Monday, July 30th. Mark 14:26-31

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”

 

Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.  Mark 14:26-31

 

Somewhere, some time along the way, as we prepared to sing the old Lenten hymn, “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone?”, I overheard someone say “Yes.”  I’ve never forgotten that.  I think of it every time I think of that hymn.  I’m thinking of it again this morning.

 

Jesus goes to the cross, alone.

 

Each of the gospels tells the story a bit differently.  Various characters make brief appearances on the stage.  One even helping Jesus with the cross down the Via Dolorosa.  But even those moments leave Jesus all the more alone.  For, at the end of the journey, Jesus takes his place on the cross, by himself, for us.

 

What do we make of Peter’s vehement declaration of loyalty to the end?  Is it heroic or is it something else?

 

Perhaps we could play a “what if?” game.

 

What if Peter followed through with his pledge to protect and stand by Jesus?  What if he organized a local militia and busted Jesus out of the Roman garrison where he spent the night?  What if he organized a crowd of people to overwhelm the parade through Jerusalem and helped Jesus scurry to safety down the labyrinthine streets of Old Jerusalem?

 

It would change everything, wouldn’t it?

 

No longer would the Christian faith be the great equalizer, all humanity finding its place at the foot of the cross, surrendering to the good news that Jesus does for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

 

The faith instead would be about emulating Peter’s courage and pluck.  It would be about moral striving and literally fighting back against the forces arrayed against the good and gracious will of God.  It would leave us all with the idea, “If Peter could do something wonderful like that, why can’t we?”

 

We would divide people into the good people who act like Peter and the bad people out to get Jesus.

 

But that isn’t the story.  As much as it seems that we want to rewrite the script, that isn’t the story.  Yes, Jesus must bear the cross alone.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, like Peter we often feel surges of courage and determination and spiritual adrenaline, but we end up faltering and stumbling.  All we can do is seek your forgiveness and surrender to your love.  Your amazing gracious love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Monday, July 30th. Mark 14:26-31”

  1. Richard Says:

    If you will forgive the bad metaphor, today’s devotion struck the nail on the head. He was alone, he alone was capable of doing what God has promised his people, and he alone sacrificed the ultimate to save us all. As always a terrific, poignant message Pastor! Thanks for sharing!

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