Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jesus before the Sanhedrin & Peter's denial

3.24.2015 Tuesday of Lent 5                        Mark 14:53-72 Jesus before the Sanhedrin
Jesus before the Sanhedrin  

The Council will convict Jesus of blasphemy. When asked by the high priest, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Jesus simply answers, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated sat the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Jesus stands alone. All His friends have deserted Him. He stands bearing the sin of the world.

As Jesus stood trial before Caiaphas, out in the courtyard Peter denies that he even knew Jesus Fear leads us to do things we later regret. Only God can give us the courage to face difficult situations, especially persecution.[2]
Peter's denial  

The story of Peter is your story. It is also my story. Peter is so strong; so sure of himself, so bold – yet so often he stumbles, fumbles, flops and falls. “Peter gave it scarce a thought when he God rejected.”

Peter was so sure of himself. He felt secure in his faith. After all, he was one of the twelve and of the twelve, one of the three whom Jesus gathered together to be part of His inner circle. He was fixed firmly in his own ability to stand confidently with the Savior.

Just hours before Jesus’ arrest in the garden Peter had pledged his loyalty to the Savior. “And [Simon Peter] said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. But Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, before a [single] cock shall crow this day, you will three times [utterly] deny that you know Me.” - Luke 22:33-34

When he would eventually deny the Savior he thought he was only finding a limb on which to climb. It was for him a way of “saving face.” “I wasn’t really denying my Lord,” he could argue, “It was merely a case of “mistaken identity.” Peter said to the crowd, “You’re talking to the wrong man!”

What happens in our life? – Do we give a “false witness” when we, for example, compromise clear Biblical principles in order to fit in at work, or at school? What price will we pay to acquire acceptance, approval, acquiescence? Every time we sin willfully we are doing nothing short of what Peter did on that fateful night.

Like Peter we often “give it scarce a thought” when we compromise principle for convenience or for what is expedient at the time.

After the resurrection Peter and Jesus had another heart to heart meeting. Three times Jesus would ask Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John would remind us in his gospel account, “Peter was grieved because Jesus said to him for a third time do you love Me?” – John 21:17

Roman Catholics maintain that Peter was the first Pope. To this day Protestant parishes in Europe will place a rooster instead of a cross on the top of their spires as a not so friendly reminder of Peter’s seedy past. Not much has changed over the years. Have there been instances in our lives when we have not acted as becomes a child of God? Have you had to be reminded of that moment only to relive it once again?

Each of us can recall those moments in our lives in which we are not proud! Peter’s’ denial crushed him – but what he found was restoration by the Savior! 

Peter’s freedom came at a price – the price of Jesus’ life. To be crushed by conscience and the Law is never a pleasant thing. But Christ’s redemption leads to recovery – to be reconciled to the Father and also to each other – all has been made possible by the Savior’s amazing grace!

Almighty God, through the incarnate Word you have caused us to be born anew of an imperishable and eternal seed: Look with compassion upon those who are being prepared for Holy Baptism, and grant that they may be built as living stones into a spiritual temple acceptable to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen [4]

[1] Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
[2] Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[3] Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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