Mark 14:66-72

There’s a part of me that doesn’t really blame Peter for denying he knew Christ.  Jesus was not winning any popularity contests at this point.  While Peter warmed himself by the courtyard fire, Jesus was inside the high priest’s palace being beaten and humiliated before and by the leaders of the Jewish faith. 

But that’s the crux of it all, isn’t it?

We know the story of Peter’s repentance and restoration.  We know the mighty ways God used him in the early days of the church. 

But it is important for us to remember that Peter wanted nothing to do with Jesus’ suffering.  He had even tried to rebuke Jesus, when He told the disciples about His death (Mark 8:31-33).  There were some things that Peter understood, namely that Jesus was the Christ, but he did not understood the way in which the Messiah would bring salvation to His people (Mark 8:29).

And now that the hour had come, Peter confirmed that he did not want to be associated with the man, who was being battered inside on his behalf.  If he did, then Jesus’ shame would be projected on to him as well.

We are quick to judge, but we are like Peter.  We will follow Jesus to the extent that it is culturally acceptable and to the extent that we do not have to move outside of our spheres of comfort.  We will forgive when it makes us feel good, but not when it costs us our pride and feelings of superiority.  We will give to the measure that we will receive in return.  We will go where He calls us, as long as there is no cost.

The irony of the cross is that Jesus reigned there with the nails in His hands and the thorns on His brow.  He won the victory over sin and evil through His suffering and sacrifice (Hebrews 2:10). 

And so we too must recognize that we reign with Him, predominantly in our suffering and our humility.  He set us an example, that we should be like Him (John 13:15).

The church has always been prone to seduction by the promise of power.  And our flesh nature abhors weakness and rejection.  We, like the world, would much rather sit in positions of influence and reign with Christ there.  We must admit that we do not delight in being overlooked or even shamed, for we crave the approval of man.

But that is where He calls us to fellowship with Him – in His sufferings (Philippians 3:10).

He calls us to associate with Him in humility (Philippians 2:5). 

The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction!  But we who are being saved know it is the power of God … So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters?  God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.  Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe.  It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven.  And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom.  So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.  But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.  This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength.  (I Corinthians 1:18,20-25, NLT)