By: Zach Collins
If we turn our bibles to Mark 14, we read of various things. We read of the burial anointment of Jesus by Mary (Mark 14:3-9). We read of the last supper that Jesus shared with His disciples (Mark 14:12-16). We read of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas (Mark 14:43-45). We read of the arrest and trial of Jesus (Mark 14:43-65). This chapter of scriptrue is chalked full of influential accounts within scripture. Accounts which occur in the span of one week. But, we also read of something else; the denial of Peter (Mark 14:66-72). We read of this account by Mark, (Mark 14: 66-72), and also within the account of Matthew (Matt. 26:69-75). We all know the story: Peter, a disciple of Christ, denies Jesus three times before the rooster crowed twice, just as Jesus had prophesied earlier in Mark 14. But, do we overlook the magnitude of that denial?
Peter was a trusted disciple of Jesus. He was one of the first disciples called by Jesus and was often their spokesperson. He was the first to call Jesus the Son of the Living God (Matt. 16:16). He watched Jesus walk on the water and briefly walked on the water with Him (Matt. 14:22-33). This man witnessed the sights, wonders, and miracles that Jesus performed on a daily basis. In fact, he performed miracles himself as an apostle. This man loved and admired Jesus. Then, it seems, Peter forgot all of these things. In the middle part of Mark 14, (vs. 26-31), Jesus foretells of the denial of Peter. He says, in vs. 30, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” To this Peter says, simply, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you! (vs. 31)” In this moment, with the reassuring attitude that Peter shows, Peter truly believed he would not deny the Son of God. I can just see Him saying, “Lord, I know who you are! I have seen your transcendent power! I will never deny you, no matter what!” Then, we look to the latter part of this chapter when the denial occurs. Peter denies Jesus three times, (vs. 68, vs. 70, vs. 71), in the matter of minutes. In the last denial, Peter states, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” In other words, I don’t even know this guy. Who is Jesus of Nazarene? The man whose Faith was so strong that Jesus used it as a metaphor for the Church He was to build (Matt. 16:18), no longer knew the name of Jesus.
How can Peter’s denial of Jesus apply to our lives? It’s simple: The hypocritical nature, or attitude, we take towards our Christianity. How many times do we say something as Christians, then do something else? How many times have our convictions faltered under the immense pressure of others opinions? How many times have we guarded against an action, then let our guard down? We all have done it. But, think back to that specific moment when you were hypocritical in your faith, when your convictions faltered under pressure, were you apart from other Christians? If I had to guess, I would say yes. It is most difficult to stay faithful, to remain strong in your convictions, when you are apart from those who share the same faith and convictions. Let’s look at Peter’s situation. When Peter was in fellowship with Jesus and the other disciples, he adamantly denied that he would, in fact, deny Jesus. He said, in Mark 14:31, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you!” Then, after Peter was separated from the disciples and Jesus, what did he do? He denied Jesus. This applies to our lives as well. Do we act one way in front of Christians, then act another when away from Christians? In other words, do we use the same language, in the world, as we do in fellowship? Do we conduct ourselves the same way, in the world, as we do in fellowship? Do we hold to the same convictions, in the world, as we do in fellowship? I hope the answer is yes. If not, does the hypocritical nature of our Christianity qualify as a denial of Jesus Christ?
Let me conclude. As a trusted disciple of Jesus Christ, Peter was loved by the savior. That love did not prevent Peter from denying Jesus. As a child of God, we are loved by the savior. In fact, Jesus died as a result of that love (John 3:16). That act of love doesn’t prevent us from denying Jesus. As Christians, let us strive to embolden our Faith, strengthen our convictions, and practice consistency within our Faith. Then, if we are asked the question: Do you know Jesus? We can say: Yes! Let me tell you about Him.
Reader’s Verse of Encouragement: Matthew 22:37
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (ESV)