Thursday, 23 August 2012

Mark 14:53-72 - Unfair trials and bitter tears

The easily-persuaded rent-a-mob take Jesus back to the chief priests and other religious authorities as instructed for an unfair trial and Peter reaches his darkest moment...

Mark 14:53-72

Jesus' only crime is blasphemy, which basically means 'claiming to be God when you're not'.  The only problem is that no-one who wants him dead can find anything he's done wrong that would prove he's lying (v55).  The average lunatic claiming divinity would have loads of embarrassing dirt to dig up to expose them but Jesus has none.  The religious types try and make things stick but but none of it does and as Jesus stays silent, the only thing that's exposed is their own twisted agenda but no-one dares to admit it.

The only question Jesus dignifies with a response is about his true identity and he answers clearly (v60-61), saying he is indeed the Messiah (God's chosen rescuer).  He's happy to say it one more time, knowing that no-one can prove otherwise: "I'm God."

Religious anger takes over and they start attacking Jesus physically (v65).  This is the inevitable conclusion of the trial.  No-one's interested in the truth and Jesus will soon be tortured and killed.

Peter, who has been following at a distance and hanging out with Jesus' enemies (v54), now can't even stand up to a little slave girl (v67-68).  Three times he denies he knows Jesus and even calls down curses (v71), which probably means something like, "May God strike me dead if I'm wrong."  He's perfectly (but not deliberately) fulfilling the prophecy Jesus had made earlier the same day (v72).

Peter's response to his sin is bitter tears (v72) and it's the best response possible.  When we realise just how serious our sin really is, the only proper response is deep sorrow.  We stop pretending we're better than we really are and we fall down and admit that we're wrong, broken and in need of forgiveness from God.  This is the moment we all need to have at some point in our lives and it's the moment God waits for...

Psalm 51:17...
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.


1 John 1:8-9...
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The promise of God in the Bible is that because of Jesus, we can come to him with the weight of our sin and guilt and he will forgive and purify us.

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