Today’s Reading: Mark 14:53-72
Jesus was before a council. Many people came up as witnesses to sentence Him to death, though everyone’s protests and testimonies could not be proved. One person claimed that Jesus said “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands.” Not even this testimony could be agreed. Then the high priest said, “do you have nothing to say? What is it that these men have against you?”. The priest then asked Jesus if he was the Son of God. Jesus replied that He was. Then suddenly, the priest went on a rampage and tore off his clothes in anger. Some began to spit and cover Jesus’ face. They called him a blasphemer and the guards beat Him.
Peter was below in the courtyard waiting. A servant girl of the high priest recognized him and asked him if he was with Jesus and Peter denied it. The servant girl told others standing nearby that Peter was a follower of Jesus and again, Peter denied it. A little while later, the bystanders again asked Peter if he was one of Jesus’ followers and he denied it a third time. When he did this, the rooster crowed a second time. Peter was immediately ashamed of himself and wept and remember that Jesus had said one of them would deny Him. Jesus called it.
Matt M.- Here we see that the Sanhedrin went to great lengths to find something to convict Jesus and justify their arresting Him. When their feeble attempts failed, the high priest just flat-out asked Him if he was the “Son of God” to which Jesus replied “I am” knowing that the answer would lead to His death. This is another example of the strength and bravery of Jesus and His willingness to serve God’s will.
The opposite could be said for Peter. Peter was scared. He was afraid of what would happen to Jesus and what would happen to those who served alongside Him and followed Him. When asked if he knew Jesus, he denied it. He then remember that Jesus predicted this and was ashamed. He looked Jesus in the eye just hours before and said “Surely it will not be I” and sure enough, it was him. Our prayer is to brave. If ever given the opportunity to share our faith or chose God over all, we would be brave enough to stand up for Christ.
By Elyse Proctor and Noah Beasley (with help from Matt M.)
Will you stand up for Jesus?
Sandwiched within these Bible verses is the Sandhedrin trial of Jesus. The Sanhedrin was the high court in Israel – and supposedly consisted of the wisest men in the Jewish nation. The chief priest was Caiphas –who had plotted against Jesus for many months before this trial.
Jesus spoke little during the trial but did answer truthfully:
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The men on the Sanhedrin should have judged Jesus fairly but instead allowed the following to occur against Jewish law:
- Conducted the trial at night, even though they were considering a death penalty
- Asked him to witness against himself
- The chief priest acted as prosecutor, asked for a public vote, and declared blasphemy without discussing the merits of Jesus stating he WAS the Son of God
How sad it was that some of the wisest men in Israel were so focused on delivering a sentence of death that they MISSED the opportunity to realize that the true Son of God was before them! If one of us had been a member of the Sanhedrin, would we have spoken up for Jesus? Would we have recognized that all the things that Jesus had accomplished in his lifetime were signs that he was the long-awaited Messiah?
The beginning and ending verses in the passage are focused on Peter, the disciple who pledged his commitment to Jesus. However – Jesus predicted Peter’s denial:
Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice[e] you yourself will disown me three times.”
31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
Peter was brave enough to enter the courtyard to view the trial, but did not speak up for Jesus during the trail, and when confronted – three times denied that he even knew Jesus! Certainly – we can feel Peter’s pain when he realizes his denials and then “broke down and wept”.
After the resurrection, Jesus met Peter in Galilee and reaffirmed him as a disciple in John 21: 15-17:
17 The third time he (Jesus) said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.
Challenge: Many of us will not be facing death when we “Stand up for Jesus” – telling others about Jesus, why he came to earth, the miracles that he accomplished, the wonderful words he spoke, the love that he showed when he died for sinners like us. Let us not deny Jesus but instead take every opportunity to proudly declare that Jesus is God’s son and gift to all who will believe in him!
Prayer Focus: Pray that God will give each of us the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. Pray that we will show our love for Jesus by sharing him with others and can in reality “feed his sheep”!
Peg and Randy Buckley