Study | Distance & Denial

Mark 14:27-31, 66-72

How we act when we feel distant from Jesus shouldn’t be different from or contradict how we act when we feel close to Him

Immediately following the Last Supper, and prior to his time in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus speaks to his disciples about their impending denial. What a confusing thing, that just after spending an intimate night together, Jesus would simply state that, “You will all fall away.”

Naturally, Peter denies his denial. “Even if all fall away, I will not.”

Jesus corrects him, warning Peter that before the rooster crows twice, he will fail Jesus three times. Three times! Incredulous, Peter declares he will stand by Jesus til death. While this would be true eventually, Peter’s heart falls far away from Jesus later that very evening.

Peter is with Jesus in the Garden as the Sanhedrin and other religious leaders come to arrest him with Judas. But as soon as Jesus makes his decision to follow God’s will and fulfill the Scriptures with his sacrifice, Peter runs.

As Peter stays outside the courtyard of the high priest where Jesus is tried, he fails to stand with his Lord in the face of adversity and rejection. Jesus is condemned to death by crucifixion without a friend beside him.

Outside the courtyard where the Savior of the world is being beaten and scorned in preparation for the cross, Peter is recognized and questioned about his knowing Jesus of Galilee not once or twice, but three times. And he denies Jesus every time.

He disowns Jesus that third time, and the rooster crows a second time.

Peter breaks. He breaks and weeps, realizing what he has done to his Lord, his Teacher, his Friend. Ultimately, when Peter seems to be close to Jesus on that fateful night, he is furthest away spiritually.

Questions for discussion:

  1. What do you learn about Jesus through this story?
  2. When do you feel closest to Jesus? When do you feel far?
  3. What do you personally need to do to remember to stand with Jesus during difficult situations?

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