Digging in Deeper: Mark 14:70-72

“But again he denied it. After a little while those standing there said to Peter again, ‘You certainly are one of them, since you’re also a Galilean.’ Then he started to curse and swear, ‘I don’t know this man you’re talking about!’ Immediately a rooster crowed a second time, and Peter remembered when Jesus had spoken the word to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I love spycraft movies. I love seeing the creative ways super spies use their wits, technology, and a bit of good luck, to accomplish their missions of infiltrating enemy fortresses or getting their hands on critical information. One of the common tools a spy will use is a disguise. A good disguise will allow the spy to gain access to places and people that would be impossible if he was wearing his own face. But, in order for the ruse to work, the spy has to maintain complete confidence and consistency with his assumed identity. This becomes especially true when he is impersonating someone a particular target knows well. As we come to the close of Mark 14 this morning, we find Peter doing a bit of spycraft of his own to try and keep tabs on Jesus. Unfortunately, he was no super spy and things quickly go awry. Let’s talk this morning about strength, denial, and being someone we aren’t.

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Stand with the End in Mind

As we near the end of our series, Standing Firm, Peter pours a little bit of apocalyptic fervor over the whole thing. Why is it that we stand firm in our faith even when things get tough? Because the journey we’re on won’t last forever. Let’s explore this together today.

Stand with the End in Mind

I want you to do a little remembering with me this morning. Think about the last time you watched a movie or television show that was set in a post-apocalyptic environment. Now, you know what a post-apocalyptic setting is, right? Most directly it is a story setting that takes place on the other side of some kind of an apocalyptic event. Whether it’s a nuclear war or an alien invasion or a series of natural disasters or a horde of self-aware nanites eliminating all electricity around the world or a virus pandemic that turns people into zombies, something happens that causes massive numbers of people to die, and the survivors are left to figure out how to do life in a whole new world with a whole lot less people and no modern conveniences. In most of these shows people do reorganize into some sort of a society, but have you noticed that this society is almost unfailingly way more violent and brutal than it was before the apocalypse? It’s like the apocalyptic event gives people the freedom to give in to their darkest desires and tendencies. It’s like we’re in the wild, wild west again. These are the kinds of things I think about while watching TV. I’m a ton of fun to watch with.

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Morning Musing: Mark 14:61-64

“But he kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus, ‘and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?’ They all condemned him as deserving death.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

In the world of courtroom dramas, the money moment is when the prosecutor finally gets the defendant to somehow admit his guilt under oath while on the witness stand. These moments are a dime a dozen on television, but perhaps the best such scene ever put on film is the climax of the movie, A Few Good Men, where Jack Nicholson screams at Tom Cruise, “You can’t handle the truth.” Just for your viewing pleasure, here’s a link to the scene (with a language morning). If that one critical moment doesn’t make you want to stand up and cheer for Cruise’s Lt. Kaffee’s incredible victory for justice you may want to check and see if you have a pulse. There’s just something satisfying about seeing someone guilty own that guilt and face the consequences of it. What we see unfolding here in Mark’s Gospel is a scene kind of like that except the charge to which Jesus finally confessed wasn’t a crime at all. It was simply the truth. Let’s talk about the moment Jesus finally admitted to the “crime” that led Him to the cross.

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Morning Musing: 1 Thessalonians 4:13

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last week we talked about the Netflix series, Virgin River. I don’t usually come back to talk about the same series so soon after hitting it once, but as I watched the penultimate episode of season three last night, I was bothered enough I couldn’t ignore it. And I was going to wait until tomorrow like I usually do, but events in my own life lined up such that today is the right day for it. We’ll go back to Mark tomorrow instead. Today, we need to talk about a funeral.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 14:55

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they could not find any.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every now and then we learn of the simultaneously joyous and heartbreaking story of a man being released from prison after spending decades locked up for a crime he did not commit. Each one of these instances – far, far too many borne on the backs of black men who were unjustly locked up by a system laden with subtle racism that has proven far more difficult for our culture to eradicate than we once thought – is a tragedy. Innocent people being made to suffer unjustly is an outrage to all clear-thinking citizens of any nation. And the greater the suffering of the innocent, the more it should enrage those who learn of it. It certainly does our God who is fundamentally just in the core of His character. This is what makes the death of Jesus of Nazareth so scandalous. Have you thought of it in those terms before? We celebrate it because of what it accomplished for us, but this morning let’s pause a moment to remember that it also represented the absolute pinnacle of injustice.

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