – God is On Our Side!
There are times in our lives as ministry leaders that false accusations rise up from insecure gossipers who are prey and putty in the hands of the evil one. These misguided people feel unloved and simply don’t know or care to know the Truth. It is hard to combat people like this. Whatever you say in defense, the enemy will put a spin on your words with false assumptions of what you really meant. Your words are twisted to mean the opposite of what you said. The gossipers can’t even agree on the what you said when two or three of them gather to tell all to listening ears who also long to know what no one else knows about you. Crazy, right?
We learned a long time ago to hold to this truth when dealing with people who want to destroy you and the work God has given you to do: “The less said, the less spread.” We would stick to what God’s word says and just go silent about our family life, the transitions in ministry God invited us to do, and details of our growing and learning. We had to stop “thinking out loud” as we grappled with a problem, for that would soon be a wonderful morsel that gossipers would chew on and share with others as finished truth. Weird, I know. But it happens.
Jesus dealt with his accusers of false words in pretty much the same way. Silence. We can learn from that. When accusations are so far from the truth it is ridiculous, there is nothing you can say that will calm down the circus. Silence is the best Godly option at that point. Jesus knows their hearts are bent for evil.
When finally asked to tell the Truth about WHO Jesus is, He readily tells them, “I am”, knowing the consequences. But, this is the time to speak Truth, while ignoring all the rest of the accusations. Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. He is “I AM”. Our Lord is amazing! God is on our side for all eternity. Jesus tells the Truth and is ready to face what it will take to save us. ALL of us.
Mark 14, NLT
Jesus before the Council
53 They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered. 54 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and went right into the high priest’s courtyard. There he sat with the guards, warming himself by the fire.
55 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any. 56 Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other. 57 Finally, some men stood up and gave this false testimony: 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this Temple made with human hands, and in three days I will build another, made without human hands.’” 59 But even then they didn’t get their stories straight!
60 Then the high priest stood up before the others and asked Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 61 But Jesus was silent and made no reply. Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? 64 You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
“Guilty!” they all cried. “He deserves to die!”
65 Then some of them began to spit at him, and they blindfolded him and beat him with their fists. “Prophesy to us,” they jeered. And the guards slapped him as they took him away.
Peter Denies Jesus
66 Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”
68 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.
69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70 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.”
71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 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.
Peter and John, heedless of the Lord’s repeated warnings, followed the mob and even went into the courtyard. Jesus that night had sweat “as it were great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44), but Peter was cold and sat by the enemy fire! The two disciples could not witness the actual trial, but at least they were near enough to see the outcome (Matt. 26:58; John 18:15).
Many witnesses testified against Jesus, but since they did not agree, their testimony was invalid. How tragic that a group of religious leaders would encourage people to lie, and during a special holy season!
Throughout this time of false accusation, our Lord said nothing (Isa. 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23). But when the high priest put Him under oath, Jesus had to reply, and He testified clearly that he was indeed the Son of God. The title “Son of man” is messianic (Dan. 7:13), and the members of the council knew exactly what Jesus was saying: He was claiming to be God come in human flesh! This claim, of course, was blasphemy to the Jews, and they declared Him guilty and worthy of death. Since it was irregular for the Sanhedrin to vote on capital cases at night, the council met again early the next morning and gave the official sentence (Mark 15:1).
While the Lord was being mocked and abused, Peter was in the courtyard below, trying to escape detection. Had he heeded the Lord’s warnings, he would have avoided walking into temptation and denying his Master three times. He is a warning to all of us, for,after all, if an apostle who walked with Christ denied his Lord, what might we do in similar circumstances? The Roman believers who read Mark’s gospel no doubt learned from this account, for they would soon be entering the furnace of persecution themselves.
First, one of the high priest’s servant girls spoke to Peter, and he denied knowing anything about Jesus. Then the cock crowed. Another servant girl pointed Peter out to some of the bystanders, and again Peter denied knowing Jesus. Finally, a man accused him of being one of the disciples, and some of the bystanders joined in, but Peter vehemently denied knowing Jesus, and even put himself under a curse. Then the cock crowed for the second time and the Lord’s prediction was fulfilled (see Mark 14:30).
However, it was not the crowing of the cock that convicted Peter; it was the remembering of Christ’s words. It is always the Word that penetrates the heart and brings about true repentance. Peter pondered what Jesus had said and what he himself had done, and then Jesus, on His way to Pilate’s hall, turned and looked at Peter. It was a look of love, to be sure, but injured love (Luke 22:61). His heart broken, Peter went out quickly and wept bitterly.
Before we judge Peter too severely, we need to examine our own lives. How many times have we denied the Lord and lost opportunities to share the gospel with others? Do we, like Peter, talk when we should listen, argue when we should obey, sleep when we should pray, and fight when we should submit?
Peter at least was sorry (repentant) for his sins and wept over them, and the Lord did forgive him. After His resurrection, Jesus had a private meeting with Peter (Luke 24:34); then Jesus helped Peter make a public confession when He met the disciples in Galilee (John 21).
When it is time to tell God’s Truth…TELL IT!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for all the thoughts you are putting before us this morning. There is a time to be silent. There is a time to examine ourselves in the Light of Your Word. There is a time to tell Your Truth as you lead us. Help us to follow you in your ways, in your time, accomplishing your will for your glory.
In Jesus Name, Amen