29 June, 2022

Lesson for March 20, 2016: Struggling Faith (Mark 14:26-31, 66-72)

by | 14 March, 2016

Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri, and has held preaching ministries in Missouri, Illinois, and Colorado. This lesson treatment is published in the March 13 issue of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.

______

By Mark Scott 

A common struggle we face is consistent faith. On Palm Sunday the people shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mark 11:9). But by Friday they shouted, “Crucify him” (Mark 15:14).

Peter (and the other disciples) had that same struggle. His life did not match his lip. He intended well, but he was overwhelmed with excessive pride. When push came to shove, he caved in.

Presumptuous Promise | Mark 14:26-31

The disciples” experience in the upper room had been intense. Jesus had washed their feet (John 13:1-20), he had instituted the Lord”s Supper at the Passover meal (Mark 14:22-25), he had given many promises about the Holy Spirit (John 14″“16), and he had made two piercing predictions. The first was of Judas”s betrayal. The second was of Peter”s denial.

This betrayal prediction was evidently given en route to the Garden of Gethsemane (located partway up on the Mount of Olives). In the only passage in the Gospels where we find that Jesus sang, we read, When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Perhaps Jesus sang, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad” (Psalm 118:22-24).

Somewhere between the upper room and Gethsemane, Jesus said: You will all fall away. This had to shock the disciples. Jesus had previously predicted his death and gave additional details each successive time (Mark 8, 9, and 10). Here he made a strange use of Zechariah 13:7 to prove his point. He was Israel”s true shepherd, and when he was struck the sheep (disciples) would scatter. No doubt the image of sheep was available to Jesus since they had just come from the Passover meal. But there was hope in the midst of this shocking revelation. Jesus would be raised from the dead and meet up with the disciples in Galilee.

This was too much for Peter. He made a presumptuous promise of loyalty. He meant well. Yet Jesus underlined his prediction by saying that during the night (when Jesus” six trials were taking place) Peter would disown Jesus three times. This would be known to Peter by the crowing of a rooster twice (a detail that is unique to Mark). Peter insisted “emphatically” (ESV)””literally, “he spoke out excessively”””that he would be loyal. In fact, the other disciples said the same. Everyone intended well, but as the secular proverb says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” (attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux).

Barnyard Theology | Mark 14:66-72

Our text fast forwards through Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the arrest, and the first Jewish trial that took place in the high priest”s house. Peter”s presence in the high priest”s courtyard is hard to discern. Did he feel bad about deserting Jesus in the garden? Was he trying to see what would happen to Jesus? Did he intend to use his sword (again) and spring Jesus from the kangaroo court? Whatever his motive, he found himself in the courtyard standing by a fire (John 21:9-19). A servant girl noticed him. You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus. Peter denied it. He lied by feigning ignorance and stepped away to stay incognito.

The servant girl tried again. This time she did not call him out. She mentioned him to the others present. It is amazing that a big strong fisherman could be intimidated by a servant girl. Things lesser than us can undo us when we are outside the will of God.

Peter was successful in hiding for a while, but people noticed his Galilean accent and drew attention to the fact that he was a disciple. This angered Peter and he swore (spoke with an oath; see Matthew 5:33-37; 23:16-22). It would be like us saying, “I would swear it on a stack of Bibles.” The rooster crowed a second time and Peter was enveloped in his own nightmare. God used a common barnyard animal to get Peter”s attention. What does it take to get your attention?

Peter struggled with faith. But he did find his way back to God. For him there were three steps: 1. He remembered the word Jesus had spoken. 2. He manifested a spirit of brokenness (broke down and wept). 3. He stayed in the group, in contrast to Judas. We would be wise to follow the example of faith in this regard.

________

*Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, © 2012, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.

HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS
March 14: Jeremiah 3:12″“18
March 15: Isaiah 2:1″“6
March 16: 1 Peter 4:10″“19
March 17: Psalm 85:4″“13
March 18: Romans 12:14″“21
March 19: Galatians 5:22″“26
March 20: Mark 14:26″“31, 66″“72

Christian Standard

Contact us at cs@christianstandardmedia.com

0 Comments

Latest News

Fire Destroys Iowa City Church Building (Plus Other News Briefs)

The Iowa City Church building was destroyed in an early morning fire Saturday as a strong storm that produced lightning and caused flash flood warnings rolled through the area. . . . Plus briefs from Tonganoxie Christian Church, Casas por Cristo, Garfield Christian Church, and more.

Roe v. Wade Has Been Overturned . . . What Now?

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, the church has a lot to consider. How will we love people with whom we disagree? How can we say we love babies and we love women? How can we share Jesus? How can we best serve our communities?

Fresno Church Sponsoring Summer Camp for Afghan Refugee Children

CrossCity Christian Church in Fresno, Calif., is spearheading an effort to offer a summer camp for Afghan refugee children in its community. Forty families relocated to Fresno after the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer. CrossCity has been sponsoring one of those families . . .

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Owen Crouch’s ‘Study of Acts 2:44, 45’ (1953)

Greek scholar Owen Crouch was mentioned earlier this week in an article about Del Harris’s induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Dr. Crouch served several Christian colleges and wrote 10 books. Today we share an article from 1953 that Dr. Crouch wrote about Acts 2:44-45.

e2: effective elders Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary (Plus News Briefs)

e2: effective elders is marking 10 years as a nonprofit parachurch ministry. During that time, e2 has trained more than 9,600 elders and church leaders. Also briefs about the Church of Christ on Lewis Street (in Little Rock), Tony Darling, Jack Cottrell, and more.

Follow Us