Friday- You Can’t Make This Stuff Up 

Mark 14:71-72

Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 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.

So there you have it. One lie, two lies, three lies. And then let’s throw a curse in there, too.

What’s fascinating with all that is going on with Peter is how the actions of Jesus and Peter are a case of opposites. Think about it.

Praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asks God to take the cup of suffering away from him three times. But he will do what God wills.

Peter denies the man he calls, “Messiah,” three times.

Peter strikes out in violent attack. Jesus doesn’t raise a finger. Peter blurts out, “I don’t know the man!” Jesus remains silent.

Suddenly Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Three times…”

How does Mark know what flashed through Peter’s mind? Well, Peter is one of Mark’s key sources for his Gospel. Peter knows what flashes through his own mind. And Peter has indeed brought a curse down on himself. It’s not just lying. He is betraying his best friend.

This is the worst thing you can do. Turn your back on your best friend. Humiliating.

That’s what makes this all the more powerful. We are reading the beginning foundational history of the whole Christian movement, the Gospel of Mark. Peter, one of the key sources of the Gospel is also one of the key founders himself. Peter makes sure that every generation afterward gets to read about him at his absolute worst.

What leader wants to put his failure in the “Articles of Incorporation” to be read and read forever?

Betraying the one who means everything to him.

Having his arrogance and bluster be stamped out by his fear.

Peter is as bad Judas.

And that’s just what Jesus doesn’t need.

You see, just like Peter, Jesus is tired, Jesus is stressed out, and Jesus is all alone.

So, Judas betrays him.

The rest of his followers desert him. And now, the only one left, his best friend, the one whom Jesus has invested in more than any other, “Denied.”

Why does Peter allow these words to be written? Who casts themselves in such a horrible light?

Someone who knows something about forgiveness.

This isn’t the end of the story

But you will have to wait until next Sunday to find out how this story ends.

Me

Why did those who wrote the Bible, especially those telling their own story, show so many key leaders messing up all the time, including themselves? What other sacred books do that? Trick question…

LIFEhouse God Time-Thursday- Lies: Our Antidote for Fear

Mark 14:68-70 

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.

When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 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.”

The people in the courtyard are probably all from Jerusalem. These are the high society folks. Galilee, however, is considered Hicksville. To be from Galilee is what you would call back woods.  They dress differently than the Judeans. Galilean’s speak with an accent. Galileans probably think the people of Jerusalem speak with an accent, but that’s not the point. The point is, if Peter would only have kept quiet in the first place, accent or not.

But, that’s not Peter.

He acts impulsively.

He drops his fishing net and jumps in the water to follow Jesus.

He jumps in the water again later. Well, not in the water, but he walks on the water for a bit, just like his master.

And of course, his latest impulse action is to slice of a guy’s ear. But, Peter also speaks impulsively.

Or at least that is what Jesus thinks. More than once, Jesus has had to tell Peter, “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

And now, how ironic for Peter to be using those same words with the servant girl and the crowd.

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

O, O, here we go.

The trouble with lying is, once you lie, you keep on lying. Lying is the language of fear.

And one of the greatest fears is getting caught. We learn that from day one.

You don’’t want to get in trouble? Just lie. That will do the trick. And if the first time it doesn’t work, lie some more. Young children are expert liars.

Parents correct their lying tendencies. but it doesn’t always get better.

For many children, when they grow into adults the lying doesn’t stop. Just pay attention to the news on any given day. The fear of getting caught. Lies, lies, and more lies.

For impetuous Peter, there is going to be a reckoning. He starts denying he knows Jesus and a rooster crows. It doesn’t matter. Once the lies start, Peter blows right by the prophesy.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” even though they are talking about his best friend.

Me

The next time you have the urge to lie, think about why you need to lie. What is a better way?

LIFEhouse God Time: MYOB

Mark 14:66-67

Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.”

When’s the last time you wanted to say to someone, “MYOB?” “Mind your own business? It does seem that there are certain people who just have to know everything about you. Or who are always rubbing you the wrong way. It doesn’t take long for someone to irritate. In fact, it can be a stranger who quickly becomes, “That guy.”

Or that gal…

When the servant girl starts questioning Peter, that’s the last thing he needs. Caiaphas and all his other cronies are sworn enemies of Jesus. By default, they are going to be Peter’s enemies, as well. So, you might say Peter is right the middle of the enemy camp.

But, why should Peter care? This is not someone who would normally strike fear into your heart. A servant girl? She is at the low end of the power grid in Bible times.  A woman and a servant.

Yes, but, there is a another side to this. With all that is happening around Peter, he is creeped out that the servant girl is getting a little close. Notice even the scripture says, “She looked at him closely…”

She is attentive, to be sure. Sticking her nose in Peter’s business. Even staring at him. But, she’s not scary. Why would Peter be worried? She has no clout. Besides, if they had wanted to arrest Peter they would have done so along with Jesus.

But, tired, lonely, stressing big time…

Me

The next time someone is bugging you, think about the last time you were bugging someone else. Does that make a difference?

Tuesday- A Recipe for Disaster- LIFEhouse God Time

Mark 14:53-54

They took Jesus to the high priest’s home where the leading priests, the elders, and the teachers of religious law had gathered. 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.

Can you imagine what it was like for Peter at this very moment? His adrenaline is off the charts. He has just attacked a whole group of bodyguards and cut off a guy’s ear.

But, Jesus isn’t pleased by this and he tells Peter to put away his sword. Then Jesus is led away to the house of Caiaphas. Earlier, it says in the Gospel of Mark that all the disciples ran away when Jesus is arrested. Well, not necessarily. Peter sticks around with his best friend, or at least follows him to the high priest’s house.

Peter is filled with stress. He is tired. It’s early morning and he has been up for about 24 hours. He is there all alone, his master and friend nearby but Peter can’t do anything about it.

These are all recipes for Peter to make a big error in judgment. The times when we get into trouble the most are when we are stressed out, tired, and lonely.

When we are tired, stressed, lonely and I will add hungry, we do well to be very careful. We are super vulnerable to doing something or saying something we are going to regret. Peter will soon find this out.

Me

One of the best things you can do when you are stressed out and tired is take a walk…Take a walk.