Mark 14:66-72 Every Step is Joy: God Will Be Denied For Us
Last updated: 13 Nov 2019 08:15
Mark 14:66-72 And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
John 21:15-19 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Jesus looks around at Peter’s fishing boat and tackle. Peter has gone back to the old life again, unsure what to do with himself next. Jesus says, “Simon, son of John, when I first met you, you were a fisherman, and I called you to be a fisher of humans. You were very happy then to come with me and work alongside me. Now you are back here again. Do you love me more than these?” Peter is a bit nonplused and doesn’t know where this is leading, but manages to say: “Yes, Lord – you know I love you.” “Well,” Jesus says, “I have a job for you. Feed my lambs.”
Peter doesn’t know what to say to this, but Jesus goes on: “And Peter, you remember how you said you would go with me even to death? How even if all the others left me you wouldn’t? It didn’t work out that like that, did it? I heard you that night, as you know. You told them you didn’t even know me. Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter hangs his head. There is no denying it now. “Yes, Lord,” he says, “you know that I love you.”
But Jesus isn’t finished yet. There is no point in getting someone to see themselves as they really are if you don’t show them where to go from there. “Don’t you see, Peter?” he says. “That’s not the end of the story. Peter, the next day they took me outside the city and they crucified me. They watched me die while you hid away somewhere. “But don’t you see what it means? I was despised and rejected by everybody. I had nothing but darkness and pain and death. But Peter, I bore all your griefs. I carried all your sorrows. I was wounded for your transgressions. I was bruised for your iniquities. Upon me was the punishment that made you whole. As they beat me, you were being healed. You were straying away like a lost sheep, Peter, but God laid on me the punishment for all your sin. Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter, feeling that the tears in his eyes tell the truth anyway, says, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.” And Jesus goes on to tell him of the new life he must lead, a life of serving God, a life of suffering and death, a life of following the Master.
The story hardly needs applying further. Christian faith begins (or it may begin) with understanding what Peter understood that morning. It is as we see Jesus, dying so that his people need not die, completing on the cross the work of our salvation, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, that we see clearly the love that God has for us. It is also the point at which we begin to love God in return.
N.T. Wright. Small Faith Great God. 72-74.