Thursday March 31- …and Peter

Mark 16:7

7 “But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, as He told you.”

This is the strangest verse in the whole Easter story. All of world history will change from that day forward. Go ahead, give an honest assessment of what happens in the world from the time of the resurrection of Jesus onward. Everything changes and it still is changing.

This is still true for each of us today.

When Jesus breaks into your life, you are not the same. You are someone whose whole life is opened to new possibilities. But, what does this have to do calling this the strangest verse?

Think about it. We have been studying the Gospel of Mark for over a year. And in all this time, it seems like we are reading the Jesus and Peter Show. Especially during Holy Week.

Peter is not a very sympathetic person in the story. He is actually a washout. A hypocrite. A liar. A traitor. A horrible friend. I call him worse than Judas, because he is Jesus’ best friend, and still he abandons Jesus and denies he even knows him.

Now, Jesus is dead. The only good thing about Peter is he doesn’t commit suicide like Judas. He just lives with his betrayal.

But, then, the two most beautiful words in all of Scripture are spoken. The angel announces the Messiah is alive, the redeemer of the world is risen. All bets are off, and the new kingdom has come!

What are the two words? Listen carefully.

…tell His disciples and Peter

There they are…”And Peter.”

You think you have done something that makes you an enemy of God? You think you have  been a person unworthy of the love of Jesus? Have you done something that you hate you did and it haunts your conscious or at least your subconscious to this day?

Well, remember these words. They are being spoken directly to you.

…And Peter 

Me

What do you need to forgive yourself for? Spend some time with God today and give it to him.

Wednesday March 9- Not by Force

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Mark 14:42-45

Up, let’s be going. Look, my betrayer is here!”

And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.

Everyone knows when you are going through awful times in life, you don’t want to be alone. But, what if awful times keep getting worse?

Everything changes. The mood shifts. We see the makings of a tragedy. Not just for Jesus. For Peter.

Jesus prays for rescue three times. Jesus puts himself in God’s hands.

OK, Abba, thy will be done.

Three times Peter, Jesus’ right-hand man, will deny that he even knows him.

Jesus hears, No, to his prayers. Shouldn’t surprise us if we sometimes hear that, too. But, Jesus goes on. He appears back in charge again.

Let’s go guys. It’s time for some betraying.

The high priest and the chief priests get someone else to do their dirty work. They aren’t in the garden with Judas, but, they send the brute squad. A mob. Swords and clubs.

Nice going, guys. It’s always great when you mix violence with faith. Works out really well doesn’t it? Whenever faith leaders get guys with swords and clubs, or guns and backpack bombs, for that matter, to do their dirty work, they have already lost. Not much of a God if that’s what it takes to get someone to trust in him.  Sorry, we humans are not built that way.

Human beings are no longer human when they have no freedom. To trust in God is about the head and the heart. To be forced to say you trust through threat of violence is not trust at all. It is avoiding punishment.

Every one of us needs to figure this out. Avoiding punishment is not faith. The thing we do best to avoid punishment is tell lies. The opposite of trust.

OK Judas, time for the kiss.

Me

The next time you get perturbed about something, ask yourself, “Where is my feeling about this situation really about me?”

Tuesday March 8- No

Gratitude

Spend five minutes focusing on a couple of things you appreciate and thank God for them.

Mark 14:32-36

They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by. “Abba, Father,” he cried out, “everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then he returned and found the disciples asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”

Then Jesus left them again and prayed the same prayer as before.When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And they didn’t know what to say.

When he returned to them the third time, he said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But no—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 

Everyone knows when you are going through awful times in life, you don’t want to be alone. Jesus knows this. His best buddies, Peter, James, and John are with him.

Guys, I have never felt worse than I do right now. I don’t know if I can take it. Pray for me! Please!

Jesus is filled with the three D’s.

Depression.

Dejection.

Disillusionment.

Satan is already attacking him with all he’s got and Jesus has had enough.

This must have been an awful time for the disciples. Jesus is always in charge. He has his act together. It is almost embarrassing to see him act this way. Anguish and Jesus don’t go together, do they?

Jesus wants off of this salvation train. Rightfully so, he takes it to the Lord with prayer. But, he doesn’t seem to hear from his Father.

Even his dad is isn’t listening??

At least he has his best friends praying for him. He taught them all to pray, didn’t he? They know what to do.

So, Jesus goes back to his friends but they aren’t praying. They’re sleeping!

Come on Peter, you can’t do me this one thing. You can’t stay awake for an hour?

Jesus keeps praying and Abba, daddy, finally answers.

No.

Me

When you are feeling low, what do you do to feel better? Take a walk? Listen to music? A glass of wine? A hot bath? How about prayer along with it? Or prayer in a quiet place?